Oxford Diecast for the Table Top

14 February 2023
TT scale has been around for many decades, but now it’s back and making some serious noise in the world of diecast. Rick Wilson dusts off some old models to help bring it all into focus.
Oxford Diecast for the Table Top Images

The whole subject of scales and gauges has been more than adequately covered in this magazine recently by Brian Salter, in his epic 31-part series. And just when we thought we might have things under control, one of the less well-known is brought back into the spotlight – but with good reason.

The history of TT

There is more than a little confusion surrounding this gauge/scale on its own, as there are two accepted ratios that have been used historically. The new ‘Table Top’ scale (hence the TT moniker) originated in the USA, but is today widespread in Central Europe, and is the second-most popular scale in Central Europe and Russia, after HO, with several manufacturers based in countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic. TT uses a ratio of 1:120, but Tri-ang introduced its own take on this in 1957.

The loading gauge for British railways is smaller than the rest of the world, meaning that rolling stock and locomotives aren’t as big. Back in the days of modelling when not everything was a tiny as it is today, no power units were suitable to model British lines at the then newly-adopted scale, so Tri-ang opted for a scale of 3mm to 1 foot (1 foot equals 304.8mm), which works out at 1:101.6, so the locomotives, rolling stock and track were all a little larger than their overseas equivalents.

Just to confuse matters a little further, when Corgi produced its excellent, static ‘Rail Legends’ series of classic British locomotives a few years back, this was modelled at 1:120. And now the scale has  become rather popular in the UK, with both PECO and Hornby launching products at this scale.

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TT in diecast

Oxford Diecast's superb brand new range of 1:120 scale vehicles, announced in conjunction with Hornby's new TT:120 line, are wonderfully-engineered models, made from both diecast and plastic components. These six brand new releases have all been modelled by Oxford in its other scales, such as N (1/148) and OO (1/76), so the company knows that they will be popular with rail enthusiasts. The Austin Low Loader has also been released in 1/43 scale (O gauge) – check out the comparison photo at the top of this page!

Austin Low Loader Taxi - black (120AT001, £7.45)

This Low Loader first appeared in 1934 and became an instant success, due mainly to its very attractive price, as well as being very reliable. Taxi fleets often had their own paint scheme and the Austin LL taxi-cab appeared in several colours, but the most popular was black.

Dennis F12 Pump Escape - London Fire Brigade (120DEN001, £7.95)

Dennis started producing the F series of fire engines in 1946, with the F12 being the most popular. In those days, its construction comprised a wooden frame with an aluminium skin. It was used widely throughout the UK.

Land Rover Series 2 LWB Hard Top - British Rail (120LAN2001, £7.45)

The Series II Land Rover was manufactured from 1958 until 1961. Coming in short (SWB) and long wheelbases (LWB) with numerous body combinations including fixed roofs, canvas roofs, open tops, station wagons, the first release will be very popular in early BR livery.

Scammell Mechanical Horse Flat Trailer - GWR (120MH003, £7.95)

Scammell first introduced its 'Mechanical Horse' in the UK in 1934. From the late 1920s, railway companies had been searching for a vehicle to replace the horse-drawn carriage. The mechanical horse was operated by all the major railways (such as GWR, modelled here).

Morris 1000 - British Rail (120MM059, £7.45)

The ubiquitous Morris 1000 Van makes an appearance in the very popular British Railways crimson and cream colour scheme. The British Railways totem features on the sides and front.

Bedford OB Coach - British Rail (120OB001, £7.95)

The Bedford OB Coach chassis was introduced in 1939. Only 73 were built prior to World War II, but it reappeared in an unchanged form at the end of the war. Production ran until 1950, during which time over 12,500 were made, making it one of the most popular buses of its type.

Oxford will no doubt be adding to this line-up on a continuous basis and, in fact, a recent quick exchange with Oxford Diecast’s Managing Director, Eloise Davies, confirmed this. Future models are planned, but details pertaining to the vehicle type and livery have not been confirmed yet. So, hopefully, there will be more TT news later this year – keep an eye on this and future developments at www.oxforddiecast.co.uk