Revolution Trains and Rapido Trains are seeking expressions of interest in another run of Class 390 Pendolino models.
Since the launch of the original model – which became the UK’s first fully crowdfunded model train and won ‘Model of the Decade’ in the recent poll by Model Rail magazine – the fleet has undergone several livery changes.
When the fleet came up for repainting in 2018 the DfT – in case of franchise change – required that the trains received the now-standard predominantly pale grey livery.
To comply, but add their own flourish, Virgin created the ‘flowing silk’ livery, and one Pendolino, 390045, was given a rainbow version of the livery and named Virgin Pride.
When Virgin lost the franchise, the vinyls were removed, leaving the entire fleet in the DfT plain pale grey ‘ghost’ livery.
The new franchisee, Avanti West Coast, unveiled two Pendolinos in its own stylish colours in December 2019, however since the advent of lockdown, and ongoing uncertainty about the future of the franchising system, full reprints have been deferred and only power cars are being revinyled, with intermediate cars unchanged.
Revolution and Rapido are both very keen to produce another run of Pendolino models, and Rapido have already test-printed the difficult flowing silk design, but because it is difficult to assess demand for the various different options we are beginning the process by seeking expressions of interest.
If the models go into production the pre-order price is expected to be £330 for 9-car sets and £370 for 11-car sets, with the later MSRP significantly higher.
The deadline is September 30th 2020 but as we are not asking for any deposit or financial commitment please do not delay if you are interested.
The possible options are (liveries will only be produced if there is sufficient interest – if there is sufficient interest in particular liveries we will look at producing multiple numbers):
As ever the models will only reach production if there is adequate interest, and all versions will be packaged in attractive book sets of complete trains, with power couplers and working table lights in First Class as standard.
For those requiring them, aftermarket drop-in light bars will also be available to purchase.
We are not proposing any 5-car sets at this time, as there was very low demand for these in the first production run, possibly because the price differential between a shortened 5-car set and the full and accurate 9-car set is relatively small.
Four models delivered, three new manufacturers identified and two new powered models offered has made for one amazing year!
As ever we should acknowledge that we could not do any of this without those who have supported us – with time, with expertise, with generosity but most of all with orders. It is only because modellers are prepared to pre-order on trust that we can make all this happen.
And we’d like to say thanks to Rapido Trains for their amazing work, our new manufacturing partner Sonic Models, two other factories we have been using and those traders who’ve supported us including C&M, Cheltenham Model Centre, Collett’s Models, Kernow Model Rail Centre, Plus Daughters, Rails of Sheffield, Osborn’s and Trains4U.
In February our first model aimed at transition era enthusiasts – the Class B tanker – arrived. The wagon had struggled to generate enough interest and came close to being cancelled, but when we saw the quality the factory had achieved we were delighted it had made it – and judging from the comments from so were those who’d supported the project!
Recently we were sent a photo by Ian at Mercig studios of a superb Esso class B he’d weathered. In the accompanying note he wrote: “..this is the best N Gauge wagon I’ve ever worked on!”
Then, in March, the main event – the arrival of the Pendolinos.
This was the culmination of the dream that we and our supporters had bought into back in 2015 when we began the project – and boy did Rapido Trains deliver. Everything about these models was stunning – from the trains themselves to the manual and the book-case packaging.
But we had little time to admire the models when there were hundreds of fellow modellers waiting for them – and we’d like to thank our friends Paul Churchill and Gareth Atkinson who came up that first weekend and helped pick, pack and post the first hundred and fifty or so. We also owe a large debt of gratitude to Allen Pearson – inventor of the amazing Nelevation vertical fiddle yard – for kindly allowing us to use his storage unit to keep the Pendos safe.
At the York show some customers were able to collect their Pendolinos (thanks Abbie) but the majority were posted. This was a massive task, especially as the majority of the work was done just by the two of us in our spare time. They were dispatched as best we could in chronological order of purchase and we would like to thank all our supporters for their patience waiting for their models.
However, seeing an 11-car set tackling the graceful, sweeping curves of Heworth Sidings, by the Yorkshire Area Group of the N Gauge Society, made it all worthwhile!
