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Pendolino almost there…

While exhibiting at the DEMU Showcase this weekend we received our second Pendolino sample. It should have arrived on Friday but there was a slight mix-up with depots leading to FedEx agreeing to courier it to the Midlands!


The tooling has now been given its finishing polish, with many of the tolerances tightened up, and this shows in a much neater fit of some parts, crystal clear glazing for the cab and body sides and a far better finish to the light clusters.


The model has also had its fine etched windscreen wipers and pantograph heads fitted, to show us how they will look.


The couplers are now more robust and snap together with a nice positive click, but we did find a couple of issues on the very tight radius curves on our display (Kato Unitrack) so a little more work is needed on these. We want to make sure we get them right, but do not foresee any huge problems now.

We are now very close to the order deadline, which is midnight on Tuesday June 7th 2016.  If you haven’t ordered yet, and would like one, please ensure you don’t miss out.


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Tanks Times Two…

TEA 1 – OO

Tooling is now well underway on the TEA tanker in OO, our first crowd-funded model in 4mm scale.

The photo below sent by the factory shows the main tool for the tank barrel.  The detail slides shown here are, confusingly, the bottom (top) and the top (bottom.)  Or you could think of it as uppermost is the lower section, while the top section is below!!


This photo shows the same  tool, but this time with the bottom at the bottom and the side slide above.


The barrel end caps are different to each other, as one has the ladder mounting plugs and the other does not.  The top shows the inner part of the tool, with the large holes in the centre for the ejector plugs, while the lower photograph shows the outer face.

UK04-02-1 UK04-02-04

Sadly we won’t be getting test mouldings in time for the DEMU Showcase on the weekend of June 4th/5th, but we do expect something fairly soon afterward and will post images here as soon as we receive the components.  Don’t forget the EarlyBird price deadline of June 30th.


TEA 2 – N

Away from the toolroom, the N Gauge models are now at the painting and lettering stage.  Many of the parts are painted before assembly, as can be seen here with the Greenergy green barrels, the first pass of lettering on the EWS version, and some ends ready for final assembly of the VTG red models.




The multitude of different logos, warning panels and numbers on these wagons mean each needs numerous passes through the tampo print machine, and each pass has to be aligned to within fractions of a millimetre.

We are hoping that, while there is clearly work still to do, these models will be ready for shipping within the next few weeks.


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Doncaster Rovers…

We recently travelled to Wabtec at Doncaster to complete the research work on the Class 321 units, in preparation for the CAD work to begin.

While we had been provided with copies of numerous original BREL drawings, dating from the 1970s and 80s, there were some areas where further work was needed – particularly on the underframe details.

Wabtec’s Doncaster works is the home of Eversholt Rail’s “Renatus” project, a major refit and refurbishment programme for their Class 321 units.

Rovers 5

30 units are being rebuilt for Abellio Greater Anglia (though the franchise may change hands during the life of the programme) and the team at Wabtec have worked had to create a workable system.

Rovers 4

The project sees the interiors and much of the electrical equipment stripped out and replaced with new interiors, air conditioning and new traction and electrical equipment.

The bogies are remain largely unaltered, since the basic design is sound, but powered vehicles will receive new traction motors.  The opportunity to get close when the bogie is away from its unit is very useful from a research point of view.

Rovers 3a

Of course the main aim was to check the dimensions, positioning and appearance of all the various components on the underframe of these vehicles.   Despite the increasing use of laser scanning and other modern methods sometimes the best approach is to use an old-fashioned and manually operated tape measure – expertly deployed here by volunteer helper Paul!

Rovers 2

Once again Revolution would like to thank Renatus Project Manager Chris Jenner, on the right, of Eversholt Rail, the owners of the Class 321 units, for offering us excellent access to ensure we can produce an accurate and detailed model.

Rovers 1

As we left we did come across this unit – I understand it’s been used as a demonstrator for possible future users of the Renatus 321s.  At the moment we have no plans to offer this as a potential additional livery version!

