Off to the ACE… and few pictures B4 I go…

Ok it is not the proper Atlantic Coast Express , but I’m off for a much welcome summer break to a lovely island where the main airport code is coincidental ACE! Anywho, before I depart for some sun, sea, volcanoes and relaxation I will also leave you with a photo review and few very quick initial thoughts on the new Dapol ex LSWR Adams B4 0-4-0t in 00

Merchant Navy 21C6 complete with ACE headboard on Fisherton Sarum

The Atlantic Coast Express was probably the most misnamed of all the Southern Railway named trains but was a stroke of genius at the same time. Why misnamed you might ask, well of the ten different termini served by the train there was only one that was actually on the Atlantic Coast itself!  The genius of the name, however, a result of a competition run in the Southern Railway staff magazine in 1924 credited to Guard F. Rowland* of Woking, was its simple initials ‘ACE’.

Moving on to the Dapol ex LSWR Adams B4 0-4-0t, first announced in March 2014  it has now hit the retailers.

Dapol B4 No. 88

My immediate first impression is that the model is quite light, certainly lighter than recent small tank releases such as the Horny Peckett and the Hatton’s Andrew Barclay. Despite the lack of weight they have run nicely albeit briefly on Canute Road Quay.

A rear 3/4 view of No. 88
The B4s were not a large class but as usual were a minefield of subtle and not so subtle variations over time such as: cabs, boilers, chimneys and buffers.
A view of BR late crest version No. 30096. Note the larger buffers (none are sprung) and different style cab
Dapol have tooled for some of these variations but have also managed at first glance to achieve a few errors including: possibly the number of boiler bands, variation combinations not appropriate to the particular livery (such as buffer head sizes), missing injector, missing front middle lamp iron (as fitted to some prototypes at the base of the smokebox door) and the cab ventilation holes just under the roof line front and rear are raised mouldings rather than actual holes (a possible translation from CAD to tool issue).
B4s No. 30089 and 30096 front comparison
I also note that on the BR livery version the smokebox door number plate is unusually completely a transfer rather printing on a moulded or an etched plate (although this may possibly be an advantage to those like me that will be repainting into an earlier livery).
Rear cab comparison between No. 30096 and 30089
There is also a pronounced joint line apparent around the front of the smokebox.

Electrical Pick ups are, as you would expect and indeed necessary, wipers on all the rear of four wheels with an open slew wound five pole motor (rather than now more common can motors) driving the rear axle via a flywheel and gear tower.

A trio of B4s
It also features a firebox glow which is quite dim, especially at low speeds on DC but might appear consistently brighter on DCC. No separate items are supplied for the owner to fit, with thee exception of a  unique very wide replacement tension lock coupling bar, but I am not convinced it will work well in conjunction with the lightly sprung close coupling NEM pocket.

Despite the initial comments above, I am sure the Dapol B4 will still be popular with most SR modellers and from normal viewing distances looks ok and runs well.

Normal service of posting will be back in a couple of weeks, with perhaps more on the B4 and also some views of the Heljan 07.

 *footnote, it is unfortunate to record that Guard Roland although based at Woking at the time of the competition moved shortly after to Torrington (one of the ACE’s destinations) but sadly just six years later became the only person to killed on the North Cornwall Railway due to a shunting accident.

6 thoughts on “Off to the ACE… and few pictures B4 I go…”

  1. My two B4’s (Normandy and Caen) arrived a few days ago. They run well, and the level of detail is very impressive, so a very nice addition. The only issues I have noticed are that on Caen the rear cab spectacles fitted very poorly (soon rectified after popping out and a quick file round the edge with a needle file), there was excess moulding flash round the rear cylinder covers (easily removed), and the couplings are a bit droopy meaning they are a bit too low (yet to be adjusted).

    Overall I am very pleased.

Leave a Reply