DB asks: Anyone remember that bizarre extra from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, DC 4444? According to the Railfan mag, 4444 was a 'firm favorite' amongst the foamer community, which I suppose means that either Reid or Karl had the hots for it. Back in the 90s this freaky thing was going to revolutionise train operations in NZ - a loco stuffed with electronic wizardry that could motor itself around without the need for a driver. I guess you'd be buggered if you burst a brake hose.
Speaking of funny looking things, a pair of Rhys' cast resin DC tops floated onto my workbench in the late 90s. I made one into DBR1267 (now 1213) and started to turn the other into this beast, adding its unsightly protrusions (relocated batteries and air reservoirs if I recall), but gave up before the handrails went on. Now 10 or so years later, it's time for it to have a sex change and become DC 4421. I've liked this loco for a while, as its one of a few early bumblebees that had the TranzRail winged logo instead of the later poorhouse-edition-painted-on block TR letters, and I went for a ride in it once.It didn't take long to fill in the tablet exchanger hole, slop on some black and yellow paint and decals, and then plop some handrails on.
4444 sat on a dummy lifelike chassis, but I've since managed to scrounge a powered Atlas SD35 to go under 4421. Not only do these run well, they're also DCC friendly and with a few mods are within spitting distance of our DA/DB/DC/DBR bogies.
I always had a lowly opinion of my 4444 - unfinished on its hokey Lifelike chassis - but as 4421, it's come out fairly well despite the express paint job (including painted-on powercoated windows!) and nasty handrails (the best of them borrowed from a leftover Etchcetera set).As a postscript, one of our kind viewers sent me a link to one of these RhysResin shells that was up on Trademe a week or so ago. I hope one of our listeners snapped it up, as even in this day and age, with a touch of paint and a few details they can pretty easily be made up into mighty fine models.
Merely a jump... to the left... And then a step to the ri-i-i-i-ight...