There's an interesting thread at the Film and Darkroom Users Group (FADU) about the recently-introduced Ilford Classic FB multigrade paper, specifically the fact that it's just about unobtainable in the UK at the moment.
A few tentative theories were advanced as possible explanations - most correct in some part - but now Matthew Wells, who runs AG Photographic, has stepped in to shed some light on an issue that only affects Classic and not the Cooltone or Warmtone FB versions.
Matt says the first batches of Classic were coated on the small coating line at Mobberley which is reserved for experimental runs but can also be used for small production runs.
He added, "When they (Ilford/Harman) tried to scale production and coat on the larger coating line, it wouldn't work - don't know the detail here - so they are trying to work out why.
"In the meantime, they have reverted to making the MGIV FB but I believe they are still coating the Classic on the small line but for the USA only.
"Steven Brierley, sales director at Harman and one of the six managers who mounted the management buyout in 2004, is going to be at our Open Day on Friday, April 11, and, no doubt, he will have some better detail on this for anyone interested (and) attending the day."
It would have been nice had Ilford/Harman decided to support the home market with the limited quantities of Classic but I suppose most effort has to go towards looking after the biggest market.
One can only imagine the frustration at Ilford when the successful launch of a popular new paper is stopped in is tracks like this.
You might also like:Ilford FB Classic And Cooltone: First Impressions
More On The New Ilford Papers