74XX in the making

Without sounding like a GWR expert (which I am really not!), the 64XX has been a welcome model for GWR modellers, and with Bachmann’s forthcoming Hawksworth Autocoach, is going to look rather nice trundling up many GWR branch layouts. Of course, as I’ve said before, the Bala-Blaenau line wasn’t your typical GWR Branch. There are no records of 64s being used as the line wasn’t served by auto coaches. However the very similar 74XX class were utilised heavily on the branch.

The main visual difference (as can be seen in the two links below) between the 64XX and the 74XX, other than auto gear fitting, is the cab and bunker arrangement. The straight edged join between bunker and cab (plus no cab lip at the front or rear) was introduced to the last 10 64s built, and the whole of the 74XX class.

64XX drawing

74XX drawing

I was left with two options. I could wait and see if Bachmann produce a 74XX. The likely hood is high as a 74XX is basically a subclass of the 64XX. The other option is to do some modelling and make a 74XX from a 64. I have gone with the later! 🙂
The way I see it, Bachmann’s new 64XX has only just come to market, so it’s going to be at least a year (more like two) before any more are announced. Even if a late 64XX design, or 74XX is announced, with what appears to be supply issues from Kader, it could be three or maybe four years before said loco arrives on the shelves. Of course this is all guess work on my part, Bachmann might not even bother to do the later cab!

So last night I made a start with the scalpel. As can be seen below, we now have a nice right angle join between cab and bunker, and the cab overhang has gone.

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In removing the curved join, I was now missing the lip that runs around the bunker top where it joins the cab rear, so I filled this with some microstrip and filed to a correct profile.

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I’ve removed one of the battery boxes on the chassis (74XX only had the one) plus the Auto conduit cable that runs behind the rear buffer beam has also been removed.

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Auto gear from the front and rear has been removed, the holes will require filling and patch painting. Although the smokebox dart is a full separate fitting and is finer than the offering on the 57XX, I decided to replace with the finer Markit’s dart, which I think looks that bit better.


I would suspect I have the difficult stuff out of the way now. The rest of the detailing is pretty much what i have done previously on my 57XX (running plate hand rails, masokit lamp irons and screw links). I was rather apprehensive regarding the cab mods, but they have turned out better than expected.

I certainly think I’ll be doing another 74XX with this method! 🙂


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