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design problems in different ways. To give an example, the valance around the bufferbeam is a very distinctive part of the ‘Western’ look, but on a model that has to go around tight curves, a correctly scaled valance could interfere with the free movement of the bogie. Lima solved this by making the triangular flange part of the valance in front of each bogie narrower, which meant there was more space for the bogie to rotate from side to side. By contrast Hornby kept the valance to scale, but mounted it on the bogie rather than the body, so that it rotated with the bogie instead of being an obstacle. Of the two, the Hornby model is probably the more accurate overall, the Lima model getting some details very wrong indeed. For example, on the Lima model the roof radiator fans are dead centre, whereas on the real thing they distinctly off-centre, something the Hornby model replicates reasonably well. But the Lima model does at least have brake shoes and beams moulded onto the bogies, something completely absent from the Hornby model, so again we’re looking at two imperfect models that require a bit of work to be brought up to modern standards; for example by using Brassmaster etches to replace or supplement the details. So far as 00 gauge modellers go, the two most recent offerings come from Heljan and Dapol. The Heljan model, released in 2004, was much better than either the Lima or Hornby versions, with a good, DCC-ready mechanism on the inside and much greater fidelity with regard to external detailing. Some criticisms were levelled at the shape of the cab roof though, and like other Heljan models it came with plenty of detailing parts, many of which were small and difficult to fit. The brake detailing parts in particular interfered with the free movement of the bogies except around the gentlest of curves, so most modellers left them off. The Dapol ‘Western’ arrived in 2013, following a remarkable gestation period that involved discussions between the manufacturer and the hobbyists on the popular model railway forum, RMWeb. Overall, this model is regarded as being the best ‘Western’ to date, for example in possessing brake details on the bogies that don’t prevent the loco from going around sharp curves. It also sits a little lower on its bogies than the Heljan one, which looks more realistic. Alongside their 00 model, Dapol produced an N-gauge version that was released a few months later. This is an excellent model, DCC-ready but certainly not the first ‘Western’ at this scale. In 1985 Graham Farish released their ‘Western’, which at the time was one of the best diesels in their range. Indeed, it was still in the Bachmann-Farish catalogue as recently as 2013. The Farish ‘Western’ had the same reliable split chassis mechanism used by many of their diesels, and generally runs very nicely indeed, even though it isn’t DCCready out of the box, and the detailing isn’t quite up to modern standards. The body shape, especially around the cab, isn’t quite right either. By contrast the Dapol ‘Western’ comes as either a DCC-ready or DCC-fitted model, has excellent proportions, and comes with many more details than the 87

Model Railway Express Issue Two January 2017  
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