Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Little People

It always seemed strange to me that model engines didn't have drivers, and model coaches carried no passengers. Things have started to change in recent years, and drivers and firemen are appearing on many model engines. Passengers inside coaches, however, are quite rare.

With a view to rectifying this state of affairs (and presumably greatly increasing the model railway company's revenue), I carried out a review of the ready-made figures available in 00 scale (1/76), painted or unpainted. While there is a good range of specific "character" figures available, the coach-filling situation is not good. "The Little People" are normally sold individually or in packs of around 5, and typically cost between £1 and £2 per figure. So even to half-fill a coach with passengers could cost more than the cost of the coach itself.

In H0 scale (1/87) however the situation is better. While the ready-painted figures are just as expensive as in 00, bulk packs of unpainted figures can bring the cost down to below 20p per figure. And while the painting requires a reasonably steady hand, if it's going inside a coach then it needn't be too perfect.

I therefore purchased two trial packs, one from Atlas and one from Preiser. The unpainted Atlas figures are described as "00/H0", and are good mouldings, most of the individuals being about 5'6" tall in 00. My only complaint is that a doctor or dentist and a nurse in ward clothing are of limited use, and of the 24 figures in the pack, 16 of them are made up of 4 different poses repeated identically 4 times. The Preiser unpainted seated figures were out of stock at the supplier, so I bought a small pack of painted figures. These are noticeably smaller than the Atlas figures, and the (seated) adults are the equivalent of around 5'0" tall in 00, were they able to stand up. They look ok if kept apart fron true 00 figures, and are certainly ok for populating a coach. On the strength of this I've ordered a pack of 120 Preiser seated figures, unpainted.

My next problem will be finding my way in to some of the coaches!

Some Preiser passengers sit down to lunch.

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