Rovers 6

You can order your Revolution N Gauge 321 models via our shop pages here.

Don’t miss the earlyBird!


Please note that our earlyBird prices are only available until the end of June, so order before then to secure a saving of £15 on the regular price!  You qualify for the full earlyBird discount whether you pay in full or pay just the deposit.

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Roll out the barrels…

The production of our N-gauge 100 TEA tanker wagons is well underway, and the factory have sent us a couple of photos to show a sense of the scale.

Here, a small number of the moulded barrels are in a tray awaiting checking.


We estimate there are between 120 and 140 barrels – so the total production run will run to well over twenty such trayfulls!

Here, the barrels are being stacked on their ends; we presume ready for painting.


Each model has many more moulded parts, as this picture shows – though only one barrel end sprue is needed per model, and some of the parts are either/or depending on the variant.

N21 VTG TEA first samples 01


Once the models have been painted and assembled, they will be ready for packing and shipping to us and then on to our customers, and once again we would like to thank everyone who has joined us to make this happen.


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Pendolino Deadline Day – June 7th 2016


The order book for the N Gauge Pendolino model will close on June 7th.  Only orders received by then will be produced.

The factory have modified the inter-car coupler design based on feedback from thorough testing on the initial working sample that arrived in late February.

A revised sample is due imminently, and once this has been checked and thoroughly tested we will be giving the go-ahead for full production and closing the order book on June 7th.

So just under 18 months after our first, abortive trip to laser scan the Pendolino at a snowy Crewe, full production will begin on models that are only happening because so many people showed faith and came together.

Thanks again to all our supporters – the wait is nearly over!

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KFA refinements

We have been refining the CAD drawings for the KFA container flat wagon that is in development.

The response to this model has been very encouraging and we are confident that the CAD drawings will be signed off before the end of the Early-Bird price period, meaning that no one needs to commit without having a good idea of the look of the final model.

One thing that vexed us was how to arrange the container mountings.  Unfortunately, models by existing manufacturers each have a different system for fixing 40′, 30′ or 20′ containers (which are the right ones for this wagon.)

Farish containers are designed for the now antiquated FFA container flat, with small spigots on the lower bodyside.  These would not be feasible on our model.  Dapol containers have large 1.1mm spigots on each corner.  We produced a CAD showing how these might be incorporated, but feel that the necessarily chunky design would compromise the accuracy of the model too much.

This image shows the first CAD, produced from our research drawings and featuring twistlock points of roughly scale size:


This image shows the same model with mounting points for Dapol containers.   They protrude considerably, and would significantly detract from the model in our view:

N24c KFA Type 1 Dapol 2

These two close-up images of the same area on the wagon show the issue:

N24c 1Twistlock


For this reason we have decided to revert to the original spigot design, for accuracy, on the basis that it would be simple enough to remove the spigots from Dapol containers to ensure they fit, and they can be held in position by tackywax or double sided tape.

We are also actively investigating other potential solutions.

The latest iteration of the CAD also shows the version with rectangular buffers, VNH-1 bogies and body-mounted hand-brake wheels.  The missing TOPS panels and some other small details have also been incorporated into the model now.

N24a KFA Type 2 Dapol

With a few slight tweaks (including reverting to the scale twistlocks) and once we have confirmed the addition of NEM couplers in kinematic body-mounts, we would anticipate these diagrams being ready for approval.

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The Early-Bird gets the… 321!


The order page for our upcoming Class 320 and 321 units is now live, and offering special Early-Bird prices.

The discount prices will be available until the end of June, then the models will still be available to order but at the higher price.  The aim is to encourage our supporters to back the project sooner rather than later so we can get on with it more quickly!

