A few weeks back Accurascale announced the British Rail MDV mineral wagon in OO 4mm scale, naturally about three weeks after I’d bought a batch of Five 79 MDV kits. Often this can be a deterrent to finish or even start the kits, but I was looking for a quick fix, a mancave get something done task that evening. Whilst not ‘right’ for my Northumbrian project these MDV’s will work just fine for some more ‘industrial’ projects in mind.
The kits are simple, typical open wagon kits and are supplied without wheels or bearings. Those were purchased separately from Wizard Models, and decals from Railtec for late era wagons. Apart from the instanter couplings and air pipes I was ready to go. The kits are really good quality, the moulds are in good shape too, there was very little in the way of flash, sink marks or distortion. Also supplied are white metal cast buffers. These too needed very little work to clean them up.
So the build sequence is predictable, four sides are constructed around the floor of the wagon, but note, these wagons are ‘handed’ with self adjusting brake equipment prominent on one solebar. With the cleaning up of the solebar I add standard brass top hat bearings into the axle guards, and chose which of the two types of axle box I wanted. The brake cylinder and levers are handed too but cleverly the floor works in any orientation.
I’ve annotated the image above, the solebar with the SAB, needs to have the adjuster at the opposite end to the end door. I left the brake levers until the end of the main assembly.
Here’s the main structure again. Solebar are now fitted, they are a snug fit between the bufferbeams and no issues experienced with their alignment. The NEM mount moulding has been removed from the floor as I don’t use them and the resulting flat floor allows the weights I use, to be hidden between the axle guards. Loosely fitted are etched coupling hooks and the wheels, this helps me get the alignments correct of the car wheel balance weights you can see here. They’re only 5 grams each but the difference is noticeable.
Again pay attention to the ‘handing’ of the chassis. The brake cylinder fits behind the SAB fitting on that side of the chassis. Buffers have been dry fitted, the mounting spigot needs to be shortened considerably, and they’re an interference fit before gluing at this point. I’ve used 0.7mm brass wire between the two V hangers. These are also handed so make sure those are correct to allow the right brake levers to be fitted each side.
The little pile of clasp brakes are ready. The brake shoes have 0.5mm holes drilled to accept wire to represent the brake yokes. Making small batches of wagons makes sense, you get a little production line going and it’s surprising how this can make the overall task faster. The end door handles have been removed and fixing holes drilled for wire replacements.
This is one side completed. Clasp brakes are in position and the correct brake lever fitted for the respective side. My next task is to fit the brake yoke wires, before fixing the final weight and opposite brake lever.
This then is almost ready for paint. The brake yoke wires can be seen. The actuating levers are almost on the wagon floor so I can get away without representing them. Safety loops for those yokes need to be added too. The final weight has been fitted next to the brake cylinder and whilst offset, it’s not significant enough to upset the balance or running quality of the wagons.
Here’s a profile view of each side ‘D’ marks the end door position and you can see the difference between the brake handles for each respective side.
That’s the back broken on this short project. Five wagons built with just final details to fit, yoke straps, couplings, brake pipes and lamp irons. Not sure of the time taken but no more than about ten to twelve hours spread over a week. A really satisfying little set, they won’t look out of place against RTR products either such is the kit quality.
Next bit I’m looking forward to is paint, I’ll be trying a new technique, more on that later.
If ever you wanted to know how to capture the functional, brooding mass of the last pannier, this is it. Bachmanns 94XX.
The first thing that struck me on opening the box, (no video, sorry about that), is it just captures the look and physical presence of the real thing. That’s one of model railways intangibles, some models just have it, and others, don’t. It has literal mass too, 285 grams of it, immediately apparent on picking it up. On initial inspection no blemishes, and the accessory pack and etched plates were included. The first thing for me is to establish if the model runs on DC, it did and with no apparent issues, quiet and smooth in both directions through the whole speed range. Included in the box are further details including screw couplings, cab doors, ATC boxes, steam heat pipes and etched cabside numbers.
The whole model has a pleasing appearance, as mentioned above it has a definite presence and captures the outline of the prototype very well. Tooling mould lines are almost non existent, only under the harshest lighting can you see the tool slide marks at the top of the smokebox, along the top and bottom of the tank sides. The join on the tank sides is just at the join of the radius to the flat surface helping minimise its appearance. Digging deeper into the appearance, this model represents one of the first nine, Great Western, built locomotives from Swindon works. Whilst doing the sitting back and just looking, there was a feeling that something wasn’t quite right, and it took a few hours of revisiting the model to identify the issue. Very simply the front guard irons and sandboxes are missing, but don’t immediately run to your local foamathon outlet, its a simple couple of items missing from this specific, individual, you know this one right here, example. The others are alright, breath, relax! ‘Stuff’ happens sometimes.
