When new owners take over any organisation they need to make a statement and put their own stamp on things. It marks a time when old habits need to be done away with and a fresh approach brought to an organisation that may have been flailing in recent years.
Mamod was a company seemingly in a rut of this ilk. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the company had flitted between ownerships and it needed a steady hand to guide it back towards profitability and give it a new identity. In the Terry family, Mamod found what it had needed and the new owners came with a host of ideas of how to bring this iconic name back to its former glory.
After steadying the ship it was time for the Terrys to put their own stamp on Mamod – enter the Brunel engine. What would take over three years to go from design to shelf has become a huge favourite among model railways enthusiasts and given the owners a trademark to represent their era of ownership.
Designers came together in 2007 to look at a new model that would really capture the imagination of the public. This was a lengthy process with a few initial designs being thrown on the cutting room floor, but the main consensus was that it would need to be very different to the current products being offered by Mamod.
The Brunel was like nothing the company had produced before – the vertical boiler and its geared mechanism made it a potential huge hit. The development phase was ideal for Mamod which, due to its smaller operation, was able to produce this to specific orders rather than in mass which may have been the case for large organisations.
Mamod's decision to introduce a vertical boiler made the Brunel a unique engine and one that did not already feature on the market. Thanks to the geared mechanism, the Brunel can get away with being a heavy model while also being able to generate much more torque. The additional power compensates for an increased water capacity of the boiler but helps to retain the competent feels of the engine.
Prototypes tested well and the public were able to purchase their own Brunel in 2010. The model became an instant hit with Mamod receiving a huge amount of orders when it was first released. It was a big favourite at trade shows with the company selling solid numbers at each event it attended.
Its sheer uniqueness is a major selling point. Collectors and enthusiasts are used to more traditional models such as trains and static workshops but the Brunel provides something much different. It was able to switch between 0 and 1 gauge thanks to an internal frame, an idea that was put forward at the design. The thought of introducing a vertical boiler was deemed a novel suggestion and it was not clear whether the public would embrace it but four years on, it has been shown to be a really key addition to the Terrys' trademark creation.