August 14, 2017
A view of part of one of the superb KPF Zeller rolling roads sold in the UK by Ten Commandment Models including the driving wheel cleaning attachment. KPF Zeller produces a rolling road to suit all of the popular scales and with differing lengths to suit individual requirements. Once the review has been published in RMM, I will put a more detailed set of pictures on here. So, okay, what’s the loco being tested for service on the rolling road?
Some strange-looking rolling stock has appeared in the studio recently – coaches from Epoch 5/6 which equates to post 2000. I guess British outline modellers interested in what would be Epoch 6 in the UK (if we used that date system) won’t know what a straight loco-hauled coach is…they are so rare these days! (tongue firmly in cheek). So here’s teaser 2 for today – I think a clue is in the destination window…
July 26, 2017
A teaser – what am I up to now?
If a former member of the Stirling and Clackmannan District MRC can dive into Portuguese railway modelling complete with ‘Pedro the Pacer’… I can do the same – more or less. Except, the teaser above is not from the Portuguese railways…I am saying no more.
July 18, 2017
Bachmann’s colourful OO gauge South West Trains (SWT) Class 450 arrives…
The Class 450 due for imminent release is being offered in two finishes – pristine and weathered as shown in this picture.
Inner end detail of one of the driving cars.
The roof has a bleached or sun-faded appearance commonly found on the full size trains whilst the body sides remain in less affected condition due to the use of vinyls.
Underframe details are specific to the Class 450, even though the model is based on the previously released Class 350.
Weathering and distressing has been applied to empty pantograph well. Class 450s work exclusively on the third rail network and as such no pantograph is fitted.
The Class 450 is a four-car set with the powered car located in the middle of the set.
Overall, the Class 450 finished in outer suburban SWT blue livery is a stunning looking model and is common with modern EMUs, translates in a very attractive model. They are worthy successors to the 4-Vep, 4-cep and 4-Cig they replaced alongside the ‘Desiro’ Class 444.
- 21-pin DCC socket.
- 4-wheel drive in powered car.
- 5-pole can motor.
- Electrical bar couplings throughout the set requiring only one decoder to operate all of the lights.
- Close coupling cams.
- Fully working running lights.
- Faded roof colours to represent a unit in regular service.
- Revisions to PTOSLW car to distinguish the model from the similar 25kV AC Class 350.
- Interior lighting.
- Accessory pack with air dam, cabling and cosmetic Dellner couplings.
April 16, 2017
Another small shunting locomotive for my Loch Dhu project? Perhaps! The DJ Models 0-6-0ST WD Austerity (aka J94) is a lovely model and with many refinements too. It proves my theory that most workaday locomotives often make the most attractive models.
So here’s a selection of pictures of two of the locomotives released in recent times: BR No. 68023 with extended coal bunker and one of the first batch to be released which included a number of private-owner industrial locomotives in various attractive liveries together with LNER No. 8023 which is one of the second batch of models to be issued as a general release model.
I have always liked industrial shunting engines and the WD Austerity proved to be a rugged design perfect for industrial railway uses, often becoming neglected and dirty in daily use at collieries and other heavy industrial locations. The weathering enthusiasts will have fun with this one. I doubt the BR and LNER versions fared much better in their workaday shunting and short trip working existences.
The model (both industrial and J94 versions) has a fully detailed cab interior, separately fitted wire hand rails and follows modern development practices with the use of many separately moulded and applied fittings.
Locomotive-specific details are included in the tooling to allow both the conventional and extended bunker versions to be offered with the J94 version of the model.
The model is as rugged and the real locomotives, with excellent haulage capacity to match. Internally, there is a smooth running core-less motor capable of very fine control and electronics which include a 6-pin DCC interface socket. You do not have to remove the body to get to the decoder socket – simply push the smoke box moulding aside with a thumb – gently so not to break the smoke box door darts. Tucked away inside is the DCC interface socket. How easy is that? A fine model indeed and versatile too: perfect for an industrial layout theme, working a BR or LNER themed layout or even a heritage railway based layout.
My thanks goes to David Jones of DJ Models for his help with supplying models to feature in Railway Magazine Modeller, both of which are included here as a shortie review!
March 28, 2017
No. 73 108 in late condition, photographed at Eastleigh in 2002.
Faded, dirty but still doing its stuff on the SE TPO.
No. 73 108 is one of the locomotives I have chosen to model using one of the two new Dapol models to recently arrive on Folkestone East. Conversion to EM turned out to be the simple, involving the regauging of the split axle wheel sets which have a good profile on them – good enough to run smoothly through my hand built track.
There are many well-thought out technical features of this model. The body lifts straight off after releasing the retaining screws – no pesky clips to fight. Don’t loose the screws though or you will be scr*wed when it comes to putting the body back. There is a good space for both decoder (nearest) and a sound speaker. A 21-pin socket ensures all lighting features have power.
The circuit board makes contact with circuits in the body by means of a row of sprung contact pins which eliminates linking wires and plug and sockets. However, I did not want the cab lights illuminated and was looking to fit a decoder with ‘stay-alive’ (‘keep-alive’) . The only one I had to hand was a wired LaisDCC one which works well with this mechanism. 21-pin versions with stay-alive are also available. I also wished to work the head code lights independently using red LEDs, so decided to remove the circuit board and hard wire a LaisDCC decoder in place with its stay-alive capacitor. The lighting connections to the circuit board are easy to locate and desolder, so this hard wire DCC conversion is easily reversed – the circuit board being stored away safely.
The image above shows the hard wire installation, with the head light LEDs wired with 5k Ohm resistors to reduce the fierce light to something a little more realistic. Connections will be made with the head code box LEDs too.
A stay-alive unit is seen in this image. It was not quite powerful enough to power the Dapol Class 73 when it lost contact through those pick-up bearing rings. In the end, I built a new stay-alive unit with some higher Farad rated capacitors with great success. The higher rated unit was still connected to the same LaisDCC decoder. It is worth mentioning that even the smallest capacity stay alive unit will prevent light flicker in the most reliable models even if there’s not enough juice to deal with a serious stall. In many instances, the flywheels fitted to modern mechanisms will carry a loco over a minute dirty spot without interruption,. The only hint of a problem will be a flickering of LED head and tail lights. Stay alive units also smooth the operation of locomotives that otherwise seem to run well.
A final look at the DCC installation. It may seem strange to remove the convenient 21-pin DCC interface. However, wired decoders offer so much more flexibility in terms of organising lighting effects and this installation turned out to be quick and effective. The model is numbered 73 108 with an address of 3108 and is now hauling trains on Folkestone East. It is at this point I must admit to keeping two Lima EDs, stripped of drives and in the process of being reworked with Dapol detailing parts. One is No. 73 129 ‘City of Winchester’ which is used as a trailing unit in the SE TPO so the train can be top and tailed. Two Dapol EDs on this train is overkill. The second loco was also a regular on the SE TPO: No. 73 131 which will eventually be refinished in EWS livery.