'Toad' brake van and 'Catfish' ballast hopper revealed for 'N'

30 August 2022
Designed and 3D-printed by Devon-based Osborn's Models, rolling stock joins its expanding range of model exclusives.

A BR 19T 'Catfish' ballast hopper and GWR 20T brakevan for N gauge have been revealed as the latest 3D-printed ready-to-run products from Osborn's Models. The Bideford-based retailer has revealed its exclusive items in a press release, revealing that models will be manufactured in small batch quantities.

Commenting on the introduction of its new N gauge range of RTR wagons, the retailer said, "[...] to go along with the many wagon kits we produce, we will be producing some ready-to-run wagons as well, the first two are a 'Toad' brake van and a ZEV 'Catfish' ballast wagon."

Manufacturing the models in-house, and to order is said to allow the retailer to "produce different liveries quicker." 

Osbourn Models GWR 20T Toad brakevan

Fitted with Rapido-style couplings in NEM sockets for inter-compatibility with standard N gauge rolling stock, its (ALN072) GWR 20T brake van is pictured, numbered as 68856, attached to Bristol.

Prices for the new models are sub-£20, as follows:

  • (ALN072) GWR 20T brake van (with unpainted goods yard figure): £19.95
  • (ALN073) BR ZEV 'Catfish' ballast hopper, civil engineers grey/yellow: £17.95

Constructed from 1954s, the vacuum-braked 19T 'Catfish' hoppers were constructed in several batches by Metro-Cammell until 1961, their numbers totalling 761. They shared the same underframe as the 24.5T ballast hopper (later coded 'Dogfish' under TOPS), though only had a central discharge chute, which ended their lives sooner than the more versatile 'Dogfish' with a greater payload.

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Osborn Models ZEV Catfish ballast wagon N gauge

Some 'Catfish' wagons were repainted into engineers yellow and grey as late as 1994, though these wouldn't have seen much use. Vacuum-only braked rolling stock was banned on the British rail network from 2001.

Osborn's Models first release of the wagons in civil engineers grey and yellow makes the vehicles suitable for modellers of the mid-1980s to 1990s, the final livery applied to vehicles. A number of the prototypes have survived into preservation. Its next planned batch is to be released in BR black. Models are painted in-house, with lettering applied using UV-printing technology.

Meanwhile, for modellers of the GWR and BR Western Region, its GWR 20T 'Toad' brakevan should find a home behind many a freight working. The manufacturer has chosen one of the later AA20 variants, these seeing use well into BR days, though gradually falling out of favour as goods traffic declined, with later BR-built vehicles being preferred, instead.

For photographic inspiration on both prototypes, we'd recommend a visit to many of the heritage railways on which the remaining vehicles reside, in addition to online photographic collections.

To consult on the availability of both products, visit the Osborns Models website, or its store at 7 Honestone St. Bideford, Devon EX39 2DL


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