The livery of the model is excellent. There’s regularly comments regarding the correct colour, for me the colour is right and is a very close match to one of the first release Bachmann high cab 8750’s, so there’s consistency in Bachmanns approach. The finish on the plastic of the body shell is brilliant, the handrails and lamp irons also show no colour variation. Clean demarcation between colours is evident across the model and the GWR logos are nicely represented in three colours, and in the correct position for a Great Western loco released in service, rather than any subsequent variations. The route restriction marking is in red centrally placed above the number plate. The replacement etched plates are a fraction larger than the printed number, and will accurately cover the print if fitted. This is also true of Modelmaster plates, (this loco identity is being changed imminently). Correctly representing a first build Great Western engine, no smokebox fittings or number plate are provided. If you’re changing the identity, Modelmaster has all the numbers within their range.
The first ten engines of the class were Swindon built and this model represents the type as released into service. As such there were a few differences to the remaining later contractor built engines. The first ten locomotives were built with a Swindon No10 superheated boiler, however there was no visible external difference. Running a measuring stick across the model from both GA dimensions and those from the Roche drawing all the key dimensions match the model. At the rear of the locomotive the bunker steps originally faced outward on the rear face of the locomotives and this is correctly represented with the appropriate handrail above them. These are shown correctly for this livery variant’ Later livery models feature the bunker steps as moved to the side of the footplate with an additional grab rail which is featured on the British Rail livery releases 35-026 and 35-027. The fire iron brackets on the 94xx’s were a regular squared off shape which is replicated, rather than the typical curved GWR fire irons over other bunker fitted types. The lamp irons and all the fittings have a finesse to them, and a nice touch in the clam shell packaging is the accommodation for the top bunker lamp iron. The cab profile matches both photographs and drawing, rivet patterns are all in appropriate places and groupings. No, I didn’t count them.
Cab internal details are very good and there is a open firehole for an LED representation of the fire being fed. Noticeable in the cab are the details on the rear internal face of the cab ventilating doors, a noticeable omission from most other models. Door handrails and cab sides are commendably thin and the backhead details well represented and painted. The only let down for me on the cab is the glazing, which does have some prismatic effects, nothing really of note, but its one of my ‘things’.
The cab roof sliding vent is solid with the roof grab rail in place. Moving forward along the model the whistles and whistle guards are represented with the S shaped pipes into the cab face represented. The thickness, or rather lack of thickness of the pipes and the painting of the whistles are worthy of note.
The tank top fittings all show the same finesse and attention to detail that the cab area does. Platework is represented accurately with relief rather than grooves cutting into the bodywork. Top feed pipes are separate fittings rather than moulded into the safety valve showing a little daylight underneath, this adds to the character, showing depth rather than a block appearance that other models may have. The cutaway underneath the tanks is deep enough to allow the injectors and tank supports to be separate fittings, again emphasising ‘space’ around the components rather than solid forms. On the right hand side there is one small vertical pipe missing from the front of the cab into the footplate, but for those minded it’ll be an easy fix. Boiler and firebox profiles and shapes all look accurate and well captured. The main tank rails are plastic, and are adequate for the job in hand. On the footplate front left hand side there are two spare lamp iron locations, again correct for this livery, the BR versions will include the bracket representing three lamp iron variants.
Under the tank there’s the representation of the main frame valve gear picked out in red. This, the reversing lever and sandbox levers are all noticeable, particularly the threading of the sandbox lever through the tank supports. These really add to the character, the height of the boiler above the frames and side tank profile means you can see through the locomotive, and this is captured particularly well.
The face of the model is, like the rest of the body, caught just right. This being the Great Western version no smokebox plate or shed plate is featured, though will do on the BR liveries. The profile of the door matches images with a correct profile, something which seems often missed by all manufacturers at some stage. The steam lance fitting is featured and the step at the base of the door sits above the angled steam chest cover plate, arguably the most noticeable feature of the Great Western built engines. The contractor built locomotives (35-026 35-026SF 35-027 35-027SF), didn’t have this cover fitted and the BR livery models reflect this correctly.
The chimney, correctly copper capped, at its join with the smokebox sits almost flush, its height and diameter all in proportion to the rest of the model. Lamp irons are fitted and the face completed by a well formed handrail with fine handrail knobs. Correctly the handrail isn’t fixed to the tank front and stops short by the depth of the tank steps. Sprung buffers are fitted which is an improvement over the 64xx’s but don’t feature the foot tread on the top particularly well, which will be an easy fix with etched components from Shawplan.