For the Class 320 three-car units the Early Bird price is £165 (DC) and £260 (DCC Sound)

From July 1st the standard price will be £180 (DC) and £275 (DCC Sound)

For the Class 321 four-car units the Early Bird price is: £190 (DC) and £285 (DCC Sound)

From July 1st the standard price will be £205 (DC) and £300 (DCC Sound)

You can either pay in full, or pay a deposit now and the balance when your model is cleared for production.

And you qualify for the Early-Bird price even if you pay just the deposit!

If you don’t want to commit now, but don’t want to miss out on the Early-Bird price, then we suggest you register for our newsletters without obligation as we will be sending out reminders direct to all subscribers as the deadline approaches.

London Midland in… Scotland?

Incidentally, some customers may have noticed that we have also decided to offer, as a possible, the Class 320 in unbranded London Midland livery.  This is because some are now in service in Scotland in these colours, as this photo by Tom Smith illustrates, with 320411 leading an unidentified unit in Scotrail Saltire livery out of Glasgow Central.



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Tiphook PFA/KFA container flat next N Gauge wagon from Revolution

Revolution Trains next model will portray the single unit PFA/KFA container flats built for Tiphook from 1987-88.

Nearly 250 of these wagons were built by Rautaruukki of Finland: the first 40 numbered TIPH93242-81 and delivered with Gloucester GPS bogies, the remainder numbered TIPH93290-489 and fitted with Sambre & Meuse VNH-1 bogies. (The VNH-1 bogies look very similar to cast-frame Y25 bogies but have some structural differences.)

Originally they were all coded PFA under TOPS, however this was soon changed to KFA.


(Photo courtesy: Tom Smith)

The first wagons were used to carry contaminated spoil from Chatham Dockyard to Stewartby in Bedfordshire; over the years they have been used for domestic refuse, containerised paper from Fort William, gypsum, MOD traffic and intermodal services.

The map shows primary flows since 2010.  Currently they are in use with Freightliner on intermodal services, DB Cargo on intermodal and MOD traffic, GBRf for containerised gypsum and Network Rail for RHTT and other engineering modules.  As the map shows they travel widely, and there are often other short term flows for specific contracts; and the map does not show Network Rail trains as these can travel recently – a pair of KFAs were recently recorded at Victoria station!

KFA route map 1MB


Because they have buffers at both ends the wagons are more flexible than other container units that are often in fixed rakes, hence their longevity.


Like our popular TEA tankers, the model is being produced for us by Rapido Trains of Canada.

To ensure adequate weight the two longitudinal ribs, bogie bosses and lower end sections will be die cast in metal, while there will be detailed plastic deck and separately fitted brake parts and pipe runs.

Illustrated below is a first draft CAD of the type with GPS bogies.  This also has distinctive circular edged buffers; the other variant will have VNH-1 bogies and rectangular buffers.



Although this CAD does not yet show them, the model will feature body-mounted NEM close couplers.

We are proposing 6 liveries, and as with the tankers each version will also be available in multi-packs of three, each with different numbers if there is adequate demand.

Version 1:  PFA as delivered with blue body and pale blue GPS bogies.


PFA GPS Tiphook blue


Version 2:  KFA with yellow GPS bogies and Tiphook placard.

KFA GPS Tiphook yellow


Version 3:  KFA refurbished for Network Rail with black body and yellow GPS bogies.

KFA GPS Network Rail


Version 4:  PFA as delivered with blue VNH-1 bogies and TIPHOOK RAIL branding.

PFA Y25 Tiphook blue


Version 5:  KFA with TIPHOOK RAIL branding.

KFA Y25 Tiphook black


Version 6:  KFA with small Freightliner branding.

KFA Y25 Freightliner black




To keep prices down, we are not supplying the wagons with containers and they will be designed to be compatible with those of other manufacturers.  We may tool our own 40′ container, of a previously unproduced type, if there is demand, however this would add around £7-10 to the price of each model.


EarlyBirdEarly bird price:  £22 single wagon, £66 for pack of three.


Standard price: £25 single wagon, £75 for pack of three.

