To give us Southern modellers some additional cheer just before this strangest of Christmas periods the first Engineering Prototypes (EP) of the much anticipated brand new range of Bulleid 64ft coaches have arrived. I was privileged earlier this week to be able to assist the Bachmann development team with evaluating and reviewing the excellent EPs first hand.
I can honestly say they are exquisite, simply stunning and offer levels of detail and tooling variations that raise the already high bar for recent ready to run coaches and capture the Bulleid profile and style immediately you see them.
The tooling suite allows for a multitude of correct variations to suit the not only the coaches as introduced but modifications throughout their lifetime. These include:
- Window Ventilators: original 10 inch vents or later 15 inch vents (plus the corresponding toilet window ventilators – original horizontal-opening vents or later vertical-opening)
- Bodysides: As-built or with later reinforcing strips added
- Braking System: Original single vacuum cylinder or twin cylinder system
- Battery Boxes: Multiple positions and Bulleid or BR Mk1 type
- Dynamo: Bulleid or BR Mk1 type
- Footboards and bogie footsteps: Multiple lengths and positions
- Guard’s Handrails: Two or One / Short or Long
- Water tanks: Long and short and central tanks
- The correct style of end handrails / water tank filler pipes as appropriate
In addition to the variations each coach incorporates a superb level of detail including: separately fitted components, some etched, such as: roof vents, lamp irons including the one as part of one of the end steps), etched underframe corner steps, toilet tank filler & overflow pipework and the portrayal of a complete vacuum pipe-run between the sockets at each end of the vehicles.
The beautifully detailed SR 8ft steam bogies incorporate free running electrical pickups (for future light bar fitting) and bearings, brake details and the correct footsteps as appropriate. The underframe gear is incredibly detailed with the different style of brake cylinders and brake pull rods.
Authentic interiors as we would expect are also included that will be clearly visible through wonderfully flush glazing that has been superbly achieved with next to no prismatic effect, and this also even applies to the characteristic Bulleid lozenged top lights above the door droplights.
The four body toolings in the initial release will include: Semi Open Brake Third (BTK) to Diagram 2123, Corridor Composite (CK) to Diagram 2318, Brake Composite (BCK) to Diagram 2405 and Corridor Third (TK) to Diagram 2019.
This will allow number of possible correct set combinations and liveries, with the potential for after the initial releases, versions to be released in the future in different livery and era specific detailing options.
The initial releases to make up correct sets are as follows:
- 3 coach ‘L’ set 790 (BTK-CK-BTK) from range 770-793 with 10″ window vents in Southern Malachite introduced 1946
- 5 coach ‘H’ set (BTK-TK-CK-TK-BTK) 847 from range 830 -849 with 15″ window vents in BR Crimson and Cream introduced in 1950. These sets often also ran as 3 coach ‘L’ sets (often a winter formation) minus the two TKs’
- 2 coach ‘R’ set (BTK-BCK) 69 from range 63 – 75 with 10″ window vents in BR Green livery with side strengthening ribs
The individual coach initial releases are as follows:
- 34-725 Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (10″ Vents) in Southern Railway Malachite Green No. 4341
- 34-725A Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (10″ Vents) in Southern Railway Malachite Green No. 4342
- 34-750 Bulleid Corridor Composite Dia 2318 (10″ Vents) in Southern Railway Malachite Green No. 5771
34-725/725A/750 will make set 790
- 34-775 Bulleid Corridor Third Dia 2019 (10″ Vents) in Malachite Green but with BR “S” prefixes as delivered in late 1948, this coach is a ‘loose’ coach that would be added to strengthen sets. No. TBC from range s1932 to s1936
- 34-726 Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (10″ Vents) in BR (SR) Green No. S4377S
- 34-800 Bulleid Brake Composite Dia 2405 (10″ Vents) in BR (SR) Green No.S6706S
34-726/800 will make set 69
- 34-727 Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S4005S
- 34-727A Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S4006S
- 34-751 Bulleid Corridor Composite Dia 2318 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S5865S
- 34-776 Bulleid Corridor Third Dia 2019 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S75S
- 34-776A Bulleid Corridor Third Dia 2019 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S76S
34-727/727A/751/776/776A will make set 847
Due to the attention to detail already engineered into these models there are very few further amendments to the tooling necessary and we can now look forward to the fully decorated samples in due course. The range can also be found on the Bachmann website here and they can be Pre-Ordered from Kernow Model Rail Centre here.
One omission from the current range is the ‘Loose’ Brake Composite to Diagram 2406. These were used on West of England services and were dropped of at junction stations to provide a single through coach to various branch line destinations in the South West and so are important for anyone modelling such services. These loose version differed from the Diagram 2405 by having the pair of lavatories in the centre of the coach between the 1st and 3rd class compartments rather then at the non brake end. The corresponding roof mounted water tank was therefore also in the centre of the coach. I have discussed the requirement for such a Diagram, so they are aware of the potential demand.
The images are copyright and courtesy of Bachmann Europe plc.
I am certainly looking forward more than ever now for these to complete the development process and go into manufacture, as I know it will be well worth the wait.