What’s in the Shops: Scale length O-gauge BR Mark I coaches from Darstaed

Composite brass and ABS plastic construction is used to manufacture finely detailed two-rail O-gauge coaches.

Darstaed may not be a household name for many modellers, but has been involved in tinplate three-rail O-gauge model manufacturing and coach building since 1966 when it was established by Marcel Darphin in Switzerland. The brand and all tooling was acquired by Andries Gabowsky in 1993, a skilled Dutch model-maker who has played a key role in the O-gauge tinplate revival in the UK.

The Darstaed Vintage Trains range has been developed by Andries Gabowsky to include several locomotive models and a range of wagons and coaching stock intended for three-rail operation – all of which have been very popular. There is little doubt that many modellers find the updated and modernised O-gauge tinplate range attractive because it captures a time when modelling was of a different nature compared to the mainstream of today. The full history and profile of Darstaed can be found on the Darstaed web site at www.darstaed.com.

Scale length BR Mark 1 coaches composed of metal and ABS construction are now being produced by Darstaed and distributed through Ellis Clark Trains and Scale Link. The models featured in this review are part of a four-pack of coaches which includes a corridor composite (CK) vehicle viewed from the compartment side.

The latest development is a range of scale length two-rail fine scale O-gauge BR Mark 1 coaches which were released in late 2017 and sold through selected agents in the UK including Ellis Clark Trains and Scalelink. These BR Mark 1 coaches are the first of a range of scale O-gauge models made and sold under the Darstaed brand to include Pullman stock and coaches from other railway companies together with a range of finely detailed wagons, in addition to planned developments in the three-rail range of models.

Darstaed Coaches:

The new Darstaed O-gauge BR Mark 1 coaches are produced as scale length models and sold either in sets of coaches or as single vehicles to model complete train sets. The coach packs are neatly presented in a carry case holding the individually boxed coaches. The first set to be released was coach Set A which comprised of two ‘corridor brake second’ (BSK) coaches; a ‘corridor composite’ (CK) coach and a ‘corridor second’ (SK) coach. The set is available in several liveries including BR Southern Region green; BR carmine and cream; BR maroon; BR Western Region chocolate and cream, BR blue and grey together with BR Inter-City liveries. Bogies and coach fittings are model-specific to reflect the era represented by each model.

Set B comprises of three catering vehicles including a ‘restaurant/kitchen’ (RU), ‘restaurant first open’ (RFO) and ‘restaurant second open’ (RSO). Single coaches are also available including the all-important and numerous ‘tourist second open (TSO). We’re reviewing coach Pack A with the models finished in BR Southern Region green, representing the 1950s when regional colours were applied to some BR Mark 1 stock.

For the full article, see the May edition of Modelling – available now!

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