Thursday 26 November 2020

Detailing a OO gauge Airfix lowmac

I think most people have a modelling happy place. If I had to pinpoint mine it would come down to two, or a combo of two: kit-building wagons and/or taking something and upgrading it. Preferably some thing low-cost and out of the club rummage box.

I'm not 100% sure where this Lowmac came from; I don't remember buying it, so it must be somebody's cast off. It was all fairly intact except one missing coupling and it ran perfectly. It's pretty much a one piece mould  and it has 'Airfix 1975' on the bottom making it not much younger than me and likely one of the first of the Airfix range. By todays' standards it's crude, but then I could drop it and not worry about it disintegrating and having to take out a loan for a replacement. In other words it fits the bill perfectly. What's more, our friendly scouse retailers were still selling them under the Hornby banner until recently here .

A quick bit of research turns up that it's a Lowmac EU (which proves that in 1955 when it was built we were more interested in being friends with people rather than enemies) and was unsurprisingly designed for ferry traffic and was full 'continental' spec. Through air pipe and vac-fitted, with the buffers with the holes.

The holes were easy -  a whizz with a .5mm drill. The brakes are odd. The moulding tries to do everything in one go and everything in line, but not in line with anything at all. Very much of its time. I sliced off the push-rod parts which should fit inboard, pondered the outer cross-rods and I'm still pondering the pipes. These may go on later. The rest is paint and a new (the last in stock) Airfix-mount coupling. A length of chain and a slice or two of coffee stirrer and she's a good'un.
Happy place.



  1. Love the Lowmac. I have a couple I bought from Beatties in Birmingham for 50p each. They were cheap even then. I've got a the trailers that sat on top, complete with clips inside for Dr X missile somewhere as well.

  2. Amazing the difference a little work can make...I don't think I've ever owned one of these although I had several Airfix items back then. I know what you mean about the happy place...there's a Ratio Iron Mink kit in my work bag waiting for me to stick it together (although it'll be getting wooden doors and an etched roof courtesy of MRD kit).
    Dunno about being friends rather than enemies...perhaps so, but I guess part of the point of these was to be able to transport military materiel to the continent in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion...
    I have what I think is the large wooden crate that came with one version of the Lowmac, again a cast-off rather than bought. May figure out what to do with it at some point!