REVIEW - Mathieson Models / Rails Of Sheffield 7 plank wagons
Mathieson Models N Gauge RCH 7 Plank wagons first appeared on the market in 2010 and were heralded at the time for their fine detail and wide range of private owner liveries. Based on a 1905 Gloucester design, the models are now making a very welcome return via an exclusive release with Rails of Sheffield.
Arriving in a relatively compact but sturdy box, first impressions of the model are that the 2010 moulding is still very much up there with more recent releases. The planking lines are fine and not too deep, avoiding the deep trench appearance that is sometimes apparent on planked wagons. Door hinges, side & end bracing are all present complete with really quite fine rivet detailing. Rounding out the body details are very neatly moulded securing chains for the wagon end door and a fine representation of the metal capping strip across the top edge of the wagon.
The interior has a representation of the planking, but rather than being groved each plank steps out a fraction deepening the thickness of the sides as they move down toward the wagon floor. This has allowed commendably thin top edge to be achieved, giving it a very fine scale appearance whilst not compromising on the overall robustness of the wagon body. The one drawback to this is the lack of internal representation of the side doors, but when loaded up this would not be noticeable anyway. The wagon floor also features a representation of planking.
The underframe is of the wooden style RCH chassis and features finely moulded W irons and separately fitted brake gear. This is robust whilst not appearing overcall and the inclusion of an etched door stop is a nice touch. Buffers are separately fitted items representing the round RCH style and the standard Rapido coupling is fitting in a sprung pocket which simply unclips from the underframe.
A reasonably heavy weight for a such a small model is located in the centre of the underframe and the pinpoint wheels run exceptionally freely which should allow prototypically long rakes of these wagons to be hauled by all but the smallest N Gauge locomotives.
The wheels feature fine spokes and run concentric and true, with no wobble obsevred on the review model. These are also available to purchase as separate items.
The livery application on the model reviewed is excellent all round, with good colour density on the base colours and white text of the owners name and other lettering. The black shadowing is neatly done, and despite being applied over the groved side surface, there are only one or two areas where the base colour is visible. The lettering is printed with sharp edges and the all but the smallest test on the underframe is legible.
In summary, the return of the Mathieson range is an extremely welcome development and the wagons still exhibit the very high quality they were known for when first released. The high level of detail and fine livery application make these some of the best pre-grouping wagons available in N Gauge.
The Rails of Sheffield range features 10 different private owner liveries which are limited to 200 of each model. They are available now at £19.95 each.
To see the full range, visit the Rails of Sheffield website.
The model in this review was purchased by the reviewer for £19.95 plus postage directly from Rails of Sheffield.