The chassis of the model reflects good contemporary construction. Driving through a vertical gear train to the rear axle, coupling rods provide the drive to the centre and forward wheels with a knuckle joint prototypically aft of the centre crankpin. Gearing allows a good turn of speed and a responsive control at very low speeds. Quality of the assembly is very good overall however this example was missing its front sandboxes on both sides. There are glue witness marks where they were fitted, but obviously between assembly and packing they made a successful escape bid. Other models have not suffered this indignity and the sandboxes are extant, so just a fault with this specific example.
The drive train is compact enough not to impinge on either the cab interior or the space forward of the firebox. The chassis fixes to the main footplate of the locomotive with two screws at either end of the model. The footplate is diecast metal, be careful when using these, a cross threaded screw will be a proper pain in the backside to resolve. The speaker for DCC sound is fitted to all variants and sits discretely underneath the PCB board.
The chassis is rigid with axles of 2.98 mm diameter running in brass bearings, very similar in design to the Hornby 08.
Back to back measurements, rear axle 14.35, middle 14.36, and leading 14.32.
For EM/P4 modellers the opportunity to convert the model looks viable and relatively simple. However the clearance between the internal splasher faces is 21.3 mm, and they are cast metal, if that’s insufficient etched splashers might be an option.
The coreless motor sits between the gearbox and the DCC socket. The DCC recommended chip is a Bachmann 36-567 Next 18 decoder, all wiring runs are tidy from both pickup connections and to and from the PCB board. As its a coreless motor dont try running this with your coal burning H&M Duette it won’t end well! The instructions are clear on not using this with a feedback controllers as well , as I had my Gaugemaster HH to hand I tried that and the running was the worst I’ve ever seen and heard. Clearly continued use would cause irreparable motor damage. It’s worth noting that the HH instructions also preclude using it with coreless motors. Any damage caused doing this is unlikely to be covered by any warranty, so it’s worth doing a very unmanly thing, and read the instructions… Transfer of power from the pickup strips is by two pads making a physical connection to a PCB mounted in the chassis, so there’s no direct wire connection.
Performance of the model is one of the best I’ve had. The chassis runs through the whole speed range very effectively, I’ve only used DC but have no reason to think that DCC won’t be as good. The chassis was run on Bachrus rollers for about an hour, at varying speeds in each direction. There was no noticeable improvement or degradation in that period from the initial trial straight from the carton. The track used on the test is Peco Code 75 bullhead and regular Streamline track with medium radius points being the tightest radius used, together with running through Kato unitrack points and curves equivalent to third radius set track.
As part of my test procedure I use Woodland scenics incline sets of either two or three percent grade, For this model I chose the three percent incline and set up a 65 inch length climb. My test methodology is quite straightforward, I have a selection of known weight, car wheel balance weights in fact, and load the wagon as required until the locomotive fails both pushing and pulling uphill. Well its fair to say this one gave me a bit of a pleasant surprise. With a standing start, both pushing and pulling the loco ‘failed’ ie slipped to a stand or wouldn’t move from a static position, with 1.09Kg on the wagon. That is the most I’ve seen on a locomotive of this size. The weight of the model is undoubtedly a factor at 285 grammes, no guesses where the pies went! The chassis weight isn’t significantly more than the early non DCC high cab panniers from Bachmann. The big difference almost certainly comes from the diecast footplate section allowing a significant gain in traction. Inside the plastic body the side tanks and bunker are also weighted, with sufficient space for a NEXT 18 chip to fit at the front end of the chassis and body cavity.
The DC model has an LED firebox glowing feature, there are however two LEDs which will allow a fire flicker in DCC controlled modes. DC has a constant non flickering mode which increases in brightness with the power application.
For DC the glow is a red colour which isn’t particularly noticeable, the image above was taken in very low light to emphasise the effect. For me this doesn’t work very well, however it will certainly appeal to many purchasers. It is a red colour too and I’d prefer an orange to yellow spectrum colour, however in normal lighting on both Shelfie2 and Shelfie3 it really wasn’t noticeable.
So the future for this model is to be changed to a BR livery version of the first nine but in the late 50’s. This means the rear bunker steps will be moved and a respray with renumber into BR black. Looking at the body construction this variant could be made from the tooling options announced in the range, so if you don’t want to do an early one yourself there’s the potential in a year or so for a standard or commission release in this configuration.
So what do I think of it? In summary its an excellent and accurate model of a 94XX locomotive, not your typical branch line locomotive, but a powerful heavy shunting and secondary lines and branches piece of motive power. With a wide range of allocations across the Western Region, and indeed the Midland with Lickey banking duties its a very useful addition to the RTR western fleet. The detail options are correct to type, livery and era and look like that’ll be reflected across the other releases of this type.The performance is outstanding, being able to move 1.09 kg from a standing start on a three percent grade for a locomotive of this size is very impressive indeed, the cast footplate being a big advantage in this respect.
