Model Rail (UK)
Accurascale Class 92
◆ GAUGE ‘OO’ ◆ MODEL Accurascale ACC2195-92038DCC Class 92 92038 Caledonian Sleeper teal, DCC sound-fitted ◆ PRICE £279.98 (DCC sound), £189.98 (Dcc-ready) ◆ AVAILABILITY Accurascale stockists Web www.accurascale.co.uk The pantographs are fantastic, bein
The careers of the 46-strong Class 92 fleet have been chequered, to say the least, with many examples working for just a few years before being placed in store for decades. With their primary purpose – cross-channel passenger and freight – evaporating before they were ready for service, the class has been woefully underemployed over the years, with many sold off for use in Europe.
Reflecting the optimism in the railway community during the introduction of the Class 92 in the mid-1990s, both Lima and Hornby released ‘OO’ models around the same time. Each had their merits, with Lima’s perhaps edging things in terms of looks. Hornby’s model has remained available, helped by the greater variety of liveries adorned on the real things in recent years. However, the 30-year-old tooling is showing its age and
Accurascale’s new model offers up something much more in keeping with 2020’s expectations.
Marking only the second locomotive to arrive from Accurascale, following last year’s ‘Deltic’, there has been a lot of hype surrounding the ‘92’.
Unsurprisingly, many of us have been eager to put a production model through its paces. Received for review is GBRF’S 92038 in the fetching Caledonian Sleeper ‘Midnight Teal’ livery, complete with stylised stag logos. Supplied in a large, foam-lined box, the packaging does suggest a ‘high-end’ model, despite the prices being highly competitive in today’s market.
Within the box is a bag containing an impressive user’s guide, including a bi-lingual (English and French) illustrated history of the prototype. I also love the provision of printed paper sun blinds, complete with pantograph spring detail, for cutting out and fixing inside the front windscreens. Having made my own for my Lima and Hornby models in the past, this is a key characteristic of the real ‘92s’.
Extracting the hefty model from the box, there’s a definite ‘wow’ factor created by the wealth of detail that’s immediately obvious, both on the roof and underframe.
More importantly, it looks every inch a ‘92’, with the proportions and overall character being impossible to fault (for me at least).
One thing that grabbed my early attention is the neatness with which the clear front light panels have been installed, with no hint of rough plastic around the edges – something that has caused assembly issues with other similar models in the past. Furthermore, the main glazing is also flawless, allowing the fully detailed interiors to be admired through the huge windscreens. As well as the seats and control console (with illuminated dials and gauges), the bulkhead doors even feature health and safety notices.
The bodyshells are enhanced by
etched metal ventilation grilles and this particular example sports a set of Channel Tunnel roundels on each side, which are also profiled, etched fittings rather than printed detail. The Crewe Electric eagle depot plates are printed, but etched overlays are supplied for optional customer fitting. The paintwork is immaculate throughout, with the edges of the yellow warning panels being noteworthy for their precision.
Up on the roof, the correct telecommunications gear is present, along with a full array of insulators, cabling and conduit, some of which is moulded into the bodyshell, but most of it is made up of separately fitted components.
The pantographs are fantastic, being easily the best-detailed examples I’ve come across on a Uk-outline model. The spring action is effective, although I’ve not been able to test its operation with tensioned catenary. This sample is pre-installed with a DCC sound package, allowing either pantograph to be raised or lowered at the touch of a button.
Looking at the underframe, the central area features the battery boxes and other equipment, all of which features high-definition detail. The bogies are superb, with separately fitted cables and conduits, each picked out in appropriate colours. The third rail shoe gear also looks the part, while sanding pipes and brake shoes align perfectly with the wheels.
Optional lower valances are supplied for the front ends, which can be clipped into place once the NEM couplers have been removed. Dummy screw link couplings and multiple working hoses are also included to complete the picture. The sprung rectangular buffers have the correct curved profile and brake hoses are pre-installed at each end, the tails of which are stowed neatly, as per the real thing.
On the rails, the ‘92’ really showed its class. After the usual running-in period, the mechanism allows the model to glide along, with superb slow-speed control and smooth acceleration.
Tested on both DC and DCC, performance was equally impressive on both control systems. Like the preceding ‘Deltic’, the drive train is quiet and sure-footed, with an incredible amount of power on tap. Despite the presence of fine detail, the bogies rotated freely and there were no issues negotiating second radius curves and points.
The DCC sound effects offer an extra dimension, with the key elements capturing the prototype exceptionally well. I love the crackling effects when the pantographs are raised or lowered and the distinctive powering up sequence conjured up memories of watching these beasts at work. An ESU Loksound 5 decoder is installed in this sound-fitted version, along with a pair of high-quality speakers, allowing a great range of frequencies to be produced for the best possible sound.
A powerful Stay Alive capacitor unit is also pre-fitted.
The body can be unclipped from the chassis fairly easily to permit access to the interior, which certainly makes adding a footplate crew that bit easier.
Are there any areas of this model that aren’t exceptional? Well, one of the air horns has been installed slightly out-of-kilter and the heads of the pantographs don’t sit horizontally when they’re in the lowered position, which is a little annoying. But these are very minor quibbles in the big scheme of things.
I thought the ‘Deltics’ were superb when they appeared last year, but Accurascale’s Class 92 may be even better. It has been a pleasure to watch (and listen to) this model cruise around my test track and it bodes well for Accurascale’s other forthcoming locomotive projects. (GD)