It’s been almost ten years since Dapol announced their NBL type 2s and although it’s been an incredibly long gestation, here they finally are. For a long time there was scepticism on the part of many, me included about what the quality of the end product was going to be like but in the intervening years, many changes have taken place at Dapol, resulting in some incredibly good models emerging from that manufacturer. When the CAF Type 5 or Class 68 as it’s generally known appeared, its quality of execution and performance gave me utmost confidence that the NBL Type 2 project was in safe hands.
In December 2019, the first NBLs, the original build (Class 21*) machines arrived and this one subsequently joined my fleet. As an Eastfield loco, circa 1965, she fitted perfectly with my Central Belt interests.
Following on in January came the first pair of four Class 29 rebuilds. These were the ones that really had me excited as I’m pretty sure I have a memory of one of these up against the buffers in Glasgow Queen St as a wee boy in 1968-9. The rebuild programme, tested in 1963-65 with D6123 was technically successful and produced a much more useful and reliable machine but with only twenty machines converted to Class 29 before BR re-appraised its traction needs in 1968, the small, non-standard Class was doomed to early withdrawal with the last examples retiring at the end of 1971. Shame. 🙁 There’s something about the face of these NBLs that seems familiar from my early days. My mother certainly took me through GQS going to visit relatives in the late 60s so I’m pretty sure I saw at least one. It’s the same reason I have early memories of what I know now to be Glasgow Corporation PD2 buses and AM3/ 303 electric units on the north suburban services.
The last of the three NBLs to arrive so far is the small panel two tone green version and like the blue Class 29 in the header, the livery in perfectly executed.
Once thing that really stands out with these models is the level of detail in the underframe of these models; probably the most detailed I’ve seen.
I’ve yet to give the two 29s a proper run but the 21 has been tested and runs very smoothly. The whole model has a reassuringly solid feel to it and running qualities that would probably have saved the originals from an early grave! This class of locos has long been a favourite of mine and with the release of this model, every class of BR main line diesel has now been properly represented in model form.
In terms of quality models, if not the full-size, it seems the best has been left to last!