Bachmann in my opinion have captured the essence of this prototype, both in appearance and perfomance. Job Done!
This weekend would normally be the annual Warley National exhibition, COVID-19 obviously has taken its toll this year and well into 21 of the exhibition scene. However, this year Warley will be running a two day show on line, see here Warley 2020 Online which looks like there’s some interesting content to come. For those of us who usually exhibit it’ll be a bit weird not being in Brum this weekend, so I have a plan. Friday evening I’m going to park my car on the drive for about 30 minutes with the engine running, and then park it in a convenient position. I’ll then go and make the tea, and for authenticity I’ll have the boss mansplain to go and move the car 300 yards down the road, and raiding my wallet for a bit more than a fiver. On Sunday evening we’ll play the same game except for a two hour duration, with the drive blocked by other cars and some additional mansplaining on why the other vehicles can’t be moved.
In all seriousness though for the size of show the Warley team including the NEC much maligned staff do a really good job. Set up and break down is a big part of the show scene, and the better the design of stand or layout the easier it is.
Shelfie3 is well underway in this regard and earlier this week I took delivery of a board from Tim Horn. It’s the first time I’ve built one of his boards, but having seen Chris Nevard’s use of them, and having one of Tim’s prototype turntable boards I was interested to see if the build was as good as the reputation that precedes them.
The initial look is very encouraging, high quality 6mm ply (in this example) and the benefits of laser cutting immediately visible, with components marked for ease of assembly. The structure includes holes cut for lightness whilst retaining the rigidity, and channels cut for ease of threading a wiring loom. The hardware supplied too is good quality, nothing frustrates me more than working with a dodgy slot on a cheap screw. No such worries in the package provided. The quality of this 6mm ply is very good indeed, this isn’t the sort of material you’d find at the high street DIY chains, so a big plus point for the build quality, fit and handling.
The dry fitting run took around half an hour or so. The quality of the fit is exceptional, whilst laser cut, it has the feel and fit of precision engineering, even down to countersinking either side of the screw holes for an easier build.
I took the dry fit assembly apart, and started the build. I use a commercial PVA glue and use it in thin beads along the seam lines. The fit is almost like a snap together kit and each crosshead screw helps pull the final assembly tight. I only needed to lightly clamp one or two sections (above) to ensure a cabinet makers type final fit.
The boards I’ve chosen are the latest design with an external frame to cantilever the front pelmet and fascia’s over the scenic sections. This adds another inch or so to the maximum depth on the footprint, but means an uninterrupted flat backscene is available. On earlier boards if you have them, you can fit a batten to the rear of the boards and cut away the internal bracing, with no compromise of the structure.
I found the assembly easy and straightforward, and surprisingly rapid. The whole structure, glued and screwed, took about an hour to make. I did need to clamp a couple of sections for the glue to grab more efficiently, but I have literally spent longer in the Warley vehicle queue for layout breakdown! When fitted to a previous board of about a year ago the alignment is all accurate and level emphasising the accuracy and quality of the products. On completion I ran some sandpaper along the edges just to round them off. There’s no indication that the edges will splinter due to the quality of the material, but it adds the finishing touch for manual handling. I feel these are extraordinary value for money. If I were to buy the component wood and then cost in the time of measuring, accurate cutting, and assembling a basic softwood frame I doubt if it would be any quicker or in effect cheaper. For my Shelfie’s projects these are almost ideal. In a couple of hours I can build the core structure of a layout project accurately, easily and consistently. If you don’t have access to a mancave or the tools therein, this is a clean easy way you can make a baseboard in your living room, if I lived in an apartment this would be ideal, flat pack and just a screwdriver needed to assemble. That’s worth a huge amount, and if time and woodworking are elements that are holding you back, Tim’s products are worth investing in.
I’m making no apologies for diving straight in to look at Geoff Forsters Off the beaten track blog for the motivation on this one Ground Frame Day and Levers and Rods. Recently Shelfie2 was visited for photos for a magazine to coincide, (ideally) with a future exhibition appearance. As part of that process I wanted to get the final overall details sorted. Knowing Geoff had recently been working on a similar ground frame requirement, I took a few minutes to read his work on the above links, for a bit of a heads up on what’s needed to capture the look effectively.
Like Geoff, I too cannot recommend highly enough Laurie Adam’s book on point rodding and signal wires.
What is one of the fascinating things about this book is that it’s written in an engaging manner, so what you’d imagine could be highly technical and potentially dull reading, is actually made really accessible.
From an earlier signal box magazine review project, I had the balance of the Severn Models detail etch remaining for the internal fittings. Looking at reference pictures in books in my library, I figured that I’d be able to use the etches to make the lever frame and the capture the look of a simple external uncovered ground frame.
