Model Bus Zone News
September 2019
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Friday 27 September
Model Spotlight: EFE Bexleybus Leyland National Mark I
Another recent release in the EFE range is this commissioned model produced exclusively for Invicta Model Rail. Below are a selection of photographs showing the final production version and a short history of the bus depicted.

Vehicle Background
Following London Transport's trail of six Leyland Nationals in 1973 and the purchase of 51 vehicles from a canceled Venezuelan export order in 1976, further large orders were placed for more new vehicles which began to arrive from March 1977.

THX 178S was delivered to Aldenham Works in a plain red livery with white roundels & bumpers as LS178 in April 1978. It entered service at Muswell Hill Garage (MH) on route 210 in June. It underwent an overhaul in March 1983 and was then re-allocated to Norbiton Garage (NB) where it operated various routes until June 1987.

Following a period of time in store at the former AEC Works in Southall it was transferred to Eastbourne Buses where it was repainted in the blue & cream Bexleybus livery depicted on the model. This livery was very similar to that used by Eastbourne Buses for its own fleet at the time.

The bus entered service at Bexleyheath Garage (BX) in January 1988 and worked routes 269, 422 & 492 which had been won under the tendering process by the newly setup Bexleybus division of London Buses. Renumbered 53 in this fleet of mainly repainted Daimler Fleetlines, new Dennis Dominator & MCW Metrorider vehicles, THX 178S had a relatively short period of operation, being placed back in store in December 1988.

In February 1990 the bus was transferred to West Ham Garage were it spent just two months before returning to store. Finally in June 1990 it was sold to PVS (Carlton) for scrap.

A photograph of the real vehicle can be found on Flickr

This EFE model is a limited edition of 500 non-certificated pieces. Priced £32.99 plus delivery, you can order it from Invicta Model Rail through their online store, or obtain it in person from their model shop in Sidcup, Kent

E16609Z Bexleybus - Short Leyland National Mk I dual door

Model only avaialable from
Invicta Model Rail Ltd

Below are a selection of photographs showing one of the final production models purchased from Invicta Model Rail. These will each open in new window/tab. A full HD Video slide show is also available below in the form of a YouTube video.

Below is a video slide show of all the above photographs. Click the YouTube logo to view at full size.

Tuesday 24 September
Confirmed Northcord UK Release
The following model has now arrived in the UK and is being distributed to model retailers by importer John Ayrey Diecast.

ukbus 6515 Metroline Travel - ADL Enviro400 MMC Double Deck Bus

Tuesday 17 September
Forward Models Has Closed Down
This email has recently been sent out by Derek Perry at Forward Models.

Forward Models at the terminus

I am very sorry to announce that Forward Models (Birmingham) Limited has closed down. I have had to retire due to ill health and prices rises out of my control which affected the sale of new models.

I set up the company in 2011 to make a few models of the buses I remembered from growing up in Birmingham in the 1950s and 1960s. I went on to produce 4,000 buses in that first batch of Birmingham 'Standards' including 'tin fronts' and Crossley radiators. Further models were produced in WMPTE livery and later in Edinburgh, Hull and Newcastle colours.

Designs were also prepared for buses from Manchester and Glasgow, to be followed by Belfast, Coventry, Rotherham, Cardiff and other cities. The order was ready to send to the factory in China at the end of June 2016, coinciding with the result of the referendum. However, when the result was announced, the value of the pound dropped massively.

Some of these new models were eventually delivered in early 2018 but at a selling price that was 50% higher than the previous models. Inevitably, they did not sell well enough in a market that was already in turmoil with the loss of EFE and other manufacturers. In the same year I was diagnosed with a serious illness. This made it impossible to continue the tasks of administering the company and marketing the new models. I decided to wind up the company in 2019. My plans for the future were sadly ended; I was simply unable to continue as Forward Models. I can, at least, say that I am proud of the models I was able to produce and I thank everyone who has supported this enterprise.

Forward Models for sale

Forward Models is no longer trading and is up for sale; its assets are for sale, including the tooling to make the models, the name, logo and website, and the remaining stocks of model buses. Buyers are being sought. Any enquiries regarding orders, bonds or other liabilities should be sent to

Buyers may also send enquiries about purchasing any part of the business to the same email address, including wholesale purchasing of remaining stock.

Models are on sale to retail purchasers through an online shop at Special offers are available to collectors. If you are on our mailing list, more news of special offers will be sent soon.

Derek Perry

Monday 16 September
Northcord Models Press Release: UK6511
Northcord Models has issued the following press release regarding forthcoming model UK6511 which has just been released in Hong Kong & is expected to be available in the UK during October.