Even as we celebrated the success of the Pendolinos the IZA Cargowaggon twins were en route and they arrived just in time for The International N Gauge Show at Leamington – arguably the premier show of the N Gauge year.
At just over a year from announcement to delivery these were our fastest model yet. With the innovative factory-fitted flashing tail lamp option they have proved hugely popular and prompted Kernow to join us in offering a 4mm version which is currently under development.
It did mean that our planned TINGS display was slightly obscured by the piles of wagons being collected by customers, but we were able to show painted samples of another new model; the VEA munitions van, which is our first non-crowdfunded model and is being produced in association with Sonic models.
The man behind Sonic is a former Kader engineer who designed some of Graham Farish’s best N gauge models, and this is the first time a Chinese manufacturer has sought to market their own brand British outline models directly in the UK.
We also offered three new models including a second powered model – the Class 128 Parcels diesel railcar in N. The other two were both wagons: the IPA car carrying twin flats – in plain, side-staked and covered versions, and the Cemflo cement wagon in association with Accurascale, the Dublin based manufacturer making a big splash in 00. Both of these are now at the CAD stage, but we have not yet opened the order books.
By the middle of November we were preparing for the arrival of our first 00 models, the TEA tankers by Rapido Trains, and once again we prevailed on our friend Allen as five large pallets were airfreighted in.
Their arrival just in time for the Warley National Model Railway show at the NEC meant that as well as supplying those ordered by Kernow models and Trains4U once again we had to enlist help once again from our friends Paul, Gareth and Abbie to hand out those that customers had arranged to collect.
The remainder are being sent out by us but twice the scale means eight times the volume, and the sheer size of the 00 models in comparison to the N gauge products we are used to has meant new packaging solutions and dispatching all the models has taken much longer.
Those who visited us at Warley may remember that we were right next to a double decker bus brought in by our friends at Rapido Trains to publicise their latest new model – this gave us an excellent location for a meeting where we were able to examine the final version of the Class 92 locomotive ahead of production and confirm production of another run of Class 390 Pendolinos in Virgin’s latest “flowing silk” livery, as we as more TEAs in N. These will be available to pre-order early in the new year.
At Warley were were also able to unveil our first steam locomotive – the GWR 56XX in N produced with Sonic models – along with the latest CADs for the HOA hopper and an all-new 4mm model – the MMA/JNA box wagon. These are again not crowdfunded but being produced after we were approached by an investor. We are offering three variants in DB red and Ermewa and Tarmac grey liveries, while models in VTG/Mendip Rail silver and GBRf blue will be available exclusively from Kernow.
We also took delivery of the 20′ Tank Containers in N that we produced in conjunction with C-Rail. These, along with the 40′ hi-cube containers last year, have been very well received and we will be producing another new RTR container next year. This came, coincidentally, shortly before we closed the order book for the KFA container flats accompanying them which are in production now.
To conclude, here is a quick reference progress chart summarising 2018. We anticipate that the next models to be delivered will be the 00 MMA/JNA, N KFA and N 92.
Amazingly, 2019 will mark Revolution’s 5th anniversary (we can’t believe it either!) and we are looking forward to next year being our biggest and best year yet! But as ever, we couldn’t do any of this without our fellow enthusiasts, so once again we’d like to thank you for your support.
Revolution Trains is teaming up with Rapido Trains of Canada to offer another run of their highly-regarded Class 390 Pendolino model – in Virgin’s new livery of white with red “Satin drape” across the nose ends.
We’re also offering the model as 390045 in the eye-catching “Virgin Pride livery with rainbow power car at one end.
Other options will include 9-car set 390010 “Cumbrian Spirit”, the first Pendolino to receive the new livery, and 390107, the first 11-car set to be re-livered, and in a very slightly revised form with a black stripe along the windows.
We are also planning to offer two 11-car sets in the revised original livery with grey doors as 390130 “City of Edinburgh” and 390152 “Virgin Knight”, and to complete the set we are also planning a 9-car set in the original livery but in post-2006 condition with stripes on the doors and coach identification letters.
