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16xx Pannier Tank - The Review

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At the weekend, our UK Operations Manager spent his day off playing trains (don’t we all?)


As it happens, he was rostered to drive a locomotive that Rapido are currently producing in 00 gauge as a Model Rail exclusive.


While he was chuffing up and down the countryside, we set him the challenge of carrying out a review comparing the model to the real thing. Read the captions below to find out his thoughts!




We don’t pay our employees to enjoy themselves, so they have to make their own enjoyment at the weekend. On Saturday Andy spent the day driving 16xx Pannier tank No.1638 along the beautiful Kent and East Sussex Railway.




To be ready for the first departure of the day at 10.40 the driver must book on at 07.30. The next three hours are spent preparing the engine and drawing tea. Unboxing a 16xx model and placing it on the track takes about three minutes and does not involve a cold, early start. 1-0 to the model.




No.1638 has quite a number of oiling points. Being a Great Western design, they are usually located in an awkward position requiring the driver to crawl around in contorted positions. The Rapido 16xx requires very little, if any lubrication. 2-0 to the model.




The real loco is covered in many fine details including several lamp irons allowing for a variety of headcodes and daft headboards to be displayed. Whilst the model features these we do not provide a daft headboard. 2-1 to the model.




The cab features a myriad of controls. The parts are finely made – however he couldn’t find the control to turn the sound function off. The engine spent all day making lots of noise – some of the best we have heard so we awarded points to both. 3-2 to the model.




Pulling power is rather good. The engine happily takes 5 Mk1 coaches along the railway. The model will haul a similar load so again it’s a draw. 4-3 to the model.




The firebox glow on the model is very realistic. However, the glow on the prototype overheats somewhat – ideal for keeping your tea warm. For that fact alone it's points to the prototype. 4-4.




Coupling up involves crawling around between the loco and the coach. A tension lock would be a lot easier. 5-4 to the model.




The real thing carries a beautifully detailed weathered finish. However, it rubs off on your hands during operation. Rapido’s beautiful finishes are applied to perfection and do not come off. Points to the model.




So, the final score….6-4 in favour of the model! The real locomotive is an engineering wonder and great fun to work on (even if it is a GWR design) but it is hard and dirty work.


You can however still enjoy a 16xx without the hard work and dirt by buying your very own from Model Rail: www.modelrailoffers.co.uk/c/1694/16XX


Driver Andy recommends them!

Edited by rapidoandy
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45 minutes ago, Captain Kernow said:

Some nice photos of the prototype, thanks for those.


Does this mean that the model is going to be available soon, please?


Yes, it is in production at the moment and is still expected to arrive during Q4 this year, however, it should be noted that this is a Model Rail project direct with Rapido in Canada and the USA and does not involve the Rapido UK operation. (CJL)

Edited by dibber25
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