Class 101 DMUs, alongside a small number of single car Class 121 units, were the longest surviving of the first generation DMUs constructed for BR under the modernisation programme; those working the Strathclyde lines remaining in service until around 2000 whilst the Manchester Longsight Depot allocated ‘power twin’ 2-car Metro-Cammell Class 101 DMUs survived until December 2003. Apart from a heritage liveried green unit, the last remaining units were painted in Regional Railways livery, a colour scheme that survived to the end. Bachmann’s new Graham Farish model is an important development for many BR modellers and replaces the ageing Poole-designed version. A significant amount of resources was put into tooling various body shells, including a centre car together with the correct underframes and details specific to the Class 101s at certain points in their operational lives.
The Manchester Longsight units is one representative of a batch of N gauge Class 101 models offered in the first release of the model; a a complete retooling by Graham Farish which replaces the old Poole-made model. Bachmann will be offering no less than seven different models of the Class 101 as two and three car sets in early BR green with front head code panels; green with speed whiskers; BR blue with four marker lights; a Parcels unit; a blue and grey unit together with the aforementioned late-era power twin.
The key element of a model is its body profile. Metro-Cammell came up with a very modern looking design for its Class 101 including a nicely finished cab front which is different to any other first generation DMU. This distinctive profile has been captured well, with subtle mouldings and correctly sized windows. The curve between the top of the cab and the roof appears correct when examined against reference material and window positions are also correctly spaced for each of the vehicles represented by the models.
The BR green DTC: Unpowered bogies are fitted with metal bearings that are part of the models current collection system where split axles are used and current is transmitted from wheel, via the axle ends to the contact bearings. The wheels run smoothly in the bearings with excellent current collection in both vehicles. The powered bogie (there is just the one) has more conventional wiper pick ups working against the back of the wheels. In all, both pick-ups and the wheels themselves are well engineered with smooth operation the result.
The BR green DMBS: Detail is well cut in although some may take the view that bogie side frame detail appears a little shallow. More relief would have further enhanced what is already a fine feature of the model. Separate components also include the bogie footsteps that are fitted depending on the vehicle type and brake blocks fitted in line with the wheels.
The DMC in plain BR blue with four marker lights. Several underframes have been developed to represent various powered and trailer cars depending on whether the units are power twins or a powered and unpowered two car set or a three car set with unpowered centre car, to mention a few combinations. Much has been made of separate mouldings for underframe equipment including engines, battery boxes, fuel tanks and exhausts.
A great touch was to include the tooling of one of the centre cars: the TC vehicle is represented in the plain BR blue set..
The BR blue DMBS. Note how the drive bogie and chassis occupies part of the passenger compartment.
Late era Regional Railways DMBS vehicle. The livery application is neatly executed.
The DMS making up the power twin unit suitable for late 1990s operation in the North West of England The paint finishes are opaque with no sign of colour bridging over raised detail. All of the models are finished in pristine condition with black under frames and un-faded paint effects. Care has been taken over printed details including numbering and legends too. Areas were painting is not sharp is the junction between roof grey and yellow cab fronts which is distinctly ragged on the blue version of the model. The same can be said of the small yellow warning panels on the green head code frame version too.
Front marker light details and two-character head code frames are correct for the various models. Both offer opportunities for the modeller to add distinctive character to their models such as plating over the frames, adding or subtracting marker lights as desired for a given livery and changing the destination blinds to suit. Research is necessary to verify the combination of livery and marker light details as there was crossover depending on overhaul dates, repainting dates and other factors (collision repairs). One detail which has not been applied to the late era model is the NRN radio roof pod which were found on the cab roof of both cars.
Another view of the centre car, dressed as a trailer composite vehicle to suit the BR blue version. The flush glazing and finished window frames are very tidily done. Note the interior detailing and the different seating between the First class and Second class compartments.
Internally, the circuit board fitted to each car is equipped with a NEM651 6-pin DCC interface socket and provision has been made for a speaker at the gangway end of the powered car. However, no electrical connections are fitted to the inner couplings which means two decoders are needed to operate the head and taillights when the model is operated on a DCC layout. Pick-ups are provided in both driving cars of each unit so that lighting functions perfectly in both vehicles when operated on DC power. Lighting is nicely represented with LEDs and careful screening to prevent leakage of light into the body shell. The review models are equipped with both forward facing marker lights and rear red taillights.
Compared to the original Poole developed model, the new Graham Farish Class 101 is a quantum leap forward in detail, performance and finishing; with well-considered detail, quality glazing and much care paid to the technical aspects of the model.