To many of us including myself, the arrival of the class 108 DMU from Bachmann is most welcome and fills a gap previously left by most ready to run manufacturers. It is surprising that until the late 1990s when Lima introduced their class 101 DMU, the only DMUs previously offered ( apart from the dated Triang 101 ) were ones that had a very limited sphere of operation ( classes 117 from Lima, and 110 from Hornby ) and cannot have appealed to as many modellers as the more common classes 101, 105 and 108s.
Upon opening the box of our eagerly awaited model I was immediately impressed, the unit definitely captures the look of the real thing. Both vehicles appeared to have a healthy weight and none of the fine detail seemed to be too fragile to touch. A common problem with super detailed models we have come to expect these days.
On the DMBS powered car, the exhaust outlet is picked out nicely in a stainless steel effect. This looks good but probably a bit too clean for good old British Rail! The motor is housed in the guards compartment and is mostly hidden, although some of it protrudes into the passenger compartment but does not affect the overall appearance. From here,the rear bogie only is powered. Some may regard this as a step back compared to two bogie, all wheel drive mechanisms on most newer models, however this does not hinder the DMUs performance. Single bogie drive is probably necessary as in order to have two bogie drive, the motor would normally have to be situated in the centre of the vehicle. This would then be too visible inside the unit given the depth of the widows. All wheels on the powered car provide pick up for the motor and all wheels throughout the unit provide pick up for the directional and destination box lighting. The lights even change to red in reverse! The interior has lighting also, but on our unit this is not very noticeable.
The roof profile looks good but is missing the roof ribs which are visible on actual 108s. This seems to be the way forward for Bachmann as they have omitted this detail from the recently released Mk2s and the later produced MK1s. I appreciate that this detail is hard to create to scale but at least for me, it is a detail I would like to see, albeit slightly over sized.
Our model is the blue and grey offering, without first class, the first class compartment having been declassified around the mid 80s so is typical of a unit operating in the mid 80s to early 90s period. This comes from the current range that includes British Rail lined green and Network Southeast, and for those 70s freaks out there, Model Zone are offering limited edition Blue liveried models. (Since this review was written, other livery variations have been released. These are; Greater Manchester PTE white with blue stripe, and Welsh valleys line Blue and grey with white cab roof and route branding. Oddly, a Strathclyde PTE liveried model representing a class 107 has been produced as a Ltd edition, but as the toolings for this are for a 108, it there for has the wrong body profile. 107s having a flatter body profile.)
At first glance the livery application is very good with all window stickers, lettering, overhead power warning flashes and the white line separating blue from grey being very crisply applied.
Upon further examination however, it was noticed that the shade of both colours of the livery were not the same as that which is applied to other blue and grey models by Bachmann. The blue having a slightly faded appearance and the grey, a slightly “dirty” look to it. That said, it does make the unit look more prototypical. How many trains run by B.R. were pristinely kept? These units were unloved work horses and wore the filth and muck to show it, especially nearer to the end of their life.
We have made contact with Bachmann to ask about the livery shades used and as soon as they shed light on the subject, we will let you know what they say.
Over all, this is a very nice little unit that will undoubtedly be snapped up by many for years to come. Well worth the price of around £65.00 that most retailers are offering it at. It would be nice to see weathered and early 80s white and blue, or blue and grey versions with the first class compartment added to the collection.
Despite the qusetion over livery shades, this essenitial little unit scores an easy 9 / 10 from us.
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