By Maz Woolley
All photographs and text by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
Forward Models make a small range of buses to 1:76 scale. They started off as a crowd funded company issuing bonds and have released several models since 2016. Initial releases were all Birmingham Buses, ‘Forward’ is after all the motto on the City’s crest. These were produced in both the Birmingham City Transport livery and the West Midlands Transport Executive (WMPTE) livery that followed. After that buses in Manchester, Hull, Newcastle, Glasgow, and Edinburgh liveries have been produced.
Here we look at #NGS-01 which is in Birmingham City Transport livery operating service 1 from the City to Acocks Green. A route that the Author was familiar with having spent his student years in Birmingham. This is one of the earlier releases from Forward Models and is based on a Guy Arab Chassis powered by a Gardner 6LW 8.4 litre 6 cylinder diesel with a body built by Metro-Camell. This bus was the last of the ‘new look’ buses to be withdrawn by which time it was operating on the outer circle route, number 11, which retained two man operation longer than any other due to the need to get people on and off quickly on this congested route. Today the bus can be seen in Wythall Transport Museum.
The model from Forward is held together by long screws creating unrealistic poles through the centre of the lower and upper decks a similar solution to the one used by EFE.
It also suffers a little from the bonnet and tin front being made as a separate part so different radiators can be fitted to the same basic body as Birmingham operated Guy, Daimler, Leyland and others. This front section does not quite match up with the body paint making the separate section obvious.
The Birmingham livery is well painted and generally well masked. The opening window sliders are printed neatly and correctly on only a limited number of windows.
The rear platform is also neatly detailed with all handrails picked out and even the used tickets bin signage included. To the rear the funny arrow shaped indicators either side of the number plate are nicely printed.
As the photograph shows the Birmingham crest and operators details are clearly printed. The wheels seem fairly accurate, but the plastic for the wheels is a little too shiny perhaps. The bus in preservation has small silver cover on the centre of the front wheel hub which is not shown here.
The ‘new look’ front is well captured with all the destination and route blinds well realised and neat mirrors fitted. On the radiator an impression of the Guy badge and the Guy name are printed as well as the other chrome embellishments to be seen on the real bus. However, the Indian ‘ceremonial bonnet’ that should be fitted above the badge is represented only by a raised ‘hump’ and is not printed on which is a shame. The lights are neatly made separate lenses, though the side mounted indicators are painted on moulded ‘humps’ in the casting.
The fleet number dominates the rear of the bus all the better for the bus inspectors to spot the bus for entering into their logs. On the roof the ventilation pods are moulded in and the correct matt darker colour roof is painted on.
Despite the a small number of criticisms I think that it is a nice model of a classic Birmingham bus from the era when car ownership was lower and the bus was the main way for most people of getting round the City.
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