The early bird price will be available until June.


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Revolution at Old Dalby

Development of our forthcoming class 321 Electric Multiple Unit saw us travel to Old Dalby in Leicestershire recently where Eversholt allowed us close up access to one of their units.


This unit was the test bed for a series of life-extension alterations to the interior and traction equipment under the “Renatus” project.

30 units are being modified; the modifications include the fitting of new fully accessible toilets and full air conditioning.  Apart from the fairings for the air-con units on the roofs the the exteriors of the trains are not being significantly altered as they are judged to have aged well – both materially and in style.


imageThe opportunity was taken to photograph all aspects of the vehicle – both inside and out.  Some of the underslung equipment on this unit is new.  This will not be depicted as our model will represent units prior to the conversion work.


We were accompanied by a colleague from Rapido and the photographs, measurements and drawings already received will enable work on the CAD drawings to get underway now.


We’d like to extend our thanks to Chris Jenner (aka Mr 3-2-1)  who is managing the Renatus project – seen here on the left with Revolution’s Mike Hale – and to everyone who made us welcome.



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321… Go! Design work begins on next model


Design work is now underway on our next powered model, the Class 320/321 electric multiple units.

We have received numerous drawings and we will shortly be undertaking a research trip to measure and photograph the prototype  thanks to owners Eversholt.


These are just a small portion of the drawings we’ve received, and as with our other models Rapido’s designers will combine them with other data to produce a 3D CAD model that will be used to cut the tooling.

The CAD drawings will be carefully scrutinised and will be shown on our website here so our customers and supporters can give feedback.  We are convinced this will enable us to produce a great model.

So far three versions of the Class 321 are confirmed:  London Midland, First and Network South East, and one version of the Class 320:  Scotrail Saltire.

Livery 321 LM 150

London Midland 321413, 321416, 321417 (this unit has been used on the GE mainline)

Livery 321 First 150

First Capital Connect:  321402, 321408

Livery 321 NSE 150

Network South East:  321401, 321423

Class 320 3-car units in use in Scotland:

Livery 320 Saltire 150

320315 (this unit was the first to be painted, so covers the maximum time period) , 320318.

We are also considering offering a 3-car 320 unit in unbranded London Midland livery, as some (such as 320411) are now in operation with Scotrail but still carrying the attractive LM colours.

There will be a special early bird discount for those ordering these models early, as this helps us move the project along more quickly.

And as we progress with development we are confident other liveries will reach the minimum threshold required for production, so please support any favourites you may have.

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4mm TEA takes shape….

Following an overwhelmingly positive response to our questionnaire we have started the CAD drawings for our TEA tanker in 4mm scale.

As with the N gauge model there will be 5 variants, each with subtle detail differences.  Due to the larger size some of the inevitable tooling limitations of N are avoided, making for an even finer and more accurate model.

As before we will be producing these models in association with VTG, DB Cargo and Greenergy.

We will be opening the order book shortly.  The models can only be obtained via our website and we will be producing only enough to fulfil orders received by our production deadline.  There will be an early-bird discount for a limited time period.  The standard price is likely to be around £40.

Type 1a – VTG grey and red liveries:

ASSEM_VTG TEA Type 1a - 1

The catwalk will be photo-etched and the manlids are separate fittings.

ASSEM_VTG TEA Type 1a - 2

The images below (with black outlines removed for clarity) show the different arrangement of the manlids and vents between prototype batches that will be replicated on the model:

ASSEM_VTG TEA Type 1a - 3

ASSEM_VTG TEA Type 1b - 2

Brake gear will feature separate mouldings and wire pipe runs, and again differs prototypically between batches.

ASSEM_VTG TEA Type 1b - 3

The bogies have been designed to allow for straightforward conversion to 18.83mm gauge wheelsets, and the couplers are in NEM mountings to allow for simple conversion to Kadee should the modeller require.