None of these livery variations has previously been offered.
These new sets will be provided with plain yellow end panels, to allow modellers to replicate those original sets fitted with new nose doors, as shown in this view at London Euston.
Of course, these models will only be produced if there are adequate pre-orders.
We anticipate production to begin early in the New Year with delivery of the models in Q2 or Q3 2019.
We’ve now processed approximately 98%+ of the orders (as of July 2018) – over 1000 Pendolinos sent out!
We’ve been working through missing payments/order queries and we’ve now sent at least one email to everyone in the order book. If you have not received your Pendolino order or seen an email from us please check your emails / spam box! If still nothing then please drop us an email.
Missing/incomplete/incorrect orders: if you have already contacted us about a missing/incomplete/incorrect order then we’re working through them and will resolve them as quickly as possible – no need to contact us again.
Spares and repairs: we’re working through any problems with Rapido’s repairs agent. If you’ve already been in touch with us and have not heard from either us or Simon please contact us.
P&P refunds for collections: we still have a refunds for P&P to process.
DC controllers: the manual says that if you have an old DC controller please check with us first. The best advice we can give is check the voltage output of the track supply – if it is less than 15V you should be fine! We haven’t tested the Pendolino with every possible controller out there but we have noticed that some controllers sold as suitable for N output more than 15V at maximum speed so please check!
DCC sound decoders: the DCC sound fitted sets should have stickers on warning you not to run your DCC sound decoder-fitted Pendolinos on controllers outputting more than 15V, if you do you may well blow the sound decoder!
Finally as the post title alludes to – we noticed that the light bars are missing the required screws to fit them. Rapido’s factory realised that they still had a big bag of screws sat on the workbench, so they sent them over to us. We included screws with all orders except the very first batch sent out in late March – we have sent out all the missing light bar screws now. We have had some customers ask about the light bar screws – they are packed in a small clear plastic bag (the screws are very small and black). The clear plastic bag was either packed loose or taped to one of the light bar packs – please check carefully as it is easy to miss!
Thanks to everyone who has contacted Revolution Trains to tell us how thrilled they are with their Pendolinos.
Rapido have done a truly amazing job with this model and we are incredibly grateful for the commitment, hard work, attention to detail and skill they have brought to this amazing project.
These are just some of the comments we have received since we started sending models out:
Just picked up my Pendolino from the Royal Mail. A surprisingly emotional moment – … the first crowd funded train and what a train at that. You chaps should be utterly proud of your vision, your bravery and of what you have built and achieved – Bob B.
I received my Pendolinos today and they are fantastic. Thank you and the Rapido team so much for your passion, commitment to detail for making this a reality – Rowland L.
Many thanks for sending the Pendolino – it was worth the wait. All credit for working this project through to completion – Mark K.
My Pendo arrived today, and wow, what an incredible model – Matt C.
This weekend we are at the York Model Railway show at York Racecourse. Come and find us on stand 104 on the second mezzanine level.
We have brought some Pendolinos to the York show for our customers to collect but to avoid disappointment please note that for reasons of space (or lack of it!) we were only able to bring models requested before the midnight cut off point last Sunday March 25th.
If you emailed us after that, I am sorry but we don’t have your Pendolino.
If you are collecting you’ll see we’ve created space at the right of our stand so you can get your model without stopping others seeing our new Class 92 locomotive, Cargowaggon twin vans and KFA flats.
So far we have managed to post out around a quarter of the models ordered. We are trying to do it in order, with those who paid in full receiving their models first as administratively that is easier for us.
If you haven’t yet received your model we’re sorry!
We do understand the waiting is almost unbearable but we promise are doing our best to get through the orders as quickly as possible!
The response to our surprise announcement of the additional Pendolino sets – 390132 City of Birmingham – has been fantastic (it was a surprise to us as well when Rapido told us!). Over half have sold since I sent out the email early this morning.
Apologies to anyone struggling to place an order – we know that there is an issue with the Bad Gateway error, but ultimately it requires us to rebuild the site on a better host – the server has been struggling to cope with the traffic.
