The only version of the Graham Farish Class 20 I have had the chance to examine in detail is the very early version of the model, representing No. D8000 complete with its side ladder. This locomotive is not really representative of the Class because as a part of the National Collection, the locomotive is something of a celebrity. When released, I had only a short time to look it over before returning it. A new tooling: it has the character of the English Electric Class 20 locomotives, although a later version might be more familiar to some enthusiasts!
The body shell is a two piece moulding consisting of cab and bonnet. It is an excellent representation of the Class 20 shape with finely tooled grilles and marker light detail. The body is fitted with numerous small details including wire hand rails, an etched radiator grille and in the case of the review model, a bonnet side ladder. Whilst the hand rails appear a little heavy and the fan grille frame a tad thick, the overall impression is very good.
The review model was very well assembled, with all parts well secured and nothing found to have dropped off in the box. Numerous small details are included for after market fitting including brake pipes and multiple working jumper cables. Glazing is well executed although the windscreen wipers moulded as part of the glazing look a little strange with the blades set at a jaunty angle.
The model has a split frame chassis with the motor sandwiched between the frame halves. Current is collected with traditional rear of wheel wipers instead of the increasingly popular split axle and bearing cup method. Phosphor bronze contacts transmit current from the pick-up strip directly to the split frame chassis. Care is needed to ensure the bogie to chassis contact is kept clean, a task that is simplified with the easily removed bogies.
The locomotive features a NEM-651 6-pin DCC interface and with room to fit a decoder. Access to the circuit board is via four body retaining screws located at each corner which are easy to remove with the bogies unclipped from the chassis. The bonnet moulding includes the long characteristic sole bar which is correctly tapered at the front. The cab moulding sits on the solebar with no visible gap.
Buffer beams are also part of the bonnet moulding which have their deep appearance spoilt by a slot intended to clear the bogie mounted NEM coupling. The chopped buffer beam is a feature which is creeping into many new N gauge models which could be restored by the modeller if removing the coupling in favour of buffer beam detail.
All of the wheels are powered on the model with a frame mounted motor providing power. Gear towers transmit power from the drive shafts to the wheels. Maintenance of the drive gears and pick-ups is aided by removable bogies which simply pull off the chassis to reveal the gear towers.
Apart from a handful of slightly heavy details such as the hand rails and fan grille frame, the model is a tremendous improvement over the former Poole designed model. The improvement in electronics, inclusion of a NEM-651 DCC interface, NEM coupling pockets, working lights and locomotive specific detail brings the model up to date on a technical level as well as having a good shape and refined detail.
- Finely tooled plastic body shell with separate cab.
- Flush glazing with silvered frames.
- Body is attached with four screws.
- Working tail lights.
- Illuminated marker lights behind head code disc locations.
- No visible light leakage through the cab windows or body shell.
- NEM 651 6-pin DCC interface.
- NEM coupling pockets fitted with Rapido type couplings.
- All-wheel drive.
- Rear of wheel wiper pick-up.
- Split frame chassis.
- Supplied with add on parts to detail the buffer beam including snow ploughs.
- Locomotive specific detail to match the applied livery.
- Issued with head code discs and route indicator head code boxes.