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Reviews & Feedback

References to published reviews, and unsolicited testimonials from our customers, for which we offer our sincere thanks.

Online Reviews

Accomplished loco builder David Holt describes a build of our Class 40 kit on the Scalefour Society Forum: EE Type 4, D211 with PenBits sprung chassis.

John Donnelly works through a build of our Class 24/25 springing kit on the Scalefour Society Forum: A sprung Class 24 or an exercise in ignorance and persistence...

…this soldering lark is no where near as hard as I've thought it was for all these years…

Projects using our Class 26/27 sprung bogie kit are described by Jeremy Good in his Locos for Lochinver thread, and by Jon 020 in his Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project thread, both on the Scalefour Forum.

James Wells' Springy Class 25 Thread on RMWeb, and his Class 37 project on his own Blog:

The fit of the Penbits parts is excellent… The instructions are comprehensive (reminding me of the Formil Eng instructions for their Dyna-Drive kits) and even suggest a break to restore sanity at one point! They guide you through every part of the process and make it a real joy to construct. Oddly the length of the instructions could put some people off but this would be a shame as the whole package is excellent. Recommended!

There are photos of James' Class 25 on our Gallery page.

David Barham and Mike Knowles comparing notes about our Class 25 kit on the Scalefour Society forum, including a link to a video from David:

(David on RMWeb) I've been very impressed with the kit, the quality of the etching was excellent and the designer had clearly assembled several before writing the instructions. The initial 'rolling test' where you leave out the gears so you can just roll the locomotive along was great fun!
(Mike) I have a set installed under my Class 25 and very good they are too. A really well thought out kit and the accuracy of the etchings is outstanding.

Printed Reviews

Rail Express Nos. 277, 278 and 279 (June, July, August 2019) Modelling Sections contain a series of articles by Nigel Burkin featuring his EM build of our bogie kit for the Bachmann Class 37.

A favourite model like the weathered Class 37 which received the sprung bogies is worth the effort of following 75 pages of instructions... runs smoothly and well... derailments in its usual trouble spots were completely eliminated.

"The Class 37", by James Wells, Model Railway Journal No. 253, February 2017, pp. 42 - 52.

Upon first glance PenBits' bogies can seem quite complex, indeed I have friends who have put off their construction as they appear very involved. However, they are beautifully designed and, if you follow the instructions, they almost fall together.

"The Rat's Whiskers", by James Wells, Scalefour News No.196, February 2016, pp. 27 - 33:

The fit of the parts is spot on and it worked first time… a large layout with a decent length train showed how capable it really was.

"A Fully Sprung Class 25 for Hebble Vale Goods", by Karl Crowther, Model Railway Journal No.231, May 2014, pp. 129-136,160:

Despite its apparent complexity, I found the whole build to be an enjoyable process, and feel this well thought-out product has fully lived up to my expectations. In all, I am very happy with the outcome and looking forward to doing the sprung bogie kit for a Bachmann Class 37.

"Penbits Class 25", by John Chambers, Scalefour News No.184, September 2013, pp. 28, 29:

I can thoroughly recommend this kit to anyone interested in going that little bit further with their diesel modelling. It was an enjoyable build, made all the more so by the fact that the instructions are so well thought out.


…and the fit of parts continues to delight. In fact the bolster frames and stiffeners simply clip into place and can be soldered without the need to clamp up, so well do they fit. I'm much encouraged by all this and looking forward to the next stages.
BH, Inverness, Dec 2012

Deltic passed its powered test this afternoon with flying colours, i.e. it hurtled round the main line, entered Kings Cross and departed via the Down Main through two well known trouble spots (for the unmodified loco only, courtesy of its twisted bogies), and successfully negotiated both yard entrances. …thanks for an enjoyable and well thought out kit.
BH, Inverness, Jan 2013

Deltic Kings X 1 Deltic Kings X 2 …glued all the cosmetic bits in place today and sent DP1 for an extended run on the Tyne-Tees Pullman. Pleased to say that it performed faultlessly, and with plenty of power to accelerate the heavy train up the banks. Very impressed…
BH, Inverness, Jan 2013

