Monday 31 July 2023

Dapol Class 121


Would I buy another one of these - if they were available? Probably not. Is that unfair? 

What I like: headlights.

Welsh branding.

Running quality.

What I don't like: fragility of parts

The weight of it when working on it.

Do I really need working interior lights and the ability to switch these out?

I appreciate the the weight and running are allied, but I felt as though I was was going to drop the thing every time I manoeuvred it around. The bag of bits is welcome, but I could have added these easily enough from commercial or home made parts at low cost. The detailing is superb, but is it too much, taking into consideration that this was bought at an offer price of at least 50% of what it would retail at today (the current crop of RTR DMUs floating at around £300 is eyewatering. I'd love a Class 117 for the layout, but that's beyond me).

Will I do another home conversion using a £40 s/h Lima? Almost certainly. Will it match this? Not by a long way, but is that really the point of the exercise?

Regardless of all the above it's now done and ready to be run/photographed on Rhiw 2.

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Friday 28 July 2023

Pesky pipes

Still on the subject of bits.

Along with everyone else my age is increasing, but my ability to see is not and I was struggling to see to get the pipework installed. Small black pipe/black bufferbeam/black holes proving to be an awkward combination. I can't believe that this hasn't been done before, but as there will be a coat of paint over this area at a later date anyway, it struck me that running a light wash of white  over the beam would at least allow the holes to stand out. If this is a new solution to the problem then you are welcome.

Small update: Everything fitted, though one item was missing from the bag. I like the end clutter on vehicles and the coupling-less DMUs allow me to do this. Painting to do.

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Thursday 27 July 2023

Dapol Class 121 - the initial

I don't frequent RMweb or other forums, but the repeated thing that I hear that people complain about is the delicacy of the new bits of RTR and how stuff was much more robust in the old days. By this I take it that they mean 20+ years ago before the days of what I consider the new brands such as Heljan, Revolution et al and in the case above, the newer OO gauge Dapol. If I am correct in this assumption, then I tend to agree and this may affect what follows.

I obtained this Class 121 (OK it was a present) just after the Mk 1 Rhiw had met its maker and it's been in the cupboard ever since. Partly because I knew that it needed some work doing to it and because, as explained above, bits had already fallen off of it despite only having been test run. Both battery boxes had failed and were stored with it in the box. This is/was an easy fix - a quick run over with a small file to remove the ineffective glue residue and a refit with a drop of UHU. The point is this shouldn't happen and a big block of plastic like this is hardly fragile. No matter.

I still have to fit the bag of bits to the bufferbeams and compared to my homegrown method of some commercial screw links and bits of guitar string it will be a fiddle. All this is doing is pushing me back toward a larger scale and away from RTR. Probably not the intention of the maker. 

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Saturday 22 July 2023

Saturday Ramble

  July and August were traditionally the quiet months for railway exhibitions; the holiday months, the gardening months. A scan of the RM listings in the August issues shows that this is still true, but there is a (worrying?) trend that suggests that we are still in a post-covid world. When you read the listings closely you realise that they are packed, beefed-up, padded, a repeating event and photos where 3+ years ago none would have existed. 

I can only make the assumption that we have still not recovered. Look closer still and you will spot that a few listings are not what they seem and are not full exhibitions at all, but rather club open days. I'm making assumptions again, but does this point to a deeper problem and one that I predicted during the first lock down; that the pandemic has altered the shape of the exhibition circuit; possibly for all time. The reasons for this are partly financial, but it's probably more of a case that the routine has been stopped for many and it is just too much of a faff to go out on a Thursday night to the club, far easier to sit at home and binge-watch something on Netflix. The open day is a semi-desperate attempt to keep some sense of forward motion and keep the club in the public eye and to hopefully replace some of the older with new blood. Is this the shape now? Is it gone forever?

On a personal level I can relate very closely to the above. Quite honestly I don't know where I'm going with this or anything else, and again all the pre-existing shapes and relationships have changed and my usual crash pad of building layouts for exhibition in the down points ain't there any more. I've gone from ten exhibitions a year to one; literally decimated. Without those targets of reasonable sized events, what is the point? 

One target however is a visit to Devon in a few weeks to get Rhiw 2 photographed by young Craig. This has given a small nudge to get some of the ballast patched where it had fallen off at the Steyning show. The platform lamps also need re-setting as they had developed a concerning lean due to the layout being stored on its end. 

If we could just get back to where we all were before, or at least something close to it.

Thursday 20 July 2023


 A little shopping today. This has become uncommon of late, but I was nudged by our Mr. Hill who suggested a trip to the newest shop on the coast, Modelworx in Newhaven. Opened a couple of months back as the 'factory shop' alongside a moulding company that is responsible for some of the new Airfix range, it not surprisingly deals purely in plastic kits.

The range in store is impressive and covers not only the obvious Arfix and Tamiya, but some of the more specialist manufacturers. Add to this a knowledgeable and helpful staff and you have a winning combination. 

Obviously the railway modelling ranges are non-existent, but they stock plenty of cutting, sticking and painting things and a range of plastruct and sheet to make it worth a visit.

Recommended .