24 February 2023
Modifications to previously-released 4mm:1ft scale tooling promised for new models, due for release Q1, 2024.
Accurascale has acquired tooling for the Class 66 for OO gauge from Hattons Model Railways, which it is modifying in preparation for release of six new iterations of the Class, expected for release in 2024. Meanwhile, tooling for newly-imported 'European spec' locomotives is reportedly being developed for future production runs.
The modification to the Hattons tooling is now reportedly complete, and production for the first batch of six different running numbers/liveries will soon begin, with 'Accurascale Exclusives' special editions to follow later. Delivery is slated for Q1, 2024, with prices of £169.99 for DC/DCC ready and £259.99 DCC sound-fitted.
Accurascale said, "When entering the British outline market five years ago, Accurascale were aware of the highly impressive model of the Class 66 that Hattons Model Railways had developed in house and released onto the market. This model received great acclaim, winning numerous awards. In late 2022 a deal was struck between [us] to take on the tooling, and further enhance the locomotive in running characteristics, detail variation and electronics to match it to the level of the rest of the Accurascale locomotive range. This model will now be a part of the Accurascale range going forwards."
The Class 66 was announced at Model Rail Scotland at the SECC, Glasgow this morning, with an EP sample on display on Accurascale’s stand.
Enhanced features promised are as follows:
- Axle boxes redesigned to make them more secure and ensure smooth running (drawing on experience with the IRM A Class)
- Decoder access improved by the provision of a lift-off roof section which also reveals the switches for DC operation
- Enhanced PCB featuring pogo connectors and twin speakers – a sugar cube speaker and 'Accurathrash' bass reflex speaker
- Lighting revised to provide accurate representation of day, night and yard mode in all configurations
- Hall sensor fitted to DCC sound models to automatically activate flange squeal on tighter radii
- Cab bulkheads and control pedestal are now moulded with details in relief each end is correct with either single or twin entrance door
- Coil springs on the bogie now rotating in the correct direction
- Cab access step and handrails have been moved from body mount to chassis mount to allow for breakage free access to chassis (if fitting crew)
Accurascale has modified the already extensive tooling, allowing for different evolutions across the life of the real locomotives with the following extra changes:
- Addition of a second style of cab interior, relevant to the model. Either the original pedestal type cab or later wrap-around desk
- Two different types of sandpipe fixture on the bogie; angled or straight
- Addition of square cut out guard irons for relevant locomotives
- Cab front handrails now with option of five- point or seven-point mounting with round profile handrail mounts
Six different locomotives are promised to make up the first production run as follows:
66004 – DB Climate Hero Livery. The third Class 66 to land on British soil back in 1998, 66004 was treated to its eye catching ‘Climate Hero’ livery during 2021 as part of a program to promote freight on rail by owners DB. 66004 runs on a diet of hydrogenated vegetable oil, living up to its ‘climate hero’ credentials.
66167 – DB Traffic Red. 66167 is carrying the current vibrant house colours of owner DB. Testament to the quality of repaint back in 2019, the locomotive still looks fresh today and can be seen all across the network.
66171 – EWS Maroon and Gold. Approaching 25 years old and still in its original maroon and gold, 66171 has had additional warning labels, but still carries the moniker of its original owner, EWS.
66122 – DRS. The universal nature of the Class 66 means that transfers and sales between owners/operators are relatively common. 66122 was one of several locomotives hired by DRS and as such carries DB modifications like auto couplers and wing mirrors but the house colours of new operator DRS.
66507 – Freightliner Green and Yellow. Freightliner was the second operating company to enter the Class 66 game with the first of its locomotives arriving in 1999. Nicknamed 'freds' - a portmanteau of Freightliner and Shed, 66507 represents the standard freightliner Class 66 of the early noughties.
66763 – GBRf. Nearing the end of Class 66 orders, production was shifted to Muncie in the USA. This change carried with it subtle differences that we can see on this model. Named Severn Valley Railway in 2016, it can be seen with the current day ‘europorte’ branding removed.