Bachmann’s ‘Birdcage’ coaches

SE&CR Dark Lake ‘Birdcage’ coaches from Bachmann, reviewed by Nigel Burkin.

SE&CR Dark Lake is the livery applied to the second of three sets of 60ft ‘Birdcage’ coach models being released in OO gauge by Bachmann over the autumn and winter period. The livery colour is a very dark red embellished with fine lining around the door and coach side panels. The red is so dark, it is almost brown in colour until one looks closely at the finish. The livery is completed with shaded lettering and white roofs.

Bachmann has researched this family of coaches well, with both the British Railways’ crimson and SE&CR Dark Lake versions featuring details specific to the era they represent including different roof vents and other roof details. The interiors are also treated accordingly together with window markings and correct interior colours. Small detail changes include the bogie foot boards and underframe details too.

SE&CR ‘Birdcage’ stock were so called because the raised guard’s lookout at the end of the brake coaches was fitted with small windows, giving the raised section the appearance of a cage. The Brake Composite Lavatory Coach (39-600) and Brake Third Coach (39-620) are shown with the brake sections nearest the camera.

This type of coach was primarily operated in fixed sets of three. This particular set of ‘Birdcage’ coaches is numbered No. 138 and consists of a Brake Composite Lavatory Coach No. 1174 (39-600); Composite Lavatory Coach No. 1178  (39-610) and Brake Third Coach No. 1182 (39-620). The set numbers are applied to the guards’ compartment ends of the brake coaches which may be identified by the raised roof section with its small windows allowing the guard to see along the train in both directions.

The last set of three models to be released is the Southern Railway lined olive green version, which should be available early in 2018. The suggested retail price is £64.95 for each coach.

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