REVIEW - Rails of Sheffield LNER 'NRM 40' HST pack
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Railway Museum in York, Virgin Trains East Coast repainted HST power car 43238 in an eye-catching special livery and named it 'National Railway Museum 40 Years 1975 – 2015'. The unit carried this livery until it was transferred from LNER to East Midlands Trains in 2020.
Rails of Sheffield commissioned an exclusive N Gauge commission from Dapol of this power car in March 2020, to be included in a twin pack with 43302 which is the current holder of the World Speed Record for the fastest diesel powered train.
First announced in 2009 and released in 2010, the Dapol HST remains the only current option for modellers wishing to own a small scale version of this iconic design. The model stands up reasonably well to more recent releases, with some nice details, particularly on the bogies and bodyside grills.
There are a few areas of concern around the shape and proportions of the model, particularly the positioning of the light clusters which appear to be too far inboard, however the main problem is Dapol have not tooled for the specific exhaust style and cooler group found on the LNER Class 43s. Modellers wishing to accurately portray the prototype will therefore need to do some work to the roof if they wish to represent the correct features.
The mechanism of the powered unit is identical to previous releases of the model, with the exception that it is now fitted with a NEXT18 decoder socket rather than a 6 pin version. Running on the example reviewed here was good straight from the box, but will benefit from a period of running in. Working directional head and tail lighting is fitted to both power and dummy car, although the model does not reproduce the white marker lighting, only the single high intensity headlight, when running forward.
Those wishing to fit sound should be able to squeeze in a small speaker to the luggage compartment, although the PCB may need to be repositioned to allow for a sound chip, at least until the Zimo MS series small sound decoders arrive.
Dapol's track record for getting colours and livery elements correct is probably best described as 'patchy', and this model is not without a few minor errors or omissions, but Dapol should be congratulated on reproducing the scheme carried on 43238 to a very good standard. The names of the locomotives that form the national collection are clearly readable, as is most of the smaller text found on both power cars and the colours appear to be accurate representations.
On the model reviewed, the silhouette of 'Locomotion' on the left hand side was slightly off vertical, and the dark grey band that extends along the lower edge of the body is missing on both power cars completely, but these minor issues aside, the reproduction of the livery in general is very good.
Whilst the NRM livery takes centre stage, power car 43302 is arguably the more significant of the two, being a holder of the World Speed Record for a diesel locomotive along with 43159.
The reproduction of the standard LNER livery on the non-powered unit is very good, however like the NRM livery it is also missing the dark grey stripe along the length of the lower bodyside. Additionally the black from the corridor ends does not wrap around onto the sides as much as it should. The fading effect of the former Virgin livery is not the easiest to reproduce in any scale, and Dapol have done a reasonable job at representing this on the white 'swoosh' accent.
The modified cab door windows are represented by a simple line of paint across the centre, which doesn't really capture the appliance of the prototype, but is a simple solution to something which would otherwise have required a retool of the body.
A set of very nice etched nameplates are included for both power cars, however the plate on 43302 was actually printed on the vinyl elements of the scheme so the printed plate of the model is more accurate in this case.
The model is also supplied with bag containing alternative knuckle style couplings.
Despite the niggles highlighted above, most significantly the incorrect roof details, this is still a very welcome addition to the Dapol HST range for modellers of the East Coast Mainline and a good representation of a deceptively complex but attractive livery variation.
The twin pack is available exclusively from Rails of Sheffield
The model reviewed was purchased by the reviewer for £149.99