Friday, 19 June 2009


I have some Western Region Hydraulics going through the workshop at the moment; this one stands out a little, 846 Steadfast. What makes it a little different is that it had its front end 'tidied' following a works visit in mid-1970. The model will depict Steadfast just after this overhaul and will be finished in ex-works condition.

Despite its age, the Bachmann model is still a very pleasing and accurate shape - originally released by Mainline, the model has similar parentage to Hornby's previous model of the Class 56, which too has an accurate shape. There are a few things which do betray its age; the glazing isn’t up to modern standards, but still better than though. The biggest issue with it is that the central pillar between the windscreens is left unpainted. Filling this area with the appropriate colour transforms the model in an instant! The moulded-on windscreen wipers are a sign of the model’s age and annoying seem to sit in the middle of their stroke, interrupting the driver’s view.

Internally the model is a world away from the mainline original; gone is the pancake motor to be replaced by a central motor driving all axles and picking up power from all wheels. It’s not DCC ready but chipping isn’t really an issue. Some may complain about the lack of lighting; sadly, many modellers don’t really understand lighting. Only in recent times have trains displayed particularly bright lights. During daylight hours it was unusual for trains to have their lights on. Thus, the lack of lighting here shouldn’t be considered to be a problem at all. It could be added if you wanted, but unless you run your Warship in the dark, it’s not needed!

On this example I’ve replaced the buffers as they were slightly damaged; Dave Alexander’s castings were used as replacements. Otherwise much is left as it comes. I’ve removed the upper lamp brackets and the headboard clips before respraying the ends in yellow – Humbrol Trainer Yellow, which is actually ‘Warning Panel Yellow’ from their old Railway Range.

Once lettered the model will be gloss varnished – this is ex works, so gloss will be quite acceptable. Much has been written about gloss paint being wrong for models but for this application, matt paint or varnish would look quite wrong and lifeless. My model of 37 219, which heads the blog at the moment, is finished in a filthy condition but was finished in a gloss top coat as my photo of the prototype showed the sheen still showing through from beneath the dirt. A matt finish to the paint on this one too, would have drained life out of the model. Steadfast will even have its tyres polished as per the photo. Dirt will be limited to minor exhaust staining, greased buffer heads and a tiny hint of road dirt. The finished result should prove to be quite a contrast with some of the Hydraulics it will be running alongside!

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