Another great freight wagon from Bachmann.
HOT ON THE heels of the air-braked Bogie Bolster D (reviewed in REM54), comes Bachmann’s latest addition to its range of classic 1970-90s British Rail wagons, the VDA 24.5-tonne sliding/hinged-door van.
A production sample for review of the EWS maroon/gold vehicle, No. 200731 (Cat Ref. 38-143) has now arrived in the RAIL EXPRESS Modeller office, as pictured here with a selection of pre-production images showing the other three liveries.
As can be seen, EWS, Railfreight red/grey No. 210380 (Cat Ref. 38-140), ‘Freight brown’ No. 200077 (Cat Ref. 38-141) and Railfreight Distribution dark grey No. 200834 (Cat Ref. 38-142) make up the inaugural batch of colour schemes.
The specification of the new vans is identical to the previously produced VAA/VBA, and includes articulated W-iron mouldings (originally used on the VGA van, and not 100% correct for other vehicles), turned metal buffers and a finely tooled body with full and accurate rivet detail.
The best thing is, is that it is pleasing to finally see a ready-to-run VDA van body mated with an proper R-T-R underframe, after nearly three decades of the only available model being Hornby’s ‘VDA’ on an ‘OAA’ chassis.
The only issues relate to a few paint and finishing errors. The paint scheme, pre-TOPS coding and numbering as applied to ‘COV AB’ No. 200077 represents the one-off VDA prototype (based on a VAA, which kept its original underframe) and is not correct for the model. A better choice might have been one of the production batch, which wore Freight maroon and TOPS codes from new.
The other slight problem relates to the EWS-liveried No. 200731, which wears the incorrect TOPS code VBA. It is perfectly likely that this is a case of model imitating life, and EWS has incorrectly lettered the prototype van on which this is based. However, if this is the reason, then we would have preferred to see Bachmann using a different vehicle as the basis for its release.
Otherwise, a cracking new wagon that deserves a place in every D&E era modellers collection.
The recommended retail price of the new VDAs is £15.95, and they should be available in late-November/December.
For the full review, see the next issue of RAIL EXPRESS, No. 150, out on October 23rd.