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Dapol N gauge Class 68 - *REVIEW*

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  • Dapol N gauge Class 68 - *REVIEW*

    To start off I must really thank team at Dapol because when the N gauge model was in development it was literally suggested by only 2-3 people on here that they would like to have a model of DRS' Class 68 #68001. And within days the model was added to the first batch. 68001 is the subject of this review.

    This is the first release from Dapol in N gauge to incorporate Dapol's "Next Generation" chassis. The benefits of this newly designed chassis can be seen the moment you put the model on the track and power it up. The loco is as smooth and quiet as ever and it seems to have what looks like scale speed. It's not going to rocket around and fly off any tracks. The gearing is apt and gives the model a heavy feel.

    When the model was announced I would never have imagined that they'll go with all handrails being separately fitted but they are. The one thing that jumps out at you instantly is the level of detail on this tiny little thing. Other separately fitted parts include all headlight lenses which are some very thin moulded plastic pieces. The model also has etched metal wipers and a modeled cab interior.

    Accessing the interior PCB is very straightforward. The body is secured by clips near the bogies. Overall the model has received a positive response. However there were a few reports of loose parts and exhaust ports glued in. I've summarized the pros and cons below.

    - The new "Next Generation" chassis is absolutely superb. I cannot express how much I am now looking forward to the Class 50 and Class 59 now. It is one of the best N gauge mechanisms out there and at the same level of Kato's own drive trains.
    - Level of detail is stunning and everything is finely moulded. No visible mould lines and even the handrails (unsure if they're plastic or metal) but they too are finely moulded.
    - Printing work on the model is also spot on, this model has benefited vastly from it's OO gauge counterpart.
    - The model itself has a sufficient amount of weight and I think it has been reported that the loco has hauled 13 coaches with ease.

    - Parts like the buffers and headlight lenses were cut off their sprue in the factory, however it was never filed down So there is a lot of flash around these areas and it does hamper the model when looking at it closely. The exhaust port was also glued in when it shouldn't have. (See the attached images)
    - On such a model in many areas superglue cannot be used because it would frost up the glazing. The factory has however used an alternative glue. Whilst the glue has done it's job for major parts it hasn't been applied evenly. It's a very sticky and rubber like glue. It's worked well, however care must be taken whilst assembling future batches.

    I think everything can be applied using superglue however things like the glazing etc must be added first and set aside. The cab and lights can be added later so that the superglue has time to set without frosting up the clear parts. At this stage it seems as if the cab and lights were added first and then the glazing.

    I must further add here that upon handling I did lose one headlight lens and one handrail. A quick message to Neil and his direction towards Fiona of DCC Supplies resulted in replacement parts sent out immediately. Come rain or snow the parts still reached me halfway across the globe in a week's time. I simply cannot fault the service from Dapol, DCC Supplies and Rails of Sheffield.

    The model is a must have and highly recommended for anyone. If you are worried, simply ask your retailer to test it and check it out.

    I surely look forward to seeing a TPE Class 68 announced soon, hopefully some matching stock also with it. And the new chassis has definitely got me wanting more locos from Dapol like a Class 87, Class 88 and Class 90.

    I'd rate this model a solid 9.5/10. Once manufacturing has further improved it will surely get it's 10/10

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    Attached Files
    Last edited by JeremiahBunyan; 19 March 2018, 07:24.
    Jeremiah Bunyan...

  • #2
    Good review and reflects my view of the models. I found the comprehensive manual very handy for setting up the lighting options on DC. So I have a DRS 68 hauling a container train, and a Chiltern 68 propelling a Wrexham & Shropshire set with only the correct lights showing. Remarkably by chance they run at identical speeds with these trains on my two track folded figure of 8. Now for those matching Chiltern Mainline Mk3 coaches..............


  • #3
    I would add one or two things that could be improved a little apart from the securing of the handrails.

    One thing I found that was missing was any lubrication in the bogies once I worked out the hard way about keeping the model upside down otherwise the wheel sets would be fiddly to get back in and the brass contacts back in place behind the wheels. It could benefit from something in the manual as well on how to remove the bottom of the bogies to access the cogs as it’s not clear in the manual and a newer user without a delicate touch could do damage to the bogies themselves being too rough


    • #4
      Kain Harkins Hi Kain, Thanks for your comment. The model is designed not to require lubrication for quite some time as we have used self-lubricating materials. We made these changes as experience has shown additional lubrication can cause issues as it may cause build ups of dust and other debris to be drawn into the mech, hence our change in design. We do mention this in the manual, although perhaps need to clarify for those who are used to stripping down and lubricating new models.
      This also reflects on the bogie design as due to the above it is not intended to be disassembled on a regular (or even occasional) basis. Removing this restriction allows us to construct a more reliable and realistic bogie.

      Dapol Staff Member


      • #5
        Thanks for the clarification.


        • #6
          Originally posted by Andy Dapol View Post
          The model is designed not to require lubrication for quite some time as we have used self-lubricating materials.
          Just out of interest, what are the materials used? I'm familar with the concept on larger machines (oil-impregnated bearings). Is it something similar using a porous plastic / resin which can be impregnated with oil?


          • Joel Dapol
            Joel Dapol commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello David the material we use is Polyoxymethylene. Technically, it is not really self lubricating but more an extremely low friction super strong polymer used in areas were good low friction contact properties and strength are required. Hope that helps.