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Revolution Bespoke – how does it work?

As you may be aware with the launch of our forthcoming N gauge Class 66 we also announced a new option to allow customers to tailor their models – Revolution Bespoke. Working with our friends at Rainbow Railways we can take factory finished bodyshells and apply individually-tailored livery details (numbers, additional branding or livery elements and nameplates) onto our base liveries.

So far we have offered the following Class 66 sub-classes for bespoke livery application:

  • Colas 66/8 (early bird ended)
  • DRS or GBRf 66/3 (early bird ends 29/02/2024)
  • DRS or GBRf 66/4 (early bird ends 29/02/2024)
  • GBRf ‘original’ livery 66/7 (early bird ended)
  • DB 66/0 (early bird ends 08/03/2024)
  • Freightliner Genesee & Wyoming orange – there will be no bespoke option for as 66623 is currently the only Freightliner 66 in that livery with those lights and body details.
  • Remaining GBRf 66/7s – Europorte variations and “standard” GBRf livery variant (66798 only) (early bird ends 12/03/2024)
  • Freightliner green 66/5s and 66/6s (early bird ends 20/03/2024)

The final batch to upload are the EWS 66s. We have been through thousands of images of 66s to match the livery variations with the body shell details that we’re offering in our first run of 66s (so that you don’t have to!). Having said which we’re sure that we will have missed some combinations – if you find a version that you would like and that we’re not offering please let us know and if we have the correct combination of details we will add it.

Early bird pricing

As we’re releasing the bespoke options in a rolling programme we guarantee that there will be at least 4 weeks of early-bird pricing for each version – starting from when the bespoke option is published and ending as noted above. We will update the list above as we publish new livery options.

How to order?

Revolution Bespoke will only be available direct from Revolution (standard range items are available to all our retailers). Use the dropdowns on the relevant model page to select the livery variation, number and DC/DCC ready or DCC sound (plus in some cases named or un-named) – once you select all the options the image will update to the relevant livery variation so that you can see what you will get.

Please note that once production has started we can’t cancel or change your loco as these will be bespoke models produced to order (statutory rights still apply).

How it works?

The list of available variations all represent real combinations of livery and details (we have been through a lot of research to enable this!). The base livery will be factory finished, but the final touches eg the side numbers and changes to logos or additional logos will be printed by Rainbow Railways along with any finishing touches eg etched nameplates.  

When will I receive my model?

The Revolution Bespoke models will finished by Rainbow Railways once the models arrive so will arrive with customers later than the standard versions to allow time for customisation. We are aiming to start production of the 66s in April 2024 with the models currently due to arrive late-Summer-Autumn 2024.

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Revolution and Trains4U twin-set for the forces

Popular Peterborough-based retailer Trains4U has commissioned Revolution Trains to produce an exclusive twin pack featuring the two GBRf ‘military’ Class 66 locomtives – 66723 ‘Chinook’ and 66775 ‘HMS Argyll’ in N gauge.

The models will be sold as a pair in an exclusive presentation box and every sale will include a donation to charities linked to the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.

66723 (ZA723) Chinook

66723 was named ‘Chinook’ in 2008 in honour of the RAF’s 7, 18 and 27 squadrons, based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, which is the home of the Royal Air Force’s Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopter.

When named the locomotive was fitted with cast nameplates which also featured the three squadron crests and an outline of the Chinook, and was in the First livery.

66723 Nameplate. Photo courtesy Rob Reedman/Creative Commons

In 2017 the locomotive was repainted into GBRf livery, retaining the name but gaining the large number ZA723 and a large orange Chinook silhouette on the bodyside, along with the RAF Ensign on the left cabside.

Photo courtesy Mick Page.

66723 was built in 2006, and was one of the first batch of GBRf Tier 1 (low emission) 5-door locomotives. Revolution’s Class 66 tooling allows for this variant, with the combination of bug-eye headlights, extended cooler group grilles, revised bogie with lifeguard deformation cut-outs and a smaller fuel tank.

Revolution 66723 CAD variation

66775 (F321) HMS Argyll

66775 was built in 2015 and is one of the very last batch of Class 66 locomitives built at Muncie, Indiana.

66775 at market Harborough. Photo courtesy David Page/Creative Commons.
66775 at Eastleigh in 2017. Photo courtesy Dave Kirwin.

In 2017 in a ceremony at HM Naval Base Devonport the locomotive was named after the Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll. Along with the cast nameplate the locomotive was adorned with the ship’s number, F321, and a replica of her funnel crest on each side of the no. 1 end cab.

Photo courtesy Steve Knight/Creative Commons.

Like 66723, 66775 is a Tier 1 5-door locomotive, however having been built in the United States, not Canada, it has significant variations including the revised cab vent position, front panel seam and revised 2-part repositioned BMAC lights.

