The EFE Rail ex LSWR Cross Country Sets were announced last November and as is usually the case with the Bachmann quarterly announcements arrived within a matter of weeks. This is not a full a review of the models as that would be a bit disingenuous of me, having been involved in my day job at Kernow Model Rail Centre , with their development (and yes, I hold my hand up to not spotting a couple of the gremlins that crept in to a couple of the livery details).
This post is about a few quick tweaks / improvements that I have made to my own malachite green set 253 (yes, I purchased it myself). Whilst these models have not jumped on the feature creep trend of magnetic roofs (we are yet to see how practical these might be in practice with handling etc.) and over bright interior lighting, they have a good level of detail and separately applied parts inclduing grab handles, handrails, underframe details and roof vents to look the part.
The initial EFE Rail Releases, supplied in neat three coach book box sets are as follows:
- E86013 ex LSWR Cross Country Set – 3 Coach set 253 – SR Malachite
- E86014 Ex LSWR/SR Cross Country Set – 3 Coach set 130 – BR Crimson
- E86015 Ex LSWR/SR Cross Country Set – 3 Coach set 314 – BR Green
So on the tweaks…
The very first thing I did was to blacken the faces of the wheelsets, I have simply and quickly used a black Sharpie permanent marker pen, this improves the look and is actually a darker finish to the eye than the brightly lit pictures show. (As an aside, a couple of Sharpie pens are always good to have in the modelling toolkit, especially when exhibiting, as they can be used to quickly touch up any chips or damage that might have occurred).
I have added, using HMRS Pressfix transfers, the missing class designation numbers to the brake thirds and for consistency also replaced and repositioned slightly higher those on the composite. The BR versions correctly only have ‘1’s on the first class compartments (and in the slightly lower position). To remove the factory applied class designations on the composite, I first soaked them in good quality enamel thinners and then using a cotton bud and some t-cut to gently rub them off.
For consistency, an element of individualism and personal preference, I like to brush paint all my carriage roofs with Humbrol enamel dark grey Number 33. I also took the opportunity to paint the side of the roof gutter at the same time, as these had been finished in the bodyside colour, that gives a bit of an optical illusion of the sides being too high.
Finally, a recap of the history of these sets, there were 36 sets formed wholly of 56ft vehicles and these sets were generically called ‘Cross County sets’. They were constructed between 1906 and 1910 being built originally as 4 coach sets. These sets comprised of the following:
- Brake Thirds, four compartment to LSWR Drawing 1446, SR diagram 124, 2 per set
- Composite (1st / 3rd class), seven compartment, to LSWR Drawing 1298, SR Diagram 274
- Third LSWR Drawing 1302, SR Diagram 17, 8 compartment, (The all Thirds were originally introduced as 2nd / 3rd Composites but rebranded to all Thirds with no structural change by the end of 1919)
The set numbers were in the ranges 130-151, 253-263 and 311-314 All sets were reduced to three coaches in the mid to late 1930s by the removal of the 8 compartment Third Diagram 17 coaches which became loose stock. At the same time the number of first class compartments in the Composite, Diagram 274 was reduced from 5 to 3 (not a physical alteration just reclassification and change in class banding on the outside of the compartments)
Withdrawal of these sets was completed during 1956/7 Brake Third number LSWR 1520 SR 2975 (ex Set 63 / 146) survives on the Bluebell Railway and Composite number 5065 (ex Set 134) survives on the Kent and East Sussex Railway awaiting restoration.
As was standard LSWR practice not all the coaches had full electrical equipment, i.e. dynamo and battery boxes the others being through wired.
These make up useful pre-grouping type sets for the Western section Southern modeller and are still widely available at retailers such as Kernow Model Rail Centre.