It’s been a tiring but rewarding weekend at The International N Gauge Show at Leamington.
As many will know our IZA Cargowaggon twin vans arrived with seconds to spare on Friday evening, meaning that our normally tidy stand became a scene of model mayhem – at least for the first few hours – with a combination of those keen to see our new offerings and those who’d come to collect their wagons.
Fortunately on both Saturday and Sunday things calmed down a little after lunch and we were able to see something of the show.
Cargowaggon vans waiting to be unloaded in the yard on Annston, a wonderfully atmospheric layout depicting a secondary line in the Midlands.
Most rewarding was seeing our Pendolinos, TEA tankers, Class B tankers and now Cargowaggon vans giving pleasure on so many of the layouts.
Back on the Revolution stand many came to see the factory painted samples of the new VEA vans. Once we have received and checked painted samples of all the variations in BR Maroon, BR Railfreight Red/Grey and RfD dark grey and yellow these models will go into production, and are expected by Q1 2019.
VEA van in the colour officially known as BR Maroon that really looks like brown.
The door handles are stamped metal to make them the correct profile, rather than the usual wire.
Many visitors commented on the exquisite underframe detail – such a distinctive feature of the prototype.
Those who were not admiring the VEAs or collecting Cargowaggons came to pick up our first “catalogue” – or rather, 4-page leaflet – showing all our plans for the next few months.
Below are all four pages so those who did not attend the show can see what we are offering:
In terms of timings, we are expecting to close the order book for the KFA container flats at the end of this month, and the Class 92s probably 4-6 weeks later.
We’ll most likely open the order book for the Sturgeon and HOA in a couple of weeks or so, followed by the Class 128, Cemflo and IPA toward the end of the year.
As well as offering what we hope our fellow enthusiasts will want, we are also trying to stagger our products to give supporters a chance to budget!
The Class 320/321 is expected to go to tooling very soon. Unfortunately Rapido trains are no longer able to produce this model for us, so we have decided to switch production to another manufacturer. Although we are sad Rapido will no longer be involved we would like to publicly thank them for their superb work so far which will help to ensure the finished model is of high quality.
It was a busy show at Warley for Revolution, and for our main manufacturing partner Rapido Trains, who were showing off several new models both for themselves and other customers.
However, with the Pendolino poised for delivery, and other models set to follow in turn, Rapido did tell us that for the next 12 months at least they anticipate that they will have a Revolution Trains item in production at all times at one of their two factories.
The rough schedule for 2018 is the 00 TEA tankers (spring), N KFA (early summer), N 92 (late summer) and N HOA hopper (late autumn) though of course this is subject to change. The Class 321 unit will follow on from the HOA if it reaches minimum order numbers.
IZA Cargowaggon twin van
Announced in June at the DEMU Showcase exhibition, the arrival of first tooled samples of the IZA Cargowaggon twin vans just five months later is something of a record for Revolution Trains.
This has come about because of the large number of orders we have already received – so thanks to everyone who has stepped forward to make this happen.
These models feature standard N gauge couplers on each end and a representation of the prototype’s screw coupling in the centre. The use of kinematic coupler pockets means the vehicles can be authentically close coupled without bufferlock or derailments on trainset curves.
The prototypes have the brake gear split across the wagons and cannot be operated individually. This was to take advantage of European grants available when they were manufactured in the mid 1980s. Naturally the Revolution model depicts these differences, with both air tanks on one wagon, and the hanbrakes on the other:
The model also features protypical differences in the ends, with single dumb buffers on the inner faces, and the frames are separate parts to allow the distinctive circular cut outs to be present:
These mouldings will now be checked and assessed, and any minor amendments made, before livery samples are prepared.
Please note that these models are assembled or test purposes from mouldings only, an do not feature the fine wire handrails at the ends and the springing in the couplers, which will be self-centering on production models.
For those who handled them at Warley they will also be weighted, as with all our models, to NMRA standards.
We expect them to go into production February – March 2018, with the order book closing shortly beforehand.
HOA stone hopper
We had not expected to show any progress on these models at Warley, but Rapido surprised us by bringing two 3D prints produced from the recently approved CAD drawings.
These show both variants – the original EWS Construction type at the rear, with the body-mounted handbrakewheel and four strengthening plates on the sides, and the new built VTG versions with bogie mounted handbrakewheels and six plates.
