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Heljan Class 25/3 review

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Factfile

Manufacturer: Heljan

Catalogue Refs:

HJ2555 BR two-tone green with half yellow warning panels

HJ2556 BR two-tone green with full yellow ends

HJ2557 BR blue with full yellow ends, pre-TOPS with cabside BR arrows

HJ2558 BR blue with full yellow ends, post-TOPS with bodyside arrows

HJ2559 BR blue with full yellow ends, post-TOPS with bodyside arrows, weathered

RRP: £525.00

Gauge/scale: 32mm gauge, 1:43.5 scale O

Era: BR 1963-1991

Company/Operator: British Rail

Body and chassis: body - plastic, chassis - metal

Minimum Curve Radius: 1028mm

Couplings: Working sprung screw-link

Accessories: Miniature snowploughs, bodyside step and boiler grille blanking plates, alternative multiple working jumper cables, spare bufferbeam pipes and steps

Drive System: 12V DC twin 5-pole motors

DCC Provision: Requires hardwiring of decoder and speaker, no ‘plug & play’ socket

Pick-ups: Contacts to rear of all wheels

With Heljan having now produced the majority of classic British Rail diesel classes in O gauge, the manufacturer has begun to revisit previous models with the aim of catering for some of the major design variations. An early beneficiary of this new policy is the Class 25 which now being offered in ready-to-run form to join the earlier version released a few years ago. The version Heljan have decided to depict is the Class 25/3.

Here are five reasons why you should consider a Class 25/3 for your fleet ….

1. The Front End

Heljan’s original version of the Class 25 was criticised for the overly flat nature of its cab fronts. This has been fixed this time around, though I feel this new incarnation has a few issues on the cab roofs where the ‘wings’ of the headcode box do not taper in sufficiently. It affects the manner in which both the cab roof curve and air horn cylinders join them, whilst the headcode box appears to extend too far back over the cab roof. Neither of these minor inaccuracies are overly noticeable. In contrast, the curve of the cab front beneath the headcode box looks good and this certainly helps the overall look of the model.

2. Livery Options

Five liveries are on offer, these covering two-tone green with half or full yellow ends along with standard BR blue with the arrows either on the four cabsides or centrally on the bodysides. Finally, there is a weathered blue example although, given Heljan’s liking for obscure liveries, the early blue look with half yellow ends given to D7660 and D7661 from new is not currently available in the range.

3. Accessories and Glazing

The roof fan grille is etched, and the accessory pack includes etched and pre-painted blanking plates for the boiler grilles to fit if desired. This version of the Class 25 comes with the bodyside steps already plated over with spares in both shades of green supplied. The glazing is mixed in its execution. Those around the cabs appears fine, but the bodyside windows could have been made a flusher fit. As usual, the cab interiors are superb, requiring only a crew to complete the look.

Heljan Class 25/3 review

4. Internal Workings

Internally, the model is unchanged from its predecessor with two horizontally-mounted motors, each driving one bogie via a driveshaft. The Class 25 also features a rotating radiator fan and directional lighting, while its prodigious weight means most trains lengths will be tackled with ease. As is typical for Heljan’s 7mm diesels, no provision is made for ‘plug and play’ DCC, purchasers being left to hardwire their own chip and speaker.

5. Snowplough

Included in the box is a pair of yellow miniature snowploughs, which can be screwed in place beneath the bufferbeams if desired. This allows modellers to recreate a common look for this locomotive class. The moulding for these ploughs is impeccable and fit securely to the underside of the Class 25, so there are no worries of it dropping off during running.

If you'd like more information and advice about modelling a snow scene, read our helpful guide. 

Verdict

This new version of the Class 25 is certainly an improvement on the initial releases, but not without a few issues here and there. However, it is a generally very good model with lots to like and is the kind of small diesel that could fine a home on many modestly-sized O gauge layouts.

For more Heljan reviews, view our dedicated section here

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