I have already built one of your Bachmann class 47 kits and fitted it to a class 57. It totally transformed its track holding qualities - it now stays on the track ([A simple "drop-in" conversion] is pointless because the running is so poor the loco leaves the rails as soon as it hits a point, a curve or superelevation). I found the kit well designed, all parts fitted together very well and the instructions were very comprehensive.
CT, Newcastle, Jan 2013

The 47 is now up and running, as sweet as a nut. Well done, cracking piece of kit. The secondary springing answers all the issues I had with my previous experiments. Looking forward to future builds.
CW, Cleethorpes, Jan 2013

I have now built the Class 25 bogies and the loco runs exceptionally smoothly. I followed your instructions and had no major problems.
CT, Newcastle, Feb 2013

Very much enjoyed building the Class 47 - along with BH's Deltic it is running superbly!
SH, Inverness, Feb 2013

…could you send me an invoice for another class 24 bogie please. …my two previous conversions, the Brush 4 and the Derby 2 (I am getting on a bit) are both running absolutely superbly on my test track and taking everything in their stride without a wobble or shudder. Literally just like the real thing! …The test track is in my workshop and straddles 10 tracks in P4. The length of run end to end is 12' and comprises 7 double slips, 2 scissor crossings with 2 single slips onto doubles and 5 plain crossovers plus 2 tandem switches. All track is built from Exacto and C&L components with code 82, 75 and 55 rail, n/s and steel, timber and copperclad sleepered track featuring dropped joints, dog-legs and anything else I can throw at it within reason. All in all a complex set of trackwork, very shuntable. So the conclusion is if any vehicle can negotiate this "yard" at all speed ranges then I can comfortably claim some element of success. The Penbits components tick all boxes.
CW, Cleethorpes, Mar 2013

I recently purchased the sprung bogie kit for the Bachmann Class 25 and have to say I found it an outstanding piece of work.
MK, E. Yorks., Mar 2013

I was impressed with your kits for Deltic and class 47 so would like to place an order for 2 kits of the recently released class 37 as featured in MRJ 224.
TJ, Surrey, Jul 2013

I'm making steady progress with the kit - which is a delight as everything fits together beautifully.
DC, Chesterfield, Sep 2013

I've just about finished my class 25 bogies and enjoyed every step of the way.
JD, York, Oct 2013

My Deltic is now all back together again and looks - and runs - just as I'd hoped.
DC, Chesterfield, Oct 2013

The TOERAG group layout … is a large roundy-roundy layout that is taking shape in a cold, damp garage in Stockton. The trackwork suffers, like many group layouts, in being built to different standards, in different materials, by different people. Most working sessions are thus spent tweaking and repairing rather than making real progress. Last month we got a loco to run around a complete circuit, albeit with temporary wiring. This month I was assured that the wiring was complete and to bring test locos for a running session. My 25 was the only loco to make complete circuits without coming off or needing modifications to the track. Proof positive :o)
JD, York, Mar 2014

I do not have a 'modern image' layout, but own a Bachmann Class 37/4 ('reverse preservation'?) which I run from time to time, and which I have just treated to one of Ian Penberth's sprung suspension kits, which was a challenging but satisfying build, and which has transformed the running characteristics beyond my wildest expectations; to see it ambling round my far from perfect track is quite intoxicating, and it gets far more running than it ever did before; I recommend these kits unreservedly.
R L-S, Worcester, Jun 2014 (in Letters, Model Railway Journal, No. 232)

Just a quick message, the finished class 25! It's been a long time in the works but the result is very pleasing! And it runs beautifully!
JW, Beverley, Nov 2014

I have eventually got round to building and fitting your Class 35 Bogies and have to admit the experience was great.
The product presentation was good, the notes on building were second to none, the assembly of product was clean and precise, resulting in an exemplary finished product which has totally transformed the performance of the diesel. An absolute pleasure to build and a dream to drive.
JF, Inverness, Sep 2015

