BUSKITS KIT 13 - HIGHBRIDGE BRISTOL K (E.C.W) 1948

Review by Alan Purssey

THE VEHICLE

The programme for restoration of services after the second world war for London Transport was completed in 1946. Passengers were up on pre-war figures, and the lack of new vehicles and the availability of time-expired vehicles called for drastic action to cut passenger queues. A short-term measure was to hire coaches from independent operators. The flow of the new RT buses was slow partly due to Government restrictions. Alongside the utility buses appearing on
London streets were buses destined for the Tilling group. 25 per cent were diverted to London to ease the situation.

Many of these buses were of the new Bristol K type with Eastern Coach Works bodies,
Bristol had a long association with this company. Eastern National, Bristol Tramways and Brighton and Hove were among the operators to lose their new vehicles to London Transport.

These buses were delivered in their respective company colours but did not carry any company fleet names - these would have been added by the companies themselves. Before entering service they were sent to Chiswick to have a specially made metal bullís eye attached to the radiator together with metal garage and running number brackets fitted to the body sides in accordance with LT practice. The London Transport name flanked by two bull eyes was carried in the upper destination aperture. The larger destination aperture carried a restricted blind usually the route number and destination only to inform the public that they were in service. Tottenham Garage (AR) was allocated seven from a batch of ten destined for Brighton & Hove registered EAP8-11 and EPM1-3. These attractive red and cream finished vehicles fitted in well with the similar red London types. They were employed on routes 73 and 76.

THE KIT

This is a model from Alan Johnson, my first from his range, and is made up of 23 parts (see picture to left) the main body part is one item. The front bulkhead, nearside cab, bonnet and wing form the next largest unit, the staircase and rear bulkhead are two further items, the upper deck flooring with seating with the nearside seating a separate item to allow the modeller to chose the seating capacity, usually 56, These are then glued in place 1mm from the edge to allow for the glazing. The chassis flooring has fixed seats plus two bench seats as separate items, complete the resin parts. The wheels, radiator with headlights attached, axle retainers, guard rails, and steering wheel come in cast metal. All the glazing has the sliding vents printed on, is fitted from the inside apart from the driverís windscreen which is fitted to the outside, one small piece of glazing is provided for the side cab window. Painting is recommended after cleaning up of the body parts and due to the clever design of this kit makes that task much easier for the modeller.

After painting, cut the glazing carefully around the guidelines. I fitted the upper front window first and butted the side windows up to the front to help hold the front window in place. Once the glazing was completed a start can be made on the final assembly (picture below left). The upper floor unit is glued in place making sure the unit is butted up to the front bulkhead. Then the lower rear bulkhead containing the platform, with the stairs fitted in place last; the front unit I left to last. The remaining cast parts can then be glued in place not forgetting the stanchion pole supplied in the kit through the hole in the platform. You will need a piece of wire for the two grab handles, apart from some slight adjustments it went together like a dream. The resin body is rather fragile and needs careful handling; but this is advantageous when it comes to assembling the interior parts. Typical of the high attention to detail in this model is the platform slats (picture below centre).  The instruction sheet is very clear and precise: do follow the sequence. Alan has included a history of these vehicles stating some of the many operators who used them. The picture below right shows the assembled model ready for the transfer application.

The Bristol K was very popular with the Tilling Group companies and therefore found its way into the fleets of many provincial operators and as these buses were to find their way to London should appeal to London collectors who wish to add a touch of variety to their collections.  NOTE As the Brighton & Hove buses allocated to Tottenham did not have the louvers on the bonnet sides they need careful removal with a file. This is one of the easiest models I have tackled in a long time and I can thoroughly recommend this kit to anyone who has not dared tackle a double deck model before.

FINISHING TOUCHES

To finish the model period posters were from the Fox range, together with the small metal bullís eyes for the radiator, the flanked London Transport and bulls eyes came with another restricted blind from Fox (this does not show in the photos,), windscreen wiper and Garage codes for Tottenham from the MBC range and the restricted blind for route 76 was from the Trysco range. The number plates I made on my PC. Rear view mirrors from Mark Hughes.

The kit price £35.00 plus £2.00 P&P contact Alan Johnson his range of other kits and ordering details can be found HERE.

Alan Purssey