It may have taken four years to come to fruition, but BEN ANDO be­lieves Dapol’s new Class ‘33’ was well worth the wait.

Model Rail (UK) - - Reviews -

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.

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