ADL Enviro400 MMC – ukbus6511 Stagecoach West Scotland

Following the significant success in launching the brand new casting of the Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC model in the livery of National Express West Midlands, Stagecoach in Oxfordshire and Bluestar, Northcord Model Company is now releasing the fifth livery on the 10.9 metre long, single-door casting – ukbus 6511 in the livery of Stagecoach West Scotland with full route branding for route 11.
ukbus 6511 represents fleet number 10930 (SN67 XAY) that has 10.9 metre, single door bodywork and was new to Stagecoach West Scotland in 2018. 10930 is one of 27 new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMCs introduced by Stagecoach West Scotland on former A1 Service route 11 (Ardrossan-Kilmarnock) in January 2018. The bus is fitted with automatic vehicle location software, together with e-leather seats, free WiFi and USB sockets.
10930 carries a full and outstanding brand livery for route 11. The special branding is reproduced onto the ukbus 6511 model. The stand-out features of the branding are : the “every 7/8 mins Mon-Fri daytime” frequency and the prominent “the Eleven” along with the key locations served (Ardrossan - Saltcoats - Stevenston - Kilwinning - Irvine - Crosshouse - Kilmarnock) that are repeated on both sides and rear.
Additional details that the model carries include the “FREE WiFi” and “USB Sockets” logos on either side and rear. The model also correctly features the opposite-facing seats at the rear of the upper deck saloon.

Regrettably, the manufacturing contractor has made two egregious errors by failing to replicate this livery correctly despite having the correct, light blue paint sample for the front dome and the livery pdf, both kindly supplied by Stagecoach. The factory has produced the model using the slightly blue if compared with the standard Stagecoach dark blue for the front dome instead and has chosen to use the same blue for the rear branding between the upper and lower rear windows

The Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC ukbus 6511 is a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the square, gasket-mounted windows and the livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. Another main feature on the ukbus 6511 model is its single tree protector at the front. The front dome on the model is significant, with curved windscreens on both upper deck and lower deck.
Northcord Model Company is also creating new design standards within the interior of both saloons. These features, inside the compartments, will represent the real, outstanding layout of the Enviro400 MMC, such as the extensive portrayal of handrails on upper deck and lower deck, etc.
The A1 Service name is one of the iconic operators in Scotland – revered in the same way as Lothian Buses (and predecessors) and Craig Group (West Coast Motors and family). Its dark blue and cream livery, often enhanced with dark red, made it a firm favourite with bus enthusiasts. Its previously un-numbered trunk route between Ardrossan and Kilmarnock ran to a high frequency. Yet, despite the seemingly outward unified appearance, this was a company that comprised a multiplicity of individual owners.
Limited bus operations began in the early years of the previous century that focused on serving principal towns in Ayrshire but it was not until late 1925 when Ayrshire Bus Owners Association, trading as A1 Service was set up to begin operation the following January, operating between Ardrossan and Kilmarnock and to a fixed timetable. A limited company, Ayrshire Bus Owners (A1 Service) Ltd. was set up in May 1931 which issued 22 shares, each shareholding entitling the owner to operate 2 buses.
As the years progressed, some owners fell away, by retirement or death, and the shares passed to others outwith the original co-operative or to existing owners. Some of the co-operative’s shareholders also ran buses or coaches outwith the A1 company.
The remaining owners decided to accept an offer from Stagecoach, which had previously purchased the neighbouring Western Scottish company in July 1994, to sell the company and A1 Service became a Stagecoach subsidiary on 29th January 1995. Although many of the buses were sold immediately, the replacements, both new and secondhand, retained the A1 Service name within the then current map and stripes fleetname style.

CMNL modelled two of the second generation of new buses for Stagecoach A1 Service : ukbus1016 (in later, lighter blue and cream livery) and ukbus0019 (in overall wrap for Belmont Prize Winners); each of these models bearing the destination 11 Ardrossan.
For further reading about the history of A1 Service, collectors’ attention is drawn to the following publications : “Sixty Years of A.1. Service” by George Heaney; “Ayrshire Bus Owners A1 Service- Seventy Years of Serving Ayrshire” by George Heaney and “Ayrshire Bus owners (A1 Service) Ltd” by The PSV Circle, with much of the narrative supplied by George Heaney.

The brand new 10.9 metre Enviro400 MMC bus models will be distributed by John Ayrey Die-Casts Limited (UK), Porte Publishing Company (Japan), 80M Bus Model Shop and Concorde Hobby Shop (HK) respectively. Model UK6511 is limited to 1008 pieces worldwide.

