Dapol’s ‘Grids’ now includes the BREL Doncaster version

March 31, 2011

Previously unannounced by Dapol: the Doncaster-built Class 56 in N gauge…

It will go along side the Romanian version very nicely…

My thanks to Dave Jones of Dapol for allowing me to share these with you.


Dapol N gauge HST power cars (and another ‘Can’)

March 25, 2011

Dapol’s first HST book set consisting of two power cars, one of which has the DVT buffers, together with two trailers has arrived – near enough! This is the first of a batch of releases which will have many an N gauge modeller reaching for their wallets, I am sure. The tooling is crisp and with a lot of detail too. Here’s a batch of photographs of the HST model. I have included a couple of another Class 86 too – this time in the new Freightliner colours.The DVT version with draw gear as 43 067.

43 071 with full fairing.

The guards compartment with small window and inner door detail.

Exquisite roof detail too and correct for the Virgin Cross Country power cars. The models have excellent lighting with no leakage into the cabs, 6-pin DCC socket in both powered and unpowered power cars together with a smooth fine control motor, all wheel current pick-up and powerful performance.

How’s this for a striking model? A Dapol Class 86 dressed in the new 2010 Freightliner scheme. The model sports a roof fire extinguisher unit and Dapol’s new pantograph.

The pantograph is an excellent representation of a Stone Faiveley type and the detail and construction is very fine. Overall, and as promised, Dapol seems to be making great headway with some exciting releases. I am looking forward to the Network Rail HST power cars as there is an interesting vinyl overlay project that can be done to create the five NR Measurement Train trailers using Adam Warr’s vinyl overlays.

Vinyl overlays for Graham Farish Mk.3 coaches.

March 21, 2011

Dapol produced a very attractive (and irresistible) twin pack set comprising of the EWS Managers Train Class 67 and matching DVT in N gauge a couple of years ago. The three EWS maroon Mk.3 coaches required to complete the train are not available commercially as ready to run models; at least not at the present time. Enter Electra Railway Graphics and its vinyl overlay for Graham Farish Mk.3 coaches, a project new to me and one I was keen to try. The printed livery type of construction used by Graham Farish is perfect for this type of conversion and makes a relatively complex livery such as this relatively easy to do in N gauge, even with any additional touch up painting.

Some careful attention to finishing coach ends and the roof makes for a respectable result which passes muster in this small scale.

I boosted the orange warning line along the top edge of the sides, painted the coach ends to match the sides and paid attention along the top edge of the coach body to conceal the edge of the vinyl overlay. The project for the three coaches took less time than undertaking a full repaint, but still took a couple of weeks of  modelling to complete – about ten minutes here – leave to dry – ten minutes there… and so on. Easily completed around other more involved projects.

I popped the train (in no particular order) on the BRM project layout for a test run, both propelling and hauling. Apart from work to close up the coupling gaps between coaches, I am pleased with the overall result.

Trains pass on the project layout and with a fourth Mk.3 completed at the same time. Those Dapol DVTs look the biz…

It’s a Cargo-D Mk.3 RFM to make up a 3-coach Wrexham & Shropshire set prior to the company receiving its overhauled stock.

Both this model and the RFM in the EWS Managers Train received modified coach roof detail, having been converted using Graham Farish Mk.3 buffet car models. Dapol has announced an RFM, but not in these liveries, so I suspect the Electra Railway Graphics conversions will remain in the fleet long after the Dapol model is released. happy with the result, I am planning some more projects. Next is the ‘Tribometer’ train to go with the Modelzone special edition RTC Class 24 together with a couple more Cargo-D Mk.3s and the Network Rail measurement train for when Dapol releases its HST power cars.