As noted elsewhere and on our website – we expect to have a very limited number of spare sets of the “normal” ie previously announced names/numbers/liveries though they won’t go on sale until we have sent out all the existing orders and we know exactly what we have left. It is highly unlikely that we will have many or any 5 car sets (or 2 car extension sets) as these were the least popular by far.
If you didn’t see our newsletter it is reproduced below:
With the Pendolinos having shipped from the factory* we would like to let you in on a secret – Rapido have produced a small number of spare sets. We know that some of you already know that there will be some spare standard releases, but what you don’t know is that Rapido have also produced a small number as the 11-car 390132 “City of Birmingham” in the revised Virgin livery with plain grey doors. This particular prototype received the plain doors towards the end of 2016.
This model will be available in either DC (£365) or DCC-sound (£460) and is being offered first via newsletter to existing Revolution customers.
Anyone who has also ordered a Revolution Trains Class 92, Pendolino or Class 320/321 will receive an £10 discount, and this discount will be applied to any customer ordering a Class 390 as well as a 92 or 320/321 at the same time. Please mention in the order notes if you have already purchased a Class 92, Class 320/321 or Pendolino – the discount will take the form of a £10 refund once we’ve checked your previous order.
* we will post the tracking details as soon as we have them on our website!
The first update of 2018 sees the arrival of the latest Rapido Trains newsletter. It has plenty of updates on projects we are working on together – if you scroll past the CAD images of the 00 bus model…!
Headline news is that the Class 390 Pendolino models will be leaving the factory on January 17th, meaning they should be here by the end of February. This is a little later than hoped but it’s good to have a firm schedule.
At this time we cannot be sure that customers will be able to collect their Pendolinos at Model Rail Scotland – but here’s hoping!
The newsletter also contains information about the other projects we have in development with our friends in Canada including the 00 TEA tankers, N KFA and N Class 92 electric.
We have received a large number of emails from people who are hoping to buy a Pendolino, but who did not order before the deadline.
Rapido have informed us that they have manufactured some additonal models, and we will have these for sale, but our priority is delivering the models already ordered.
Once this is done we will catalogue the spare/extra models on our website and they will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. We can not take reservations so please do not email us asking to reserve a set – we will only have to disappoint you!
Since we anticipate demand for these models to be high we will send out an email alert to our subscribers when this happens. If you are interested we suggest you register for our newsletter without obligation to ensure you receive this email alert, and give yourself the best chance of obtaining a model.
The packaging of the Pendolino is heavy and that means that the packaging needs to be sufficient – all of which makes P&P expensive. We have yet to finalise which courier or Royal Mail will be used, but all deliveries will require a signature.
All delivery addresses for the Pendolinos will be checked against the current shipping/delivery address on your account – please ensure that it is up-to-date by the end of the year! If you need to change it then click on Shop > My Account. It will not automatically update your order but at least we know to manually change your address.
If you prefer to collect your Pendolino at Model Rail Scotland in Glasgow then please let us know before the Pendolinos arrive (exact date to be confirmed) and we will make the arrangements (and refund your post & packing charges).
It was great to see so many of our friends and supporters at the Warley National Model Railway exhibtion at the NEC last weekend.
This was our stand on Friday – before the show opened – and the only time it was quiet until the show ended on Sunday evening!
The big news is that our stunning Class 390 Pendolino model – made by our friends (and show neighbours) Rapido Trains of Canada – should be leaving the factory within the next 7-10 days. Allowing 4-6 weeks for shipping, and some extra time for customs clearance, the models should be here by Jan/Feb.
Rapido did bring three models to the show – airfreighted to Canada a few days beforehand – and two were loaned to the layouts Kinlet Wharf and Horseley Fields.
The third – in Alstom livery – spent the weekend on our display layout and can be seen whizzing behind the packaging which was also on show and follows the style we created with the TEA tankers last year.
The 9- and 11-car versions will be in book-case style packs with two trays with opening lids surrounded by a card sheath. The top tray contains shaped apertures for the two power cars, the two pantograph cars and the named car, with the remaining four or six cars in the lower tray.
