New pans for the Dapol ‘Cans’.

August 31, 2011


Little known are the new N gauge (1:148 scale) pantographs developed by Dapol for its AC electric locomotive models (plus others) such as the Class 86. They are now being routinely fitted to all new models. However, the first batches of Class 86s were fitted with a stand-in pan and Dapol now offers twin packs of its own Stone Faiveley and Brecknell Willis pans for those who wish to fit a more authentic pan to their Class 86s.


Each blister pack contains one of each – perfect for the Dapol ‘Cans’ and even reworking the Bachmann Class 87 and Class 90. They cost £6.07 per pair at the time of writing (extremely good value) and can be bought direct from the Dapol web site.


To fit, simply pull the body away from the chassis, taking care not to dislodge the internal wiring.


Release the original pan with a small screwdriver, from the inside. Disconnect the wiring at the micro plugs to make life easier if you wish.


The new pans simply screw in place of the originals. A screw is supplied with the new pans, so don’t worry if you loose the original one. It’s a tad fiddly, but this easy conversion should take just a few minutes per loco.


The Stone Faiveley pantographs are shown on the two Dapol N gauge Class 86s which are being prepared for the Inverness & District MRC exhibition in a couple of weeks’ time. I am reserving the Brecknell Willis pans for a couple of Bachmann locos.

Now for something different.

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Hornby’s 4-Vep breaks cover…

August 12, 2011


Despite the usual frenzied preparation for an exhibition – St. Andrews this weekend – time was found to set up the lights to photograph Hornby’s new 4-Vep EMU on my EM gauge Folkestone East layout. Looking at the bogies, the use of internal bearings and blind axles, together with the use of a non-standard axle diameter, conversion to EM gauge may prove challenging! For the moment, pictures are staged by balancing the OO gauge wheels on the rails – just about get away with it.


Although an enthusiastic follower of the Network South East era, the plain 1970s BR blue version (above), with its orange curtains and aluminium window frames looks far better to my eye – whilst a drab-looking livery, it suits the model well.


Martello Tunnel portal at the Dover end of the layout. The 4-Vep is an important ‘signature’ unit for the layout. A key release for this year as far as I am concerned! It will work alongside my old 1980s vintage 4-Vep built from an MJT conversion kit.


Round the curve from the Folkestone Central direction – the curve is brought closer to Folkestone East on the layout so it would all fit my available space. Based on the months of test running, there are plans to revise the rear fiddle yards a little, to further facilitate the running of EMUs.


Folkestone East signal box needs finishing too! But, with the main exhibition season coming on, I may be a little pushed, so making progress on the layout may require some creative time management!


C-Rail Intermodal Reefers.

August 10, 2011

A perfect fit on the loading deck of Bachmann intermodal wagons and very smart they look too.


Reefer containers are equipped with refrigeration units at the end opposite to the loading doors as seen in the above picture – well researched and picked out in the appropriate colours.


As always, C-Rail Intermodal’s ready finished containers are well finished with accurate markings and colours. But then we know the person behind their development is something of a fiend for detail, particularly on boxes! Enjoy the photographs!


Here’s a newcomer to the fleet, riding past the basic frame for Folkestone East signal box…photographed on the ‘Top Deck’ layout this afternoon. More on the Hornby 4-Vep next time round!


Windhoff MPV…

August 8, 2011

It grabs the eye no matter how you look at: the Bachmann 4mm scale Windhoff MPV must take the prize as one of the more challenging prototypes to produce as a ready to run model and it is fair to say that it is a remarkable effort indeed. Some might be disparaging about the circuit board placement on the powered vehicle (it has to go somewhere); others may wish to have the weed spraying modules rather than those supplied with both version of the model. Not surprising given that most of us model spring and summer months, although the Rail Head Treatment modules might inspire some Autumn layouts with Autumn colour and leaf fall.As models go, its going to be popular with those building compact and portable layouts – something different to the hoards of multiple unit passenger trains that are usually chosen and suited to that type of modern layout:  Class 158s, 170s and so on. Bachmann’s MPV has a multitude of lovely features including the single decoder operation of both vehicles of the set thanks to through electrical connections in the couplings and the ability to load it with any ISO standard container or module;  under floor motor, room for a digital sound speaker and a hoard of individual details – all well put together.

