Dapol’s FEAB is stunning…

At first glance. It (they because the FEA-B runs as a twin) has a great deal of fine detail which must place it in one of the top spots for 4mm scale wagon modellers. Having given it a thorough looking over, I can find little wrong with it from my point of view – it LOOKS like an FEA-B, so it is.

Here’s a selection of pictures of my GBRf pair of twin wagons: No.s 640603, 640604, 640619 and 640620. They were supplied by The Engine Shed of Leytonstone. Always a good shop to try and Dave has got me out of a few fixes with acquiring hard to locate stock. The telephone number is: 0208 539 3950.

C-Rail Intermodal and Bachmann containers fit the model well. Spigots are supplied although they can be a bit loose. ‘Tacky Wax’ is a great product for ensuring your boxes stay where they should – unless you use the Heljan container crane.

The ready to run guys seem to pull the stops out on intermodal wagons. It’s always a pity to hide that detail under boxes!

Printed detail is crisp and sharp. Standalone detail is right up there with the best of them from the US.

Bogies have enough room for EM and P4 wheels. The OO ones supplied are good, if a loose fit. Nothing that a set of brass cup bearings won’t cure. This is better than bogies with clearances that are too tight.

FEA-Bs run in fixed pairs. The inner bar coupling is simple but effective. A spare is included with each pair of wagons which at around £18, is great value for money.

Headstock detail together with NEM coupling pocket is shown above. Buffers are not sprung but very nicely moulded. I would rather see fixed buffers that are accurate and well defined than shoddy sprung ones that look nothing like the real thing. Sprung buffers are not always a sign of quality and it surprises me how many modellers will accept poor buffers on rtr stock just because they are sprung…

The loading deck of one half of the twin set. It’s a cracking model in my view, it runs well, well weighted and showing no sign of bending or distortion. It’s not a bad effort by Dapol at all. I am in for another pair when the second set of numbers are released.

Cabin insulation update:
Nansulate liquid insulation has been in place in the roof space of the cabin for around 30 days now. The curing time for this material is 30 to 60 days for maximum efficiency, so I would expect to see some difference in the comfort and warmth in the cabin itself. Here’s some anecdotal evidence that it is working:

With nearly 360 square feet of space to heat and a high roof area without A-frame support it’s a large volume to heat. The cabin needed two heaters last Autumn and winter: a 2kW oil-filled Delonghi ‘Dragon’ radiator and an older, less efficient 2kW heater which amounted to being a short across the grid. It took two hours to get space heating up to a comfortable working temperature in the evenings. A couple of nights’ ago, the external temperature was 4 degrees centigrade and only 12 in the cabin with the radiator on frost setting when I entered for a track placing session. The oil-filled radiator brought the temperature up to warm and comfortable in 30 minutes before it was turned down. The convection heater? oh, that was discarded (recycled) weeks ago!

Layout progress:
A quick rethink on the pathing of trains running on the mainline past the yard reception roads and through to the staging yard has seen a few changes to the arrangement of the balloon track. There is a simple link to complete the turn back line rather than the turn back line being composed of the mainline itself. This ensures the design is an end-to-end railroad with turn back links in the non scenic parts at each end. There’s a lot of space in that balloon track area which will be occupied with the programming track and test tracks, not to mention the DCC system itself.

I am experimenting with Caboose industry ground throws for the yard and industrial spur parts of the layout. They are simple to install and work really well. An internal spring mechanism prevents excess pressure being applied to the switch.

Here’s another view. They are remarkably quick to fit and require no wiring. I know that they will not be to everyone’s taste but I think they have found a niche on my layout.

Whilst thinking about track and the trackage system I am using, I need to post more information on Atlas code 55 track and it’s use with Bachmann Farish stock. There are some characteristics (good ones) of the turnouts that also deserve further scrutiny. So long for now!

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