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Review & Photographs by Kevin Ellis.

Hatchette: 604103 - Harrington Dorsal Fin Coach Review - click to view super hi-res image
Hatchette: 604103 - Harrington Dorsal Fin Coach Review
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   The subject of this review is a little different to the previous ones I've done for site, this is mainly down to the somewhat unusual 1/43rd scale of the model.

This model was originally issued in the Hatchette partwork magazine series titled Buses of the World, it appears only a few issues were released in the UK during a limited marketing trial.

Other models in the series included a Bedford OB Duple Vista Coach, a London Transport RT and an American Scenicruiser Greyhound coach. Most of the other models appear to have depicted vehicles from mainland Europe.

Near side front view - Click to enlarge Off-side front view - Click to enlarge
Off-side rear view - Click to enlarge Near side rear view - Click to enlarge
Hatchette: 604103 - Soudley Valley Harrington Dorsal Fin Coach

At the time of publishing this review, two of the models, the Harrington & Greyhound coaches could still be obtained along with their associated magazines direct from the Hatchette UK website for around £23 including postage. However examples of several of the other models, including this pair, were also released to the model trade in mid 2017 by wholesaler John Ayrey Diecasts. These were available from various model retailers without the magazines for between £10 to 20, sadly many of these were only available in very limited quantities and have now sold out.

It should be pointed out that the models come packaged in a clear vacuum formed plastic blister mounted on a card backing. However Hatchette will mail these to you in a less than ideal plastic bag, in my case this resulted in a somewhat crumpled magazine and more troubling, a cracked glazed panel above the offside windows on the model!

All the models in the series are believed to have been produced by IXO, and indeed recently another version of the London RT bus and a couple of Mercedes coaches have been released in that companies own range. These retail price in the UK for these is around £40.

Getting back to the model itself, we are presented with a Harrington coach in the red & maroon livery of Bevan Bros/Soudley Valley Luxury Coaches.

The first thing you will notice is the weight of the model, the main body shell is diecast metal while plastic is used for the base and the interior detailing. Plastic has also been used for a number of the body accessories including the lights & bumpers.

A close up of the front detailing - Click to enlarge

Here's the model's virtual statistics:
Length: 204mm (8)
Width : 53mm (2 1/8) excluding mirrors
Height: 70mm (2 3/4)
Weight: 398g (14oz)

Given the price you might be expecting this to be a rather basic model, however this is not the case at all and I was actually quite surprised by the high level of detailing compared to that found on a similarly priced 1/76 scale model.

The paint finish on the body is good and the colours seem to be about right for this preserved coach. The application is even and not too thickly applied meaning the body panelling detail remains crisp. On my example there was slight damaged to the leading edges of both front mudguards, this seems to be caused by the tight fitting vacuum packaging used to house the model.

All of the chrome trim on the body panels has been precisely reproduced using silver paint, specific areas include the waistband, front & rear window surrounds, front radiator and various trim above the side windows and around the rear wheel arches.

Side windows & fleet names - Click to enlarge The rear rear dorsal fin - Click to enlarge

Tampo printed gold Soudley Valley fleet names appear on the sides and rear. Gold Bevan Bros names are present in the front & rear destination display areas. All of these are well defined & cleanly applied. Soudley Valley Luxury Coach has also been applied to the glazed panels above the side windows.

Overall the clear plastic used for the windows is good with no sign of any distortions.
The front and rear windows are flushed fitted whereas the side glazing is slightly recessed into the body shell.

Off-side rearbr> Off-side front view - Click to enlarge Nearside rear view - Click to enlarge

Further tampo printed detailing includes tiny AEC badges on the wheel hubs & a slightly bigger version on the front grille. These are all nicely detailed & the AEC name can clearly be made out.
Decals are also used for the KKD 38 silver on black registration plates on the front & rear.

Nearside view - Click to enlarge Off-side view  - Click to enlarge

The front & rear bumpers are both separate chrome plated plastic components and these enhance the model's appearance greatly.
The three main front lights are also separate parts, the clear plastic gives a good impression of the lens & interior bulb. All three have silver painted surrounds. Silver paint has been used for the two small front side lights while the front indicators are nicely reproduced using small orange plastic inserts on silver painted mountings.

There are only four lights on the rear. These have all been moulded into the bumper and finished with spots of red paint, given their small size this looks perfectly acceptable.

Other nice touches, include black paint in all the door handle recesses and a chromed effect fuel filler cap.

Front & rear views - Click to enlarge Close up of rear boot - Click to enlarge
Another view of the front - Click to enlarge Another view of the rear - Click to enlarge

Driving mirrors are fitted and these have a silver painted rear, the windscreen wipers are moulded into the glazing and again silver paint is used to enhance their appearance.

Windscreen detailing - Click to enlarge The driving mirrors - Click to enlarge

Roof detailing includes the dorsal fin which has some vent detailing. The panel beading is reproduced and looks to be to scale. A final touch is a raised plastic intake vent at the front which has been painted to match the roof.

Close up of roof detailing - Click to enlarge Close up of base detailing - Click to enlarge

Detailing on the base is fairly good and includes the engine, transmissions and drive line. Various tanks are also included along with the exhaust pipe, the rear section of which is finished in silver paint..

Soft plastic tyres are fitted to the red painted wheel hubs. The tyres include tread detailing while the hubs also contain a good level of detailing. The front wheels have silvered central hubs & decorative wheel rings.

Close up of roof detailing - Click to enlarge Close up of tyres - Click to enlarge Close up of tyres - Click to enlarge

Model is easy to disassemble - Click to enlargeConstruction wise the model can be easily disassembled by undoing a single cross-head screw at the rear of the baseplate. This allows access to the interior which is fairly basic in terms of detailing.

Interior detailing is basic - Click to enlargeThe interior consists of a seating component made of brown plastic. All the seats are reproduced and include some detailing for the headrests. There's certainly scope for some enhancements should you be handy with a paint brush. Passengers & a driver could also be added with ease if desired.

Close up of driver's cab - Click to enlargeThe drivers cab & the area over the engine is partitioned off using a nice internal glazed panel. The internal engine cover has been modelled along with the drivers seat, black steering wheel & a small non-detailed instrument panel.

All in all for the price this is a very detailed larger scale model.
1/43rd scale isn't a particularly common scale for UK bus & coach models. Corgi produced quite a large number of 1/50th scale models back in the 1980s, but these will look out of scale next to these larger IXO models.
On the plus side there are plenty of 1/43rd scale cars & vans which would work well with this coach if you were planning a diorama scene.

The magazine supplied with the model when ordered from Hatchette  - Click to enlarge

  • Good vehicle likeness
  • Exceptional value for money
  • Excellent paint finish and high level of exterior detailing
  • Basic interior detailing
  • Hatchette postal packaging is poor
  • Unusual scale

Construction: 8/10
Livery Application : 9/10
Decal Application: 10/10
Interior Detailing 6/10
Likeness to Subject: 9/10

Overall: 8.5/10

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