Dapol's British Railways 6100 Class Prairie Tank Locomotive is a survivor of a range of 34 railway models produced under the brand name Rosebud Kitmaster
. Short-lived, but critically acclaimed, Rosebud Kitmaster kits of predominately British and European prototypes were, and still are, esteemed by countless model railroaders. The Kitmaster 6100 was, in its day, an outstanding model as were all the Kitmasters.
Rosebud Kitmaster was the brand name of a range of plastic assembly kits manufactured in the UK by Rosebud Dolls Ltd. Introduced from May 1959, the range rapidly expanded to include 34 models of railway locomotives and coaches in OO, HO and TT scales. The assets of Rosebud Kitmaster were sold to Airfix Products Ltd. in 1963. Nine locomotives were later reissued under the Airfix brand. In the early 1980s Airfix sold off its model railroad line to Dapol Ltd., a Welsh model railway manufacturer. The company is named after the couple who founded it, DAvid and POLly. They now specialise in N scale, ready-to-run, models of British prototypes. The models are World Class, made in the UK and give the Chinese a good run on both price and quality. In 2004 Dapol were awarded the 'UK Small Business of the Year' award, and in 2007 were awarded the Model Rail (magazine) 'N-gauge Manufacturer of the Year' award. As well as developing their own range of N gauge and 00 gauge models, the company produced products using the moulds and designs from Airfix and others.
The Great Western Railway 61XX. (The G.W.R. always considered itself to be a class above other lines so used Roman Numeral Xs rather than 0s) Class is a class of Superheated prairie tank locomotives of the 2-6-2T arrangement. Seventy were built in 1931-1935. They were introduced in 1931 and were a straightforward development of the earlier classes of GWR steam locos, with little more than an increased boiler pressure of 225 psi to distinguish them from their ancestors. They were specifically built for commuter services in the London area. They lasted to the end of steam on British Railways' Western Region in 1965, never straying far from their home turf. Their last few years saw them on more menial duties until scrapping.
One, 6106, has survived into preservation, and is at Didcot Railway Centre. A 6100's vital stats are:
Wheel Arrangement 2 - 6 - 2T
Cylinders 18 x 30 inches
Driving wheel diameter 5 feet 8 inches
Tractive Effort 27,340 pounds
Weight 78 tons
Coal Capacity 9 cwt.
Water Capacity 2,000 gallons
Boiler pressure 225 lbs/sq in
The Model Kit
Molded in sixty-nine firm gray styrene pieces, Dapol's BR 6100 Class Prairie Tank Locomotive is an interesting railroad engine. It can easily be incorporated into one's model railroad (electric powering kits can be found), a diorama or built as a stand-alone piece. England's railways sported a host of alluring liveries, and this engine can sport more than one ( though there is some dispute about which are appropriate.)
Molding quality of the thick parts is reasonably crisp, with little flash. Unfortunately, exterior details, such as grab and step railings along the boiler and tank, and appliance piping, is molded on. This is not appreciated but it is common even on todays new host of high priced modern model locomotives! What is dubious are the lining patterns, i.e., decorative pin striping accents, which are also modeled on. This is reminiscent of the molded raised insignia details on models of the 1950s and 1960s. While ejector marks mar several pieces, most should not be visible once the unit is assembled. I have spied some sink holes on some parts, but most will be obscured.
Aside from the backhead, no detail graces the very visible interior of the cab.
The decal selection is for a single engine, printed with metallic inks, and fairly sharp.
The valve gear and driving wheels are not designed to work. They can be made to if you either sacrifice accuracy, or engage in serious reworking.
As was (and still is to an extent) the fashion of the day, the scale is labeled HO ( 1/87, 3.5 millimeters to the foot ) & OO ( 1/76, 4 millimeters to the foot ). While slightly smaller than 1/72, these kits can be mixed with that scale.
For a model four decades old, this kit holds up well. The hand railings and piping will take an effort to remove if you choose, but this kit can build into a good looking model with great display potential, with or without the molded detail.