A week ago I had the pleasure of visiting the London Toy Fair at Olympia courtesy of Oxford Rail. It was an interesting visit, very much the ‘trade’ show rather than the exhibitions we frequent. What was very apparent and clearly reflecting the importance of the event and the outlook of the exhibitors, was the clean well lit appearance of all the stands from all sectors of the ‘toy’ industry. For me the interesting companies were Oxford Rail, Hornby/Airfix and any other items that could cross over into railway modelling related interests, of these, Revell, the plastic kit company had a couple of pieces that ticked the box. Also for me of interest for both professional and business reasons was the number of radio control quad copters and similar flying machines that are making inroads into the ‘toy’ market.
Due to work commitments a late arrival meant I had limited time to spend at the event. Oxford Rail had announced for the Toy fair a new locomotive, the GWR Dean Goods, four new steam era wagons, and BR Mk3 coaches. New liveries were also announced for the Adams Radial, and the first test shots for the chassis and main body components of the Janus 0-6-0 industrial diesel were available to view.
The Dean Goods immediately looks good the proportions and finesse of the mouldings capturing the appearance from memory of the prototype very well. The sample here is one of the advanced engineering prototypes (EP), and had been subject to a couple of days intense examination at the toyfair. The following notes are based on a quick overview of the model and a few iphone snaps! Double click any of the images for larger! The superstructure of the locomotive and tender is plastic, with the running plate and lower boiler section cast metal. The weight of the model when handling it seemed appropriate if that makes sense, it certainly didn’t feel too light at one end of the scale and wasn’t made from depleted uranium at the other. On this Belpaire firebox version there are separate mouldings for the chimney, lamp irons, regulator, whistles, safety valve, rear cab springs and reversing lever. Handrails are metal with the EP’s main handrail knobs level rather than slightly angled. The prototype handrail fixings aren’t as prominent for being mounted on a radial from boiler centre as the J15 has, if left as is, once painted, my feeling is that it won’t be too noticeable.
The footing of the flare at the bottom of the chimney looks a little large, but this may be an optical illusion caused by the high contrast between black chimney and silver body. Smokebox front captures the face of the locomotive with a steam lance fitting, and separate smokebox door dart. It’s not clear if there’s a separate fitting for a BR smokebox plate, or if its a separate slide tool which includes it. The split between the body and chassis looks like there’s potential for round top boiler version in the future. There’s good daylight underneath the boiler, with reversing rod and footplate handrails also included.
The chassis drives to the rear axle, this looks like it could be a similar drive train to Hornby’s J15, the front of the motor and gear train not being visible. The motor is a skew wound five pole I didn’t get to see how much clearance there was for wider gauges on the loco chassis but the tender looks relatively easy to convert. One of the big visual impacts of the EP was the chassis, the brake pull rods being flat metal strip rather than plastic, and the wheels look well proportioned and profiled with smaller flanges than the earlier Adams Radial. The tender to locomotive connection has the appearance of being adjustable for close spacing, with a metal fall plate. The coal load is fixed and the space underneath is utilised for the DCC mounting. Currently, (toy fair week), there’s no sound hole provision for DCC sound, but I mentioned that an aperture of some kind may be useful for those who wish to add sound. Overall the Dean Goods looks a good step forward from their Adams Radial, which in fairness to it isn’t bad for a first locomotive. If you didn’t know which manufacturer was responsible for it, you’d easily place it in the Hornby/Bachmann brace of manufacturers, that I feel is a considerable achievement just based on its appearance.
There are a couple of new liveries for the Adams Radial, and the handrails are now supplied blackened which has made a massive visual difference to the BR Black version in particular. A few engineering tweaks have been made to the chassis to improve performance. I managed a look at the Hornby Adams Radial which shows a very different design for the Radial truck. On the Oxford model the rear axle is rigid, Hornby have gone for a cast rear bogie in effect which has lateral movement guided by a radiused channel with no noticeable fore and aft movement, and a limited amount of vertical play too. The split between chassis and radial bogie is well engineered and almost impossible to detect, the Hornby front bogie is very similar to Oxford’s but with a small cut away at the top giving clearance for Vacuum pipes and a little more ‘toe up’ than the original Oxford offering. Detail and paint on both Hornby and Oxford models was very good, both types scoring well for me on the windows which show very little refraction from the edges.
Four wagons were announced at the fair, three new toolings with a North Eastern/Scotland area applicability. The fourth wagon announcement were further liveries of their 7 plank RCH private owner. The cattle wagon and 6 plank are good country wide choices, the four plank being more restricted in its travels and is closely associated with ‘the north’. Another interesting development was the announcement of weathered versions in the offing too, no samples were available to show the weathering style Oxford will use.
