Having spent many years travelling on these around Yorkshire and Lancashire and wondering when the suffering was going to end, it seemed very apt that it took Dapol 8 years to Deliver this model.

But what a model it is! Very much worth the wait.

As a model it looks fantastic. Unfortunately if you look too closely you can see the writing inside though. However, it’s nothing a bit of black insulating tape can’t solve. I will upload a better picture another day when the lighting is more favourable.

Dismantling

The model follows standard protocol for removing the body shell and dismantling. Carefully insert a thumbnail down the side and slide. You will then me able to gently lift the body off – noting that at the cab end the lights are wired to the chassis .

Word of advice for reassembly, put the non cab end in first. Having learnt the hard way this is a must, as I bent the exhaust pipe on one carriage by going cab first.

I would argue that highlights the quality of the model, as the exhaust is actually metal. Having first bent it out of shape doing a ham fisted job, it was easy however enough to straighten again.

DCC Fitting

I’ll admit this was my first foray into fitting a Next 18 decoder so wasn’t sure how it would go. Easily was the answer.

The DCC blanking plate can be seen in the left of the image next to the wires for the front lights. Being a Next 18 decoder socket this just lifts gently up and off.

Fitting of the decoder was a simple process and just a reverse of removing the blank. Unlike the 6 pin decoders that have been standard N Gauge fare over the years, these can only be fitted one way. Consequently the mystery of have I fitted that the right way up or not is no more.

Dapol caution you that some decoders may be a bit too think – and I can see why. The space between the decoder and the insulation on the roof is definitely a bit on the tight side due to the design of the Next 18 socket. For this model though I have just used a cheap and cheerful decoder from LAISDCC.

Available for about £12 a time if you shop around this decoder like it’s 6 pin brother is just fine. I’m a firm believer that the 6 pin version is more than adequate for 95% of tasks and the Next 18 seems to be the same. Oh and excellent value too.

To light or not to light?

Dapol say the model can take a standard light bar and they helpfully provide a socket for it too. Personally I have my doubts about this as it is quite a small model, like it’s 1:1 counterpart.

The model only just takes a full light bar, and is also quite shallow internally due to it’s small size. As such I have opted for now not to light them as there would in my eyes be a bit too much light inside them, and might highlight the extra tape I have added to hide the wires.

Overall opinion

A lovely model and well worth the wait, unlike their justifiably much maligned real world counterparts.