Special or Limited Edition?

I always find it a shame that such lovely models often get separated from their boxes. A quick look on a very famous online auction site will show you that many a locomotive is now “boxless”. To me it’s more than just a box, it’s part of the product, part of the heritage of what you are buying. Here I want to take a quick look at the labels that you will find on the box ends (post 1978). In a later article we shall look at the boxes themselves in more detail.


Above you can see a picture of the familiar box ends. So, starting from top left, then right, and working our way down, let’s take a quick look. It should be noted that starting in 1978, Graham Farish moved over to a new numbering system for cataloguing their models, with each model having a four digit number (and in some instances, as we shall see, a letter following the numbers). This system was used right up until the Bachmann takeover. Prior to this they used an alpha-numeric system, which bore no relation to the new system.

0613: This box is from 1978 and is a clear plastic tube with push fit ends. They were only in existence for a very short period of time. The catalogue number is heat printed onto the end of the box.

1505 Battle of Britain BR: Now we start to see the familiar card boxes with the plastic film windows, albeit in black and gold. These were introduced in 1979 and used up to 1981. The label is also a neat black with gold text.

8405 / 8114: After the introduction of black and yellow boxes some models came with either a white label with printed number, or white label with hand-written number. These were generally early on in the life of black / yellow boxes, but the examples in the picture above both had 5-pole motors, so it seems to be after 1984.

8179 Railcar Motorised Chassis: These box labels we peculiar in that they were smaller than what was to come. However, printed in black on yellow, they were suited to the new corporate colours.

8208 Class 20 Diesel BR Railfreight: Now we are into the familiar territory of labels that adorned most of Graham Farish’s boxes. They carried the catalogue number, the class of locomotive, the name (if any) and the livery.

831A SPECIAL EDITION Class 33 Diesel “EWS” 33030: Special Edition (silver label) locomotives first appeared in the 1997 catalogue. The first release I can see for a diesel is class 33 “Sultan” BR Dutch in March 1996. Do you have any records to show any earlier silver label releases? It would be interesting to know the production run for silver label models, as Graham Farish simply mention that numbers were restricted. If you know then please post in the comments box below.

LE841A LIMITED EDITION: 500 Class 55 Diesel Porterbrook Livery: As the label suggests, these models were limited to a release of 500 models. Each came with its own limited edition certificate with the production number (between 1-500) printed on it. These labels were red and stood out clearly from both the silver and yellow labels.

Resizespecial edition limited edition

Above you can see two excerpts from the 1997 catalogue extolling the desirability of both silver and red label models. The limited edition piece also appeared earlier in the 1994 catalogue.

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