The 5-car pack will simply comprise the top tray in a thinner card sheath.
For those who missed out Rapido have advised us that a small number of surplus models are available and these will be put up for sale via our website once we have an indication of liveries and numbers.
Class B tankers
The Class B tankers are now in production with our alternate factory and are sheduled to be leaving the factory before Chinese New Year in February, with delivery to customers likely in March/April depending on shipping and customs times.
For those who missed out several retailers have taken an allocation – the list can be found elsewhere on our website.
These are also in production by Rapido now, and timings are likely to be similar as the Class B tankers. As with the Class B tankers, some of our partner retailers have pre-ordered an allocation so those who missed the deadline can still obtain models.
Class 92 locomotive
This model is also being produced by Rapido and we are expecting the next sample with finalised motor/drivetrain, PCB and lighting. Once this is approved we will be ready to check liveries and close the order book ready for production. It’s likely this will be in late Spring 2018.
For the show we assembled one of the earlier samples Rapido had sent, and this was put on Kinlet Wharf with their superb – and appropriate – Caledonian Sleeper rake.
Please note this model was handpainted and is not factory-finished. It also lacks some of the metal parts such as the cab door handrails and photo-etched pantograph heads.
In our next post we will update the latest news on our other projects, including first samples of our exciting new IZA Cargowaggon twin vans, the KFA container flat, HOA hopper wagons and Class 321 EMU.
We’ve already shown plenty of images of the “standard” Pendolinos in production, but Rapido have sent some shots from the factory of the “specials” we also offered.
Business is Great Britain.
And the Poppylino:
Now these specials are complete, we are optimistic that the models are close to being ready to ship. Also, to answer queries from some customers, the light clusters are painted black on production models:
We don’t know when the full production run of Pendolinos will be ready for delivery to our patient customers. This photo may give an idea of the scale of the operation:
Visitors to last weekend’s National Festival of Railway Modelling in Peterborough may have spotted our two test Pendolinos being put through their paces on the Nelevation stand.
More information about this remarkable vertical fiddle yard can be found here: www.nelevation.com
Allen, the founder of the business, also has a rather lovely home layout under construction based on the railway and canal bridges at Chirk, over the River Ceiriog:
Allen says that at the show the Pendolinos ran solidly for 6 hours at a time, and since then he has run the DC model extensively on his layout (not usually being dragged!) and describes the model as “quieter and more smooth-running” than anything else on the layout.
We’ve extensively tested the Pendos ourselves, but it’s good to have positive independent feedback!
Thanks again to all who’ve supported this amazing project; there have been some ups and downs along the way but we are very close now to delivering what we are confident will prove to be a sensational model.
Revolution Trains will be at The International N Gauge Show again this year with an exciting display showing latest developments in various new models.
Come and see us on Stand 16.
Rapido have airfreighted to us a pair of factory-finished and complete 9-car “Virgin Pioneer” Pendolinos to show. Here’s a preview…
Some of the other versions are still in production and the entire shipment will be sent once all versions are ready. We are expecting this to be sometime next month, though as previously explained a dust problem at the factory added to the delay. We are glad to report that the paint finished on these models is superb!
For transition era modellers we also have the first livery samples of our forthcoming Class B tankers. These are still available to order but once all the painted samples have been approved we will be closing the order book and getting the models produced. We strongly recommend anyone who is still deliberating to come and look at the models and, if they like them, to order quickly to avoid missing the deadline.
Samples of our eagerly awaiting Class 92 will also be on show, and as this model is progressing through the artwork stages we will be happy for supporters to come and have a good look at the model and the many parts that go into it…
We will have news of our Class 320/321 EMU project and will be trying to turn expressions of interest – which were very encouraging – into hard orders so we can get this model into tooling.
It’s being produced by Rapido, like the Pendolino and Class 92, so quality is assured.
We now have complete CADs of both types and are very keen to commence tooling.
We will have updates on our other projects including the KFA container flats (nearly ready for production) and the forthcoming HOA and IZA wagons – CADs approved for both models.
