‘Clay Tiger’ gets international makeover


REVIEWS: FEATURED last issue in original white form, Kernow Model Rail Centre has now received samples of its second batch of ‘Clay Tiger’ hoppers ahead of their release in August. This sees the ‘OO’ gauge china clay wagons appear in all-over blue with both ECC International and Tiphook Rail brandings, this recreating their appearance from 1994 or so following overhaul through to withdrawal in 2004.

As before, four differently-numbered wagons will be produced in pristine blue with weathered versions due for release later in the year.

Pictured is No. 33 70 9382 065-8 (SB002J, £44.99), the other three hoppers also carrying international RIV numbers. This reflects the modifications made to most of the ‘Clay Tigers’ to allow them to work through to the continent with ‘white gold’ destined for ECC customers in Switzerland and Italy. The wagons, TOPS coded JIA in this form, also continued to operate domestically, carrying china clay from Cornwall to the terminal at Cliffe Vale, Stoke-on-Trent.

Revised tooling

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Commendably, Kernow has tooled up a second version of the wagon body to allow the minor modifications carried out to enable continental operation to be accurately portrayed. The most obvious of these is the addition of ferry lashing rings along the solebars while the external brake pipes down one side of the body have also been reduced from three to two in comparison to the original white version.

The decoration of the model is again very impressive, the myriad of lettering required for international operation all being present and correct. Notably, the model features the 1998 onwards style of electrification warning symbol along with Channel Tunnel approved logos, so would need altering to be fully accurate for the initial years in blue. Also on this sample, the handbrake wheels were finished in blue rather than the correct white. Despite this, the blue ‘Clay Tiger’ is as impressive as its predecessor and would go well with Railfreight Distribution, Transrail or EWS traction. Reviews by Simon Bendall

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