Oxford Beadle Integral East Kent

By Maz Woolley

All photographs are by, and copyright of,  the Author.

Oxford Diecast continue to catch up with their release program. This article looks at the new 1:76 scale Beadle Integral 76BI001 which has just arrived in the shops. The first thing to note is that Oxford has made the whole bodyshell in plastic. Many recent Oxford coach/bus models had plastic uppers and metal lower sections but here only the base plate is diecast. I know that this will not please some collectors but when one sees the fine detail that has been incorporated and the absolutely flush glazing it offers in a thin walled bodyshell I am sure that most collectors will be happy for Oxford to continue down this path.

This coach dates back to the “make do and mend” period after the Second World War when new buses and coaches were a scarce commodity. During this time many coachbuilders built new bodies getting rid of the old-fashioned half-cabs and giving them up to date looks. J C Beadle of Dartford in Kent were such a company taking Leyland and AEC chassis and adding modern bodies. East Kent were one of several companies that were customers. The vehicle modelled by Oxford started life as a Leyland TD5 double decker and was rebodied in 1951 as a 35 seat coach. It was withdrawn from service in 1964 and after being in private hands it was acquired for preservation in 1972. At some point during its working life it had a white roof added offering Oxford the option to do another version of this vehicle.

I admire Oxford for making this unusual and attractive vehicle. Options for endless recolours are limited as Beadle seem to have changed the front end styling frequently so I hope that this model sells well to encourage Oxford to make more unusual models. A version in East Yorkshire colours is planned for later in 2017.

As to the model itself it is excellent. Comparison with the archive photographs available show it to be an accurate replica with all the salient styling features well captured. Some simplification has been made, the grille area is painted black whereas pictures show it to be textured and probably in body colour, and the destination, number, and fleet boards should all be slightly recessed. These minor points do not spoil the overall effect of the model.

Printing of the body mouldings with chrome surrounding cream centres of the body mouldings has been done accurately and gives an excellent appearance. The tiny operators script and passenger emergency door markings are all there and difficult to read even with a magnifying glass as they are to scale. The lighting and chrome front decoration is all very neatly moulded and highlighted. The rear small lower red lights could have been better centred when printing but as everything else is spot on it is acceptable. I am impressed with the number plates with the silver on black printing and the realistic size and spacing of the letters and numbers .

Most of my previous Oxford buses/coaches have had poorly aligned rear wheel sets but I have either been luck this time or Oxford are improving the quality of their fitting.

All in all an excellent model and great value for money at the price it sells for in the UK.


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