1/32 New Northern Finescale Brake Van

Discussion in 'G1/32' started by Simon, 20 December 2016.

  1. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    Roger Leigh in Canada has made a new 1/32 kit for the ubiquitous BR brake van available through his model manufacturing business Northern Finescale. The agent for these models from whom they can be purchased in the UK is Chris Arundel who now has kits in stock. I have just purchased a kit for delivery before Christmas and look forward to getting to grips with it.

    Here are some pictures of a made up kit built by Peter Cunningham over in Canada, who also took the pictures. The kit is discussed briefly on the really quite nice G1 facebook page.


    There are a couple of minor issues with the kit, which I think Roger intends to address in future batches, but neither will give a problem to anyone here and are easily fixed.

    They are:

    The end opening finishes a little too low, its top should match those of the side openings, open out that on the existing kit with knives/files etc.

    The concrete weights are too high, you need to leave off a part and possibly notch out the styrene base to give the characteristic "cut out".

    The price is £135.00 plus £5.00 p&p and the kit includes everything you need except for glue and paint.

    The great news is that the whole thing is manufactured in Styrene plastic so is perfect for cutting, fettling, detailing etc and it will readily make up into a robust model. It will suit very many people being built exactly as supplied I'm sure.

    I can see lots of detailing opportunities and NFS "style" is probably a bit robust/basic compared to, say, a Fred kit, but the basic dimensions look to be sound and I believe this provides a great "canvass" for all sorts of modifying, distressing and weathering etc.

    I'd be very interested in others' thoughts and experiences if anyone else here were give this kit a go.

  2. John Miller

    John Miller Western Thunderer

    Hi Simon - that looks extremely interesting - just what we need in the gauge one community. From looking at their website there's a couple of things that are not quite clear and you may have already resolved them as you have placed an order .....

    The kit is listed as being 1/32 - however their price list pdf quotes ........

    - "All Northern Fine Scale models comply with the G1MRA (Gauge One Model Railway Association) standard scale of 10 mm to 1-foot (1:30).

    They also say .......

    - "Northern Fine Scale Rolling Stock Features spring buffers made from nylon." - are metal buffers an option?

    - "all Northern Fine Scale rolling stock features insulated wheels with polystyrene hubs and steel-tires." - are metal wheels available instead of plastic? They also say elsewhere that "They are mounted on a steel (plastic sleeved) tapered axle" - Tapers are not (in my experience) a reliable way of maintaining the back to back dimmension.

    - "W irons (axle guards) are fitted with nylon bearings" - are brass or ball bearings an option?

    Many thanks ..... John
    Last edited: 21 December 2016
  3. lankytank

    lankytank Western Thunderer


    If I can help..........

    NFS , it would appear, are moving away from the 10mm market towards 1/32 - I read this somewhere recently (I can't remember where, but recall that it was from an 'official'-ish source). Await others to correct me on this.

    Nylon buffers - hmmmm, supplied in the kit, got to admit that I'm reserving judgement on these but will be searching out steel buffer heads/metal buffer bodies in the mean time.

    Wheels, can't comment as they're still wrapped up in bubble wrap (& I'm in a bit of a rush, so ain't looking at them just yet, see if I've got 10 minutes later....?)

    Bearings - brass, pre inserted into W-iron/axlebox moalding.

    HTH, if I get chance later I'll rip the bubble wrap open & look at the wheels - I'll want to have a look at metal blacking them anyway.

    Be good
  4. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad


    Not all NFS models are 10mm scale, their GBL bogie van is 1/32 scale (although it now appears to be listed as a SR Utility Van) and its bob on in the critical dimensions, it just responds to a little extra detailing. I'd go with the individual model description rather than relying on a global description on the pdf document.

    The nylon buffers are OK - I have them on two models and once painted and weathered they look fine to me. Its worth bearing in mind that NFS is a side business for the owner, his main business is in manufacturing / dealing in plastic sections, thus if they can make it in plastic they tend to do that in preference to anything else. You can see examples of the nylon buffers below (albeit slightly out of focus and in 10mm scale).

    Wheels are all plastic centred with metal tyres. The spoke shape is squared off at the back, but it is at least recessed from the tyre. The taper mentioned in the description refers to the shape of the axle (ie it tapers in towards its centre) not the method of retaining back to back, that uses a shoulder in the conventional fashion.

    NFTT12 Tapered Axles.jpg

    The model above uses nylon bearings, if they have upgraded to brass as Baz says then that is well worth it, the nylon ones aren't great.

    Cheers for posting that up Simon, might be tempted for a plastic kit build - do not mention my unfinished projects please :) Slightly concerned about the running boards / foot steps although to be fair they look chunky enough to resist warping and the occasional knock. A bit of judicious filing would thin the apparent edges which would be a bonus. Theres a few areas I'd like to change so it could be a good kit to play with. Add that to Fred's van and it looks like a good time to be a 1/32 modeller...
    isambardme likes this.
  5. Stoke5D

    Stoke5D Western Thunderer

    Well they are to be congratulated for that - does anyone else offering British stuff in any scale get that massively obvious feature right?

    I've had one of these on order since they were announced, and while it's not to the standard of Fred's van of course, it's going to be a good addition to my small fleet with a bit of tweaking as you and Simon mention.

  6. lankytank

    lankytank Western Thunderer

    Wheels - what Steve said....

    Alluded to by Simon above - it's very much a blank canvas, not a rivet, nut, bolt or bracket in sight - a detailers delight.

