Review: Oxford Rail's latest GWR 'Dean Goods' release

A brief photographic review

Text and photographs : Tony Richards

A full review of Oxford Rail's GWR 2301 Class, the 'Dean Goods', appeared on this site in July 2017 and the main details will not be repeated here. For those who are interested however, it maybe found here.

Since then, three further models have been released: a BR Black version, a limited edition in glossy green for the Steam Museum at Swindon and this, 2475, liveried in GWR Plain Green and lettered in a 1920s -1930s livery.

These three later releases are significant because Oxford has modified the body tooling to show a more accurate cab side-sheet cut-out profile and also re-positioned the hand-rails to show them, more accurately, just below the fire-box wash out plugs, rather than covering them as before. Comparative photographs show this well.

In the left-hand photograph, the Oxford model lies in front of the original Mainline [and later Dapol and Hornby] model. Whilst the profile of the cut-out is a significant improvement on the first release [shown on the right], drawings by both JN Maskelyne and Ian Beattie suggest that the Mainline version is the closest to the prototype

The hand-rails and reversing lever on this model will need some attention as both are painted in a bright silver: not really appropriate for this livery or, indeed, the age of the engine as modelled. The reversing lever would be better shown as darkened steel with an oily sheen, the handrails in green [for the loco body and tender] and black [for the running-plate]. Both would be easy tasks and, when undertaken, would lift what is already a good model considerably.

Some modellers have also detached the wheel splashers to remove the rivets from their tops. Ultimately, that is a matter for personal choice as some care will be required if the model is not to be damaged. In truth, the rivets are not visible from two or three feet.

The cab detail is excellent, something which is becoming an Oxford speciality. Dials are lettered and the brass-work and levers neatly picked out. The semi-permanent  connection between the loco and its tender is also nicely disguised by a well textured fall plate [the comparative photograph between the Mainline and Oxford models shows this well].  Such an open cab begs for crew!

This is a model for which I have been waiting a long, long time. The Mainline/Dapol/Hornby release had a good loco body but suffered from a crude and noisy tender-drive mechanism and an over-long tender body [Oxford's is far closer to the prototype, possibly only a millimetre or two over-length]. For a significantly sub-£100 price, Oxford has done well to meet the demand for a new Dean and, with the improved body design and just a little work undertaken by the purchaser, a credible alternative has at last arrived. I've also noticed that prices for Hornby Deans are dropping on eBay!