Sunstar 1:24 Bedford OB - Yelloways Coaches of Rochdale
Reg. FDK 571
Released August 2006
Review by Kevin Ellis

Following Andy McClelland's excellent review of the Original Classics OB I thought it would be of interest to provide a similar article covering the other 1/24th scale Bedford OB coach produced by Sunstar.

The OB is Sunstar's second foray into the 1/24th scale bus market, it's highly acclaimed Routemasters were the first UK mass produced model buses released in this larger super detailed scale. It would appear that manufacturers believe there is a ready market for further models in this scale, Gilbow followed Sunstar into this market with it's London DMS and is set to expand its range in 2007 with a new MCW Metrobus model.

The Sunstar model I have is the first release that comes in the livery of the well-known Rochdale operator Yelloways Motor Services, The model depicts a 1947 Bedford OB which in this case is registered FDK 571, interestingly this is the third time this particular coach has been modelled with two previous versions being released by Corgi in it's 1/50th classics and 1/76th OOC model ranges. EFE also produced a similar 1/76th Yelloways OB back in 1996 bearing the registration HDK 542.

The model comes packaged in its very own dedicated box that has full colour pictures of the model adorning it, opening the outer box reveals the polystyrene foam packaging that securely retains the model, the only other items included are a limited edition numbered certificate that shows a run of 3,250 models and two plastic wing mirrors that push fit into holes on the front of the model.

My first impressions upon seeing the model were extremely good. There's certainly no doubt that Sunstar have captured the essence this iconic vehicle well.
The model itself weighs in at almost 1.4kg and measures 312mm long x 97mm wide and 120mm high, the overall size is strangely quite a bit bigger than the Original Classic example which seems slightly odd if both are truly to 1/24th scale.

The main body shell is diecast, while the chassis, interior, radiator and front mudguards are all plastic, apart from the chassis these parts are all finished with a coat of the appropriate coloured paint.

Unlike Andy my only memories of the OB are from the preserved examples I've seen at various rallies or books but the detailing on this model would suggest it's based on the vehicle as it appeared in the late 1940's.

The level of detailing is particularly impressive, starting on the outside the all important radiator grille has nicely scaled slates and all the correct chromed inserts. The Bedford name badge and a chromed filler cap complete the detailing. Headlamps have painted rears and support arms with realistic textured plastic lenses fitted to the front and held in place by chromed retaining rings.

The Sunstar model has opening bonnet covers which in turn have detachable the side panels. Behind these can be found a fairly detailed engine that includes the main engine block, radiator, fan and various cylinders and pipe work. A nice touch are the tiny Bedford chassis plates that have been reproduced on either side of the front bulkhead.

There are other opening features which like the Original Classics version include the sunroof and passenger door which can both be slide open. In my (rather hand fisted) case trying to open the rather tightly fitting passenger door caused the inner door handle to drop off and two of the side window visor fixing lugs to snap. Luckily, some small drops of glue easily repaired the damage. In addition to these features the drivers door also swings open on three tiny hinges providing excellent views of the interior which I'll come on to later

Exterior chrome beading is mainly reproduced using silver paint however chrome finished plastic components are used for the front hub caps, bumpers, rear lights and various other small fittings. To be honest the beading looks a little dull in comparison to the chromed items but it's not really a major issue and its difficult to see how else these features could have been reproduced.

Two small details I only spotted after photographing the model were the tiny side trafficators that can actually be popped out and the fact that the licence disk holders actually contain miniature printed disks!

Poseable front wheels are fitted which I'm happy to report don't show any sign of the sagging that is often found on some of the smaller scale models. The various destination blinds and the rear registration plate are printed on the rear of clear plastic producing a glazed effect but this doesn't look as convincing as those found on the Original Classic' version which appear to be properly set back behind the glazing.
The main side window glazing is positioned behind the casting which although correct is somewhat out of scale due to the thickness of the actual metal. This is particularly noticeable around the front most side windows which on the real coach would have been virtually flush with the outside bodywork.
Clear plastic visors are fitted above the side windows and as mentioned earlier these are very prone to damage. It's certainly advisable to avoid these when lifting this substantial model.

The real delight of this model is to be found on the interior and the level of detail seems to go beyond that found on the Routemaster. The ceiling is finished with a patterned design and hanging from it are the luggage racks and interior lights. At the front an interior mirror and a clock showing five past ten have been attached to the front dome panels.

Each individual seat has a full tubular frame and light brown side panels, the cushions are tampo printed with a suitable blue and red period looking motif although the later is somewhat spoilt by semi-gloss finish that really doesn't give an authentic impression of a cloth material. The tops of seats have headrests and are finished off at the rear with a chromed grab rail. The rear of the seats include a reproduction of the retaining brackets and a small central mounted ashtray. Window winding handles are provided below some of the side windows on both sides of the model.

The driver's area and dashboard have the highest detailing with all the dials and switches nicely reproduced. The handbrake, gear stick and pedals together with a nicely scaled steering wheel surround the driver's seat. A small fire extinguisher is moulded into panel beside the driver's door on to which is fixed a first aid box.

The floor is painted with light brown matt paint while the panel beading on this and driver's floor area are finished with silver paint.

The base of the model is fairly sparse with just the underside of the engine, a fuel tank. A separate silver exhaust pipe and black prop shaft run from the engine to the rear where a detailed rear axle is fitted. The twin rear tyres do seem to have a rather large gap separating them and look a bit on the narrow side to me but I've not been able to find any photographic evidence that can confirm whether these are accurate or not.

You certainly get an awful lot of model for the money but are there any bad points you may ask, well yes there a few small ones, the window visors are very fragile and vulnerable to damage particularly around the passenger door.

The yellow paint on the roof looks rather thickly applied and some slight unevenness is visible as a result on my example, this a shame as the orange paint looks perfect as does the tempo printing which is well executed and fully legible.

The side engine covers do tend to come adrift rather easily once the protective plastic transit stickers have been removed so I'd advise leaving the ones on the inside of the engine covers in place.

Having dug out my original Corgi 1/50th example I'm left wondering which if either model has the right shade of orange paint applied, the difference between the two is marked to say the very least!

The opening features all seem to fit well although the passenger door doesn't slide very easily on my example however on the plus side at least there's no evidence of any unsightly gaps when these features are closed.

Would I buy any more, well to be honest I'd love to have them all but space and the little matter of the 80 RRP probably means unless a model with a very strong local connection comes along I'll have to resist the temptation and make do with just the one.

Three further liveries have already been announced and it seems likely more will be announced for 2007, it's understood that Sunstar also plans to produced some of the later Duple body variations in the future.

As to which of the two 1/24th OB's is the best I'll leave that up to you to decide, the Original Classic version has fewer opening features but the added attraction of working lights. All I can say is I'm well pleased with Sunstar's efforts.


The  opinions offered in the reviews on this page remain those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the of views of The Model Bus Website.

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