Progress on the project layout:

Although the project layout has been wired with a DCC power bus and droppers making it operational for some time, the exact control method had not been decided upon until relatively recently. The layout borrowed a Digitrax ‘Superchief’ from my N scale Montana Rail Link layout until I could decide on a suitable middle range DCC controller. In the end, after much thought, I opted for the Digitrax Zephyr ‘Extra’ together with a throttle bus fascia plate for the far end of the layout and utility throttles. The turnouts were initially powered using ‘Wabbit’ and ‘Hare’ accessory decoders (three of them are visible in the back ground in the above picture) so to get the layout running in time for last years’ Inverness model railway show. Now, those decoders are being removed and returned to the big Montana Rail Link layout from which they were pinched! The intended manual electrical switching of turnouts using a traditional control panel is well under way with the construction of the control panel (built over the fiddle yard) incorporating a tray to support the new Zephyr and a separate compartment for a utility throttle to reside when not in use. Wiring is also being re-arranged to suit the new arrangement. Controlling the mainline turnouts which are powered with Tortoise using a simple switch panel equipped with DPDT switches was always the intention for this small layout (together with manual ground throws for the yards and fiddle yard) and I always wanted it to have its own dedicated controller too. So progress indeed!

In with conductor rail.

March 17, 2011

Two Bachmann 4-Cep units in blue/grey representing the earliest running period of the Top Deck layout or Folkestone East run test trains to check conductor rail clearances. This corner of my EM gauge Top Deck layout was always going to be challenging to finish, with the exit into the fiddleyards located just behind the trees. Conductor rail has recently been installed and the removable scenery section hiding the ‘Dover’ fiddleyard’ is finished at last and dropped in place.

Looking at the layout end at a different angle and the exit is just visible. A Class 47/7 passes with the empty South East TPO stock bound for Dover.

Conductor rail pots are lost wax brass castings by C&L Finescale and the code 70 flat bottom rail turned upside-down before soldering to the pots to gain the flattened top profile of conductor rail. Whilst this part of the layout is nearing completion, some small details remain to be added including steps at the end of the staff halt platform, some conductor rail detail such as power cables and a couple of line side cabinets. Ballast weathering will wait until all the track is finished. It will be dirtied up in one go for consistency of finish and colour.

This awkward corner has needed a great deal of attention, gobbled up a lot of time (amazing for what was first conceived as a scenic test track) and I hope it has been successful. It seems to photograph better than I expected! In the other direction sits all the debris of layout building!

There’s a great deal of work to do in the Dover direction. I am starting work on Folkestone East signal box next followed by installation of the portal for Martello Tunnel (seen in the background); completing back scene painting and making yet more trees and bushes! Once the mainline track is ballasted, laying of the three turn back roads to the front (right of the Class 37) of the layout will commence. They will provide access to the harbour branch and three berthing sidings. I figured that completing the rear of the scene before laying, wiring and testing more track would avoid damage anything to the front of the layout. So, it’s back to work!

More Dapol ‘Cans’ but with a twist

March 1, 2011

Take a look at the roof…

Yup! You guessed it – the pantographs look quite different to previously released Dapol N gauge Class 86s and are a real improvement. The one on 86 261 is a nice representation of a Stone Faiveley pantograph, one of Dapol’s new pantograph models to replace the originally used Sommerfeld ones.

Also take a look at the Brecknel Willis pantograph applied to the Freightliner 86/6 (with its class-specific detail); a new tooling, delicate-looking but very effective.
Pantographs are very much a signature feature of AC locomotives and, when you consider that the roof is the first area that meets the eye when looking at a model, Dapol’s decision to tool its own models will be widely welcomed. In the meantime, the Class 86 model is the perfect match for Dapol’s catenary models in N gauge and both locomotives will have a home on the N gauge Dudley Heath layout along side the earlier Class 86 releases which will receive the new ‘pans’ which will be available separately – price and pack format to be confirmed.

Irresistible BR 20t brake

March 1, 2011

A second BR 20t brake van was needed for conversion to a track cleaning vehicle for Folkestone East using the Lanarkshire Models and Supplies (LMS) track cleaning attachment kit. The kit works really well and is a reliable, non-motorised cleaning device. Although intended for the Hornby/Airfix LMS brake van, I prefer to install it in the BR type and have successfully fitted one to a BR 20t brake van as previously reported in my blog. The second van to be equipped will be this Modelzone special edition CAR air piped van (above) which is labelled for the Southern Region – great value at £8.95 and produced by Bachmann. It will do the job nicely! All I have to do is fit the external pipes, Kadee couplings, EM gauge wheels and the track cleaning attachment and it’s ready to go!

A picture of my first attempt at this installation (above) shows how well the LMS track cleaning attachment fits the Bachmann BR 20t brake. With a second equipped van, I will have one for the Up line and one for the Down line on Folkestone East.