Being 3D prints they are a little rough in parts, and lack the finesse and structural strength of plastic moulded parts (so some of the thinner components are slightly deformed) but they indicate to us that the design looks good, sits well and that the bogies and couplers being reused from our TEA tankers look right.
VTG new build version
EWS construction original type
These models are expected to go into production after the Class 92s scheduled for next summer.
We will be opening the order book shortly, and as ever would urge our supporters to order early as this generates the funding to complete the tooling and development work all the quicker.
KFA container flat
These models are undergoing final running tests in Canada and are ready to go into production in late February – March 2018.
Livery drawings are being worked on at the moment, but for these wagons the painting and lettering is far more straightforward than for the Pendolino or TEA tankers.
Class 320/321 EMU
CAD drawings of this model are now complete and if the orders had been satisfactory this model would now be in tooling. However, orders have not matched the expressions of interest we received when we first proposed this model. This is a pity as we are sure, given the quality of the models from Rapido so far and the CAD drawings they have sent us, that they’ll make a superb job of this train.
Class 321 DTCO
Class 320/321 DTSO
The model will have full interior detail and provision for the fitting of lightbars, along with numerous separate parts on the underframes of the trailer cars.
Class 321 DTCO interior
The power chassis mechanism is also hidden below window height, and this model will feature a Next 18 decoder meaning that sound options are more straightforward.
Class 320/321 PMSO interior showing chassis arrangement and decoder
For smoother running power will be collected from all wheels, as on our Pendolino, and all bogies, including those on the power car, will feature low drag axle-point pick ups.
Class 320/321 power bogie with outer mouldings removed to show pick-ups
We’d like to thank all those who’ve ordered extra sets in an effort to “help it over the line” but we really need to get the message to those who said they want one but haven’t yet ordered.
Revolution takes each model as a separate project, and we need to impress upon supporters that while we have enjoyed considerable success with “big ticket” models such as the Pendolino and Class 92, they should not assume that models will automatically happen.
We need people to step forward and order the models they want!
Suburban commuter EMUs may not have the cachet of the Pendolino, but they are an important part of the current scene and to model a complete railway we need the humdrum as well as the glamorous.
Also, the drivetrain, chassis and bogies from the 321 will lead us to a number of other useful models should it reach production.
We do understand that funds are sometimes limited, which is why we have introduced a staggered payment plan, and that some customers may be waiting for their Pendolinos before committing, so we are we will make a final decision on the 320 / 321 based on orders at 31 March 2018. If by then we have reached the minimum order numbers needed then we’ll go ahead; if not then we will reluctantly have to refund everyone who has put money into this model.
As a reminder here are the livery options and prices:
Please note current Northern livery is also still available to order.
Rapido have sent through revised CADs showing all four vehicles that comprise the Class 321 unit.
The 4-car 321s are formed of DTCO-PMSO-TSOL-DTS. The Scottish 3-car units are comprised of DTS-PMSO-DTS.
Driving Trailer Composite Open
Pantograph Motor Open Standard
Trailer Standard Open Lavatory
Driving Trailer Standard Open
The new CADs incorporate improvements to the windscreen area, front air dam and also feature interiors.
There are a few further refinmenents required. Once the CADs are approved we will be ready to move to tooling. At this time we would encourage anyone interested in this model who has not already pre-ordered to sign up.
Rapido are making more progress on the Class 390 Pendolino models which are now in production and still scheduled for delivery toward the end of the summer.
This image from a couple of weeks ago shows power cars awaiting their final black and white passes and then tampo printing and assembly.
The Dapol model of Class 66 66418 “Patriot” which is raising money for ABF the Soldiers’ charity through Project Railway Honour has proved remarkably popular. As well as providing web hosting and an ordering interface, Revolution Trains stepped in to send out these models when Gareth, the man behind the project, was deployed overseas.
Unfortunaely, the recent arrival of the Class 92 sample and Class 321 CAD drawings, along with our attendance at the DEMU Showcase last weekend, has meant that there have been delays in sending out orders lodged in the last few weeks.
These will be sent out as soon as possible and we would ask supporters of Project Railway Honour to bear with us.
Hot on the heels of the first sample of the Revolution Trains Class 92 come first CAD drawings for the previously announced Class 320/321 EMUs.
The drawing is still in its early stages, and some details, such as couplers and interiors, are missing, as are the gangway bellows and end corridor doors.
This vehicle is the Class 321 DTCO. Once the designers know we are happy with the shape and detailing they will use them as the basis for the other vehicles in the 4-car unit, as all the sections are fairly modular.
