Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Railroads, Reviews, & Cartazzi trucks

This Bachmann V2 now sports a new etched brass Cartazzi truck, removing the unsightly shaft of daylight from under the firebox. A demo/review of this little upgrade kit will appear in Model Rail in 2011.

I've recently finished a detailing feature for the upcoming Hornby Handbook 2011, being produced and published by Model Rail (out on January), looking at simple ways of improving a couple of Railroad locomotives. Concentrating on the Class 40 (ex-Lima) and the LNER A4, the article is a real 'back-to-basics' look at upgrading RTR models with minimal financial outlay and a handful of simple tools.

Although it was hard to resist really going to town on both models, even with the quick upgrade work, they both look pretty good; definately worth the budget prices. Look out for the Handbook after Christmas, available at good newsagents and model shops.

A little work with a paint brush, a cab interior, some extra decals and a visit from a box of weathering powders have combined to enhance this Hornby Railroad Class 40. Not a bad model for around £45 if you shop around for a discount on the RRP.

With the Railroad feature out of the way, I've spent the last couple of days getting through a backlog of review products that have required building and finishing - something that can take up a good deal of time. But then, if I'm assessing a kit or product, I feel like I need to get a feel for its foibles and qualities before I either praise ot to the heavens or criticise a certain aspect of it.

Anyway, top of the pile has been a replacement Cartazzi truck for the Bachmann LNER V2 2-6-2. Not the easiest thing to get working (though the main frame is simple to construct), the finished unit makes an enormous difference to the slightly dated Bachmann model. Combined with a thorough detail upgrade, a high quality rendition of one of these handsome engines can be had (see pic at top of this post).

Other stuff under the microscope has included some great new 'bendy' speed restriction signs, a couple of airbrush compressors, Gorilla glue and an impressive plastic wagon kit from Steam Age Models of Australia (seen below). Look out for these appraisals in the mag over the coming months...

All the way from Down Under, this 'HO' scale wagon kit is one of the best I've come across and is designed to replicate a Victoria Railways vehicle. However, I've modified my model to fit in with my Egyptian-inspired Wartime layout, with the addition of buffers and conventional couplings.

My desert railway fleet has also been bolstered by the addition of a Parkside Dundas 50t sulphate wagon, built with a couple of modifications. I bought this kit at the Warley show and thought it would look nice in my semi-fictional fleet.... Basically, I just fancied building it!

I noticed that Comet Models have been advertising their chassis upgrade for the Hornby Dean Goods 0-6-0, reminding me that I ought to get hold of a kit for my WD version. I've been hanging on until the layout sees some more concrete progress as etched chassis building can be an expensive business. Saying that, it's not the Comet kit that's expensive, but the high cost of driving and tender wheels, plus crankpins, bearings etc.

After those images of desert scenes, here's how Buxton station looked at dusk on Sunday. I'd just got off the train, prior to going carrousing around town and, as it was running late, it was being turned round pretty sharpish. It's been mightily cold round these parts recently and, when I was coming home, the Class156 was only running on one engine, so no heater in my carriage. I put up with the chill however, as it was a novelty to sit in a train without a diesel engine under your feet - I just closed my eyes and dreamt that I was in a REAL train...! Good job it's a short journey, though, or the Guard would've had to chip me off the seat with a chisel...

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