Dapol HAA coal hop­per

Model Rail (UK) - - Reviews -

◆ GAUGE ‘O’ ◆ MODEL Dapol 7S-048-006 BR HAA 32t coal hop­per 359180, early liv­ery ◆ PRICE £54.95 ◆ AVAIL­ABIL­ITY Dapol stock­ists or www.dapol.co.uk

Dapol has re­ceived quite a bit of crit­i­cism for its ‘O’ gauge rolling stock. Some crit­i­cism is jus­ti­fied, thanks to one or two com­pro­mises too many on the odd model. But Dapol can well and truly turn the ta­bles on the crit­ics with its first mod­ern im­age wagon, the HAA coal hop­per. Your first im­pres­sion when you lift the HAA is one of weight. This is a heavy beast (401g) thanks to its heavy die-cast un­der­frame. The HAA’S dis­tinc­tive shape is su­perbly cap­tured and the model com­pares well to draw­ings pub­lished in David Monk-steel’s Merry-go-round on the Rails (HMRS, 2011). The hop­per body – a blend of an­gles and odd curves – looks just right and fea­tures some very neat rivet de­tail. It’s sup­ported by the belly band and end frames that give the wag­ons their char­ac­ter. Our sam­ple’s belly band suf­fered from some mis­aligned parts but it didn’t de­tract from the over­all im­pres­sive ap­pear­ance. The heavy die-cast un­der­frame is fit­ted with plas­tic run­ning gear, hand­brake and chute door gear. The metal wheels are free-run­ning (one wheel on each side has a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the brake disc), there are sprung cou­pling hooks with three-link cou­plings and sprung buf­fers. The only is­sue with the un­der­frame is that there isn’t enough relief im­me­di­ately be­hind the head­stock, Our re­view sam­ple de­picts 359180, which was built at Shildon in 1976 to Di­a­gram 1/156 (Lot 3887). Wag­ons sel­dom re­ceive the at­ten­tion they de­serve and so, con­se­quently, pub­lished ma­te­rial is some­what thin on the ground, es­pe­cially when com­pared to lo­co­mo­tives that hauled them. Our sub­ject for re­view is 359180 and there are no pic­tures of it ei­ther in David Monk-steel’s book nor on Paul Bartlett’s web­site (https://paulbartlett.zen­fo­lio.com). We can only as­sume that the de­tail com­bi­na­tion is cor­rect for 359180. Dapol must be com­mended for spot­ting key vari­a­tions. The line of hor­i­zon­tal rivets that spoils the smooth fin­ish in­di­cates that this HAA has re­ceived a re­place­ment body. Orig­i­nally, HAAS sported four stiff­en­ing ribs, but these took a pound­ing from coal load­ers and were re­placed with new bod­ies with steel sec­tions.

CHUTE HOOPS

HAAS were de­signed to dis­charge through their chute doors au­to­mat­i­cally (inspiration came from the Lon­don Un­der­ground’s trip­cock sig­nalling sys­tem) but there were manual door open­ing sys­tems. There were two types of gear shield. The orig­i­nal style was more rounded, but re­place­ment shields were more an­gu­lar. B359180 sports the later style. Not all the manual door han­dles had a shield. Those with­out had an ob­vi­ous hoop be­hind (some­times it was more an­gu­lar than rounded) and it’s one of the very few nig­gles that the hoop is miss­ing. Gal­vanised steel is never go­ing to be the eas­i­est ma­te­rial to repli­cate in plas­tic, but Dapol’s grey fin­ish is ac­tu­ally pretty ef­fec­tive. HAAS were rarely clean, so this model re­ally would ben­e­fit from some weath­er­ing, par­tic­u­larly the dis­tinc­tive stripes left by load­ing/un­load­ing equip­ment. Our sam­ple was fin­ished in early liv­ery with baux­ite fram­ing. This was re­placed with the more fa­mil­iar flame red colour. The print­ing and let­ter­ing is first class, but it’s def­i­nitely worth fo­cus­ing your at­ten­tion on the wagon’s work­splate. This is moulded onto the sole­bar but it’s so crisp that it looks like a sep­a­rately fit­ted com­po­nent. The fin­ish­ing touch is a sep­a­rately fit­ted plas­tic, non-work­ing bat­tery lamp, which just plugs into a hole in the head­stock. The HAA feels like a real step for­ward in terms of qual­ity and de­tail. It’s good value too – you get change from £55 – and sug­gests that fur­ther mod­ern im­age wag­ons will match this stan­dard. Come on Dapol, now you need to make a Class 58 to match! (RF)

The hop­per body – a blend of an­gles and odd curves – looks just right and fea­tures some very neat rivet de­tail

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