Following their announcement in April this year retailer Rails of Sheffield have delivered on their SECR Diagram 1424 8 & 10 ton 16ft Covered Goods wagon as part of their range of exclusive models.
They have worked in partnership with a 3rd party UK based 3D printing specialist and also Dapol for the final assembly and decoration to manufacture these models using a new technique that features: A new, ultra high resolution, super strong aeronautical grade PU with a design life exceeding 25 years, a build process using the very latest light technology and is infinitely flexible for making all variants and low volume production potential for niche, products previously not capable of being produced economically for Ready To Run.
110 of these wagons were between 1904 and 1908, to an increased length of 16 feet during the Wainwright era. Later designated Southern Railway diagram 1424.
Several examples surviving to British Railways ownership, at least until 1956. The models produced by Rails reflect the later SR and BR condition of the vehicles.
Initially three liveries have been produced, with two running numbers in each livery:
- RL-1424-001 No. S45374, Southern Railway brown with BR lettering
- RL-1424-002 No. S45382, Southern Railway brown with BR lettering
- RL-1424-003 No. S45358, BR freight stock grey
- RL-1424-004 No. S45427, BR freight stock grey
- RL-1424-005No. 45374, Southern Railway brown, 1936 livery
- RL-1424-006 No. 45455, Southern Railway brown, 1936 livery
The models faithfully replicate the prototype as per the later stages of their life with respect to the break gear and buffers, it means that the models in this form can not be back dated to liveries earlier than those offered.
There are a few points to note.
Being a version of 3D printing, despite the new to the hobby process, the finish when viewed very close up, is not quite as smooth as we would expect from an injection moulded plastic, however the aim of the process is to allow smaller production runs and produce models that would perhaps not be so economically viable via the more traditional process.
The models are fitted with pin point Alan Gibson wheelsets, but are not running in brass bearings so are not as free running as they could be.
The roof is a separate component and is a push fit into the body and may require a little to glue to hold it fully in place depending on the amount of handling and being white will definitely be improved with some weathering.
The decoration finish on the whole is OK but some of my versions in places showed a little excess paint flow. The lettering on the body sides is neatly printed however the solebars are missing any of the lettering that appeared on the prototype.
Rails of Sheffield should be congratulated on taking the step to introduce the new manufacturing process to our hobby and to enable the more niche, products previously not capable of being produced economically to be available to us Ready To Run. As the initial run of these models appears to have sold out I hope it will lead to more production runs, variations and prototypes, especially of course Southern related ones, being produced in due course.
Finally just in case you missed the announcement, in October, Rails of Sheffield have also announced that they are to produce the ex SECR Wainwright D class 4-4-0 locomotive in conjunction with the Railway Museum, to follow the ex LBSC A1 / A1X ‘Terriers’ which are due very soon. Just for clarity the locomotives are being produced via traditional methods and not the 3D printing process of the wagon above. Perhaps someone in Sheffield has a soft spot for the South East of England…