Improve Dapol’s 7mm Class 08
A fan of the late 1980s BR scene, GEORGE DENT wondered if Dapol’s Class 08 could be modified to better represent one of Tinsley’s celebrity shunters.
George Dent modifies Dapol’s Class 08 to better represent one of Tinsley’s celebrity shunters.
Dapol’s first foray into ‘O’ gauge diesels, the BR Class 08, turned out to be a wonderful model, offering an affordable route into larger scale modelling that has inspired many to consider dabbling in 7mm:1ft scale. While the overall level of accuracy and realism is impressive, the choice of the earlier style body - with large bonnet door hinges - limits its application, especially to modellers of the late BR and privatisation scenes. Dapol has yet to announce plans for a re-tooled ‘08’, so I’d been pondering the possibility of modifying the existing bodyshell to represent one of the longer-lived ‘Gronks’. After settling on a suitable prototype, research revealed that the model would need a few detail tweaks in order to portray the real 08434. As well as cutting away the bonnet door hinges, one of the louvred equipment boxes must also be removed from the running plate, meaning that the missing door sections would have to be filled in.
The conversion work didn’t prove overly challenging, helped by the ease with which the model can be stripped down to its component parts. A handful of screws hold the main sections together, while smaller fittings and cab glazing are retained with a strange gum-type adhesive. While it offers a strong bond, the parts are readily pulled apart and the ‘gum’ simply wiped away, leaving no residue. This was a real boon, so full marks to Dapol! As well as the door alterations, a few other minor detail tweaks were necessary. Many Class 08s had the number of headlamps reduced from four to two, while my particular model also needed the radiator access ladders removing. A set of wipers was also added to the cab windows, scratchbuilt from fine copper wire. There are other potential detail upgrades for the more determined modeller, not least the addition of bonnet top lifting lugs. I’d toyed with the idea of adding these, but decided
not to, probably for the same reason that Dapol left them off in the first place. Given that the bonnet top is designed to unclip to allow access to the interior, any fine detail additions are at risk of damage. Thanks to some natty decals from Railtec, my rendition of 08434 depicts the humble ‘Gronk’ in the last years of its life, adorned with the unofficial name ‘Midland’, courtesy of Tinsley shed staff. With its shabby blue paintwork and weathered finish, my Dapol ‘08’ now looks much more appropriate for the 1980s-era layout that I’ve been dreaming up…
The modified bonnet doors and hinge detail have created a much more authentic rendition of a late 1980s BR ‘Gronk’.
The bonnet and cab is then freed from the metal running plate by removing two further screws. The glue bond needs to be gently broken, peeling the bonnet away from the running plate.