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It has been over two years now since Darstaed first approached us to help and develop their 7mm Finescale range. Since then we have formed a very close relationship with the company and as such, we are now their sole, exclusive distributor for finescale O gauge products.

Currently we have produced Well Wagons, Mk1 Mainline coaches and more recently Mk1 Suburban coaches. We have plenty of upcoming projects included Thompson coaches and our first locomotive, the Stanier class 5.

Below is an introduction to the brand, alongside information on their history and heritage...


Darstaed was established in 1966 in Zug, Switzerland by Mr. Marcel Darphin, the purpose being to reproduce the famous tinplate Märklin 40cm coaches from the 1930s. Later on Mr. Darphin built a renowned finescale layout assisted by his wife, Astrid, who made most of the scenery.

At that time Mr. Darphin also produced some very small quantities of finescale rolling stock that he needed for his layout. The pride of his collection was a rake of CIWL coaches made from lacquered paper in the 1920s by Mr. l Fournerau. These coaches were so detailed that each individual wheel was sprung and each spring could have its tension adjusted with a very tiny screw.

In 1993 Mr. Darphin sold his company including all the rights, know-how, goodwill and tooling to Mr. Andries Grabowsky, a Dutchman who hitherto was manufacturing HO trains in Taiwan that earned him, in both 1991 and 1992, the award of “Model of the Year” at the Nüremberg toy fair. 

In 1994 Mr. Grabowsky visited the distributors of the Darstaed coaches and one of them, Mr. Ron Budd, the UK agent, suggested that before the coaches he should manufacture a replica of the Hornby O Gauge 4-4-4 that only was made by Hornby in clockwork. The replica was electric, and was launched and sold under another brand name jointly owned by Mr. Grabowsky and his UK agent. At that time the hobby of operating model trains was not prospering as the only items available were vintage originals that commanded high prices.

In 2016, on the company’s 50th Anniversary, Darstaed launched the first product in 2-rail O Gauge finescale, the MK1 coaches. This production was highly successful, and other coaches are coming in the future. Our brass metal bodied coaches are finely detailed, but at the same time made to last and to be used. The company that operates the Darstaed brand name is Gauge O Trains Co. Ltd, based in Hong Kong. We have our own manufacturing facilities in China which is testament to our long term commitment to the hobby and our customers. The long term commitment is also evident in the value that we place on our customers’ input and advice. We believe that this is the best approach to ensure that our products will find the broadest appeal.

Darstaed adheres to the adage: “Superior products - fairer prices.” Indeed we spare no cost to improve our models, and when possible we supply free upgrades to our customers so that our products are always up to date according to the latest specifications.

We do hope that our modest contribution to the hobby finds favour with our customers and wish you many hours of satisfaction.