We will also have stocks of Project Railway Honour Class 66 locomotives available to buy, but they are selling fast… so don’t miss out!
We will also have exciting news of the first of our proposed projects for 2018 – come and see us on Stand 16.
Our friends at Rapido Trains have sent us a short video showing a production Pendolino being put through its paces having arrived in Canada this week.
Rapido put the model to work on their gradient test layout – a ruthless rollercoaster of Kato Unitrack with a sharp 4% (1 in 25) slope on the far side of the loop.
The V-transition between the two gradients is the equivalent of hitting an 8% (1 in 12.5) gradient from the flat, as this image shows.
The model under test is not quite the correct configuration, for some reason it has two standard trailers deputising for the pantograph cars at the #3 and #9 positions; we put this down to over-excitement when getting the models out of the box…
It’s also not quite a fully finished model – the cars were plucked from the assembly line before some of the final tampo printed numbers and lettering were added so it could be rushed to Rapido HQ for testing.
Customer models are now having those details added and should be ready for shipping toward the end of August.
Allowing for a 6-week voyage we are hoping to have them with our customers by mid October.
The Pendolinos are getting close… these are the latest shots we have been sent by Rapido showing progress on painting, lettering and assembling the Revolution Trains/Rapido Class 390 Pendolino models.
As the colours and lettering go on the models really come to life, though of course this driving car still needs cantrail stripe, number window glazing, lights and wipers adding!
The interiors are not being forgotten of course, the image below shows those for Coach C, the shop car.
To make it easier for customers to couple up their models correctly each car will be clearly labelled on the underside.
Of all the images sent, perhaps this gives the best sense of the sheer scale of this project. This tray contains around 350 bogies, and in all the factory has to make, paint and assemble bogies for 11,000 vehicles- which equates to another 61 trayfuls like this!! Incredible!!
Rapido’s attention to detail is stunning. Even the pantograph bases are being separately painted, correctly, in Virgin red.
And as well as the numerous warning labels on each end, the pipework is being painted too.
The Revolution order book has closed for the Pendolinos now, however the models can still be pre-ordered from our partner retailers C&M Models, Collett’s Models and Kernow.
SERVICE NOTE – REVOLUTION ON VACATION..!
It’s summer holiday season, and we are taking a short break, so if you have emailed Revolution in the last few days please allow two weeks for a reply. We aren’t ignoring you – just taking a breather!
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.
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.
Rapdio have sent some pictures to give an idea of the work involved so far in manufacturing the Revolution/Rapido N-gauge Pendolino models.
Perhaps surprisingly, of the 9-car and 11-car complete trains on offer, the 11-car proved the most popular, meaning that the full production will comprise well over 10,000 separate vehicles.
Chassis units aside, each of these comprises a bodyshell, interior, glazing units, bogies, underframe detail, coupler assembly at each end, roof parts including etched fan covers and other small detail parts.
So the first job was simply to mould, etch or fabricate all these components.
Once moulding was completed, each bodyshell was inspected for flaws and those that passed then sorted into types.
Each standard Pendolino train set requires six different bodyshells: Driving car standard, Driving Car first, Trailer with disabled toilet, Trailer with standard toilet, Pantograph first and Pantograph Shop.
The Pantograph vehicles require additional work as all the insulator pots, mounting brackets and power conduits are separate parts too.
10,000 vehicles require 20,000 bogies, all of which again need to be inspected and then racked up ready for painting.
Here glazing parts are being removed from the sprues. The tinting on these parts can be seen clearly. Each sprue has two side glazing bars, four door window glazing units and six table lamp mouldings, though these are only needed in the first class cars. Even allowing just two seconds per part, and no breaks, it will have taken this worker ten solid eight-hour days to do all them all!
These are boxes and boxes of interior mouldings. There are different interiors for first and second class trailers with standard or disabled toilets, and for the shop car. Each of these bundles contains, according to the labels, 56 items, so what you can see in the images is probably enough interiors for around 1000 cars – so the full production run will comprise more than eight times this number (the driving cars do not feature interiors as they have the chassis) and, like the glazing and bogies, all will need to be removed from the sprues, checked for quality, trimmed of any slight flashing and then, where appropriate, racking up for painting.
