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Phoenix Coach Kits

4303
SOB 4303 from Set 771
 
Overall:

These kits are well manufactured; the components are crisp and require little or no cleaning up prior to use. Personally I found the scribing of the doors on my older versions of the kits a bit of a chore, (thank god that my multi door Bulleids were made from Southern Pride or Ian Kirk kits!) but well worth the effort in the end. The kits generally fall together and I enjoyed building them, aided by the clear instructions and scale plans. Anyone with experience of plastic kits should not have difficulty assembling a Phoenix kit. I have also found the people behind the scenes producing the Phoenix range to be more than helpful.
The aluminium roof section does not quite give the correct profile at the point where it meets the sides, as there is a slight lip (almost like a gutter) rather than the flush effect on the prototypes (only kits from Southern Pride appear to have got this correct). This lip could carefully be removed and thin micostrip used to represent the slender Bulleid rainwater gutter. I have left the roof as supplied but painted the outer edge in the body side colour of malachite green which helps deceive the eye.
The finished models in my opinion generally capture the good looks of the prototypes well and are pretty accurate to the drawings in Mike King's book.
When fitted with the Phoenix "Adjustaride" bogies a 6-coach formation is a quite weighty and may challenge some ready-to-run locomotives on a gradient, although the running qualities are very good. Fitting Bachmann bogies would of course reduce the overall weight if that were seen to be a problem.

 
5752
CK 5752 from Set 771
 
Other Bulleid 4mm Scale Coaches:

Bachmann
The ready to run Bulleids from Bachmann represent the slightly later variety with the deeper 15" sliding vents introduced under BR. The sets that can be made up from the Bachmanns are numbers 80 - 94 (4-coach sets), 767 - 769 (3-coach Sets) and 830 - 849 (4-coach Sets), although they are also very close to sets 850 - 865.
I have modelled 4-coach set s83 as introduced in 1949 (BSK, SK, CK, BSK) in Southern Malachite Green but without the Southern ownership lettering on the sides. This required the original Bachmann decals to be removed using cotton buds soaked in white spirit (I would point out that this was simple on two out of the four with the decals just floating away but required quite hard rubbing on the other two so I am not sure if Bachmann have changed their printing process at some stage). HMRS Pressfix decals were then used for the tedious task of renumbering the coaches. I also fitted these with Kadee® Nº5 couplings screwed to the underside of the floor behind the buffer beam.

Southern Pride
Unfortunately the range of Bulleid near flush sided kits from Southern Pride were withdrawn in 2003 to be updated and improved but there is no news yet on when they will be re-introduced.
I have made two 3 coach sets (sets 981 & 984) of the early Bulleid 1946 built 64ft 3in coach sets (981 to 984), multi door coaches. These kits were easy to assemble, simply using Mek Pak or similar plastic solvent. The sides in these kits were complete with overlays already fixed to the glazing (I am yet to try one of the Southern Pride kits needing the overlays to be fixed by builder) My only gripe is that I find the Malachite pre coloured sides to be a shade to light for my liking and if anything I find the sides too flush. The early Southern Pride kits came with white metal bogies that I replaced with the Phoenix "Adjustaride", whilst towards the end of their production the kits were supplied complete with Bachmann bogies

Ian Kirk, now Colin Ashby
Following on from the kits for Maunsell stock it was a natural progression to produced kits for the original Bulleid 1945/6 built 59ft 3-Coach sets (963 to 980), multi door coaches built on Maunsell under frames. The sides supplied with these kits have the incorrect tumblehome (more like a Maunsell side than a Bulleid). This can be fairly simply corrected by dunking the sides in very hot water and with the top and bottom of the sides supported off the workbench weighting down the middle longitudinally with a piece of metal bar. The coach ends and roofs are also of the Maunsell style. I remodelled the coach ends and replaced the roofs with aluminium section from, I think, MTK.

 
4304
SOB 4304 from Set 771
 
Bibliography

Bulleid Coaches in 4mm Scale; Stevens-Stratton, S.W.; Ian Allen; 1983; 0-7110-1329-2
Bulleid's SR Steam Passenger Stock; Gould, David; The Oakwood Press; 1994; 0-85361-467-9
Illustrated History of Southern Coaches, An; King, Mike; Oxford Publishing Co; 2003; 0-86093-570-1

All photographs are copyright Graham R 'Muz' Muspratt

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This page was last updated 28 June 2004

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