Northcord Model Company (NMC) ------ The World’s Miniature Bus Co.

Friday 13 September
Next Oxford Omnibus Release
Just one Omnibus range model features in the latest batch of releases from Oxford Diecast.
The model is however the first release for the new N scale version of Bristol MW6G ECW coach.
This model expected to be with retailers next week.

NMW6001 Royal Blue (Southern National) - Bristol MW6G ECW Coach (N Scale)

Monday 9 September & Updated 12 September
More 1/43 Coaches For UK Retailers
Wholesaler John Ayrey Die-casts is expecting to receive a further pair of Spanish 1/43rd scale coach models during October. These are from the Camiones Pegaso range of nine models that also includes a seven other commercial vehicles.
These models are being offered to all model retailers wishing to stock them and have an RRP of £29.95. They come in strong blister packaging similar to that used for the Hatchette models.

The coach models are:

MAG LW06 Pegaso Comet 5061 Seida Iberia (1963)

MAG LW09 Pegaso 5070 Setra Seida S14 Alsa (1967)

The truck models in this range can be viewed on the John Ayrey Die-casts site.

Update Thursday 12 September
A couple more 1/43rd models have been announced, firstly there's another coach related model from the Autocult range, each of these highly detailed models are limited editions of just 333 pieces, this is reflected in RRP of £134.99.

ATC1005 Skoda 532 Autobahnbus (1938) - Silver Metallic - Release expected September 19

Further photographs can be found on the John Ayrey's site.

John Ayrey's Diecasts has also secured stock of another 1/43 range of models: Unforgettable cars of Argentina, among the cars & light commercial models is a Volkswagen kombi. These models are due in October and also have an RRP of £29.99, some will have limited availability. They come on plinths are supplied in blister packs.
Your model retailer may be able to pre-order these, if you contact them.

MAG LX14 Unforgetable Cars - Argentina: Volkswagen Kombi T2 b - Blue (1982)

The full range can be found HERE.

Saturday 7 September
Model Spotlight: EFE East London Coaches Leyland National Mark I
One of the latest releases in the EFE range is this commissioned model produced exclusively for TTC Diecast. Below are a selection of photographs showing the final production version and a short history of the bus depicted.

Vehicle Background
London Transport acquired six Leyland Nationals in 1973 and used these alongside an equal number of Metro-Scania single deck vehicles in a trial on route S2.
Following these trials London Transport adopted the Leyland National as its next standard single deck vehicle.
The first batch of 51 vehicles including LS35 (KJD535P) arrived in 1976, these vehicles were in fact originally built as an export order for Venezuela, this was cancelled at a late stage and instead all 51 buses entered service in West London operating routes from Hounslow Bus Garage.

Eventually London Transport built up a fleet of 437 dual door Leyland National Mark I buses which were allocated to routes & depots across the capital.
LS35 stayed at Hounslow until it's first & only overhaul in 1982, after this it was re-allocated to Leyton Garage in East London where it remained until 1989.

In August 1989 it was fitted with coach seating & repainted in a special livery of red & gold with grey skirt & bumpers, the vehicle was used by West Ham garage on the Docklands Express route D5 (Isle Of Dogs District Centre to Mile End Stn) from April 1990 after its conversion to LS operation. LS35's period with East London ended in May 1992 when it was placed in store.

The bus eventually returned to service in the new Westlink Buses livery in August 1992, this new London Buses subsidiary had been setup to operate number of routes won through tendering process in the Hounslow area. The vehicle's passenger service days finally ended with Westlink in 1997 and it was sold to Thames Valley Training for use as a driver trainer during 1998.

LS35 was acquired for preservation in 2001 & initially retained the cream & green livery applied by Thames Valley Training. During 2003 the vehicle was repainted back into the Docklands Express livery which has been reproduced on the model.

This pair of photograph of the real vehicle were taken at the Showbus Rally in September 2019:

The EFE model is limited edition of 500 pieces & each is supplied with an individually numbered certificate. Priced £32.99 plus delivery, you can order it from TTC Diecast through their online store, or obtain it in person from their model shop in Derby. The TTC Diecast sales stand also regularly attends various bus rallies & events across the UK.

E16610Z East London - Short Leyland National Mk I dual door

Model only avaialable from

Below are a selection of hi-res photographs showing the final production version of the model. These will each open in new window/tab. A Video slide show is also available below in the form of a YouTube video.

Below is a video slide show of all the above photographs. Click the YouTube logo to view at full size.

