Sunday, August 6, 2017

Review: SDS Models VPFX Bulk Flour Wagon

SDS Models bulk flour wagon VPFX 5 at West Ballarat Sidings.

As I write this post I'm watching North Melbourne vs Collingwood in the Australian Football League (yes we get live AFL in NZ) but instead of a Victoria Bitter I've got a hot milo, its another cold night in the lower South Island. So what better time to post my first ever model review of my newest wagon VPFX 5, a bulk flour wagon by SDS Models.

First a bit of background. 17 of these bulk flour wagons were built by the Newport and Ballarat North Workshops between 1966 and 1971. Originally classified as the FX (Flour / Exchange) class, they were mostly used between Swan Hill VIC, Albury NSW and Bridgewater SA and Footscray, Westall and Williamstown in the greater Melbourne area. Later on in the mid 1980's they were used on the standard gauge to Canberra and to Enfield in Sydney. 

In the early 1980's the wagons were reclassified as VPFX (Victoria / Pneumatic / Flour / Exchange). In their later lives several were used to haul burnt lime (VPLX) and dried locomotive sand (VZGX). No VPFX wagons or their derivatives are still in service.

The model I have is VPFX 5 as it was in Goodman Fielder bulk flour service in the early to mid 1990's. This is outside my mid 1980's V/line era but as the only person that models Victorian railways at my club and quite possibly in New Zealand, I don't think anyone will notice. 

This model is one that is sold in a single pack. SDS offers a wide range of FX, VPFX, VPLX and VZGX wagons in single and three packs. 

The model came in the standard cardboard box with a plastic insert that holds the wagon nice and securely. Bloody handy when you're hauling models back and forth from home to the club.

Straight out of the box this is a really nice model. The side beams and lower part of the silos are all moulded in one piece. The middle and upper parts of the silos are also moulded in one piece. Together they capture the look of the wagon really well.

The brake cylinder and rigging as well as flour discharge pipes and equipment is separate detail that has been added to the wagon ends.

SDS have done a great job with the end detail and the attention to detail extends to beneath the model as well.

The detail beneath the wagon is awesome. The silo detail and the piping used for discharging the flour is very well modelled. A real shame that this detail is not normally seen but nice to know its there.

My favourite part of the wagon is the detail along the top of the model. The silo hatches, foot plates and access ladders have been really well done.

With all the detail parts you have to be careful when handling this model not to break anything. This is not something unique to this model. I've noticed with the high detail models that are coming out you have to be a little bit more careful in how they're handled. I guess there's a fine line that manufacturers have to find between robustness and the detail that modellers are always wanting more of. 

Earlier in their lives these wagons had some very elaborate liveries advertising the different flour producers that used these wagons. The Goodman Fielder livery this wagon has is fairly basic but the paint and stencilling is still very good. The white paint is applied evenly with no obvious issues that I could see.

The stencilling is very good. Even under serious close up the smaller stencilling can be read pretty easily.

The wagon runs smoothly along the track and through points with no noticeable wobble. 

Overall I'm really happy with this model. SDS have done a great job in capturing the distinctive look of these wagons and should be applauded for their efforts. While I don't currently have a flour mill on my layout, I do enjoy seeing this wagon being shunted around by the Redan shunt. VPFX 5 has been a great addition to my small wagon fleet.

And that's about it.

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