REVIEW - Updated Graham Farish Class 60
First announced in 2005, the Class 60 was one of the first all new diesel models introduced after the sale of the Graham Farish brand to Bachmann Europe and marked a significant upgrade in terms of performance and detail over previous N Gauge diesel locomotives.
The latest release features some appreciable upgrades to the mechanism and electrics, so in this mini review we're taking a look at what's changed following the release of four new liveries of the updated model.
Externally the body moulding is unchanged from the original release. The shape of the prototype has been well captured, including the cab roof with its complex array of curves and angles. Some of the detail is now perhaps a little clunky by modern standards, with the particularly deep panel lines representing the bodyside access doors and panels standing out. The rivet detailing on the roof panels is also a little on the heavy side compared to newer tooling. The roof grill mouldings on the other hand are very fine indeed, as are the cab roof mounted horns.
Bogie detailing is good, with some nice relief in the detail, whilst the underframe detailing features a nice representation of the various equipment, but in the half relief style common on tooling of this age.
Body side grills are represented by fine etches, with distinctive look of the visible equipment behind them neatly recreated via a combination of moulded detail cast as part of the chassis block picked out with silver paint, and printed detail. The effect is very convincing, although the grill etches are perhaps a little on the course side but no doubt there is a trade off there between finesse and durability!
Of particular note is the glazing, which features very little of the prismatic effect, often affecting models of all sales, and it looks particularly effective on the cabside windows.
The finish is up to the usual very high Farish standard, with good colour density and sharp application of the finer printing. The distinctive DB red and grey appear to be good matches for the prototype colours.
NEM coupling pockets are fitted, and a small bag of detailing items includes the various pipework and ploughs/deflectors. Reflecting the design ethos of the time, if you wish to fit the deflectors the coupling must be sacrificed.
The biggest changes to the model have taken place under the body, with the chassis block undergoing some modifications to accommodate the pre-fitted speaker. This has been made possible by replacing the original can motor with a smaller coreless type, allowing the newly redesigned circuit board to be mounted lower in the chassis and creating enough space for the centrally mounted speaker.
Also modified is the lighting, which now features cab lights and DCC users are able to switch these on and off independently. A switch mounted on the PCB also allows the tail lights to be turned on and off on both DCC and Analogue control.
One lighting feature not updated are the rectangular marker lights at the outer edge of each WIPAC cluster. These are simply represented by a painted white rectangle, which is a shame given the investment in making other changes and adding additional lighting options.
Completing the upgrades to the electrical side is a NEXT-18 socket replacing the old solder pads for a wired decoder as found on the original PCB.
Pick up is via wipers on the outer axles on each bogie and the coreless motor gave excellent, smooth and quiet running across all speeds, with the model easily negotiated 2nd radius curves on the test track circuit. The chassis is also quite weighty, so it's unlikely to have any problems hauling prototypically long trains. Indeed it makes excellent motive power for the recently released Revolution Trains JNA/MMA box wagons, and the Colas Rail version will go well with the forthcoming Revolution Trains/Rails of Sheffield Drax IIA-D biomass hoppers.
Despite the body tooling now being 15 years old, and it beginning to show in some areas, the Graham Farish Class 60 still captures the imposing appearance of the prototype excellently. The chassis upgrades, coreless motor, pre-fitted speaker and NEXT-18 socket bring it bang up to date mechanically and electrically. The only area we would also liked to have seen upgraded is the missing lighting from WIPAC clusters. That aside, we feel the changes to the model are more than worthwhile, particularly for DCC users.
4 livery options have been released by Farish, with DCC ready versions now available, and DCC sound fitted options due to arrive later in the year/early 2023:
371-351A / 371-351ASF
Class 60 60044 'Ailsa Craig' Mainline Freight
371-358A / 371-358ASF
Class 60 60096 Colas Rail Freight
371-359 / 371-359SF
Class 60 60100 'Midland Railway - Butterley' DB Cargo
371-361 / 371-361SF
Class 60 60040 'The Territorial Army Centenary' DB Schenker/Army Red
The RRP is £159.95 for the DCC ready versions, and £259.95 for the DCC sound fitted option.
Also due for release later in the year are:
Class 60 60095 GBRf
371-364 / 371-364SF
Class 60 Graham Farish 50th Anniversary Collectors Pack
(RRP £224.95 for DCC ready & £324.95 for DCC sound fitted)
The model reviewed was purchased by the reviewer from Alton Model Centre for £135.95