Simple point throw levers were added to those switches where there was no requirement for any extended rodding. These are simple two part etchings from MSE, and after painting added to the track adjacent to the tie bars.
The point levers for the detail etch are intended to be used as single pieces. Inside a building this works, but both the reference images and Geoff’s modelling indicated that they’d look far better with some mass to them.
The key to this is starting with clean etched, to allow you to ‘tin’ one side of each pair of etches.
Positioning them carefully apply heat so the solder forms the filling of the sandwich, this melts binding them together.
Once the levers are assembled clean them up using a very fine file, this will give them clean faces and that look of a single casting or forging of the real thing. Next stage is the base of the lever frame. Using a small diameter rigid rod, gently roll the base of the lever frame to form a curve. The ratchets are on the outer face.
The levers are then threaded through the base frame and soldered in place.
Just tack them in place, too much heat could distort some of the etches.
Having completed this section I sat back admired my work and thought something isn’t right, and it took a while for the penny to drop. I’d modelled both levers in the pulled position. Nothing wrong as such with that, but it just looked odd, so I resoldered them in the static normal resting position.
Whilst doing this I added the actuation rods on the front of the lever from 0.3mm wire, with the bulk of the lever accentuated by sandwiching the etches, this form mushed them nicely. I’d also fixed them too far forwards, and subsequently resoldered them correctly. This is where tack soldering them has real benefits in making an easy adjustment.
The stand the levers were to go on was made from a few scraps of plasticard. Using a 4mm figure helped in getting the footprint the right size, and further sections of plasticard added to make the wooden structure the ground frame sits in.
The whole ground frame would set back into the base of the embankment so a small section of the scenery was removed to facilitate this.
Using Wizard models components the actuators for the rodding were built. You can get a good feel from Laurie’s book on which components you’ll need to make the rod runs effective.
The actuators were fixed to a section of planking directly in front of of the lever frame. One rod faces onto a point directly in front, and the other requires a run of rodding to be added.
I’m actually in two minds as to whether I will add the single point run rods. The section they pass along has heavy weeds and undergrowth depicted, so it’s not actually visible, it’s also view blocked for the greater part of its length.
More Monday motivation required for the rods then!
Signalling details including point rodding and their stands are available from the following quality suppliers.
In a breakthrough similar to minerva’s entry into the O gauge ready to run market, Planet Industrials have announced a 4mm RTR Kerr Stuart ‘Victory’ class locomotive.
Here’s the brief news on it, I’ll be following this one closely, it’s got ‘shelfie’ written all over it!
It’s not often the hobby gets a bit of a kick up the arse with a new release, and throws a little bit of controversy in for good measure, but Hattons are showing the potential to do just that, with their range of ‘Hattons Originals’ Genesis coaches in 4mm scale. These (if you’ve not heard), are a range of pre group style coaches to a generic freelance design in OO gauge. Hattons have generously allowed the blog to have a look at the Engineering Prototypes of this interesting range of coaches, and for me they show great promise in addressing a gap in the market, Pre Grouping rolling stock. This isn’t a review of the stock, they’re not released yet, but an overview of the EP’s at the current state of development Q3 2020.
Noting that there were pre group locomotives being introduced into the Ready to Run pool and the sales of them were healthy, Hattons looked at what stock was available to be paired with them. Prior to this ranges concept, there were, and are, very few pre-group RTR coaches available. They either fell into the top end of the market with Bachmann and Hornby’s SECR Birdcage stock, or LSWR stock respectively. At the other end of the availability range were old tooling four wheel stock very much from the Hornby train set, and Clerestory stock again of significant vintage and crude details. It made sense then for Hattons to look at the obvious gap appearing in the market for coaching stock of pre-group era’s.
The next part was to decide what to actually place into the market, with the obvious caveat that the product will have to make money and at the very least ‘wash its face’ as far as production costs go. After taking an overview of the existing RTR stock in the market, the most visible gap was the short wheelbase stock so this was the avenue taken. It became clear early on that if a range of good quality generic type coaches were introduced, it could cover a wide range of prototypes and companies. This for me is where the thinking is really clever. We know that if you make a model of X, then the market will accept it as that, and praise or criticise accordingly. Authenticity, including colour schemes play a significant role in this, so if you relivery an SECR Birdcage brake into LNWR colours it immediately looks wrong, and you can only imagine the online critique! The fascinating thing for me is that I can ‘accept’ these freelance coaches in authentic liveries. Had Hattons chosen the path of one company prototype and then put them into other companies liveries, I think the mental leap would be much harder. I have no idea why this is, but it just ‘works’. They’re marketed as a ‘freelance’, or prototypically literate design, and I can buy into that, even with prototypical liveries. The option for a plain vanilla brown light railway set with generic markings might be a useful release too. It’s undoubtedly a brave decision to make freelance stock, and to place it into a market with high (sometimes unrealistic), expectations, however that’s exactly the path Hattons have taken.
