Quickview: Heljan CCT for 'O'

16 November 2022
With the manufacturer delivering its models of the Covered Carriage Truck to customers and retailers, Howard Smith offers first impressions.

Such was the widespread use of the Covered Carriage Trucks (CCT) vehicles, these are arguably a long overdue item in ready-to-run format for 7mm:1ft O gauge modellers. Between 1959 and 1961, 827 of these two-axle vehicles were constructed between BR's Doncaster and Earlestown works for use on Motorail and parcels traffic.

Though their use on Motorail services was short – BR preferring the use of GUVs from the mid-1960s – the vehicles could often be found marshalled singly into rakes of stock for the transport of bicycles or luggage on longer-distance services, into rakes of parcel-carrying stock for postal services, and in their twilight years during the 1980s, repurposed for other uses from tool vans in the BR engineer's fleet, to use in its research department. Of course, many were left to languish in sidings around the country, too.

Heljan's model joins its existing GUV tooling for O gauge, making the pairing of CCT and GUV stablemates very tempting for modellers. With a review sample kindly sent by the manufacturer, here's our initial observation.

Heljan CCT

Though end door hinge thickness is perhaps a little 'over pronounced', the bodyside detail is carried out to a high standard. The bars behind windows are printed behind the glazing – an over-looked opportunity for separately-applied items, perhaps? Lettering, numbering and lining on this sample is crisp and legible.

As with its GUV vehicles, the axles sit too high in the axleboxes. The design has sought to over-compensate by leaving a larger than normal gap between the top of springs and the frames. The underframe detail is chunky, most noticeable with the 'W' irons, when viewed end-on, or from a three-quarter angle. It makes for a robust model, but leaves room for refinement, if desired.

Heljan O gauge CCT

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Van ends are well-detailed, and I feel the end shape looks 'right'. Sprung buffers and the working screw-link coupling are a little bright, but work as they should. The panel lines of the two doors which would open outwards, and the lower door which would drop-down over the buffers allowing vehicles to be loaded are evident. Also obvious is the impression of the strapping, rivets and locking mechanism, but the black paint is quite thick under the cruel magnification above, showing signs of pooling around gaps.

Heljan CCT

Underneath, there's 'oodles' to admire – lighting points, twin battery boxes, dynamo, vacuum pipe, and all the brake gear you could possibly want. Just as well, because from most angles, it's all on show. All except those springs behind the headstocks which remain neatly hidden. Underframe detail is again 'sturdy'.

Read our review of this model in the February 2023 issue of BRM, on-sale December 29, or get your digital copy a week early with WOR+ membership. Find more details here.


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