Announced in April at the York Model Railway Show the 1:76 covered wagon has been researched, designed and produced solely in the United Kingdom utilising "cutting-edge technologies such as ultra-high resolution, super strong aeronautical grade PU with a design life exceeding twenty-five years". The build process uses "the very latest light technology and is infinitely flexible" offering low-volume production potential to cover most variants.
Each wagon is fitted with Alan Gibson split-spoke wheelsets.
Characteristic in style of earlier covered wagons, one-hundred and ten were built between 1904 and 1908 to an increased length. Several examples survived to British Railways (BR) ownership and the models produced reflect the later SR and BR condition.
Priced at £27.99, six variations had initially been available for pre-order: -
- RL-1424-001 (SR Brown w/ British Railways Lettering) No S45374
- RL-1424-002 (SR Brown w/ British Railways Lettering) No S45382
- RL-1424-003 (BR Grey) No S45358
- RL-1424-004 (BR Stock Grey) No S45427
- RL-1424-005 (SR Brown) No 45374
- RL-1424-006 (SR Brown) No 45455
The hefty timber framing which characterises Diagram 1424 is perfectly captured however special mention is reserved for the handles and hinges on the double doors which are particularly fine, as are the brake linkages and hangars. Whilst it has been suggested that the overall finish is not as smooth as injection moulded plastic, only the push-fit roof shows any considerable evidence of this on my example (RL-1424-005) with the edges noticeably coarse when inspected at close quarters.
Decoration is simple and the lettering clear, though does lack definition in places. Noticeable is the weight (38g) despite its diminutive size - the height being considerably lower than the 12T vans familiar on most layouts.
Rails of Sheffield should be commended for embracing the technology now readily available and with demand for pre-Grouping stock apparent, further releases will hopefully follow in the near future.