We feel the distinctive front end has been well captured, though the corner cutouts at the top of the windscreen should only be present on the non-driver side.
The Class 320 units used in Scotland are 3-car sets and have DTSO vehicles at both ends, with no DTCO.
These units are still available to order; however we will be rationalising the liveries down fairly soon as some are nowhere near minimum order quantities.
We have been holding off this task until CADs are received in the hope that once potential supporters see evidence of the likely quality and fidelity of the model they will decide to take the plunge. If you are interested in a particular livery we urge you to back it before it has to be dropped.
2016 has been a landmark year for Revolution, and as it draws to a close it seemed appropriate to look back and thank everyone who has suppported us.
In February, at Model Rail Scotland, we unveiled the first working sample of our Class 390 in N. The model had been handpainted – partly for marketing purposes, but mainly to confirm that the laser-scanned body-shape was correct as all the colours “sit” correctly.
However we did find that in their efforts to make them as unobtrusive as possible Rapido’s engineers had made the inter-car couplers too flimsy, and we asked for a redesign.
In March, to assist with our proposed Class 321 EMU, we were invited by Eversholt and Wabtec to their workshops at Doncaster where the prototypes are being rebuilt under Project Renatus.
This enabled us to compile a detailed collection of photographs and measurements of the many underframe components; though in turn this has created quite a headache for Rapido as it means the drawings of this model have proved to be significantly more complex than originally expected – and Rapido are renowned sticklers for underframe detailing!
At Easter at the York Model Railway Show we announced plans for a KFA container flat in N. This wagon represents one of the “missing links” in N, and with a good quality model already available in OO from Hornby there seemed little prospect of it appearing from Farish or Dapol.
Like the well-received TEA tankers our model is being produced by Rapido and will feature a plastic deck with metal longitudinals to maximise weight and ensure good running, even when unloaded.
Going one further than the 4mm model, we are offering both build types – with the VNH-1 bogies and Gloucester GPS types. These wagons will be useful for anyone depicting the late 80s to the present day.
With months the CAD designs were approved, the model sent for tooling and we have just been sent images of the first moulded shots – see news item immediately preceding this one.
In June we heard from Rapido that the TEA tanker was going into production. However, the models took significantly longer to actually produce than expected – because the many markings on the tanker barrel could not be tampo printed in a single pass, due to the its curved shape.
In the end, and depending on the livery, each barrel took at least three passes per colour per side – for some model that made a total of more than a dozen separate applications. Add to that the many different detail parts – up to 70, for some configurations – and it is not surprising that the factory later informed us that these models were among the most intricate they had ever been tasked to produce.
By the DEMU Showcase exhibition in July we had received a second Pendolino sample with modified couplers. This was immediately tested and while the robustness of the new couplers was immediately apparent, there were still some issues with the performance on tight “train set” curves. After a couple of weeks of ongoing testing to establish where corrections were needed, the another redesign began.
The first sample of the OO TEA – announced after many requests from 4mm modellers – were also on show for the first time. These models are now being rest run and we are expecting production in the New Year.
Revolution 00 TEA tankers under test on Guy Molyneux’s “Whatley” layout
At TINGS in September we unveiled plans for another 1960s era model – the Class B tanker. We had tried to offer a model previously to enthusiasts favouring this era but the Class 21/29 did not earn adequate support to proceed. Following a well argued campaign from enthusiasts on the web we decided to offer the Class B tanker.
These distinctive wagons were seen across the network from the late 1950s to the 1990s in both block trains and cut into mixed freights in smaller numbers. Many modellers will remember them with nostalgia as the subject of the popular Airfix 4mm kit.
We have already had CAD drawings produced in an effort to encourage interest, however so far the response has been disappointing. We will give this model until February 2017 to gather enough support, otherwise it will be cancelled.
We also announced 40’hi-cube containers – the world’s most numerous type – in N in conjunction with C-Rail and first samples were unveiled before Christmas. Six liveries will be available – Maersk, MSC, Hamburg Sud, Hanjin, Evergreen, and UASC.
Shortly after TINGS – in October – we received word from Rapido that the production TEA tankers had landed, and so it was that we spent three weekend packing and dispatching Britain’s first ever crowdfunded RTR models – to universal acclaim.
One magazine wrote that the models were a “benchmark for quality, fidelity and value” while another reviewer felt that they were “exquisite, in terms of prototype fidelity, decoration and performance.”
