` Oxford Diecast - Leyland Royal Tiger Coach Review
Click the small pictures throughout the review to view larger versions.

76LRT002 - Oxford Diecast Southdown Leyland Royal Tiger Coach
76LRT002 - Oxford Diecast's Southdown Leyland Royal Tiger Coach is the first release of this new tooling.

A Brief History
Leyland Royal Tiger Coach

   Leyland introduced the Royal Tiger chassis in 1950, the chassis had a under floor engine which allowed the vehicle to be bodied with full front designs and gave the option for an entrance to be fitted at the front of the vehicle if so desired. Some 6000 Royal Tigers were produced by Leyland in the period between 1950 & 1956, both coach & bus bodies were built on the chassis by a wide variety of body builders. Leyland themselves offered its own bodywork and Oxford have chosen the manufacturer's coach body as the subject for this latest model.

High off-side rear view - Click to enlarge

Southdown operated a varied collection of Leyland Royal Tiger Coaches which had bodywork supplied not only by Leyland but also Duple & Harrington. 25 all Leyland examples were delivered in 1952/3 and had central entrances which were Southdown's favoured layout during the 1950's. The 41 seat coaches were allocated fleet numbers 1620-1644 and had sliding roof panels. The vehicles were delivered in the operator's traditional green coach livery with gold scroll style fleet names.

Some of the vehicles were modified for dual purpose use in the early 1960's and had larger front destination displays fitted along with bus type direction indicators. All these modified vehicles retained the standard coach livery however, eventually most of the vehicles were demoted to bus duties as newer coaches took over the long distance services.

Southdown withdraw all the vehicles from service between 1963 & 1965. Several were acquired for further service by other operators, four passed to Mexborough & Swinton while several others were used by various contractors for private staff transport.

High off-side front view - Click to enlarge High nearside rear view - Click to enlarge
The Model
The model depicts Southdown's LUF640 (1640) bound for Hayling Island - Click to enlarge

   This is Oxford Die-cast's third 1/76 bus/coach model and follows on the heals of last year's the Bedford OWB Utility Bus. The Scania Irizar PB coach has yet to make an appearance as a standard Oxford release although an example has already been produced for Atlas Editions' Eddie Stobart Collection.

Oxford's latest model, like the Bedford OWB is very competitively priced and has a RRP of just £12.95 although some retailers are selling it for as little as £10.
This is well under half the price of the cheapest comparable EFE die-cast buses and also lower than the plastic models recently produced by B-T Models. Some may wonder if sacrifices have had to made to achieve this low price point, so I'll start by taking a look at the construction of the model.

It's fair to say the model contains a good amount of die-cast metal but there's a lot more plastic, in fact I'd say over 60% is actually plastic if you include the interior.
The die-cast content is limited to the lower part of the model, this is still large enough to give the model some weight despite the baseplate & everything above the waistband being plastic.
Fortunately the external appearance of the model hasn't suffered as a result of this high plastic content and in some ways may have been enhanced.

This first release of the model depicts Southdown's LUF 640 (fleet no. 1640) in traditional coach livery bound for Hayling Island. First impressions are good in terms of the livery application, the mainly green base colour is only relieved by the fairly extensive decorative chrome work characteristic of these vehicles. The green colour used seems to be a good match to that used by Southdown while the chrome work is reproduced using silver paint that again looks convincing and has been very cleanly applied all round.

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

The model has most of the expected decals, gold scroll style Southdown fleet names have a fine black outline and are present on both sides while smaller versions are also applied on the front and rear. Gold fleet numbers can be found below the rear most side windows and small legal names, top speed & unladen weight decals have been applied to the skirt panel on the nearside. All the decals are sharp and even the smallest text is perfectly legible.

Close up of front wheels & legal address - Click to enlarge Close up of rear wheels & decals - Click to enlarge

Close up of front detailing & drivers door - Click to enlarge Most of the chrome bright-work is applied to raised areas on the casting with the only exception being decorative breading below the front windscreen. This exception is understandable as this design varied somewhat between operators.

The front bumpers, headlights and small sidelight are all cast features, all the lights have been neatly finished with silver paint. Finally a single windscreen wiper is represented by a simple line of silver paint.
There are no driving mirrors on the model although to be fair these were fairly small items on the real vehicles.