The range so far includes three different design brake vehicles, and three passenger coaches. To make the product ‘work’ the stock had to appear plausible, and working with the Vintage Carriage Trust and experts in Pre-Group rolling stock the initial designs were worked up. From the start interior lighting had been a design factor, which has been included within the range. These all had a common style, and options for gas, oil or electrical lighting, depending on the livery application era. Using customer feedback the designs have been refined with adjustments to some compartment widths, reinforcing factors like four wheel stock gave more potential for liveries using longer vehicles.
The six wheel stock is a welcome and unusual prototype, and in the past RTR six wheel stock has had a very indifferent history as far as track holding and looking ‘right’ goes. The Hattons solution is a simple lateral sliding tray holding the centre wheel set. Across Peco Code 75/100 streamline and Bullhead range the coaches rode well, as they also did on Kato Unitrack. Wheels are one of two types either plain two hole disc, or Mansell, and fitted to appropriate era livery stock. All wheels ran smoothly and true, they appeared to be stub axles fitted to a central plastic axle. As they were EP’s I left the tools to one side!
The coaches show no tendency to derail and the lateral movement of the centre axle is extremely subtle, not really being noticeable on 3rd radius curves or through medium radius Peco streamline including single and double slips.
To remove the centre axle is a moment or two’s work. The centre axle (26mm) is removed. A single screw holds the axle guard moulding in place on the sliding tray, once undone the axle guard moulding is removed, leaving the tray in place. The tray is shallower than the solebar and remains in situ and invisible.
Please note these are EP’s and they’ve worked for their money! on the images of the six wheel stock you can see a slight bowing in the centre of the chassis, this is already noted by the Hattons team and amendments to the body/chassis fixing is underway to redress this issue.
The tension lock couplings are mounted on a fixed point at the end of the coaches and a self centre spring is integral in the design to keep the coupling central. Again these EP’s have had a tough life so far and the couplings are a bit loose, which also has been noted for improvement by Hattons.
Overall the tooling and details of the range of coaches is well up to contemporary expected standards. Three types of lighting are represented, gas, oil and electric. Lamp brackets, individual handrails and door handles are fitted where appropriate, and the underframe details are co-ordinated with the roof lighting details. The fittings and conduits of these components to represent the different types of lighting are well tooled with the finesse you’d expect from a contemporary release from a larger manufacturer. Inside the coach 1st class seating is represented and overhead luggage racks are included in all types. Not all types of lighting will be available in all liveries, however the livery for each model will be an appropriate era livery for the details represented.
Brake gear, brake yokes and pull rods are configured for OO 16.5mm gauge, and look a good compromise between finesse and the robustness required. I’ve mentioned the axle length and the fittings around the wheelsets, there’s a good reason for this. I can see these models being of interest to some modellers building in EM ad P4, even in the just getting something running category. Running/foot boards are sturdy etched pieces which can be carefully removed by the user as they are screw attached. Packaging is expected to be clear clam shell type in a card external carton.
The LED lighting for the coaches is taken from the track, and purchasers can choose if they want lit vehicles or not on ordering. The price differential is currently (Q3 2020), only £6.00 per coach, so well worth considering. The electrical collection is from the wheels to a phosphor bronze strip which forms part of the axle guard. I didn’t investigate further but the axle length is very close to 26mm, and looks a similar installation to the Bachmann first generation DMU releases. The lights themselves are LED’s fixed into a roof panel with leg electrical connections at each corner.
LED’s are spaced to match the compartment spacing so each compartment is individually lit.
On these EP’s the lighting was bright under DC use and exhibited some flickering, the colour of the lighting is a nice warm yellow hue rather than at the blue end of the spectrum.
The lighting is under review with the potential for a capacitor to smooth the flickering and reducing to a more subdued illumination. Commendably the roof is light tight around its entire footprint.
Access to the interior is simply removing the roof, held on by discreet clips at the end of the vehicles.
These models are arguably a step back to a manufacturer deliberately using the same model to represent a host of different railway companies stock, a common practice in the not too distant past. However with the potential for pre-group modellers layouts to have authentic looking coaching stock there’s potential to open up that sector to more accurate rolling stock loco’s and infrastructure.
I do wonder if there’s an opportunity to see these scaled up into 7mm O scale too in the future. These definitely go against the grain, but in my opinion are a case of one step backwards, and two forwards! What is noticeable with the rake of them together is that a train of these ‘short’ vehicles in a small terminus, immediately looks better visually, than a similar length train with longer vehicles.
