Saturday, February 3, 2018

A look at Rapido's Deluxe TTC 'New Look' Bus

Maybe you’re thinking, I thought you were a streetcar guy and had no truck with buses. Well, I am a streetcar guy, but the TTC, which my new streetcar layout is heavily influenced by, is a transportation system where buses play a role along with streetcars and the subway*. In the period I draw heavily from, the TTC in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, I rode them all and when I saw Rapido’s HO rendition of the classic TTC bus from that era I figured I needed one somewhere on the layout so I could tell my story properly – well, I bought one after my usual humming-and-hawing and gnashing of teeth about price and so on and so forth :-)

Let me get the obvious out of the way: it’s an excellent model and I’m glad I bought one.
[The bus model on the right is of one that preceded the New Look. I don't know who manufactured that model, but it's level of precision is a step below.]

The fidelity of the model is phenomenal. I don’t have any other new look buses to compare it to – its box proclaims it’s the first ever 'accurate' New Look produced in HO, maybe there were others, I don't know the history - but you can get a sense of its exactness when placed side-by-side with some other buses.
The bus holds its own in comparison to Bowser's TTC PCC, which is a quite fine item.
Inside the box there's a bag of extra parts, mud guards, decals for route boards, a magnetic wand for triggering the reed switch that controls the lights and some papers with some explanation and an exploded diagram.
I've got to give them bonus points with the parts bag because it lets you use the model as a prop on your layout in a variety of ways. I especially like the inclusion of advertising card frames that can be mounted to the outside. All these buses seemed to have advertising cards mounted on the outside, so those frames increase it's prop value. It would be nice if Bowser had included the same with their streetcars.
The front wheels are posable. Another nice touch that makes it useful as a prop.
And the body shell can be easily pried off. Very nice detail on the inside, but much cleaner than I remember the real things to be. It looks like it will be quite easy to add passengers and a driver. It would be a little weird to have this out on the streets of the Alta Vista TC without people inside. Lots of scenes come to mind, but there’s one I would like to model: the classic situation where the driver has pulled over to the curb to dash into a shop to grab a Sun and a coffee leaving the bus idling, front door open, passengers glaring out the windows at the indignity of waiting while he refuels. No doubt some, like me, were wondering if they could slide into the driver’s seat and make off with the bus. Well, the doors don't open, but that would be asking for too much.

Never seen the real TTC New Look bus in action? No worries, 30 Squares has got you covered. I leave you with the legendary Shuffle Demons circa 1986 (and yes, route boards for 77B are included with model, but you're on your own to find HO Shuffle Demons)
*What about the subway aspect on the layout? For that I’m going to have one or two street-level subway entrances to suggest the subway’s existence, but there won’t be any subway trains.

Fine print: I don’t have any association with Rapido, and I bought and paid for this model with my own cash.The only person I owe a debt to is my wife who went out of her way to pick it up when she was in Toronto.


  1. It looks like an amazing model.

    Also, it's been a LONG time since I've heard that song!

    1. Me too, but it was the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw this thing.

  2. Can it be powered and used on roads? Something more than a prop?

    1. I suspect if the interior were removed it could be retro-fitted with some sort of power unit, but I think that would be a major project.