Revolution 66775 CAD variation.

Like all Revolution’s forthcoming Class 66 models, these will feature the ESU E24 Nano decoder interface, allowing for fully authentic light and sound features.

Although not available in DCC Sound form, all models incorporate a factory-fitted speaker, allowing for a simple plug-and-play sound upgrade.

Revolution’s Ben Ando said: “Revolution has previously supported the Royal British Legion, through sales of its ‘Poppy Pendolino’, and we are delighted to be able to do the same for other important charities in the military family.”

Trains4U owner Gareth Helliwell said: “GBRf has a major presence in Peterborough and I am delighted to be able to offer these locomotives which are a familiar sight across the network.  In addition I am keen to recognise our debt to the armed forces and we are guaranteeing a minimum donation of at least £1500 to each of these good causes.”

Each twin pack retails at £325.00 and can be ordered exclusively from Trains4U, with delivery expected Q3/4. We hope to have decorated samples to show in the coming weeks.

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66788 Locomotion 15 announced as first Class 66 exclusive

Revolution Trains, Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield are joining forces to offer 66788 Locomotion 15 as an N gauge exclusive model.

66788 Locomotion 15 at Rivenhall End in 2022. Photograph courtesy David Smith.

The locomotive was named in September 2019 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the opening of Locomotion in Shildon, partner museum to the National Railway Museum in York and home to a large number of historic items from the national collection.

Locomotion has a particular role in highlighting the vital role the railways have had in moving freight, and naming the locomotive in its honour is especially appropriate.

GBRf engineering director Bob Tiller and Head of Locomotion Sarah Price at 66788’s naming ceremony at Shildon.

Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion, said “The naming of ‘Locomotion 15’ in 2019 was a wonderful way to celebrate the museum on our 15th anniversary, so I am looking forward to seeing the engine brought to life in miniature.”

The locomotive will join the Railway Icons range, a joint initiative between Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield.

Stuart Brown of Locomotion said: “We are thrilled to be working with Revolution Trains for the first time on the first N-Gauge model in the Railway Icons range.”

Revolution’s new Class 66 locomotive will feature the very latest in detailing, light and sound features, and the tooling allows for 66788 to be correctly depicted as the former EWS locomotive 66238 acquired by GBRf in 2018.

The model will feature accurate details including swinghead buckeye coupler and control lever, loco location beacon on the horn grille and original BMAC design lights.  It will not have the distinctive driver cab mirrors as these have been removed by GBRf.

The model can be preordered now from either Locomotion Model or Rails of Sheffield and is priced at £159.95 (DC Silent) or £254.95 (DCC Sound.)

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It’s time for Revolution’s red death!

Revolution Trains Class 66 EP1 sample.

Revolution Trains is offering the Class 66 as its next diesel in N gauge. In a departure from our normal practice, the model has been tooled and samples have been tested and approved with decorated samples imminent.

In addition, we have created Revolution Bespoke – which will allow you to specify your own individually numbered loco when ordering!

The models are being offered in both original 4-door tier 0 (UIC 1) and low emission 5-door tier 1 (UIC 2) versions, and our tooling suite allows for prototypical variations in bodyshells, underframes, bogies, horn grilles, marker lights, tie-down loops, sandboxes, light clusters, buffers and couplers.

This means that we can offer not only the ‘standard’ EWS, Freightliner and GBRf versions but some of the more interesting variants including those repatriated from Europe, with UIC standard features, and the last batch built at Muncie, Indiana, with distinctive cab end recesses.

The prototype

The Class 66 revolutionised railfreight in Britain when it entered service a quarter of a century ago, and there are more than 500 of the type in service. On their introduction in 1998 they rapidly became known as the ‘red death’ as their power and reliability led to the rapid withdrawal of numerous older British Rail types.

The Red Death begins: 66001 at Toton TMD in 1998. Photo: Tim Horn, Creative Commons.

After acquiring Britain’s railfreight businesses in the 1996 rail privatisation, Wisconsin Central’s Ed Burkhardt’s quickly realised that large numbers of powerful, reliable new locomotives were needed if he was to make a success of the fledgling English, Welsh and Scottish Railway.

Having examined the US-built Class 59s, with their unparallelled levels of reliability, he placed an order with EMD for 250 locomotives to a similar design.

Designated Class 66 under TOPS, the new locomotives were faster than the 59s, had a greater range, and were supplied with radial (self-steering) bogies, for reduced track wear. To speed things up the Class 59 ‘outline’ was used as it was known to conform to the British loading gauge – a factor that would significantly reduce the time needed for UK approval and certification.

Since then the design’s versatility and reliability have seen it ordered by most other UK freight operators.