Friday 6 September
Upcoming Tiny Kit Re-run
Tiny are planning a limited re-run of the following kit.
Anyone interested in this kit is advised to place reservation with Tiny.

TK4 Ribble Burlingham Leyland Titan PD3 - Limited Re-run Reserve Now

A full list of the available & future planned kits along with full contact details can be found on the Tiny Kits page.

Monday 2 September
Two Sunstar Routemaster Releases Due Soon
Sunstar has announced the release of the following pair of 1/24th scale Routemaster models, these are expected to be available in the UK shortly.

H2941 Arriva London RM2217 (Route 76 Tottenham Garage / Arriva Heritage Fleet advertising) - AEC RM Class Routemaster

H2942 Arriva London RM6 Queens Golden Jubilee livery (Route 23 Liverpool Street / Surf advertising) - AEC RM Class Routemaster

Going by photographs of what appear to be the final production models on eBay, it seems both models have a number of livery related issues.

The red one only has the thin yellow stripes on the lower side panels, this should also continue across the rear. It is also missing the Heritage Fleet lower rear advert and the white fleet number on the bonnet, the off-side one is present although its rather poorly positioned.
The wrong radiator type has been fitted with the number plate hanging below, RM2217 has the earlier style with plate incorporated into the grille surround.

To give Sunstar some credit, they have at least corrected the RM217 number and missing yellow side stripes present on the pre-production model sample.
What makes this slightly more annoying is that Sunstar produced an earlier version of RM2217 (H2914 Last route 159 RM) that wears a virtually identical livery & doesn't suffer from any of these issues.

Sadly things get even worse on the gold version which has numerous issues. Firstly it appears the model is quite literally a cross between RM6 & RM1650!

This model carries fleet number RM6 from VLT 6 on the bonnet but has reflective registration plates 650 DYE from RM1650. The off-side fleet number is also missing. It appears from photographs RM1650 actually carried red SRM3 fleet numbers while in this livery, a reference to the fact it was one of the 25 RM vehicles painted silver to mark the Queen's Silver Jubilee back in 1977.

The Arriva fleet names relate to RM6 but the gold livery excludes the white between decks band found on that vehicle. The gold livery applied is correct for RM1650 however, but that vehicle was operated by First London not Arriva.

Route 23 has been chosen for this model but that has never been worked by Arriva, it's always been a First route operated by Westbourne Park (X) garage, thus the Arriva Brixton (BN) codes applied are also wrong in relation to the livery, route & registration applied.
RM6 also has open brake cooling grilles below the headlamps, something which has been modelled on earlier Sunstar releases, on this version they are panelled over as per RM1650.

Neither RM6 nor RM1650 carried the Surf adverts during their public service in this livery during 2002, both had LRT sponsored adverts for Jubilee Pl. RM6 did carry the Surf 50 years adverts during 2004/5 but by this time it had gained larger white Arriva fleet names & lost the purple jubilee crown logos plus all the other insignia on the lower side panels. It still retained the gold livery with the white band.

Finally, both of these latest models have an old legal address for London Transport Executive 55 Broadway, non of these vehicles would have carried this after passing to First or Arriva ownership.

The rear light clusters on both models are based on the original LT design, these buses had all received various updated rear light installations by the dates portrayed. This compromise is more understandable given it would have required extensive changes to the existing tooling for each of these latest releases.

Below are links to photographs, from various web based sources, of the real vehicles which highlight most of the issues mentioned above.

RM2217 on route 76, note the position of the fleet number & radiator grille with number plate incorporated. (Jimmy Sheng's Bus Photographs)

The earlier Sunstar version of RM2217 (H29414 produced in 2007) depicting the vehicle working the final public journey of the type on route 159 in 2005.

Rear view of RM2217, note yellow stripe & rear advert related to the main side ones.

Arriva RM6, this shows the gold livery with white band, Jubilee Pl advertising & brake cooling grilles below the headlamps.,_2002_North_Weald_bus_rally.jpg

First RM1650, this shows the red off-side SRM3 fleet number, gold livery, position of First fleetnames & Jubilee Pl advertising.

Rear view of RM1650 while on route 23 to Liverpool street, note the modified rear lights.

Arriva RM6 at Showbus 2005 rally with the Surf advertising depicted on the model, note the larger Arriva fleetnames, lack of any purple crown logos or other insignia on the side panels. (Photograph from the Ian's Bus Stop site)

Considering these large scale models are aimed at serious collectors & have a RRP of over £230, most of these issues are not only all too noticeable but also very disappointing given the general paint & decal application looks to be otherwise very good on both models.

 August 2019  Model Bus Zone News Index October 2019