11 March 2020
Andy York examines Britain’s updated Co-Co diesel-electric with revised air intakes, captured in N gauge by the Barwell manufacturer.
Shortly after the arrival of the Class 70 on these shores at the end of 2009 from General Electric in Pennsylvania, Bachmann released its first Class 70 model in December 2010 reflecting the condition as first delivered to Freightliner. From 70007 onwards there was a significant difference to the cab-sides, with the panel beneath the cab-side windows lacking a diagonal panel line, and this later style is reflected in this newly-tooled body from Farish.
During 2012 there were a few significant engine-room fires and a subsequent modification was for a large air-intake box to be fitted to the outside of the body, approximately two-thirds of the way along the bodyside. This appeared from new on the locomotives supplied for Colas (70801-70817) from 2014 and was retro-fitted to the Freightliner locomotives (70001-70020) during 2014, making this new model appropriate for current usage.
Eyes are drawn to the etched fan grilles on the roof which are fine yet very robust.
I am sure the Colas-liveried model will be very popular with modellers of the contemporary scene as photographs show they have appeared across swathes of the rail network, most often appearing on heavier infrastructure trains for Network Rail with loads of rail and stone. A regular freight working for Colas was hauling log trains to Kronospan at Chirk. Photographic evidence shows that they often run light engine between workings and are sometimes seen working in multiple with other class members and other Colas-liveried locomotives of Classes 56, 60 and 66, so there’s plenty of flexibility for usage.
We are already familiar with the earlier model, which is very well-regarded for its accuracy in shape, detail and decoration, and the bright and distinctive Colas livery is well-executed with good distinction between the coloured panels. There’s a mass of warning and information signs printed onto the model; nearly 140 of them to meet current safety standards – and most of those signs will need three different colours printing. I would love to see the masking and tampo-printing setup for that!
Farish’s usual excellent livery application brings much of the body detail to life and the numerous safety stickers on every panel are a remarkable achievement.
The representation of the doors and grilles on the body-sides is well executed but the handrails to the cab doors are a little overscale. That said, this is understandable given the size of the N gauge model to reduce the risk of damage to parts that are likely to be handled. The same applies to the grab handles at the top of the side panels as they would be difficult to replicate to scale in 2mm. I have noticed that there seems to be less relief around the sandboxes on the underframe tanks, particularly when viewed from the front three-quarter angle, as I think the tanks are a little over-wide to accommodate the circuitry for switching the directional tail lights on or off. The livery execution is tidy considering the difficulty of working over the door panels.
The body easily unclips from the chassis revealing the six-pin decoder socket on the top of the chassis block, which would be best suited to a direct plug-in decoder such as Bachmann’s 36-558A. A direct fit NEM-651 6-pin decoder is the best option to go with for DCC users.
Read the full review in the April 2020 issue of BRM, available from www.pocketmags.com/BRM