Photo: Andy York
Included with the TEA tankers were a flyer announcing our next powered model in N – the Class 92 electric.
These much-requested locomotives fit in well with our West Coast theme, and we have secured the full co-operation of Brush Traction, enabling a research visit to be arranged shortly after.
The response to this model has been excellent, and with the assistance of Brush engineers and others progress has been rapid, with CADs now complete with tooling expected to begin in January.
Our last major date in 2016 was the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC in late November, where once again we were able to meet many of our supporters – and others – and announce another new model: the HOA hopper.
Original EWS Construction is one of five liveries on offer
Response to this model has been exceptionally good and already the design work has begun, with 3D CADs expected early in 2017.
So as 2016 draws to a close we look back on a year in which we have delivered our first model, tooled two more, completed or continued design work on three more and announced a fourth and fifth.
Next year – with the continued help of all our supporters – we look forward to delivering more models and offering more choices.
To sum up, we would like to thank everyone who has ordered from us, the model railway press, RM Web and the N Gauge Forum and exhibition organisers for enabling us to communicate with and meet our supporters, and our Rapido Trains colleagues in Canada and China who have delivered such fabulous models.
Or, in the words of one respected magazine assessing our TEA tankers: “Revolution has definitely delivered a quality product and there is much more to come…”
We recently travelled to Wabtec at Doncaster to complete the research work on the Class 321 units, in preparation for the CAD work to begin.
While we had been provided with copies of numerous original BREL drawings, dating from the 1970s and 80s, there were some areas where further work was needed – particularly on the underframe details.
Wabtec’s Doncaster works is the home of Eversholt Rail’s “Renatus” project, a major refit and refurbishment programme for their Class 321 units.
30 units are being rebuilt for Abellio Greater Anglia (though the franchise may change hands during the life of the programme) and the team at Wabtec have worked had to create a workable system.
The project sees the interiors and much of the electrical equipment stripped out and replaced with new interiors, air conditioning and new traction and electrical equipment.
The bogies are remain largely unaltered, since the basic design is sound, but powered vehicles will receive new traction motors. The opportunity to get close when the bogie is away from its unit is very useful from a research point of view.
Of course the main aim was to check the dimensions, positioning and appearance of all the various components on the underframe of these vehicles. Despite the increasing use of laser scanning and other modern methods sometimes the best approach is to use an old-fashioned and manually operated tape measure – expertly deployed here by volunteer helper Paul!
Once again Revolution would like to thank Renatus Project Manager Chris Jenner, on the right, of Eversholt Rail, the owners of the Class 321 units, for offering us excellent access to ensure we can produce an accurate and detailed model.
As we left we did come across this unit – I understand it’s been used as a demonstrator for possible future users of the Renatus 321s. At the moment we have no plans to offer this as a potential additional livery version!
You can order your Revolution N Gauge 321 models via our shop pages here.
Don’t miss the earlyBird!
Please note that our earlyBird prices are only available until the end of June, so order before then to secure a saving of £15 on the regular price! You qualify for the full earlyBird discount whether you pay in full or pay just the deposit.
The order page for our upcoming Class 320 and 321 units is now live, and offering special Early-Bird prices.
The discount prices will be available until the end of June, then the models will still be available to order but at the higher price. The aim is to encourage our supporters to back the project sooner rather than later so we can get on with it more quickly!
For the Class 320 three-car units the Early Bird price is £165 (DC) and £260 (DCC Sound)
From July 1st the standard price will be £180 (DC) and £275 (DCC Sound)
For the Class 321 four-car units the Early Bird price is: £190 (DC) and £285 (DCC Sound)
From July 1st the standard price will be £205 (DC) and £300 (DCC Sound)
You can either pay in full, or pay a deposit now and the balance when your model is cleared for production.
And you qualify for the Early-Bird price even if you pay just the deposit!
If you don’t want to commit now, but don’t want to miss out on the Early-Bird price, then we suggest you register for our newsletters without obligation as we will be sending out reminders direct to all subscribers as the deadline approaches.
London Midland in… Scotland?
Incidentally, some customers may have noticed that we have also decided to offer, as a possible, the Class 320 in unbranded London Midland livery. This is because some are now in service in Scotland in these colours, as this photo by Tom Smith illustrates, with 320411 leading an unidentified unit in Scotrail Saltire livery out of Glasgow Central.
