Modelling News Blog

News on new model releases, reviews of exhibitions and other happenings in the model railway world.

Last Call for Class B Tanks?

Revolution Trains 35t Tanker

Last year RevolutioN Trains announced the Class B tanker as a new crowdfunded model. With the prototype spanning the steam/diesel transition era and the blue diesel era, which ran both in block trans and in twos or threes in mixed freights, it ought to have had broad appeal. Unfortunately pre-orders so far have been disappointing,

Ben Ando posted this on RMWEB a few days ago:

We are still a few hundred short of the minimum number we need to reach to be confident about starting tooling.

By contrast, the HOA hoppers are already well beyond the minimum and CADs are now being drawn, with tooling work to follow soon afterward.

We still can’t understand why these wagons are struggling. They fill a useful gap, can be used in block trains or in twos and threes, and are the same prototype as the iconic Airfix kit many of us remember from yesteryear. What’s not to like?

They will continue to take pre-orders until February, and if the model is still well short at that point it won’t be going ahead. So if you still want one, or a full train of them, get your pre-order in now.

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Farish 2017 Announcements

Bachmann have made their 2017 announcment of  forthcoming models. You can read the full list on RMWeb.

The new models are

  • Retooled Stanier 8F 2-8-0
  • Wainwright SECR C-class 0-6-0 shrunk down from 00
  • Refurbished 31 diesel, initially available in original Railfreight and Railfreight Petroleum liveries
  • LNER Thompson coaches, range includes first, third, composite and brake third, initially in LNER teak and BR blood and custard
  • Retooled TEA tanker This is the same 1960s prototype as had previously been in their range rather than the modern tanker produced by Revolution.

Well, I guessed one right.

There are plenty of reliveries, including a couple of sector-era 47s. There are some intestesting coaching stock choices beyond the obvious Inter-City RMB, and the Stanier 50′ BG in BR blue; Mk2a FKs in maroon and SR Green (are they prototypical?), and Mk1s in the short-lived Sealink livery.

From my multi-era Western Region perspective it’s quite a thin list. Neither of the new kettles got anywhere near the south-west, and when it comes refurbished 31s it’s the 31/4s that used to turn up in the south-west on Summer Saturdays. The Inter-City buffet car goes with the previously-annouced Mk2 aircons whenever they finally appear. The long-overdue Stanier 50′ BG in BR blue is also very welcome; there were very common on the heterogenious parcels trains in the south-west.

But still no maroon Hawksworths….

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Farish Frothing for 2017?

This weekend, Bachmann will announce their 2017/18 programme for the N-gauge Graham Farish range. With so many models announced two or three years ago still to appear in the shops, or in some cases even shown as works in progress at exhibitions, we can probably expect another year of consolidation, with no lengthy list of proposed models many of which would take years to be delivered.

So here’s my predictions:

  • LNER Thompson coaches, as a follow-on from the Thompson BG commissioned by The N Gauge Society.
  • GWR Large Prairie. It’s the one “old” Farish model (going right back to the early days) that hasn’t been redone as a next-generation model.
  • LMS/BR wood-bodied “Highfit” open wagon. This is probably the most significant remaining gap in the transition era/blue diesel era wagon fleet.

After that, it’s probably just going to be reliveries. Some of the obvious ones have to be:

  • WR Hawksworth coaches in BR maroon. I was expecting these last year but suspect they’re waiting for the stocks of blood and custard ones to clear first
  • More class 47 liveries. The obvious ones yet to be done are Railfreight Distribution, InterCity Swallow, Rail Express Systems, and Virgin Trains.

On Sunday we’ll find out how much I was way off the mark…

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Revolution Trains announce HOA Stone Hopper


Revolution Trains have announced their next proposed model, the HOA aggregates hopper. Nearly 200 of these wagons are in service with three operators in five different liveries, and they are used for stone trains from quarries in central England, the Mendips and have also seen service on Anglo-Scottish sand trains for glassmaking.

The model will again be  produced by Rapido, who produced the very well received TEA tankers, and will feature similar levels of details and attention to accuracy, It will be available in five different liveries.


As a crowdfunded model, it will only be produced if it gets a sufficient number of pre-orders; at the moment it’s still at the expressions-of-interest stage.

Revolution are still taking pre-orders for the KFA containler flat and that 1955 class B tank. The latter is still some way short of the number of pre-orders needed to nake it viable to go ahead, so if you want this model to happen, get your order in as soon as possible!

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Revolution Trains announce crowdfunded class 92 in N

revolution-92Revolution Trains have annnounced a Class 92 as their next N gauge crowdfunded model. It will be available in six liveries including DB Schenker Traffic Red and the recently-introduced Caledonian Sleeper colours, as well as the original Railfreight grey from their introduction.

These locomotives were introduced with the opening of the Channel Tunnel, and still haul all freight services through the tunnel itself. They are the only duel-voltage locomotives in Britain, able to work in the Southern Region third rail as well as the 25kV overhead in the tunnel and on the WCML.

Though they have never worked deeper into France, they haul many international trains through to their destinations in Britain, which sees them working the length of the West Coast Main Line. They also work as a heavy haul freight locomotive for some domestic traffic, as well as being the motive power for the Caledonian Sleeper.

