DAPOL IDA CONTAINER WAGONS
The shipping container has revolutionised the global logistics industry and enables goods to be smoothly transferred from ship to road to rail. But the recent adoption of 9ft 6in tall containers threatened to interrupt the smooth flow of containers - that extra foot over the traditional 8ft 6in container meant that they were too tall for Britain’s rail network, and they either had to be conveyed in special low-height wagons, or go by road. Wagon builder W.H. Davies developed a solution: the ‘Super Low’ container flat (coded IDA under TOPS). This vehicle, which operates in fixed pairs, enables 9ft 6in containers to be carried across virtually the whole of the rail network at 75mph. Dapol announced that it would produce the ‘Super Low’ container flats when it unveiled its plans to produce the Class 68 in late 2013. The ‘68’ arrived earlier this year, and now the wagons have landed, too. First impressions are very good although, being container wagons, there’s not a lot to look at! The DRS blue is well finished and the myriad lettering, logos and icons are beautifully printed. You can even read DRS’ telephone and fax numbers on the side, albeit under a magnifier. Only the IDA expert is likely to note that some bits of pipework are supposed to be yellow. Despite their skeletal looks, these wagons are weighty and have central die-cast spines. The additional plastic details are neatly rendered and particularly fine in places.
BLAME IT ON THE BOGIE
The Standard Car Truck Company bogies, the secret weapon that allowed W.H. Davies to produce the IDA, are also well finished. The wheels are tiny - just 7.5mm diameter. The only visual detractor here is that the axles are more visible on the model than in reality; the reason is because the central spine looks a bit slimmer in order to enable the bogies to pivot freely. With that in mind, you can forgive this slight discrepancy. There are NEM coupling pockets at each end. They’re on a sprung cam arrangement, but the spring is perhaps a little on the stiff side and it meant that the IDA kept uncoupling on our test track. The wagons are joined by a coupling bar that clips into the NEM pockets. There are moulded representations of the brake pipes, which is a neat touch. You will need to remove one of the coupling bars before you couple the ‘twins’ together. The ‘Super Lows’ performed well on our test track and negotiated first radius curves and pointwork with ease, even at high speed. Aside from the occasional unwarranted uncoupling, performance was top notch. The only other niggle that we found with our sample was the odd broken part, including one of the bufferheads. That aside, there’s nothing much else to complain about. In fact, it seems churlish to criticise these wagons when you consider that you can get a pair of highly detailed, well finished bogie wagons for less than £45. There is, of course, less material involved in their construction, but that still makes them excellent value. Well done Dapol.
THE MYRIAD LETTERING, LOGOS AND ICONS ARE BEAUTIFULLY PRINTED