ASSEM_VTG TEA Type 1b - 4

The EWS/Freightliner versions have the correct bifurcated discharge chutes and longer air tank frames.

ASSEM_VTG TEA Type 2 - 1

In OO the twin lashing fillets can be correctly depicted.  This was not possible on our smaller N Gauge model.

ASSEM_VTG TEA Type 2 - 2

The liveries cover all the main flows for these wagons and are as the N Gauge versions.

There will be VTG red, grey and blue, along with the newer VTG blue with environmental messages, VTG/Greenergy green/white and blue/white, EWS grey and Freightliner green.

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Pendolino Progress

The modifications that we have suggested in the light of our experience operating the first sample model are now being made by the factory, and we will in due course receive a second sample to test.

The model was recently photographed for Model Rail magazine on Horseley Fields, which represents the outskirts of Wolverhampton and is operated by members of the Northants and Cambs Area Group of the N Gauge Society.FullSizeRender (3)

Once the second, updated sample has been thoroughly tested and approved we can move to production.

Only then will we set the cut off date for the model.  At the moment it is anticipated that this will probably be sometime after Easter, but once decided we will advertise the cut off date here.

Anyone who has registered with us (without obligation) for our free newsletters and updates will receive reminders by email so as not to miss out.

FullSizeRender (4)


While the complete train was out on Horseley Fields we were also able to measure it.   For those interested these are the lengths:

5-car train:  830mm

9-car train:  1475mm

11-car train:  1810mm


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Reflections on Glasgow…


It’s been a long and fairly tiring but very enjoyable weekend at the SECC in Glasgow, test running the first running sample of the Pendolino.


A huge thank-you to those at the show who asked to see the Pendolino.  The response was very encouraging.


And particular thanks to (left to right) Helen, Duncan and John, as well as Arran, Tom, Gus, Frank and the rest of our friends on the East Neuk MRC’s Law Junction layout who were kind enough to give the sample a thorough run out in exhibition conditions all weekend.


The model was right at home on Law Junction, as the prototypes speed through the real location on a daily basis.

IMG_2353 IMG_2352

The consensus seemed to be that the model looks right from all directions.  This was a handpainted sample, to check that the main colour boundaries fall in the correct position, and does not feature the cantrail stripes, numbers, class markings and other fine details that the factory painted models will incorporate.  The glazing will also be tinted.

Further intensive running over the weekend revealed no significant issues to the motors or bogies and the couplers performed well, though one part will be strengthened to make it more robust for production.

We are now preparing a detailed feedback and suggestion report to send back to Rapido.  Once we have seen and tested a second sample, with the refinements and improvements incorporated, we will be ready to authorise production.

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Powered Pendolino debuts at Model Rail Scotland


The first working sample of our N Gauge Pendolino model has arrived and made its debut working on Arran Aird’s well known Law Junction layout at Model Rail Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow.


Law Junction depicts the well known location where the Wishaw branch joins the West Coast Mainline south of Glasgow and is therefore a fitting place for the Pendolino to undergo line testing.

As this video shows, the complete 9-car train is performing well, however we have identified some small issues with the couplers we would like to improve.


This test unit has been handpainted to check that the major colour borders and livery elements fall correctly on the model; it is missing small details such as cantrail markings and numbers.  The factory finished models will, of course, feature all of these.

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Latest Pendolino sample shows improved glazing

We have been sent images of the latest samples of the forthcoming Pendolino by Rapido.


The glazing has now been improved to remove the “prismatic” effect on the first samples.

This image shows the PTSRMB (shop) car.

The pantograph is a plastic moulding that is unsprung so it can be posed at any height to suit layouts with or without catenary wires or masts.  The pantographs on the finished models will also feature etched heads.

This close-up shows the pantograph head with its stabiliser fins and the pantograph well, with various insulator pots and other details.  The crooked pot is an assembly error, which will be corrected on the finished models.


