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Useful Conversion Kit for Bratchell Models Kit

Although of no direct relevance to Southern Electric modellers we are bringing this to your attention because of the future potential to our following. Jim Smith-Wright of DEMU is producing a kit to convert the recent Bratchell Models Class 317/2 kit to the earlier Class 317/1. This consists of four sprues of etched nickel silver containing parts to convert the window frames, doors and cab fronts, plus detailing parts such as ventilator grilles, door opening buttons, etc. This is not a complete conversion kit as other parts are still required - particularly for the underframe. Scratchbuilding is required to convert the roofs at the cab fronts plus excavate recesses for the body side ventilator grilles. Otherwise it is basically applying overlays (bending where required) and fabricating the cab front - the corridor connection additionally requiring building up with styrene microstrip. Although the modelling secretary has not yet had time to offer up the parts to check for fit he can comment that the etches are of high quality plus the instructions (supplied in this case as an Acrobat file on a CD-R ) are the best the modelling secretary has ever seen - clearly devised and written by someone who understands modelling and what is required by modellers. Not only do these instructions contain clear explanations and diagrams, but also very good pictures of the prototype illustrating particular details. Many a kit manufacturer would do well to emulate instructions of this excellent quality.

So onto the potential for Southern Electric modellers. The only relevant parts from this kit for a Class 455/8 (original), apart from small detailing parts, are the cab fronts (if jumper cables are added) plus the ventilator grilles. The window overlays are clearly irrelevant and the door overlays are not correct because on the class 455 the windows on the passenger doors align with the top of the saloon windows, not the bottom as on a 317/1, plus on a 455 the driver's door window aligns with the cab window which is not the case on a 317. However, a Class 455/8 conversion kit is projected for the future, which with discarding the cab fronts and grilles will also be suitable for Class 455/9 conversions. Though it is hoped a dedicated 455/9 conversion kit will also follow. This is indeed promising since Bratchell Models are unable to produce a 455/9 kit without major and expensive new tooling to incorporate the differences to the windows in the doors.

This Class 317/1 conversion kit costs £24 including p&p (£20 to DEMU members).
More details from Jim Smith-Wright.

kit artwork MSO/TCO etch
DTSO etch
converted DTSO

(top left) kit artwork
(top right) etches for the MSO/TCO

then above

  • etches for the DTSO
  • converted DTSO
  • cab roof conversion

(below) converted MSO

artwork/photographs by Jim Smith-Wright
except for the etches - Colin Duff

cab roof conversion
converted MSO