    Simon likes this.
  7. John Miller

    John Miller Western Thunderer

    So it's not really 'finescale' then?.... :)
  8. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    ^"Thank you"...

    Not that I know of Andrew, that perfect wheel in G1 is still hiding out there somewhere...
    Last edited: 21 December 2016
    jamiepage likes this.
  9. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Not that Can of Worms - please!!! :confused: :D

    As far as I am concerned, the rule applying to model Locos also applies to Brake Vans, regardless of scale: there is no such thing as "Too Many". :)
    isambardme and Gilbert like this.
  10. John Miller

    John Miller Western Thunderer

    No no! - not that can of worms!!! .... :eek:

    As you say "there is no such thing as "Too Many" when it comes to gauge one rolling stock and my eye was caught by this offering which appeared to come at a reasonable price - especially as the name of the company seemed to imply a good level of detail and accuracy.

    However, on further examination I was somewhat disappointed to find these were very simple models largely made of plastic and - as Baz said in his post# 6 - "it's very much a blank canvas, not a rivet, nut, bolt or bracket in sight". This impression was somewhat confirmed by a cursory glance through their on-line instruction manuals.

    That being the case, the quoted prices seemed a little on the high side - perhaps, maybe due to the current depressed state of the pound (don't mention the 'B.....' word ;)) - so I thought I would check the prices in their other markets.

    Their Dutch agent was a little reticent in providing a price list - in fact he would only quote the same price in GBPs as in the UK for the van.

    In the case of their North American agents "Northern Fine Scale" of 741 Dobin Rd. - or their manufacturers "Sussex Engineering" of 799 O'Brien Dr, Peterborough, Ontario (of which "Northern Fine Scale" is a 'division') - I couldn't find a website in the local directories for either of them. There is a Canadian site - www.northernfinescale.ca - but that just links back to the UK pricelist in pounds

    It will be interesting to see what other responce there is to Simon's request for our thoughts .... :)
    Last edited: 23 December 2016
  11. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    The price is what it is, and having opened the kit last night it is evident that a great deal of care and thought has gone into the whole thing.

    For the record, this kit is manufactured in Canada, shipped to the UK (and/or Europe) and then distributed by an agent who will need to take a margin on the whole business. I do not think anyone in the process is making a fortune out of any of these activities. What it costs elsewhere will be completely equivalent to what it costs here.

    To be honest, the thoughts I'm interested in are those relating to the analysis and building of the kit itself.

    It has the scope to be built exactly as supplied (which I'd like won't be what anyone here does with it) or modified, improved and detailed to represent the numerous variations of an icon of the British Railways scene since the War.

    I was poring over Paul Bartlett's website last night and comparing the parts in the against a scale drawing - various thoughts and some tentative conclusions have emerged.....

  12. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Although not my scale I would classify it as fine scale if the parts supplied are dimensionally accurate rather than the level of detail supplied. There's a few kits I can think of in 7mm scale claim to be fine scale and which have lots of details supplied but look wrong because the dimensions aren't right, they seem to have difficulty drawing a right angle in some cases!
    isambardme and Jordan like this.
  13. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Photos my good man, photos :)
    Have to say I'm interested in the 'fiddlability' of the kit and if the basics are covered (dimensionally accurate etc) then its got to be a good way to go. I assume its CNC machined styrene in the same style as the GBL as opposed to injection moulded like the 10mm kits? Means it will go together very nicely - do we need to look at milling on your ML7 so you can create glazing rebates on the back of the doors etc?

  14. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    From the comfort of my 4mm (ish) ambitions the price does seem to be a bit eye watering for something which looks like an enlarged Airfix kit with weird ballast weights and a dubious veranda end.
    chrisb and John Miller like this.
  15. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    You are right Neil, but this is Gauge one we're talking about:p

    I guess my point was that the price is what it is, you won't find a cheaper one around in this scale and the production methods are not very "Chinese", having involved a fair amount of what is probably handwork. And of course if you add or improve anything the total cost will only go up:eek:

    But if it can be completed successfully you'll have one hell of a brake van…

    I will report back on the kit properly shortly.

    isambardme likes this.
  16. D816Foxhound

    D816Foxhound Western Thunderer


    It will be interesting to hear how the Northern Fine Scale brake van kit compares with your brass version from the Mercian stable.

  17. Thirtysecond

    Thirtysecond Western Thunderer

    Here is a Mercian for comparison.

    isambardme, Rob Pulham, Peter and 3 others like this.
  18. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Of course. I'm afraid I went a bit Yorkshire at the thought of all that money for a brake van. However on reflection and bearing in mind the adage about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, it would be interesting to know how many hours of enjoyment the kit brings. Today the postman arrived with a Dodo, which at half the cost of the brake van kit seems to be far better value. But lovely model that it is I wonder what the pounds per hour of enjoyment works out at, given that there's precious little to be done to it? Then again perhaps I'm falling into the trap again of logic and accounting, perhaps we should just follow our hearts, perhaps we already do?
  19. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    In major Christmas mode at the mo, but post lunch pre major "Plebs" viewing binge, here's a snap of my etched one.

    Of course in common with Derek's pictured above it's not Mercian but is a blow up of a Jim McGeown 7mm scale etch, which was withdrawn from sale owing to some sort of "creative difference" back in the day. This hasn't been weathered or lettered yet and is pictured out in the rain earlier this year.


    I reckon the plastic fantastic can be made to be as good…..

    isambardme likes this.
  20. Thirtysecond

    Thirtysecond Western Thunderer

    Thats interesting Simon. I bought the brake van from Dave Walker and had always assumed it was the Mercian kit.