KFA

KFA – coming this way!

The Revolution Trains KFA container flats are now in the final stages of production.

Rapido’s factory have sent images showing the painted and printed decks being prepared for final assembly, packing and shipping.

Customers who have pre-ordered and paid in full will receive their models as soon as we can send them, while those who have some payments remaining on their balance will receive reminders in due course, and once these are settled the models will be dispatched.

Anyone who missed out on these models before the pre-order deadline may be able to obtain them from our selected retailers, however the price will be higher than the crowdfunded one.

Revolution Warley Washdown Part 2: Timetables, Twinsets and Mountain Movers

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.

KFA samples received for testing

Revolution have received the first samples of the upcoming KFA flat from Rapido who are designing and manufacturing the model for us.

The models look as impressive to hand as they did in the photos we were sent previously.

The first question – would the upcoming 40’hi-cube containers we are producing with C-Rail, and those made by other manufacturers, fit?  Theoretically they should, but…

As can be seen, the (unpainted) sample of our 40′ hi-cube on the rear wagon fits well and gives the characteristic “stepping” effect between with hi-cube and standard height containers.

The other containers shown are standard 20′ containers produced by Graham Farish and these have small corner pegs that fit perfectly too.

As well as completed wagons we were sent components, and these were sprayed grey to make them easier to examine.

The central spine is metal to add much needed weight.

The bogies are a little indistinct in the images above, so here are some cruel close-ups.  The model is being offered in versions with two bogies – the Gloucester GPS type as fitted to the very first batch of 20 wagons:

…and the VNH-1 type fitted to the remaining 200.  Apologies for the slightly blurred image.

These samples are the first to be produced from the tooling and there are some issues to be corrected.  There are sink holes on the buffer heads and one of the decks is slightly bowed, but these will all be corrected for production.

We have also started test running them.

IMG_5148

Once they have passed further running tests we will approve them for production.

Please also note that the Revolution/Rapido Trains TEA tanker wagons have been nominated for N Gauge model of the year, as per the news item below.   If you have not voted, and want to support us, please take the opportunity to vote.

 

KFAs coming together…

Assembled samples of the forthcoming PFA/KFA container flats in N have been received by Rapido in Canada and are being tested.

These models were put together using some of the very first sprues out of the mould.

The high levels of detail we were expecting from Rapido are evident with lots of separate parts and even an etched brass cover over the cosmetic coupler fixing at the end to give an authentic “see through” appearance.

The pipework and cross bracing also looks commendably fine, though of course this can be better judged when we see the models for ourselves.  The longitudinal members below the deck are cast in metal to maximise weight, though the spindly nature of these wagons means, inevitably, they will be a little light.

Both types of bogie (top VNH-1, bottom Gloucester GPS) can be seen here:

According to Rapido there are some issues around the moulding of some of the parts – one of the decks is a tiny bit bowed and the buffer heads have small sinkholes – but these will be ironed out as they were with the TEA tankers when the tools are prepped for production moulding.

The wagons are being delivered to us next week when we meet with Rapido’s MD Jason Shron and the designer working on these models; this will give us the chance to examine and test run them for ourselves.

Assuming this goes according to plan we will be in a position to check liveries and begin production fairly soon.

If you are intersted in acquiring some of these models but have not yet ordered then please do so soon, or at least register for our email updates so you don’t miss out.

Remember – we only produce models to order, which may explain why a triple pack of our highly regarded TEA tankers recently sold on Ebay for £190 – a profit of £100 on the original £90 price or a cool 111% yield!

A Revolution Review of 2016

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.

Quarter 1

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!

 

Quarter 2

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.

Quarter 3

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.

Quarter 4

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…”

See you in 2017!

 

KFA first mouldings

Rapido have sent us images of the first mouldings to emerge from the tool for the upcoming KFA container flat.

The deck is a plastic moulding to ensure adequate levels of detail, and at each end the rebates for the kinematic close-coupling mechanism are visible.

To add rigidity, and more importantly weight, the longitudinals are being cast in metal.  These will also help to anchor the close coupling units aswell as some of the brake details.

Just like our well-regarded TEA tanker wagons, these container flats will have numerous separately fitted detail parts including air tanks, pipe runs, brake rigging and handbrake wheels and will also feature prototypical detail differences between the two variants including accurate bogies and buffers.

We expect to receive fully assembled samples very soon, and once these have been test run and approved we will commence production.

Thanks to all who have supported this project so far.  There is still time to order your models, though we expect to close the order book fairly soon assuming all is well with the working samples.

If you do not wish to order now but do not want to miss out we suggest you register without obligation for email news updates.

KFA container flat in tooling

We thought our customers might like to see a short video we received from Rapido Trains showing progress on the KFA container flat.

This is a link to it on our You Tube page:

This still image shows the mould that will create the distinctive frame of the wagon:

img_4788

We had hoped to have some mouldings to display at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC next weekend, but that is now looking unlikely with first samples expected early in December.

World’s most common container from Revolution

Revolution Trains is teaming up with C-Rail Intermodal to produce the 40′ hi-cube container – the world’s most common type – in British N Gauge 1:148 scale.

It’s the first time this type of container has been produced in the scale, and will enable British N gauge enthusiasts to run intermodal trains with the characteristic stepping now so widespread.

Maersk 40′ Hi-Cube container alongside standard height Maersk 20′ container on Tiphook KFA flat being operated by Freightliner on Leeds-Felixtowe train at Whittlesea.

The containers have been optimised to fit Revolution’s forthcoming KFA Intermodal flat, however they will also be compatible with intermodal wagons from Graham Farish and Dapol.

