Two weeks ago I had a nice surprise in the post, a parcel with a box of three TEA oil tanker wagons from Revolution Trains. This is a crowd funding venture from Ben Ando and Mike Hale working with Rapido Trains who are producing a number of out of the ordinary N gauge railway wagons and locos to fill some of the gaps left by the major manufacturers. This is the first time that I have bought something from a crowd funding source. It has taken 18 months from placing the order to getting the models, which is a lot longer than buying something on E-Bay, but I’m told that this is a reasonable time for this sort of thing. The main thing though is that it is a really good way to get something that other manufacturers consider not worth bothering with.
I ordered a pack of three to go on my Haverfordwest layout to add to my Murco train. Until now the only suitable oil tanker wagons available have been the old Graham Farish ones. They were slightly re-worked by Bachmann, with lower profile wheel flanges than the old ones from Graham Farish’s Poole factory, but are still basically the same.
It’s difficult to compare these new wagons with the old ones as it’s like comparing chalk with cheese. One good example of this is with the catwalks at the top of the wagon. The Farish ones are just a solid lump with surface detail, which probably was state of the art when they were first produced. The Revolution ones though are made up from open metal mesh and so mimic the real thing and look immensely better. They also have the fuel discharge pipes that are completely missing from the Farish ones, plus a host of other details below the tank that are non-existent on the Farish ones.
The ladders at one end are nicely done. There seems to be a good compromise between having scale thicknesses, and making them sturdy enough to be handled without the risk of falling apart. The wagons also seem to have a complete set of markings on them. I am a military modeller rather than a railway one, so I can’t comment on how accurate the markings are, but comparing them with the photos that I have of the real thing, Revolution Trains seem to have included all of them, and with good clear definition as well.
The only thing that I needed to do was to add a bit of grime to the wagons. I walked past Cardiff Central station the other day and saw a train of Murco wagons going through. I know this is now several years since these wagons came into use, but now they are absolutely covered in grime. I spent about 20 years of my career testing petrol and diesel pumps (to check the quantity dispensed), so I do have some experience of handling petroleum products. The main problem isn’t anything to do with stains from the fuel itself, which is either clear for petrol or golden/yellow-ish for diesel and between the two for Kerosene or Aviation Fuel, but a thin layer of fuel will run over the tops of the wagons when they are filled up at the refinery, and this thin layer of fuel acts as a magnet for any dust in the air, or anything kicked up from the railway track or brakes, or from the loco’s exhaust.
My favourite weathering material for locos and wagons are the Tamiya weathering sets, as you can see here. They are a slightly waxy material that adheres well to the satin finish of these wagons.
The main colour that I used was “Mud.” The Tamiya packs come with an applicator with a foam rubber pad at one end and a brush at the other. In this pack the foam rubber pad had worn away, and so I used a cotton bud instead, which worked equally as well. I applied the material in downward strokes, to get the streaking effect of the real thing. You will also need to make sure that you get some around the base of the catwalks, but you need to be careful doing this. I accidentally broke off one of the catwalk side extensions over the filler cap with some slightly too vigorous weathering. This was easily corrected by using some Deluxe Materials Aliphatic glue applied to the pins that were put back into the holes that it came out of. This particular adhesive sets a lot slower than any of the cyanoacrylate super glues, but you can easily wipe off any excess glue, and it dries completely clear like PVA White Wood Glue, but with a lot stronger bond.
In this photo you can compare the filler cap to the left that is un-weathered with the other two that have been. For the timescale of my layout these would have been brand new wagons, and so just some light weathering was all that was needed.
The only other thing to do was to add some “Sand” colour to the bogies, this time using the applicator as supplied by Tamiya. Again, just a light covering to tone down the paintwork as much as anything to represent some of the grime picked up from the brakes and track.
And here it is with a light coat of weathering. All three wagons in the pack were weathered the same way, and at the same time to ensure some consistency in the finish. The only thing left to do was to run the wagons on my Murco train on my Haverfordwest layout.
The delivery of these wagons was perfect timing as last weekend I exhibited my layout at the Cardiff Model Railway Exhibition as part of the South Wales MAFVA display. I have attended this show for a number of years as a member of the public, and since starting my Haverfordwest layout I have been there for the last few years either with my layout or giving a model-making demonstration. I always find this a really good show to attend. Well organised and very friendly with a good selection of layouts and traders to see. Anyway, back to my layout.
I tried several different combinations on my oil train. Initially I had two of the new wagons together as in this photo, and later split them up in between the Graham Farish wagons. I am pleased to say that these new wagons ran really well. I have had to add some strips of lead to each of the Graham Farish tanker wagons as they just bounced around going over the points/turn-outs. but these Revolution Trains wagons already felt heavy enough. By mixing the two types of wagon together on the train I didn’t have any major derailments all weekend. Any un-couplings that I did get seemed to be between the Farish wagons.
My overall view of these Revolution Trains TEA wagons is that they are well worth the price and they certainly enhance both the appearance and running qualities of my Murco train.
Here you can see the complete oil train hauled by a Class 60 loco, and with the three Revolution Trains TEA wagons. In this photo they are passing a train of Armoured Ambulance vehicles, with a train of Warriors in the sidings waiting to go into the Goods Yard. If you want to see this layout in operation, I am displaying it at a one day show in Didcot on 29th October, and then hopefully next year at the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition in Thornbury at the end of April/beginning of May.