Model Rail (UK)
Heljan Class 27
◆ GAUGE ‘O’ ◆ MODEL Heljan BR/BRCW/SULZER Type 2 Class 27 ◆ PRICE £649.00 ◆ AVAILABILITY Heljan stockists Web www.heljan.co.uk The plucky little Sulzer Type 2 is actually quite a beast when let loose on the rails
Heljan’s ‘O’ gauge Class 27 has been in the pipeline for a couple of years and, given that it fills an important gap in the range of RTR BR diesels, its arrival with stockists is a very welcome occurrence. Compact, long-lasting Bo-bo designs are an attractive proposition for 7mm scale layouts, especially for those with an interest in Scottish operations or with limited space – or both!
The beauty of the Class 27 is that examples also worked around London and North East England during the 1960s, so they have a slightly broader appeal than other more Scottish-centric types.
Currently offered in a variety of BR green and blue livery options, with varying warning panel arrangements, plus a fetching two-tone green version, some are supplied pre-numbered, but others are offered as blank canvases for modellers to add the finishing touches themselves.
Supplied for review is an un-numbered BR green Type 2, with full yellow ends, placing it firmly in the early 1970s era. Looking at prototype images, there are various potential identity options for this ‘27’, with either pre or post-tops numbers. Heljan’s tooling suite allows for a number of detail variations to be presented across the range, such as non-boiler-fitted locomotives, plus alternative cab steps and windscreen wipers.
Heljan’s revamped ‘OO’ Class 27s, released early in 2020, are fabulous models and the ‘O’ gauge version is equally – if not more – impressive. The handsome profile of the prototype has been captured faithfully, with the allimportant ‘face’ looking just right to my eyes. There’s a good amount of fine detail moulded into the main bodyshell, although the texture of the cant rail grille mesh is a little shallow.
In contrast, the radiator side and roof grilles are rendered in etched metal and look exquisite. Below the roof grille is a highly realistic fan (powered via a small motor), while the ‘A’-shaped internal framework is depicted behind the side grilles to good effect. Separately fitted wire handrails are neatly installed to the cab sides and ends, although the latter would benefit from being painted yellow, rather than bare steel. Lamp brackets, raised beading strips and various other panel seams and details complete the package nicely.
Below the footplate, the bogie frames are superb, with plenty of suspension and brake gear moulded crisply. I wonder if the sanding pipes have been incorrectly fitted on this sample, as they do not align with the wheels and the support brackets aren’t able to sit in their mounting holes. The boiler tanks were not seated correctly either, so there are a few minor quality control (QC) issues at play, although they look like they can be corrected easily enough.
The headstocks are pre-fitted with an array of brake and control hoses, plus sprung Oleo buffers and footsteps complete with mesh tread patterns. The pivoting, sprung drawhooks and working screw couplings are up to Heljan’s usual high standards of appearance and performance.
Talking of which, the plucky little Sulzer Type 2 is actually quite a beast when let loose on the rails. The twin, powerful motors provide more than enough tractive effort and running was smooth and assured straight from the box. The headcode boxes and tail lights are illuminated,