On Shelfie3, the platforms are currently just on 3ft long, so a 3 car DMU or type 2 and two MK1’s, and it’s noticeable how short the train looks. If you replace them with these coaches there’s an immediate optical illusion that the platforms and trains are longer. I’ve looked at Cyril Freezer’s Minories design many a time, its a bucket list layout, and probably is too for quite a few readers. When you actually mock it up in 4mm using Peco large radius points, the required platform length immediately stretches the layout and takes away some of its charm. Minories was designed after all when we had Triang shortie stock and tight radii ready to lay points.
This stock I think used on a contemporary build, could make the original size Minories much more visually appealing. Certainly more viable in a slightly enlarged footprint today, and might just open up more of that type of genre, will we see (Urban) ULT’s replacing BLT’s? Well I hope so. Will they transform the hobby? I think they might just do that with RTR Pre-Group modelling, they’ll allow modellers to explore that era more. Perhaps with less concerns about having to build from etched kits immediately, still the most common source of pre-group coaching stock.
O GAUGE GOES ELECTRIC! HELJAN ‘73/1’ IN DEVELOPMENT FOR 2022
All-new O gauge Class 73/1 electro-diesel will feature plug-and-play DCC interface, new lighting features and a wide range of authentic detail variations covering the entire career of this enduringly popular Southern Region class.
Bi-mode trains are all the rage in 2020, but HELJAN’s latest O gauge announcement looks back to a classic electro-diesel design from the mid-1960s. Now in development is for release in 2022 is a ready-to-run O gauge model of English Electric’s pioneering Class 73 – our first electric locomotive in this scale.
Designed to operate on both third-rail electric and diesel power in non-electrified areas such as yards and depots, the Class 73s lived a relatively mundane life until they were thrust into the limelight when the new ‘Gatwick Express’ operation started in 1984. Over the years, the class has worked everything from express passenger to newspaper and mail, freight and engineering trains. The advent of Sectorisation in the mid-1980s saw the standard BR blue livery replaced by a rainbow of liveries, a trend that continues today.
Despite a steady decline in the 1990s, these hugely versatile locomotives have seen a revival in the 21st century and continue to play a vital role hauling engineering and test trains for GB Railfreight and Network Rail on the 750V DC third-rail network and beyond. Now seen over a much wider area than in BR days, the ‘EDs’ have gained a cult following and 13 locomotives have even been rebuilt with more powerful diesel engines and modern electronics transforming them into 1,600hp go-anywhere machines.
Our all-new model is being designed to offer a range of authentic detail variations covering the entire career of the production batch built in 1965-67, many of which are still active on the main line network and heritage railways. These will include locomotives with or without high intensity headlights and NRN radio aerials, radio pods and optional fibreglass arc shields fitted to the bogies from the mid-1980s onwards.
Standard features will include sprung buffers, wire handrails, fine etched grilles, separately fitted buffing plates, SR 27-way multiple working cables and hoses, windscreen wipers, sandpipes, bogie and bufferbeam details. CAD work is currently in progress – regular reports will appear on the HELJAN Facebook page and in the model railway press as the project progresses.
The new HELJAN O gauge Class 73 will feature our proven high-performance twin motor/flywheel chassis with all-wheel drive and pick-up, separately switchable cab, headcode and engine room lights, an ESU XL pin decoder interface and provision for DCC sound. Like the new HELJAN Class 26/27, these models will have ‘plug-and-play’ DCC and sound capability using ESU’s LokSound 5 XL high-power pin decoder (Ref. No. 58515, not included).
TEN versions have been selected, covering a broad cross-section of BR, Sectorisation and Privatisation era liveries from 1965 to the present day – see below for more information. We are currently examining options for models with factory-fitted DCC sound, details of which will be confirmed separately. Suggested Retail Price (SRP) for DCC Ready models will be £625.00.
Look out for updates on the HELJAN Facebook page and in the model railway press as this exciting project develops.
NEW HELJAN CLASS 73/1 O GAUGE MODELS
7300: BR Blue E6008 (small yellow panels/grey solebar) WEATHERED
7306: Revised Network SouthEast 73126 Kent & East Sussex Railway
7308: EW&S red/gold 73128
7309: Network Rail yellow 73212
7310: GB Railfreight blue/orange 73107 Tracy
BRCW TYPE 2 DOUBLE-HEADER!
CLASS 27JOINS HELJAN O GAUGE RANGE
All-new O gauge Class 27 will feature plug-and-play DCC interface, new lighting features and a wide range of authentic detail variations covering 1960s, 1970s and 1980s locomotives.
The first engineering samples of HELJAN’s next new O gauge diesel locomotive – the much-requested BRCWType 2/Class 27– are expected to arrive in the UK for review shortly. These exciting new models have been developed in parallel with our new BRCW Type 2/Class 26, with which they share many common components.