NE/LNER/BR Cattle wagon
NE/LNER/BR 6 plank open
NB/LNER/Private Owner 4 plank
BR Mk3 coaches are in the line up too no specific liveries/variants were announced and no samples or test shots were to hand, I got the strong impression that the development of the range will be market led, i.e. the most popular liveries/versions requested may take a priority. Oxford mention they have a joined up approach to the development of their product range, and demonstrated a suitable Vegas poker face when asked about the MK3 stock and what else could be in the planning motive power wise.
The Oxford/Golden Valley Janus industrial 0-6-0 diesel shunter initial mould shots were available. On quick inspection they looked good with a degree of finesse about them that should please the market. One of the elements being looked at is a DCC sound configuration, and these early stages suggest a design likely to include a ‘sugar cube’ speaker specific sound installation. There was no confirmation if that was to be an option off the shelf, or an after market fitting.
An even briefer visit to Hornby was also of note. A brief discussion outlined that Hornby recognise that new entrants need to be encouraged, with the realisation that the buying market as it stands is dominated by the 40+ age category, fine for today, but bluntly, a limited life expectancy. This appears to be one of the key drivers behind the Hornby Junior range, battery powered train sets. Not a product that I think most of the readers will be interested in but good news that Hornby are considering ‘future proofing’ the company. If it works for them they will build brand loyalty and interest from an early age. Even if the juniors take a sabbatical to chase ‘gurls/arse/drink’ etc, perhaps the ingrained red box loyalty will pay dividends for them in the long game. Airfix and Hornby are under the same umbrella these days, one of the interesting Airfix boxes on display was for a Steam locomotive working model. It’s clearly based on, or is a Q6, which would make sense if Hornby already has the data to hand. This kit fits in the Airfix range as a cutaway model, there already being an internal combustion engine and a high by pass jet turbine in the proposed range. Price will be approximately £30.00, and no tender included.
There was little in the ‘other manufacturers’ field to look at, of note though Revell had a stand there with their range of plastic construction kits. The one thing that really caught my eye was the 144th scale Flower Corvette. This has obvious applications for N/2mm scale modellers, and some interesting forced perspective opportunities for larger scales.
An interesting show then, and to cap it all a few days later at Nuremburg those dastardly chaps at Peco, upset the ‘OO proper track’ contingent. Unbelievable!
Devon Company Makes Track Exclusive! www.trackmanufacturermakestrackshock
Dear Sir, Have you observed that your photographic renditions of the proposed Oxfordrail LNER cattle wagons, which you have kindly presented above, illustrate the following anomalies.
1. Both sides of the superstructure appear identical in contradiction to the observable design of the prototype, which by virtue of the fact that the partition and its locating slots have to be arranged at one end of the wagon. Furthermore the model is entirely missing the upper locating plank..I assume you only had a single sample available to inspect.
2. As the model is presented with Vacuum brakegear do you not think it unforgivable that the appropriate cylinder and its accompanying components have been omitted ??
3 The representation of the vacuum pipe shown elsewhere is a rare instance where the manufacturer appears to have no idea what they are doing and therefore one doubts that both Left and Right hand components will be produced.
4.The brake lever does not appear to have been equipped with the necessary clutch at the VEE end and appears distinctly too far away from the Vee.
5 Due to the sides being identical the position of the Door stop and associated Banger plate are incorrectly positioned on the side away from the ( non existent ) vacuum cylinder.
6 I get the distinct impression that the proximity of the brakeshoes to the wheel flanges as opposed to being in the correct scale position will make modification to EM or P4 unnecessarily difficult and costly.
7 They appear to have attempted to represent the Steam heat pipe although it’s placing does not correspond with that normally found.
It matters little if the detailing is excellent if the above problems are not resolved as, in my opinion, the model will still have a c–p rating. The other two wagons show an equal indifference to accuracy in terms of brakegear and rivet detail and the 3 proposed PO liveries on the NBR wagon, like the 7 plank POs, are not suitable for this design of wagon and have already been issued by Hornby or Bachmann although even less accurately.
Oxfordrail claim the models are fully tooled so unless these samples are just poorly made mock-ups I suspect that few of the mistakes will be corrected. exactly as was the case with their earlier products.