I built your class 24 chassis a year back and thoroughly enjoyed the way that went together.
DB, Scaleforum, Sep 2015

My 33 is finished and running very nicely, I have spent far too long sticking bits and pieces under a length of flexi track to see how much abuse the suspension can take, a kind of loco assault course - great fun.
DS, Romford, Feb 2016

Just a quick note to say that I'm really enjoying the Heljan 47 bogies - they go together very nicely!
JW, Beverley, Apr 2016

I've just built one of your class 47 kits and it's without a doubt the best etched kit I've bought, I used to model O Gauge brass diesel kits and none of them fitted together like yours do.
JV, Nantwich, Jun 2016

I bought the 10000 kit from you at Aylesbury, and on your recommendation went for the Branchlines wheels. I've assembled the kit into the loco, and run it on my club test track, where it runs well. I'm impressed with the whole experience; the kit presentation, instructions, the whole build process. I do like the fact that you make up all the metal bits before attacking the donor loco, too.
MM, Aylesbury, Jul 2016.

I got the Hymek running in about 10 hours working time, and the transformation was wonderful! Well I did expect no less... actually the Hymek has exceeded expectations; from guaranteed to derail in some places after S4 conversion to never falling off since spring bogie conversion.
TS, London, Aug 2016

the kits are a real pleasure to build
SH, Inverness, Sep 2016

Loving building the sprung bogie, it's a nice treat to see it go together and run.
ML, Tonbridge, Nov 2016

My 24s are both running, though 'finished' still doesn't apply; I have to repeat - I am really delighted with their performance and that of the Hymek, and am now eager to build the Peak bogies…
TS, London, Jan 2017.

I've purchased one of your sprung kits, and fantastic it is too - went together very well, considering I'm an amateur at such things.
BigAndy, RMWeb, Feb 2017

I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the problems coming and the way that you have solved them.
TS, London, Feb 2017

I'm enjoying very much making the kit everything fits so well.
MD, London, Mar 2017

I have already converted one Bachmann class 40 with the PK016 and Ultrascale wheels and the result is superb, running through my new "plank's" switchwork without a tremor! Just like all the "Penbitted" models.
CW, Cleethorpes, Oct 2017

I bought a Class 33 kit from you at Expo EM when they first came out, and am happily working my way through the cosmetic details second fix having achieved a lovely smooth rolling chassis. I am most impressed with the design and fit of the kit components... This morning I did the brake lever brackets and am in awe at the care and thought that went into them!
SS, Shepton Mallet, Jan 2018

Many thanks for getting back and as a result I have stuck with it and now got it (EM Cl 37) running fine even around my 24 inch curves.
PD, Fife, Feb 2018

Of interest - as part of an MPD diorama project, I've included a double-slip (best ever points build I've done!) and seeing these big locos (47 and 37 etc) sliding through is something to behold - so smooth and steady on their Penbits springing - great!
BL, Morpeth, Apr 2018

I really enjoyed bringing this kit together under a P4 Bachmann 24 I picked up second hand. Your instructions are very thorough, and I worked methodically developing knowledge of tools, techniques and process as I went. The resulting running was well worth it.
CM, by email, Apr 2020

Got my own Peak sprung now. Amazing seeing it run round the layout and great to hear it realistically picking out the rail joints. Next job to get the sound sorted…
Interesting in EM as compared with the P4 one done earlier, you don't need any washers to take up side play - indeed it's more a case of trying to get some sideplay! There seemed to be little scope to gain any on the centre wheels, so I allowed for that on the inner axles. Seems to be OK for my curves (around 4ft min). Also I used the EMGS wheel shorting frets and did have to be very careful these didn't catch on the top of the bearing carriers.
Can’t wait to do my 40 (and others!). These kits really do take your model to a whole new level of authenticity!
KC, Cumbria, Aug 2020

Many thanks for the enjoyment of building and running your exceptional kits. They have been and still are an absolute pleasure to run and build.
CW, Cleethorpes, Oct 2022

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