Due for release in late-2021, this previously unannounced all-new model has been designed to offer a wide range of detail variations including boiler-fitted and non-boilered locomotives, two different designs of bogie footsteps, boiler roof grilles or plates, air tanks in the cab roof for dual-braked locos, sandbox/sandpipe variations and original or modified battery boxes.
Other detail options will include three-piece miniature snowploughs and bufferbeam pipes/hoses appropriate for each version. As per the full size ‘27s’, one engine room window per side has been designed to be removable for extra ventilation.
Standard features will include sprung buffers, wire handrails, fine etched metal grilles, separately fitted windscreen wipers, sandpipes, bogie and bufferbeam details.
The new HELJAN O gauge Class 27 will feature our proven high-performance twin motor/flywheel chassis with all-wheel drive and pick-up, separately switchable cab, tail and engine room lights, an ESU XL pin decoder interface and provision for DCC sound. Like the new HELJAN Class 26, these models will have ‘plug-and-play’ DCC and sound capability using ESU’s LokSound 5 XL high-power pin decoder (Ref. No. 58515, not included).
Eight versions have been selected, covering a broad cross-section of BR green AND blue era liveries from the early-1960s through to the late-1980s – see below for more information. Suggested Retail Price will be £599.00 for DCC Ready models. We are currently examining options for models with factory-fitted DCC sound, details of which will be confirmed separately.
2775: BR two-tone green D5382 (small yellow panels)
2776: BR early blue D5389 (small yellow panels)
2777: BR Blue 27032 with Highland Rail stag emblems WEATHERED
CLASS 26 RETURNS TO HELJAN O GAUGE RANGE FOR 2021
All-new O gauge Class 26 will feature plug-and-play DCC interface, new lighting features and a wide range of authentic detail variations covering 1960s, 1970s and 1980s/90s locomotives.
The first engineering samples of HELJAN’s latest new O gauge diesel locomotive – the much-requested BRCWType 2/Class 26 – have arrived in the UK for review. Under development since last year, these new models are now at an advanced stage.
Due for release in late-2021, this previously unannounced all-new model features a large number of improvements over the original HELJAN O gauge Class 26 released a decade ago. Unlike that model, our new BRCW Type 2 has been designed to offer a wide range of detail variations including three different bodyshells depicting locomotives with or without a tablet catcher recess and, for the first time in ‘O’, refurbished ends without headcode discs.
However, perhaps the most exciting development is the first ever ready-to-run model (in any scale) of the legendary Inverness Class 26s with twin headlights, as used in the Far North of Scotland in the 1970s and 1980s.
Dependent on era and livery, models will be delivered with original boiler water tanks in place or with the later style air tanks and distinctive cradle between the bogies. Other detail options will include original or plated-over cab doors, three-piece miniature snowploughs, boiler vent grilles or plates, Inverness-style round radio pods and later NRN radio pods with square cowls. As required, models will also be supplied with a set of open or folded headcode discs, separately fitted etched metal horn cowl covers and a set of optional Class 26/0 style tapered bogie footsteps allowing customers to tailor their models to individually modified locomotives. As per the full size ‘26s’, one engine room window per side has been designed to be removable for extra ventilation.
Standard features will include sprung buffers, wire handrails, fine etched metal grilles, separately fitted windscreen wipers, sandpipes, bogie and bufferbeam details.
The new HELJAN O gauge Class 26 will feature our proven high-performance twin motor/flywheel chassis with all-wheel drive and pick-up, separately switchable cab, tail and engine room lights, an ESU XL pin decoder interface and provision for DCC sound. This will be the first British outline ‘O’ gauge model to have ‘plug-and-play’ DCC and sound capability using ESU’s LokSound 5 XL high-power pin decoder (Ref. No. 58515, not included).
NINE versions have been selected, covering a broad cross-section of BR green, blue and Sectorisation era liveries from the early-1960s through to the 1990s – see below for more information. Suggested Retail Price will be £599.00 for DCC Ready models. We are currently examining options for models with factory-fitted DCC sound, details of which will be confirmed separately.
Look out for updates on the HELJAN Facebook page and in the model railway press as this exciting project develops.
Inverness Class 26/1 with twin car headlights
NEW HELJAN CLASS 26 O GAUGE MODELS
2675: BR Green unnumbered (tablet catcher recess)
2676: BR Green unnumbered with small yellow panel (tablet catcher recess)
2677: BR Blue 5338 (early version)
2678: BR Blue unnumbered (Inverness headlights)
2679: BR Blue 26027 WEATHERED
2680: BR Blue unnumbered (dual braked)
2681:Railfreight Red Stripe unnumbered (white cantrail stripe)