It is amazing to think that all this has been achieved thanks to the support of everyone who decided to back this project and put their money in so, once again, we extend a huge thank-you to everyone who stepped up and made it happen.
Barring some unforseen problems, and based on the progress so far, we anticipate the finished models should be ready for shipping to the UK in another couple of months.
Then, having last year delivered the UK’s first ever successfully crowdfunded RTR model, we will be ready to deliver the UK’s first ever crowdfunded complete RTR model train!
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.
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.”
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.
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…”
Revolution Trains had a busy weekend on stand 34 at The International N Gauge Show at Leamington.
TINGS, as it’s known, is arguably the most important show of the year for the N Gauge community, and it’s the place to meet our supporters and and update them on progress.
As well as announcing our two new models (see news items below) we had the latest sample of our upcoming Pendolino on show.
In full 11-car mode we were able to play with the DCC Sound functions and demonstrate the approved couplers with working electrical connections and the customer-fit light bars.
The coupler problem has taken three iterations, each taking several weeks of redesign, head scratching and testing.
We are now finalising some of the chassis performance issues around the interface between the DCC Sound chip and the motor performance, and then it’ll be time for final painted samples and production.
The most common question all weekend was “when will the model be here?”
The honest answer is we don’t know exactly how long it will take the factory to manufacture 10,000 separate vehicles. Our best guess is that customers will start receiving models in Q1 next year, meaning that from when we first laser scanned the train to delivery will be a fraction under two years.
Compared to others, and not withstanding some of the development issues, we feel Rapido have done a pretty amazing job to get this far so quickly, and we are very happy with the quality they have achieved.
The models are still available to order (that was the second most popular question asked all weekend!) but the order book will probably be closing in the next 6 weeks or so.
Production versions of all our TEA tankers – plucked from the production line and air-freighted in from China for the show – were also on display as the main batch was preparing to leave the factory for the journey to Britain – and then on to the layouts of our supporters.
Indeed, on Sunday Rapido emailed us an image showing the entire production leaving the factory ready for the journey west:
It feels like we didn’t stop talking all weekend (and by Sunday evening we all had sore throats) but it was great to meet so many existing customers – and hopefully draw in a few new ones.
Our next show will be the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC on Saturday November 26th and Sunday November 27th.
Come and see us when we will be offering at least two new items including our next powered model.
Please come along to our stand 34 at the International N Gauge Show (TINGS) this weekend (10 and 11 September) to see and hear about our latest product developments (production samples of the TEA tank wagons and the final development sample of the Pendolino) along with a couple of new announcements.
We’ve focussed our energy recently on finishing development and production for our earlier projects so our announcements are not perhaps the major announcement that we have been holding back on until we had started to deliver products to our customers. Nevertheless we continue to work on new ideas so that we have a rolling development cycle and we think that our two new announcements will have widespread appeal to modellers (and we will have an exciting announcement at Warley)!
Rapido have been testing the third iteration of the Pendolino couplers, and have sent this video of a full 11-car train in operation. The couplers have passed all the tests, and the sample is being sent to us for examination, checking and approval.
The couplers have been designed to transfer power along the train, they feature close-coupling pivots and are simple to clip together as no one wants to be coupling up an 11-car train on its side then trying to rotate it onto the track.
The first versions worked but were too flimsy; the next iteration was robust enough but had a tendency to rotate to the side on corners; this did not cause derailments or uncouplings but was a flaw. This version appears to have solved all these issues.
This test was carried out on Kato first and second radius Unitrack with #4 turnouts.
The coaches have been fitted with our after-market lighting units; this is to check for “flicker” and ensure that the power is running throughout the train, as it should. On the production samples the table lamps in first work, but the standard class cabins are unlit.
Once we have tested and approved the mechanical operation of the model we will check painted samples and then we anticipate moving quickly to production in Rapido’s new factory.
How to order
You can still order a Pendolino for a very limited period of time (we will close the order book as soon as we have approved the sample for production ie in the next few weeks) from our online shop.