Nigel Burkin reviews the SE&CR Dark Lake ‘Birdcage’ coaches from Bachmann.
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. 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 until one looks closely at the finish in good light. The livery is completed with shaded lettering and white roofs.
SC&ER 60ft ‘Birdcage’ stock was operated in sets of three coaches, which were regarded as a permanent arrangement. It had to be rigidly adhered to owing to the sharing of a single dynamo and battery set for coach lighting over all three coaches within a set that was fitted to the middle Composite Lavatory coach.
It worked well too, when the stock was used on mainline services with limited stops. Upon cascading to lesser duties, 60ft birdcage sets had to be enhanced by fitting an additional dynamo and batteries to the Brake Third coach to retain a sufficient charge to keep a three-coach set fully lit when working services with frequent stops.
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 also underframe details. Printed detailing is comprehensive with neat lining and the correct pattern of notices applied to the flush glazing. The three coaches are different from each other and are modelled to represent set No. 138.
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