The model

Like the locos ordered by Ed Burkhardt, Revolution’s model builds on our successful Class 59 with many shared chassis parts and a similar specification. This includes photo etched grilles all round, numerous separate body and detail parts and a plethora of tooling options to allow prototypical variations in bodyshell, bogies, lighting arrangements, horn grilles, cab windows, cab interiors and underframes.

Revolution Class 66 sample on ‘Chirk’ by Allen Pearson.

Of more than 500 Class 66s in service in Britain there are only a handful that we cannot offer, and while we are not attempting to produce every version immediately over the coming years, we do look forward to filling the gaps in the options available to N gauge enthusiasts.

Like our Class 59, all Revolution Trains Class 66 locomotives will be supplied with one end superdetailed with full air dam and cosmetic couplers/air pipes at one end and slotted air dam with standard N coupler in NEM pocket at the other, however all models are supplied with duplicate parts so you can configure your model with superdetailing or working couplers at both ends should you prefer.

Liveries

Revolution is offering a selection of locomotives in our standard range including all the main operators. Named locomotives will come with the name printed on the bodyside at 95% size plus photo-etched nameplates for the customer to fit.

66083 – EWS

‘Standard’ EWS version with original BMAC lights, swinghead buckeye couplers and driver cab mirrors. 66083 is still carrying this livery in 2023.

66538 – original Freightliner

With ‘bug’eye’ lights representing second batch ordered by Freightliner. 66538 is still carrying this livery in 2023.

66704 – orginal GBRf

As first batch of seven delivered to GBRf with early logo and BMAC lights. Cab colour golden yellow.

66404 – DRS ‘Compass’

Represents first batch delivered to DRS in 2003 with bug-eye lights.

66128 – DB red with large logo

Depicted in 2016+ condition with revised BMAC lights.

66848 – Colas Rail Freight

With bug-eye lights is one of the locos acquired by Colas from Freightliner.

66795 – GBRf

Ex-Euro loco repatriated from Germany with ‘Euro’ details including extended horn grille, UIC cab interior and rectangular buffers. Supplied with Bescot LDC nameplates. Cab colour bright orange.

66303 – DRS plain blue

Low emission locomotive with modified BMAC lights.

66720 ‘Wascosa’ – GBRf

Low emission version with bug-eye lights and Wascosa branding. Supplied with ‘Wascosa’ nameplates.

66623 – Freightliner Genessee & Wyoming livery

Early G&W repaint from mid-2019, with revised BMAC lights.

66752 ‘The Hoosier State’ – GBRf Europorte livery

First of the last batch of locos built at Muncie, Indiana (which is nicknamed the Hoosier state) with revised details including cab front recess and extended sandboxes.

Please note graphic images are illustrative only.

Introducing ‘Revolution Bespoke…’

In addition Revolution has partnered up with Rainbow Railways to offer a new service so you can order not just the loco you like, but the individual running number you want too.

For a small premium any of our standard livery models can be ordered with your choice of number and, if appropriate, fitted etched nameplates. This work will be carried out by Rainbow Railways after the factory decorated base models are here and you will receive your chosen the locomotive soon after the main production is shipped.

The cost for this is £20 for printed details, £30 for printed details plus fitted photo-etched nameplates.

EWS maroon. Possible numbers: 66004-200. . Can be supplied with DB logo instead of EWS where appropriate.
GBRf blue. Possible numbers 66701-7 GBRf. Can be supplied with original or revised GBRf lettering.
Freightliner original. Possible numbers 66538-81, 66607-22 original Freightliner.
DB red. Possible numbers: 66004-200. Note: model has revised light clusters so is only suitable for refitted locomotives.

Revolution Bespoke also applies to DRS, revised GBRf and Colas versions.

Full options and prices will be available after Warley.

DCC, lights and sound

Like our Class 59, the Class 66 will feature ESU’s new E24 nano decoder. These decoders are smaller than Next 18 but offer significantly more functions, enabling all lights to be individually controlled and enabling us to offer fully prototypical working lights on DCC with directional headlights and marker lights, cab interior lights, two different yard modes for shunting and park mode.

With a nod to the prototype, the DCC decoder socket, and DC lighting switches, are accessed by removing the centre engine panel.

As with our other powered models Revolution is offering DC Silent and DCC Sound versions, with different sound files for the original locomotives and the low emission variants.

Prices and timelines

Because we have already reached the EP sample stage with this model the duration of the pre-order period will be significantly reduced, and we expect to put these models into production soon after Chinese New Year in late February, with delivery expected in late summer/early autumn 2024.

The standard models are available to order until 31 January 2024 at a discounted Earlybird price of £144.95 DC Silent and £239.95 for DCC Sound, after which the price will rise to the MSRP of £159.95 DC Silent or £254.95 for DCC Sound.