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Upper deck interior
The first 1:24th DMS in it's London form has now been released by Gilbow, the model which was a surprise announcement at last years Showbus Rally is a joint venture with Drumwell, who though their Best Choose range have already released two China Motor Bus versions in Hong Kong.
The first UK release features London Transport DMS580 (MLK580L) with advertising for Pearl Assurance, and running plates for Finchley Depot, this is basically a copy of the first release of the 1/76th scale EFE model 25701, in fact the illustration on the packaging actually shows the smaller model version!
The first thing you notice when you pick up the box is the weight of this model, which comes in a around 4 kg's, the packaging is also extremely well thought out with the box incorporating a convenient plastic carrying handle. Inside the model is secured within vacuum formed polystyrene moulds. Lifting one half off reveals the model wrapped in tissue paper and two yellow ribbons that can then be used to lift the model free of the remaining packaging. The only other items in the box are an instruction sheet, a pair of wing mirrors and a black plastic display stand. The model is not certificated.
Moving on to the model, first impressions are good, the shape and features all seem to look right, the paint finish is smooth and appears to have been applied thinly as small details within the casting are all still well defined. The window rubbers are represented by thin black lining while the sliding window vents are tampo printed onto the flat glazing in silver paint. The body is a single piece casting so there are no unsightly joins to worry about, the opening rear emergency window and engine cover are all snug fits with no over scale gaps visible.
The level of detailing is impressive with individual rivets on the panel beading, the tampo printed decals are also well executed and crisp even down to the tiny text used for the emergency door controls.
The front lights are represented by clear plastic lenses on a silver painted background, while the rear light clusters are to a similar design but with the appropriate red, orange and silver areas.
The one thing that catches the eye with this model in the level of interior detailing, the seat cushions all carry the correct cloth motif design and their frames are finished in a chrome effect as are the numerous grab rails. The ceilings are finished in beige and even include the correct strip lights and panel beading. Most of the interior side panels and seat backs are finished in light grey while the floors have a wood panel effect which is finished in brown.
The drivers cab has a working steering wheel which turns when the front wheels are manipulated, the dashboard includes a control panel complete with switches and a representation of the speedometer.
Opening the rear engine cover reveals a fully detailed engine and gearbox finished in red and silver, I'm not an expert on this but it looks fairly accurate to me.
The model also has a proper chassis which incorporates working spring suspension and possable front wheels, the supplied plastic stand locates into the chassis which supports the model just above the ground thus preventing any unwanted movement.
A unique feature of this model is the ability to adjust the blinds, the model comes with 5 different routes / destinations, the front blinds are adjusted by opening the front most platform door which gives access to a small thumb wheel located in the ceiling. This blind is made up of a single roll so turning the wheel moves the whole display up or down. The side route number blind is likewise adjusted by another ceiling wheel accessed via the centre folding doors. The rear blind mechanism is incorporated into the rear most upper deck bench seat, access being gained via the opening the rear emergency exit.
You may ask are there any problems with the model, well yes there are a few minor things, only the front most platform door opens the other half is fixed, this means that if you want to display the model with the doors open it looks a little strange, it also makes adjusting the front blind a little awkward. On the interior the drivers cab appears to lack any sort of ticket issuing apparatus and coin tray, however apart from these two minor points I have to say I was very impressed by the models overall appearance and sturdy build quality.
The question I know many will be asking is this as good as the other 1:24th model, the Sunstar Routemaster, well even though I'm a fan of the Routemaster, I have to say in model terms the DMS is in my opinion a step ahead of the Sunstar model, whether you feel the same will probably depend on your views on the real DMS which I know is not one of the most popular types. Is the model worth the higher asking price? To be honest I'm not really sure, but I'm pretty convinced this is by far the best commercial produced model bus currently available. I don't think Gilbow will have any trouble selling first run of 600 models produced, but as to whether collector's have the finances or indeed the room for lots of large scale models is still to be seen.