As the one significant present-day locomotive that’s not available in ready-to-run form (unless you count the hand-made CJM model), it ought to be a popular choice, and complements Revolution’s existing Pendolino. So it’s unfortunate that we have ended up with two rival crowdfunding projects underway for the same locomotive, the other being from DJM. Hopefully at least one of the two will get a sufficient number of backers to go ahead.

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A Day at the Cowshed


A few photos from The International N Gauge show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. The exhibition centre, a few miles outside Leamington Spa, is a former farm, which is the source of the nickname.

The show has been a fixture in the exhibition calendar for quite a few years now, as the one major British show completely dedicated to N. It’s the big meetup for N gauge modellers from all over the country, and there were plenty of familiar faces present.

The first couple of photos feature the Cornish layout “Moulinnis”, a present-day layout set in the heart of clay country.

There’s some clever thinking-out-of-the-box design elements here, with the branch line forming a continuous run while one end of the main terminates in a fiddle yard. It also captures the atmosphere of clay country even though the china clay mill (which would have dominated the layout) is offstage. And it’s very compact, with a footprint of 8′ by 3′

Not all the layouts were British outline, with German, French and American layouts on display. South Walton was a little more unusual, set in New South Wales.

As well as layouts, there are plenty of traders to damage everyone’s credit cards, and manufacturers large and small display their wares and announce new products. Here’s the first engineering sample of Graham Farish’s new class 40, equipped with DCC sound. Can you beleive that’s N?

They were also demonstrating the sound-equipped class 108 DMU, which is already in the shops. What’s remarkable is they’ve managed to program the chip so a lot of the sound functions work under DC as well as DCC!  Apply a low voltage and you’ll get the sounds of the engines starting up and idling, but the train won’t move. Increase the power and the current will flow into the motor and the train will set off as the sound chip goes through the gear changes.

Over on the Dapol stand some finished production samples of the long-awaited class 33 “Crompton”. A countainer (not a Hanjin one!) is on the high seas, eight days out of Southampton, so they should be in the shops within weeks.

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Crowdfunded Tankers and Containers from Revolution Trains

Revolution Trains 35t Tanker

Revolution Trains announced two new crowdfunded models at The International N Gauge Show at Leamington Spa. The first is a 35t class B tanker. It’s a wagon some may remember from the old 00 gauge Airfix Kit from way back when, but has never been made before in N.

The prototypes were introduced in 1955  remaining in service until the 1980s, making them suitable for both the steam/diesel transition era and the blue diesel era. The traditional short wheelbase tanks which disappeared rapidlly in the 1960s and the 1960s 45t Monobloc tanks that replaced them have both been available in N gauge for years, but neither is really suitable for both steam and diesel layouts in the way these 35 tonners are.

The model will be available in a number of liveries, including Esso as illustrated above.

Revolution Trains 40' Hi-Cube

The second model complements their already-announced Tiphook container flat. It’s a 40′ Hi-Cube container, one of the most common on container traffic from the ports, and will be available in the liveries of six different shipping lines.

Both models will be crowdfunded, and will only go ahead if Revolution Trains receive sufficient expressions of interest.

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N Gauge Society announce a Carflat

At the AGM yesterday, the N Gauge Society announced their next ready-to-run model will be the BR Carflat.

These vehicles were built from the mid-1960s using the underframes of redundant coaching stock. They were used both for freight services carrying newly-built vehicles, and for the distinctive “Motorail” trains carrying holidaymakers to Scotland and Cornwall.

Though the Motorail trains ceased in the 1980s with the growth of the motorway network, the Carflats continues in use in freight traffic until replaced by more modern wagons around the turn of the century.

The model will be made by Bachmann, and will be available in six versions. representing both Motorail and freight versions. Like all N Gauge Society models they’re exclusive to members, and the N Gauge Society is now taking pre-orders for delivery next year.

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Revolution Trains announce Tiphook PFA/KFA container flat

pfaThe next model from Revolution Trains, announced at the York show over the Easter weekend will be the Tiphook PFA/KFA container flat.

Revolution Trains next model will portray the single unit PFA/KFA container flats built for Tiphook from 1987-88.

240 of these wagons were built by Rautaruukki of Finland: the first 40 numbered TIPH93242-81 and delivered with Gloucester GPS bogies, the remainder numbered TIPH93290-489 and fitted with Sambre & Meuse VNH-1 bogies. (The VNH-1 bogies look very similar to cast-frame Y25 bogies but have some structural differences.)

The first wagons were used to carry contaminated spoil from Chatham Dockyard to Stewartby in Bedfordshire; over the years they have been used for domestic refuse, containerised paper from Fort William, gypsum, MOD traffic and intermodal services.

They’re taking pre-orders now; the early bird price is £22 for a single wagon and £66 for pack of three; after June the prices will rise to £25 and £75.

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Where Worlds Collide


Fellow prog fan Andy Hall posted this on Twitter earlier today, taken in Sainsburys.

Prog Magazine editor Jerry Ewing was not impressed with his illustrious magazine being placed next to one about toy trains. I do wonder if the editor of Hornby Magazine feels the same way about his mag being next to one dedicated to songs about Hobbits?

The first reaction for any self-respecting prog fan ought to be “Old King Coal was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he“. But it’s unlikely that many progressive rock fans are aware that Prog Magazine’s cover star is actually a model railway enthusiast.

Of course, if you’re one of those people who goes to both prog gigs and model railway exhibitions, you will realised that the attendance is drawn from the same demographic. Execpt that model railway exhibitions have even fewer woman.

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