I hope you enjoy the photographs of both the Railtrack and the patched Network Rail MPVs which give a taste of what is, in my opinion, the most remarkable OO gauge d&e model of 2011 and with Hornby’s 4-Vep and the Bachmann 2EPB as contenders, that is saying something! Now about that N gauge model…Technical stuff:

Water tank(s), RHTT water jet module, generator, Sandite and de-icing modules:

More shots of the MPV:

Side on views:


First Great Western HST – N gauge model with dazzle stripes!

August 6, 2011

Dapol’s FGW HST in blue with dazzle stripes is not far from hitting the shops. It’s has been approved by the company itself and represents the livery version with a black roof.Power cars 43015 and 43168 are represented by the models in the book set together with trailers 41132 and 42073.The powered vehicle (43015)  features Dapol’s five pole fine speed (aka ‘super creep’) motor and all-wheel drive which is capable of handling a full length train including the second and un-motorised power car (43168).Highly acclaimed: HST Mk.3 trailers with their close coupling mechanisms, light bar connections, end of axle current collection and in the case of the FGW set, featuring some amazingly fine livery detail printing.Additional trailers will be available to go with the book set and Dapol reports good progress on its catering car model. A TGS trailer, specific to the HST, is also receiving attention.The power cars are fitted with good technical features: DCC interface socket, forward and reverse lighting with no light leakage in the cab space or through the body shell moulding, end of axle current pick-up and class-specific details. I hope you enjoy the pictures and, in the meantime, the NR Measurement Train yellow HSTs are keenly anticipated!


Taking a Rain Check…

August 3, 2011

It’s summer, allegedly, and modelling activity traditionally slows down during this period. However, apart from that needed to meet my commitment to BRM, my modelling has slowed whilst I appraise my modelling needs, or more accurately, the needs of my current layouts, two of which are fixed home layouts. In the last few years, I have dismantled two portable layouts which had specific items of rolling stock built for them such as the JSA wagon above. Folkestone East has no need of such wagons, so it is on Ebay currently (item number 110723061262) along with two un-built kits for the same. The same goes for other wagons and locomotives collected together – yes, I could hang on to them and run them on the new layout, but space in fiddle yards is at a premium and as new, more appropriate stock comes on line (the Hornby 4-Vep is due any day now) and less appropriate stock is pushed aside,  no longer run and now takes up room in stock boxes instead. A further clear out beckons, I think!


In the meantime, work on my current layout project continues; Folkestone East is continues to receive ballast and changes to the control system are planned (the Lenz equipment is to be replaced with a Digitrax booster to make the layout a power district of the Digitrax installation on the US outline N gauge layout on the lower two decks). The US outline Montana Rail Link layout continues to be developed with improvements to track and operations (Duplex radio throttles were  installed a couple of weeks’ ago) before scenic work commences. My only portable layout, the N gauge Dudley Heath, received substantial hinged covers in the last few days to protect it during storage and transportation before the really involved scenic work commences. All three layouts are continuing to be run and fine tuned prior to further scenic treatment.



Butt hinges with removable pins makes the covers very flexible to use. They can be lowered to make a hard drape at shows or removed completely should they get in the way. However, the covers are strong enough to allow one baseboard to be transported on the top of the other in the car or when stored under the Montana Rail Link layout when required. During the construction of the covers, it’s was not hard to notice how the quality of sawn timber has really declined in quality, even from reputable merchants, whilst the price has doubled in the last 18 months! Some of my covers appear a little rough at the corners, but they are accurate enough to do the job of protecting the layout. If I was building baseboard frames, much of the timber used in the covers would be rejected and taken back to the dealer!


Ballasting and track colouring continues alongside test running of Dudley Heath which has an invitation to the September Inverness & District MRC exhibition. I could not resist staging some green diesels with traditional wagons for a couple of pictures, the two locos having passed over my work bench for DCC conversions for a future BRM article.There’s no DCC interface socket in these locos, so chassis chopping and hard wiring was the order of the day – more involved in the Class 45 than the Class 25. I also like to use 6-pin adapters so the models can be used with 6-pin plug and play decoders, which makes the conversions a little more challenging. Still, it’s worth the effort and was good practice for the next project, the Graham Farish Class 87!