Development of our forthcoming class 321 Electric Multiple Unit saw us travel to Old Dalby in Leicestershire recently where Eversholt allowed us close up access to one of their units.
This unit was the test bed for a series of life-extension alterations to the interior and traction equipment under the “Renatus” project.
30 units are being modified; the modifications include the fitting of new fully accessible toilets and full air conditioning. Apart from the fairings for the air-con units on the roofs the the exteriors of the trains are not being significantly altered as they are judged to have aged well – both materially and in style.
The opportunity was taken to photograph all aspects of the vehicle – both inside and out. Some of the underslung equipment on this unit is new. This will not be depicted as our model will represent units prior to the conversion work.
We were accompanied by a colleague from Rapido and the photographs, measurements and drawings already received will enable work on the CAD drawings to get underway now.
We’d like to extend our thanks to Chris Jenner (aka Mr 3-2-1) who is managing the Renatus project – seen here on the left with Revolution’s Mike Hale – and to everyone who made us welcome.
Design work is now underway on our next powered model, the Class 320/321 electric multiple units.
We have received numerous drawings and we will shortly be undertaking a research trip to measure and photograph the prototype thanks to owners Eversholt.
These are just a small portion of the drawings we’ve received, and as with our other models Rapido’s designers will combine them with other data to produce a 3D CAD model that will be used to cut the tooling.
The CAD drawings will be carefully scrutinised and will be shown on our website here so our customers and supporters can give feedback. We are convinced this will enable us to produce a great model.
So far three versions of the Class 321 are confirmed: London Midland, First and Network South East, and one version of the Class 320: Scotrail Saltire.
London Midland 321413, 321416, 321417 (this unit has been used on the GE mainline)
First Capital Connect: 321402, 321408
Network South East: 321401, 321423
Class 320 3-car units in use in Scotland:
320315 (this unit was the first to be painted, so covers the maximum time period) , 320318.
We are also considering offering a 3-car 320 unit in unbranded London Midland livery, as some (such as 320411) are now in operation with Scotrail but still carrying the attractive LM colours.
There will be a special early bird discount for those ordering these models early, as this helps us move the project along more quickly.
And as we progress with development we are confident other liveries will reach the minimum threshold required for production, so please support any favourites you may have.
As promised we have been totting up the results and initial results are as follows:
Class 320/321/456 project: the levels of interest in this project are very promising and we are 99% certain that the project can begin design. The only area that we are still finalising is the cost for the units – until we have a confirmed price we will not open orders. As soon as we have a price we will open orders for the 320/321 with a deposit option and with incentives for people who back us early.
Ordering for the 320 and 321 will ask for livery choices. There will definitely be 321/4s in NSE and London Midland livery (possibly two numbers for each livery). After that livery choices become more complicated as there is no overwhelming favourites so we will narrow down some of the livery choices and ask people to specify a second choice if they pick one of the non-guaranteed liveries – we will include both an undecorated option and a white primed option. Where we have listed livery A or livery B we have to make a decision as to which livery to offer as none of the livery choices were clear winners so we will try to narrow things down slightly. We will almost certainly have to drop certain liveries (including the attractive One livery!) as there was insufficient interest. The non-guaranteed liveries are not set in stone yet so please don’t send us lots of emails complaining that we haven’t included your personal favourite!
Guaranteed liveries: NSE and London Midland
Non-guaranteed liveries: Great Eastern; Silverlink County; WYPTE Metro or Northern; First; one of the 320 liveries: Strathclyde PTE orange, SPT Carmine/Cream or Scotrail
Liveries likely to be dropped (to be confirmed): One; Abellio, National Express
We haven’t forgotten the 456 – the news on this was more mixed. Whilst there was interest in a 456 there was insufficient interest (by a reasonably convincing margin) to justify tooling the differences between a 321 and 456 (most notably the window differences in the 456 driving car that had a toilet (later removed but no window put in)). Please leave that with us for the time being as we consider the options. It may be that we come back to people who expressed interest in a 456 to ask their views on various options.
Class 21/29 project
Unfortunately the results of the 21/29 project were not so promising with neither the class 21 or class 29 getting sufficient support to justify production as things stand. To be frank both locos were significantly below production minimums. Even in the situation where we only produced one of the classes (and customers had agreed to swap their interest to that class (it would have been a class 29 as it was approximately 50% more popular than a 21) we would still have been significantly below the minimum production run.
We will continue discussions with Dapol to encourage them to produce this missing loco and we will let our supporters if there is any progress.