DAPOL CLASS 33 BRCW ‘TYPE 3’
It may have taken four years to come to fruition, but BEN ANDO believes Dapol’s new Class ‘33’ was well worth the wait.
The Class 33s were built by the Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company (BRCW) between 1960 and 1962 to replace the remaining steam locomotives on the Southern Region. Visually, they were similar to BRCW’S Type 2s (later Class 26 and 27), but had a more powerful Sulzer engine to make them Type 3s. Their Crompton-parkinson electrical equipment gave rise to the nickname ‘Cromptons’. Designed for mixed traffic use, several were fitted with push-pull equipment in 1967 for working with SR Electric Multiple Units and unpowered 4-TC coaching sets on Bournemouth services. These were designated Class 33/1, and were easily spotted due to the waist cab front connector hoses and pipes at each end. A further subclass was Class 33/2, which comprised 12 locomotives that were 7in narrower to fit the restricted loading gauge on the Hastings line. The ‘Cromptons’ were a successful and popular design and remained in regular service until 1998, although West Coast Railway Company has two that are main line registered, and 25 still survive on preserved lines. Dapol has already offered the BRCW Type 2s, and they’re generally well regarded by modellers, so it made sense to go for the Type 3 option, too. Although it’s taken four years to come to fruition, Dapol’s new ‘33’ is a worthy addition to its BRCW stable. Our review model carries the TOPS number 33102, which dates it from late 1973 to withdrawal in 1992. Happily, it’s now preserved on the Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire, a long way from where it worked during its BR days. The model scales out well compared to published dimensions, and there are no glaring errors. The roof correctly features the later enclosed silencer modification, which arrived in the late 1960s. The level of detailing is very good, with etched side grilles giving a subtle 3D appearance, though Dapol have opted to mould the roof grille in place. Etched roof grilles seem to divide opinion in ‘N’ gauge, with some modellers feeling the mesh can be excessively overscale, so many will welcome this approach. All other bodyside and roof details are neatly moulded and appear to be correctly positioned and depicted. The cab ends have the various pipes and hoses present and separately fitted, giving a pleasingly cluttered appearance.