These are the interiors of the five different coaches.  From top:  Shop, Standard, First, First with disabled toilet and standard with disabled toilets.


Next we are expecting to receive working power cars so we can begin debugging the chassis, couplers and detailing.

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Stockists from North to South back Revolution

We are delighted to announce that C&M Models of Carlisle and Colletts Models of Exmouth will be stocking our forthcoming N gauge TEA tank wagons.

C&M and Colletts will be the only retailers in the country where you will be able to purchase our tank wagons after they arrive.

We are aware that the all-or-nothing approach of crowd-funding does not suit everyone; some people will have missed the deadline; others may not have been able to afford a complete rake in one go.

We feel the forward-thinking approach of these retailers will help to compensate.

Mike Parsons of C&M Models said: “As a trader, I know not all my customers are necessarily aware of these models, so I wanted to be able to give those who missed out a second chance, as well as offering existing customers the chance to add to their fleet over a longer period.”

Leigh Collett of Colletts Models said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to stock Revolution Trains’ tankers – these models are exactly what our customers want”.

The recommended retail price is £30 (£31 for the EWS livery) – this is higher than the price paid by our customers who ordered in advance but still represents very good value for money.

We are very grateful to C&M Models and Colletts Models for the faith that they have shown in us and for helping to reach our production run targets

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Pendolino Progress

With the deadline now approaching for ordering our TEA tankers, Rapido have sent us some images from the factory in China showing ongoing work as they prepare running samples of our upcoming Pendolino.


The tooled bodyshells have to be checked against the corresponding CAD images, and the factory will need to be careful to ensure they assemble the right combination of roof details, skirts and interiors for each of the various cars.


Here various unpainted bodyshells and interior power car weight blocks are waiting to be test assembled.


First, Shop and Standard interiors can be seen in this shot, along with floors, coupler pockets and on the left two of the cab car bodyshells.

We are expecting a complete running sample fairly soon, and we will give it a thorough de-bugging before approving for production.




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TEA – which brew for you?

As we approach the order deadline of the end of next month, we have prepared a schematic illustrating various prototypical tanker trains to assist customers choosing their models.  These indicate the locomotive type and livery, the liveries of the various wagons in the complete train and their position, and the date.  We have not attempted to record individual vehicle numbers!

These cover trains from just a single wagon up to 32!  The flows shown cover the major refineries and terminals, and include examples of all the wagons we are producing.

The image below is a preview; below it is the complete, downloadable PDF.

TEA - sample consists 1



TEA – sample consists


If you wish to find further consists to individualise your trains, a top tip is to search for the train reporting code (eg 6D79) on You Tube – there are lots of videos showing dates and complete trains to represent!


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Our 62-piece TEA set…

The TEA tankers have been assessed and a few small areas are being tweaked to be a neater fit, slightly less flash-prone or refined in other ways.

While we wait for the final approval samples to be sent, we thought supporters may like to see just how much goes into a single wagon.

Not including wheelsets, there are 63 parts in our Freightliner TEA.  Each bogie has a pair of brake calipers and either two handbrakewheels (ladder end) or a ride sensor; the underframe has plastic discharge nozzles, actuators, air tanks and brackets and wire pipe runs, while each end has an outer frame, close coupler mechanism, separate buffers and cosmetic coupler hook, along with two Rapido couplers as standard.


The barrel itself comprises a central cylinder with two parabolic ends, ladders, four barrel cradles and three manlids which are combined differently to suit the correct production batch.

And the roof etches themselves are not a single component but actually seven different parts – the centre section, six narrow outer sections and the small end platform.

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TEA painted samples

For those unable to make it to the Warley National Model Railway Show at the NEC here is an image of the first four painted samples of the TEA fuel tanker.

The liveries we have so far are VTG red, EWS and Greenergy green, on he turntable, and Freightliner alongside.  These models and the Pendolino samples were photographed by the mainstream magazines and we are hoping they’ll be featured in the next issues.