Leyland Olympian (Type B)

Southern Vectis

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Photograph © S & D Models


 Manufacturer of model EFE
 Scale 1:76
 Fleet number 711
 Registration number F11SDL
 Route number 6
 Destination Blackgang
 Advertising -
 Release details
 Quantities (if known) n/a
 Date released 9/03
 Availability Showbus 2003 and EFE subscribers
 Comments Showbus model 2003. Note the error in the registration number. The correct registration number should read F711 SDL. See Gallery Leyland Olympian

I am very grateful to Mark Smith for reviewing this new casting from EFE

EFE Leyland Olympian Review by Mark Smith

EFE’s latest new casting is of the Leyland Olympian has been eagerly awaited by model collectors as it provides a direct comparison with the Corgi OOC model, long regarded as one of their most inferior offerings, despite a modest reworking of the tools fairly soon after the initial releases.

EFE’s first release is Southern Vectis No.711, Corgi having already produced No.714 from the same batch, in the same beige/dark green livery.

The EFE casting appears to be based on the highbridge (14’2”) version of the later Leyland produced body, based on that originally produced by ECW.  This contrasts with the lowheight ECW version modelled by Corgi, and provides EFE with a wide selection of operators of this later version, including Preston, Colchester, Armchair, Thamesway, Capital Citybus to name but a few.

The castings are split between upper and lower decks in the usual EFE style, with crisp castings and some relief detailed.  The upper deck may be derived from the near identical Titan model judging by the rectangular panel moulded in the mid decks panels on the nearside rear (eagle eyed viewers of the EFE Olympian samples at Showbus 2002 may have spotted the upper decks on display were Titan castings).  However the finished article correctly has a frameless emergency exit and a plain panel below.  The BET style windscreen is well done and the window pillars are correctly proportioned and slender.  The flush fitting side windows have the rubbers moulded on the edge like as per the Titan and additionally are finished in black, but I think this detracts from the finished result and makes the cast pillars on the model look wider than they are, probably due to the light livery colour.  On the prototype the panel joins are generally overlapped rather than finished with raised straps, and thankfully the EFE model does not have the spurious excess of these like the OOC ECW Olympian and Palatine 2 models.  Grilles and details are generally printed on, accurate and in the right place.  The front dash looks fine with the Leyland badge neatly done. One omission present on the OOC version and perpetuated by EFE is the destination panel, which on most if not all Olympians of this type was set into a large recessed panel.

The livery details are well executed and accurate except the registration is wrong; the number should be 711 not 11.  What really mystifies me are these two points.  Why did EFE choose a Southern Vectis prototype when have SV never operated highbridge Olympians, and why have the opening windows on the lower deck windows been portrayed as sliders when they are hopper vents on the real thing?  The upper deck windows are correctly hoppers, and in the right places.  The same mistakes were evident on the forthcoming Wilts and Dorset model on display too.

Generally though we have another fine casting with accurate detail and one that captures the character of the prototype in the usual EFE manner – they really do manage to get the basic shapes right on their castings in a consistent manner which should be the envy of other manufacturers.  When EFE choose to represent a prototypical ‘highbridge’ livery with accurately printed opening windows, they will have a model of the highest quality.  This one scores highly on the casting but falls down on the detailed finishing – again the errors noted in my review are easily detected by reference to any half decent photo of the real thing.

This review is © Mark Smith 2 October 2003


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