By Jason Mitchell
Photographs are taken by, and copyright of, the Author.
I have just received the new Ruby Toys AEC Regal bus, the sister of their Leyland Tiger which was released earlier in 2017 [See photograph at base of article].
The real vehicles, classified 15T13, were new in 1948 and the very last of London Transport’s large T class, which had originated in 1929 and encompassed a wide variety of chassis specifications and bodywork. All were AEC Regal single-deckers, but the class had little else in common across its many variants. The most famous members were probably the handsome 10T10 Green Line coaches of 1938, which have been very nicely modelled by EFE.
The 15T13s had rather plain bodywork by Mann Egerton, and the casual observer probably wouldn’t have noticed much difference in style between this 1948 bus and its 1929 predecessor. The mechanical specification was a different matter however. The petrol engine and crash gearbox had given way to a large 9.6 litre diesel, fluid flywheel and preselector gearbox as fitted to the RT double-decker, and air brakes now provided the stopping power. The old-fashioned looks would appear even more antiquated after a few years, as operators turned to modern underfloor-engined designs which eliminated the half cab and exposed radiator. Withdrawals of these fine buses started as early as 1956, as falling demand meant that London Transport found itself with more buses than it needed. Many were sold to Sri Lanka for further service. The last London survivors managed to hang on until 1962 and 1963, which was about the expected lifespan for a bus at that time.
The model is imposing in its 1:48 scale, and has a simple Dinky-type charm about it. Apart from the radiator, all that differentiates this from the previous Ruby Toys Leyland is the colour, as the AECs ran in London Transport’s country area and were accordingly painted Lincoln green. The real AECs, unlike the Leylands, benefitted from a door for their more rural operations, but this has not been modelled. I was a little disappointed, but I can understand the need for compromise with the casting, which was also a characteristic of the real Dinky Toys! Of course, any 1:48 scale passengers may take a dimmer view of this lack of protection from draughts.
When new the buses had white window surrounds, but they spent most of their lives in all-over green as portrayed here. Relief was provided by a thin cream band just below the windows, but the omission of this on the model isn’t a problem for me.
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