Yours, Disgruntled of Hamworthy
I’ve not had a close look at the wagons with reference to data such as Tatlow’s LNER wagons tome’s. There were only single samples to look at, and re the brakeshoe spacing, yes they are configured for OO gauge, which isn’t unreasonable I’d suggest for the market. A colleague has offered me the opportunity to have a good look at the Tatlow books, which I’m looking forward to.
Dear Adrian Swain
The pictures of the cattle wagon are both of the same side of the model. Look at the objects in the background!
Just to clarify, they are both sides of the EP they had on stand, it isn’t two different images of the same side.
Oops! Sorry my mistake.
No worries :0)
Reblogged this on sed30's Blog.
Faced with the only practical alternative for the LNER-design cattle wagon being the (ahem) ‘challenging’ Parkside kit, I think I’ll accept the Oxford offering and work round the limitations myself. Nothing in that list is insurmountable if in fact, Oxford don’t address them before putting them into production.
The NB wagon does have spurious looking brake gear as a large proportion of Scottish wagon types in this era, somewhat incredibly still had single shoe Brake gear. Still, NB wagons are not widely available in kit form apart from a few cast examples. Scottish Traders wagons largely had cupboard rather than drop doors but as we don’t many other ways to a Hamilton Palace Collieries’ wagon, I’ll likely take my chances with this one and modify as necessary!
Some more informed commentary is available here; http://www.crassoc.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=758
What this model also does is hint as to further very interesting motive power developments…
I should mention that a definitive volume concerning Scottish Traders’ (PO) wagons is currently in preparation and may in fact be published via the Caledonian Railway Association which has recently developed a series of wonderful publications in relation to this companies’ activities.
I look forward to seeing MaxStafford’s rebuild of the OR Cattle assuming no upgrades appear, it will be an interesting exercise. Probably a little bit less work than building the kit but fraught with the risk of ruining the model if it goes awry. I have looked at the work involved myself and I am sure it can be done but not by someone incapable of building the kit..
Thank you for the massive vote of confidence in my modelling abilities…
I’m certainly interested in any mods you do if you get a cattle wagon Dave, let us know how it goes in due course.
Cheers Paul. I’d best study the intricacies of the brake gear before then I think. Having built the Parkside one I’d welcome an easier route. Whilst it’s not THAT difficult a build, I certainly took a lot less enjoyment from the kit than I normally do from such adventures – I just found it a fiddly and tedious experience compared with most other wagon kits I’ve done.
Best go look out that Tatlow volume I think.
It will also make an interesting comparison with Hornby’s SR cattle wagon. The two companies’ cattle wagons have a considerable likeness if I remember correctly.
Hi Max, I suggest you defer any purchase of the OR cattle wagons until such time as they have corrected what appears to be a gross error in the design. The samples shown were suspect from the start but it was not until pictures of both sides of the same sample were shown that it was clear it has been produced with two identical sides. This means the partition locators and slots are on diagonally opposite corners instead of at the same end. This also means there are other detail errors which will be difficult to correct. The vacuum pipe design is a complete joke and it remains to be seen if that will be corrected with right and left handed version with the correct shape. At the moment OR seem to have completely lost the plot when it comes to accuracy on everything they have shown apart from the Dean Goods so beware placing too much store on their claims.
Thanks Adrian. Probably wise counsel.
On a more positive note I was able to inspect the NB ‘Jubilee’ wagon at Glasgow and it certainly didn’t look at all bad. The signature Scottish brake gear was actually correct with one shoe each side of the wagon.
It has received a very positive assessment from a well-versed and respected member of the NBR study group which is very reassuring at this stage.
I didn’t pay much scrutiny to the Cattle truck present if I’m honest but hopefully it is subject to the same process of review and revision. I have built one or two of the Parkside variants and although the end result was a reasonable looking and running wagon, it wasn’t an especially enjoyable build in the way most other Parkside kits are. Probably a reflection of the age of the mouldings.
Those vac pipes are indeed something of a howler though.
Hi Max I append a comment submitted to Modellers United, not yet approved, in which I contradict very strongly Mr Macdonalds assertion. I am still waiting for a reply from the NBRSG when I sent a similar comment to Mr M on the 10th of Feb.
“—MOST of the nuts on the outside are seriously mispositioned” Bearing in mind that about a dozen have been omitted and others respaced I consider that about 50%+ are incorrectly positioned including ALL those on the undersized corner plate. Whether the tooling is fully finished is not clear as the solebars are lacking almost all detail and the door catches on the side are completely absent at the moment. It is a pity, bearing in mind that two of the illustrated liveries are actually on CR wagons, that OR did not model that prototype instead. Similar vintage. similar size, similar brakes, Scottish origins but with cupboard side doors, 4 equal width planks and very different design buffers.
