Rapido Trains 'Conflat' wagons

10 February 2023
Made and released to coincide with its new RTR Class 28 for N, this new rolling stock is examined by Howard Smith

Terence Cuneo’s 1959 painting ‘Night Freight’ immortalises a sense of optimism and the future of freight on Britain’s railways. Depicting a pair of newly-introduced Metro-Vick Type 2 Co-Bos (later Class 28), at the head of a rake of Conflat ‘P’ wagons – this was early block train movements of containerised goods. , Rapido Trains has also delivered models depicting the 60 BR modified Diagram 1/60 Conflat ‘P’ wagons, as rebuilt from Diagram 1/431 and 1/432 ‘plate’ wagons. Modifications to the original ‘plate’ wagons saw sides and floors removed, while fitment of roller bearings would improve reliability and decrease maintenance schedules. The suspension was revised too, while a new transverse bolster support allowed the vehicles to transport one Type BD and a Type A container.

Here's what we like about these new models:

Rapido Trains conflat

Two review samples were kindly sent by the manufacturer, both carrying the also newly-tooled 1:148 scale Dia. 3/050 Type BD and Dia. 3/001 Type A containers, two in crimson, two in later bauxite with ‘door to door’ branding. Their locations are guaranteed through small holes in the wagon chassis, into which small spigots on the containers fit.

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Rapido Trains N gauge conflat

From a detail perspective, the wagon chassis look great, with vacuum cylinder and diagonal pipe separately-applied to the underframe, complete with all its truss members. It’s a shame most aren’t seen with containers atop!


Rapido Trains conflat

My favourite aspects are the buffers, which have scaled down very well, and kinematic coupling housings, which, being screw-mounted, can be easily removed and substituted, if desired. Brake levers, brake shoes, and brake hangers have all scaled down well, too.


Rapido Trains conflat

The wagon chassis look at their best when unloaded, and the wheel profiles look great for the scale. In fact, if couplings were removed – achieved easily via a single screw – you could be fooled into thinking these were 4mm:1ft scale wagons...

What we noticed:

The models with containers are quite weighty for a two-axle design – five times the weight of a Peco two-axle seven-plank mineral. Some modellers have found that Rapido’s Class 28 is at its limits on a scale-length train of these wagons. Most of the weight is in the containers, however, and these can be carefully removed from wagons with relative ease by pulling to break the small glue bond. Once separated from wagons, the floor of the Rapido containers can be carefully levered out with a sharp knife to reveal a series of three weights that can be unscrewed from the floor. The number of weights can be returned according to preference – none, one, two, or as delivered, three.

Rapido trains conflat container

Spot the difference – as it happens, not as many as you'd expect on maroon container variants where tare, charge and loading capacities are displayed as identical for A and BD container sizes. Smallest of errors aside, these additions scale out beautifully for 2mm:1ft scale, being ideal for road vehicles too.

Rapido Trains conflat

Rapido has revealed that the back-to-back tolerances with the wagon chassis are too tight, acting as a brake on a limited number of wagons. Ours weren't affected and are both smooth runners, but it's worth checking. Plastic can be carefully filed away behind wheels if problematic.

Let's wish for a collectors' set of wagons, boxed with a Metrovick Co-Bo in Cuneo-inspired packaging, perhaps even with a die-cast Scammell Scarab? Rapido – please, make it so! Highly recommended.


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