Initially we are offering six models in the colours some of the world’s biggest shipping companies.

They are Maersk, MSC, Hamburg Sud, Evergreen, Hanjin and UASC.

40' Maersk 40' MSC

40' Hamburg Sud 40' Evergreen

40' Hanjin40' UASC

These models are available to order immediately, with delivery expected early next year.

As ever, only models ordered by the deadline will be produced. We will send out email reminders before the order book closes so please register on our website, without obligation, to avoid missing out.

KFA refinements

We have been refining the CAD drawings for the KFA container flat wagon that is in development.

The response to this model has been very encouraging and we are confident that the CAD drawings will be signed off before the end of the Early-Bird price period, meaning that no one needs to commit without having a good idea of the look of the final model.

One thing that vexed us was how to arrange the container mountings.  Unfortunately, models by existing manufacturers each have a different system for fixing 40′, 30′ or 20′ containers (which are the right ones for this wagon.)

Farish containers are designed for the now antiquated FFA container flat, with small spigots on the lower bodyside.  These would not be feasible on our model.  Dapol containers have large 1.1mm spigots on each corner.  We produced a CAD showing how these might be incorporated, but feel that the necessarily chunky design would compromise the accuracy of the model too much.

This image shows the first CAD, produced from our research drawings and featuring twistlock points of roughly scale size:

KFA 7

This image shows the same model with mounting points for Dapol containers.   They protrude considerably, and would significantly detract from the model in our view:

N24c KFA Type 1 Dapol 2

These two close-up images of the same area on the wagon show the issue:

N24c 1Twistlock

 

For this reason we have decided to revert to the original spigot design, for accuracy, on the basis that it would be simple enough to remove the spigots from Dapol containers to ensure they fit, and they can be held in position by tackywax or double sided tape.

We are also actively investigating other potential solutions.

The latest iteration of the CAD also shows the version with rectangular buffers, VNH-1 bogies and body-mounted hand-brake wheels.  The missing TOPS panels and some other small details have also been incorporated into the model now.

N24a KFA Type 2 Dapol

With a few slight tweaks (including reverting to the scale twistlocks) and once we have confirmed the addition of NEM couplers in kinematic body-mounts, we would anticipate these diagrams being ready for approval.

Tiphook PFA/KFA container flat next N Gauge wagon from Revolution

Revolution Trains next model will portray the single unit PFA/KFA container flats built for Tiphook from 1987-88.

Nearly 250 of these wagons were built by Rautaruukki of Finland: the first 40 numbered TIPH93242-81 and delivered with Gloucester GPS bogies, the remainder numbered TIPH93290-489 and fitted with Sambre & Meuse VNH-1 bogies. (The VNH-1 bogies look very similar to cast-frame Y25 bogies but have some structural differences.)

Originally they were all coded PFA under TOPS, however this was soon changed to KFA.

KFA_93394_TIPH_TomSmith-XL

(Photo courtesy: Tom Smith)

The first wagons were used to carry contaminated spoil from Chatham Dockyard to Stewartby in Bedfordshire; over the years they have been used for domestic refuse, containerised paper from Fort William, gypsum, MOD traffic and intermodal services.

The map shows primary flows since 2010.  Currently they are in use with Freightliner on intermodal services, DB Cargo on intermodal and MOD traffic, GBRf for containerised gypsum and Network Rail for RHTT and other engineering modules.  As the map shows they travel widely, and there are often other short term flows for specific contracts; and the map does not show Network Rail trains as these can travel recently – a pair of KFAs were recently recorded at Victoria station!

KFA route map 1MB

 

Because they have buffers at both ends the wagons are more flexible than other container units that are often in fixed rakes, hence their longevity.

_MG_7421

Like our popular TEA tankers, the model is being produced for us by Rapido Trains of Canada.

To ensure adequate weight the two longitudinal ribs, bogie bosses and lower end sections will be die cast in metal, while there will be detailed plastic deck and separately fitted brake parts and pipe runs.

Illustrated below is a first draft CAD of the type with GPS bogies.  This also has distinctive circular edged buffers; the other variant will have VNH-1 bogies and rectangular buffers.

KFA 6 KFA 5 KFA 4

KFA 1

Although this CAD does not yet show them, the model will feature body-mounted NEM close couplers.

We are proposing 6 liveries, and as with the tankers each version will also be available in multi-packs of three, each with different numbers if there is adequate demand.

Version 1:  PFA as delivered with blue body and pale blue GPS bogies.

 

PFA GPS Tiphook blue

 

Version 2:  KFA with yellow GPS bogies and Tiphook placard.

KFA GPS Tiphook yellow

 

Version 3:  KFA refurbished for Network Rail with black body and yellow GPS bogies.

KFA GPS Network Rail

 

Version 4:  PFA as delivered with blue VNH-1 bogies and TIPHOOK RAIL branding.

PFA Y25 Tiphook blue

 

Version 5:  KFA with TIPHOOK RAIL branding.

KFA Y25 Tiphook black

 

Version 6:  KFA with small Freightliner branding.

KFA Y25 Freightliner black

 

 

 

To keep prices down, we are not supplying the wagons with containers and they will be designed to be compatible with those of other manufacturers.  We may tool our own 40′ container, of a previously unproduced type, if there is demand, however this would add around £7-10 to the price of each model.

Prices:

EarlyBirdEarly bird price:  £22 single wagon, £66 for pack of three.

 

Standard price: £25 single wagon, £75 for pack of three.

The early bird price will be available until June.