OR seem to have mixed up the NBR Dia 1 with Dia 26, the chosen prototype, in that the end door bolt positions are as per Dia 1. They have also completely misinterpreted how the end door hinge loop operates. It is like a huge split pin attached either side of the door and resting on a bearer which OR assume to be a minute hinge !! Tatlow LNER Vol 3 has a good selection of photos and Mr T’s drawing and Hooper’s book has GAs which show the end door hinge design well. After previous attempts to assist OR failed I shall concentrate my efforts on informing modellers of the pitfalls as I fear OR are unlikely to bin all the tooling and start again. Regards Adrian
That’s a pretty troubling collection of errors. I wish I’d taken a photo of the example at Glasgow as it did have the appearance of being a bit more fully formed. Interestingly, both the Caledonian and Highland Associations have and are in the process of producing rather lovely limited run resin wagon kits for a number of types including the Jones Dia 4 and the Caley Dia 22/46 coal traders wagons. The previously produced Pickering coal traders and Dia 8(?)cattle wagon are also rather nice. I can’t claim any expertise whatsoever as to their accuracy but given the provenance of the projects I’d be very surprised if they weren’t pretty much bob-on.
Hi Max This Albion Yard site has a very nice picture of the OR NBR sample but without photos of the full size to hand a critical comparison is not viable. There are pictures of both model and NBR prototype on the CRA site under Modelling >new mineral wagons but beware one of the real wagons is the smaller Dia 1. Unfortunately no one has challenged Mr Brian M’s statement on RMweb or indeed posted anything other than fawning adulation. Presumably no one has bothered to check any of the facts and as usual RMweb are anxious to suppress any critical comments, no matter how valid.
Adrian Swain makes good points and if people want to see a more independent Forum at work than the almost irrelevant RMWeb, which even bans critics, try the LNER Encyclopedia which is showing a surer grasp of the whole picture.
To begin with, the Parkside kit, which is for the 9ft WB manually braked version, I have built quite a few. And I have never found them “difficult” or “tedious” – personal opinions that are unfortunately not explained (that’s a bad practice, chaps)! The kit body only requires a small tweak (if you have a critical eye) and even replacing the entire manually braked underfarme with etched brass, whitemetal and/or plastic components is straightforward. Only if you go the whole hog with the AVB version and use the (amusingly named) Masokits etchings, do things get fiddly – for the simple reason that if you go the whole hog, then there’s a lot of stuff! A simpler option is available from ABS as a set of whitemetal castings, for AVB or manual brake.
I wrote up how to build three different versions over 10 pages and 24 illustrations in 1996. Geoff Kent has also written it up in one of his books. There’s no shortage of advice and I’ve repeated some of my account on my website (link below) and expanded it re the Oxford Rail RTR model.
The drift of my observations is that the Oxford Rail model has many obvious errors; not many of these particular trucks were built by the LNER; they were virtually eliminated by the company LNER before WWII; proof of significant (or even insignificant) service in BR livery is lacking; and that if you want a scale model for the LNER period – when the manually braked version outnumbered the AVB one by 2:1 – then the Parkside plastic kit will get you there quite painlessly. For the BR period I should just forget it: the early LNER versions were quickly wiped out, leaving the more numerous 10ft AVB version to fade away at an observed frequency in trains of 1% among vast numbers of more modern designs from the LMS, GWR and SR, construction of which continued through 1949-50. The BR version that followed was based on the GWR.
In short, the LNER 9ft AVB version was a failed design that the LNER itself tried to eliminate, and saw no meaningful service in BR days. Yet it has been chosen by Oxford Rail to serve both periods, and been produced with many errors. Poorly executed projects happen in many walks of life, I wish that this one had not happened, especially with a company that purports to deliver to high standards. Perhaps the upside will be that Parkside Dundas find that sale of their plastic kit goes up?
Hi All Sadly the EKR version of the Radial has turned out to be a complete disaster as not only are there 25+ detail errors. many of some significance but the livery is also totally fictitious. It should be Maunsell Olive green and the lining should not have any corner radii at all. There was an earlier EKR livery but the model is even less accurate in that case.
The Dean goods is turning out to be even less accurate than the Radial and in spite of the numerous variations of the original the model probably does not get close to being accurate to any one of the 260 built at any period, Indeed two of the OR listed introductions probably had a completely different tender as well as the wrong details on the loco. Caveat emptor !!