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.

Model Rail (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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