Model Rail (UK)
Dapol GWR ‘Manor’ 4-6-0
◆ GAUGE ‘OO’ ◆ MODELS • Dapol 4S-001-008 GWR ‘Manor’ No. 7820 Dinmore Manor, BR black • 4S-001-007 GWR ‘Manor’ No. 7827 Lydham Manor, BR green ◆ PRICE From £165.55 each ◆ AVAILABILITY Dapol stockists Web www.dapol.co.uk
Like the proverbial bus, you wait an age for a successor to Bachmann’s GWR ‘78XX’, and two new ‘Manors’ are due to arrive within months of each other. Based on the Mainline tooling, Bachmann’s ‘Manor’ was by no means a bad model, but its origins in the early 1980s and its non-dcc friendly split chassis does not lend it to today’s RTR market.
With both Accurascale and Dapol working on ‘modern spec’ ‘78XXS’, the first to hit the rails is Dapol’s effort. The folks from Chirk have certainly served Western steam fans well in the past two years, thanks to the ‘43XX’ 2‑6‑0 (MR283) and ‘Large Prairie’ (MR295).
Under assessment here is No. 7827 Lydham Manor in BR lined green, plus No. 7820 Dinmore Manor in BR mixed traffic lined black. The real No. 7827 spent its BR career working from Chester, Oswestry, Machynlleth and Shrewsbury sheds, so it’s an ideal choice for anyone with an interest in the former Cambrian lines (which is why I bought this model for myself!). No. 7820 also worked in Mid-wales in BR days, with interludes in South Wales and Cornwall. It’s worth noting that Dapol will be making a donation from the proceeds of every Dinmore Manor model towards the upkeep of the preserved prototype.
HOW DOES IT LOOK?
First impressions are favourable, with the character of Collett’s handsome locomotives captured well. The finish will be discussed in detail shortly, but the presentation of the models is very impressive. The tapered boiler, cab, smokebox and tender profiles all look convincing to my eye, and there’s plenty of fine detail to enjoy.
The die-cast running plate is adorned with rivet heads and lamp brackets, while the reversing rod, wire handrails, steam pipes, whistles and smokebox door handle are neatly fitted. There’s also a pleasing rendition of the inside motion visible between the frames and the cab interior is superb, with pipes, valves and gauges all carefully painted and installed. A slight blemish is the longitudinal mould seams along the upper quadrants of the boiler and smokebox, which are more prominent on the green locomotive.
Below the running plate, sprung buffers are installed, although they have a slightly upward pitch. The blackened metal wheel rims and spokes are finely crafted, the brake and sanding gear is present and the cylinders are moulded in full relief, with the leading bogie able to rotate freely thanks to an innovative cam arrangement. The connecting rods look great, but the plastic crossheads are a little disappointing.
The tender is an attractive model, with excellent chassis detail, including water scoop and brake gear. Again, the wheels are refined and the bodyshell is equally well
Slow-speed running was good and haulage capacity on the flat was more than adequate
produced. I particularly liked the painted plank of wood across the coal space aperture. Indeed, the shape of the moulded coal load is credible, although it’s easy to remove, if desired.
Perhaps as a cost-saving measure, the tender handrails are plastic, rather than wire, (ditto the rear cab handrails). In the main, these look fine, but those mounted on the rear corners of the tender were bowed and showed signs of flash. An effective kinematic NEM pocket is installed on the tender’s rear coupling.
The paintwork is virtually flawless in terms of application and sheen, across both samples.
The lining and printed elements can’t be faulted, with thin polished brass beading picked out exquisitely on the splashers and cab window frames. The cabside nameplates are superb, while etched replacements are also provided.
The finish on the brass safety valve bonnet confirms the pristine nature of the models, although the copper chimney cap is a little lacklustre in comparison, with fuzzy colour separation.
Power is collected from all three coupled axles, plus the three tender axles, and transferred via the push-fit loco-tender coupling, with no unsightly cables or fiddly plug and socket. Unusually, wiper pick-ups bear onto the top edge of the tender wheel flanges, causing a degree of resistance to their rotation. The coupled axles run in separate brass bearings, with power collected via wipers bearing on the inside faces of the wheels. The centre axle is sprung to help cope with uneven track and power from Dapol’s standard motor is transferred to the rear driving wheel via a gearbox. A flywheel is installed and there’s plenty of mass within the metal chassis to ensure adhesion, helped further by the die-cast running plate.
As with previous Dapol steam-outline models, the DCC interface is accessed via the smokebox, with a handy tool provided to prise the door off and extract the circuit board. A Next18 decoder socket is provided, with space for a sugar cube speaker on the underside of the PCB.
There’s also space for a bass reflex speaker within the tender.
On the rails, both ‘Manors’ performed very well, especially after a short running-in period.
Slow-speed running was good and haulage capacity on the flat was more than adequate, although there was a notable dip in power when a gradient was encountered, but a little extra ‘juice’ from the controller (on analogue) compensated. On my test track, an eight-coach load was handled without any issues and Chris Leigh also reported excellent performance on his layout.
The sprung leading bogie performed well, allowing the locomotive to run effortlessly through second radius curves and short radius points. The flickering firebox effect is great, working well on DC control, but with the potential of synchronising with sound effects on Dapol’s own DCC sound-fitted models (the ‘Manors’ are also available in Dcc-fitted and DCC sound fitted format).
Attractively packaged, with a comprehensive owner’s manual, Dapol’s ‘Manors’ are really rather nice, especially when considering the price. There’s not much in the way of extra details in the box, save for the optional numberplates, a vacuum pipe for the front end and a sanding lever to fit below the boiler. A set of fire irons, lamps and cosmetic screw couplings would’ve finished the model off nicely, and the jury’s out on the shade of BR green, which looks a little pale to my eyes.
These things aside, Dapol has done a great job, building on the success of the ‘43XX’ and ‘Large Prairie’ and presenting fans of GWR traction with a range of attractive models. (GD)