Its been an interesting couple of weeks, I’m lucky in a way that I get to mess about with different things, across scales and eras, but mostly within my overall interests. You do see interesting variations as well especially looking at the products that are available. Above is an example of ‘The Good’. Its a Parkside kit in 7mm of a Southern Railway Insulated Van. Parkside have really hit a sweet spot of late, the kits that I have built have all been well designed and engineered. They fit, they work, they look right. Theres still some of the older kits in the range that aren’t as good, but what is noticeable is the current trend of consistent improvement with any of their new releases over the past five years or so. A real show of sustainability in improvement and leaving a legacy of good kits in their range.
The next items are vehicles for Albion Yard, one is a very simple whitemetal kit, found in the ‘started’ drawer. An evenings work and it’ll be complete. I’ve also got hold of an articulated tanker kit from Road Transport Images. This is a resin and whitemetal kit which I’m making up to be similar to the Bitumen tankers used by Berry Wiggins in the Forest of Dean. This has meant cutting the chassis of the tractor unit to shorten it, which has improved it, but it needs to be shorter still. The chassis has a solid top to it, which I’m not entirely happy with, however I may actually scratch build the core of a chassis and graft components across, which is another big positive to take out of this whole thing going forward.
The next two show ‘The Not So Good’. Dapols ready to use OO signals are a real ‘six out of ten’. When I say ‘Not So Good’ they are to me frustratingly ‘Not So Good’, though I’m under no illusion that they won’t or shouldn’t sell. There’s potentially a wide diversity in the types of signals that could be produced in N gauge, OO gauge and O gauge. It’s interesting to see the use of ‘gauge’ rather than ‘scale’, if you think of the signals as scale models, then you’ll consider these signals more of a problem than a solution. Using such a description, gauge, rather than scale, (a Perfect Curveism if ever there was one), instantly negates any argument that the signals dimensions are all incorrect.
Why frustratingly? Now here’s the thing, this is where we are with this, I’m not over bothered if something isn’t quite right, I will leave it, modify it or make my own. As you can see from the simple overlays above the arms are the wrong shape and size. This isn’t just the signal arm, its the location of the spindle, and the lamp position on the post too. Oh and the posts, including the ‘ribbed for pleasure’ Great Western one. So, if you’re thinking like with the Stove R chassis, that this was “a totally routine accident of design” and you can totally fix it with ‘additionality’ of scale etches, unfortunately you can’t. The defining design feature of the OO products are that, no matter which direction you view them, or measure them from, they’re wrong, and critically, look wrong. So if you want to fit etched arms then you need to design some the wrong size and shape first. This is a real shame, the N gauge models are much smaller, or, they’re further away, so changing the dimensions and proportions relative to one another to get them correct for OO gauge, shouldn’t have been a problem. Hopefully it’ll be even easier to get right on the forthcoming O gauge signals. When you consider the inclusivity shown when checking the detail variations etc on the Western/Cl22/Beattie Well Tank, these signals as their most recent release leave me indifferent towards their new products. Information to have got them right or certainly much more accurate is readily available, Steve Jones on electricnose was certainly ‘on the money’ on some things and this leaves the market wide open for another manufacturer, or Dapol themselves to improve on these models.
I should emphasise the signals do work as advertised, and as per the instructions, you need a 16Vac source and a pulse switch. The arm movement is smooth and realistic in terms of speed through the movement range, the LED stays lit and is a bit bright to say the least. Whilst current signals are 16V and not supplied with any DCC instructions, there’s still the possibility that we may be overlooking Dapols digital strategy.
The next logical step being the introduction of Virtual Signals for DCC users …