Add detail to a Dapol ‘122’
No matter how good a new model is, there’s always something you can do to improve it. Railcar enthusiast Chris Leigh considers what he can do to make a Dapol Class 122 ‘bubblecar’ his own.
Iwas over the moon with Dapol’s Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. Class 122 railcar the moment I saw it. I’m now on my sixth generation of such models, having started in the 1960s with a scratchbuilt model of the very similar Pressed Steel (Class 121) version. Then came a custom-built Anbrico Gloucester car, costing the princely sum of £9 back in the 1960s. This was followed by the purchase of an MTK kit, which was so awful that I gave up trying to build it. When Lima introduced a three-car Class 117 in the 1970s, I converted the power cars into single units, using my own whitemetal castings. Lima introduced their own Class 121 a decade later, although with a couple of cast metal roof domes you could turn that into a ‘122’. After Hornby acquired Lima at the end of 2004, the railcar chassis was retooled and fitted with better wheels, a superior mechanism and an eight-pin DCC decoder socket. Now Dapol has trumped all of those earlier models with a state-of-the-art Class 122. I’ve already bought two of them and preordered a Class 121, which is due for release later this year. I find that if I know a prototype intimately, no matter how good a model might be, I can still spot potential tweaks. I also like to change the running numbers to represent examples that I’ve seen or travelled on. This is the story of what I did to my pair of Dapol ‘bubblecars’: W55000: Despite some online controversy regarding Dapol’s shade of BR green, I’m happy with the colour. Indeed, I helped Andy and Joel from Dapol choose the shade from a selection of swatches. The original colour faded quickly, giving these railcars a ‘washedout’ look which would be difficult to reproduce without a complete repaint. Darkening the colour, as some modellers have done, merely produces a weathered look. The darker green was applied later, with yellow warning panels. Getting an authentic ‘washedout and dirty’ finish is beyond my ability, so my models remain ex-works. Jobs to be done on this model included fitting the supplied bufferbeam details, speedometer cable and destination/headcodes. I also wanted to disguise the raised internal floor and add a crew and passengers. The paint job would be tweaked by painting the axlebox covers correctly, and giving the exhaust pipes a more ‘used’ appearance. In a late change of plan, I also fitted this model with a DCC sound decoder. SC55007: This railcar is painted in the later, darker shade of BR green, with yellow warning panels. My aim was to carry out the same tweaks as W55000, including fitting DCC sound, plus a change of identity back to an original ‘W’ prefix. Different digital sound systems have been employed in each railcar – from Youchoos and Legomanbiffo – allowing a comparison between the two.