Close up of rear detailing - Click to enlarge On the rear the direction indicator arrows have been reproduced either side of the number plate along with a pair of I presume brake lights. I'm a little unsure about these as they are orange rather than the expected red!.
Again these decals are all printed on raised areas of the casting, the luggage boot doors are also cast features and include detailing for the hinges & boot handle.
The cove mounted roof board - Click to enlarge
The model is fitted with side cove mounted roof boards which carry "Hire Southdown For Your Private Party" slogans. The fine black scroll text is printed onto the unpainted cream plastic boards.

The vertical panel beading on the body side panels has been reproduced on the cast lower section of the model along with a good representation of sliding style central entrance door.

Nearside view - Click to enlarge Off-side view - Click to enlarge
Other moulded features include the front semaphore traffic indicators, the drivers cab door complete with small foot step below and the nearside fuel filler cap.

Front destination close up - Click to enlarge

The glazing on the model looks very good, the windows are slightly recessed behind the window surrounds and the upright pillars between the windows are thin and look to scale.

The front windscreen seems to capture the shape well and again the various pillars & bars have been neatly modelled and don't look over scale. All the panels on the upper part of the model are painted onto the clear plastic moulding, this has all been done very neatly and the green paint is dark enough to prevent any shading issues caused by light passing though the clear plastic. It will however be interesting to see if any issues arise when lighter colours are used on future models.
Front windscreen close up - Click to enlarge
The sliding roof fitted to these vehicles has been moulded into the plastic along with two raised roof vents at the rear. There's no representation of any panelling joints on the roof.

The front destination is printed directly onto the front roof dome along with a small SOUTHDOWN fleet name above and two small air vents either side. Unlike the earlier Bedford OWB, there's no glazed destination on this model. Perhaps this could be achieved on future releases by simply printing the destination on the inside of the clear plastic roof section!

Roof has detailing for sliding panels - Click to enlarge Baseplate detailing - Click to enlarge
The rather basic interior - Click to enlarge

The plastic baseplate has some basic detailing for the chassis and the mid-mounted engine, the wheel hubs have a degree of detailing including nuts on the rear hubs & a silver nut ring cover on the front. Soft plastic tires are fitted and look acceptable for this type of vehicle.

Interior detailing is however the weakest area, the one piece seating unit is made of brown plastic, the seats themselves are very basic with little effort to reproduce the individual seats.
Close up of dashboard - Click to enlarge
A rectangle with a raised circle on it is used for the drivers dashboard and this sits behind the black plastic steering wheel.
One positive feature is the lack of any internal fixing poles.

The two halves of the model fit together really well with the joint only really being noticeable below the rear most side windows

Front & rear of model
The model broken down into it's components - Click to enlarge

These models are relatively cheap so no doubt will appeal to those looking to do some customizing or repainting, the good news is that like the OWB this latest model is held together by two cross head screws in the base. Undoing these releases the plastic baseplate & die-cast lower section. The seating unit is clipped onto the upper body section by four sturdy clips, these can easily be released by placing a small screwdriver blade between the seating unit clip and the glazing retaining tabs.
Two screws & four clips hold the model together - Click to enlarge
Obviously the one piece plastic upper moulding will make repainting the model a little more tricky and involve a lot of masking if a spray painted finish is desired

The seating unit could be easily enhanced with some suitable coloured paints to represent the seat cushions and frames etc, adding passengers & a driver would also be a simple exercise.

Oxford's 76LRT002 packaging
76LRT002 - The Southdown Leyland Royal; Tiger comes packaged with the customary Oxford display case.

All in all a very good model which given the competitive price point is even more impressive. The interior does lack detailing and the model doesn't have any driving mirrors, but apart from that Oxford Diecast have produced a very good model. If the recently announced Weymann Fanfare coach is up to the same standard we should be in for another treat soon.

  • Low price
  • Captures the vehicles distinctive design well
  • Good paint finish
  • Good detailing very neatly applied
  • Interior detailing very basic
  • No glazed destination
Construction: 10/10
Livery Application : 9/10
Decal Application: 10/10
Interior Detailing 7/10
Likeness to Subject: 9/10

Overall: 9/10

Some Additional Photographs
Front nearside - Click to enlarge Rear nearside - Click to enlarge
Rear off-side - Click to enlarge
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