REVIEW

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by smleonard55, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. smleonard55

    smleonard55 Full Member

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    Heljan B class tank wagon.
    Part number 1105.
    No. ADB999041, black livery

    The Danish maker Heljan has very recently released a long waited and popular model of the British Railways B class tank wagon. With the proliferation of motor traffic in the 1950s there was a growing demand for the movement of bulk petroleum products. As a part of the 1955 modernisation plan Charles Roberts and Co. designed and built both A and B class tank wagons. They could be seen in both block and mixed formations. From the early 1960s a modified suspension was introduced, extending the life of these vehicles into the 1990s giving a life span of some 35 years.
    The wagons appear in several prototypical liveries including the model in this article representing internal user ADB999041, the prototype of witch is available to view at Paul Bartlett’s superb wagon site. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paul personally for helping me to identify the correct TOPS code for this vehicle; ZRV, as it was not displayed on the picture. Follow the link at the bottom of this item to view the prototype seen at Margam in 1986

    The model is presented in a tray style box that pulls out from sleeve revealing two part moulded plastic holder that keeps the model safe, preventing it from becoming damaged in storage. There is also a transparent wrapper. A tiny bag contains two standard NEM style tension-lock couplings that are supplied for fitting by the owner.

    I would sound a word of caution here. It may just have been a faulty moulding. As I attempted to insert one of the couplings the NEM pocket broke off. Fortunately this is a standardised design meaning within a very short time I found a spare and was able to proceed.

    From my initial view of this model I was immediately impressed by the attention to detail. Comparing the model to the prototype it was clear to me at least much research had gone into producing this product.

    As the model is almost entirely black I must apologise for the quality of some of the pictures. I have attempted to enhance several of these to show specific areas of detail

    Starting at the very top there are a pair of gratings for maintenance staff, these are superbly rendered as is the inspection port and a valve wheel. From each side of the gratings is a ladder leading just below soul bar level At the base of the barrel on one end there is a separately moulded grab rail as well as a lamp bracket at each end

    The floor of the wagon is not as you might expect completely flat, but is relieved by roes of suitably mounted rivets, clearly seen in the pictures. The brake leavers are again separately moulded. The brake gear is a delight to see. Vacuumed cylinders are clearly visible, attached to rigging and brake shoes that line up with the three whole metal wheels. I re-gauged these as a matter of course. In my view, this level of detail gives the impression of genuine working equipment rather than a generic chassis. The very shiny buffers are of metal and sprung on this occasion and mounted on long shanks.

    As can be seen from the pictures this model is almost completely black, However, this is relieved by clearly printed operating instructions, twin white stars and numbering. The brake leavers are painted white at the ends as are the bottom of the ladders, lamp brackets and controls on the under frame. The axel boxes are picked out in yellow.
    Personal observations
    It is quite some time since a quality tank wagon has been produced as a completely new release. Haljan have made a wise move in producing something that is going to appeal to a wide demographic of modellers. From the dawn of diesels to early sectorisation these wagons have seen all kinds of service. From classic mixed freight to the block train synonymous with the corporate era not forgetting trips and depot supplies. They will find a welcome home on many a layout. They are well constructed with enough detail to satisfy without the feeling they will disintegrate if handled by mere mortals! With the amount of detailing I feel the asking price of around £20 is not unreasonable within the present climate.
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  2. smleonard55

    smleonard55 Full Member

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  3. Toto

    Toto I'm best ignored Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Another spot on review. Highlights all facades of the model in as much detail as could be asked for. Helps give a pretty informed run down for anyone considering buying one.

    Again, thanks for giving the benefit of your observations to our members. :thumbs:

    Toto
     
  4. smleonard55

    smleonard55 Full Member

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    Many thanks for those kind words. I did one ages ago for another group and found i just enjoyed doing write ups.
     
  5. InterCity72

    InterCity72 Full Member

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    Looks nice just wish Heljan would get the NEM pockets right and do away with the stepped tension locks.
     
  6. Toto

    Toto I'm best ignored Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Looks like you have found your forte. Very enjoyable and informative.

    We'll look forward to any more that you have in store for us.

    :tophat:
     
  7. SRman

    SRman Full Member

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    I have just bought five of the Heljan Esso versions and added them to my existing Airfix/Dapol kit-built examples. The Heljan ones are much finer in detail but in a block train the two types mix fairly well. The Heljan ones also act as a pattern for me to improve the brake gear and underfloor details on the kit-built ones.

    I do like the very fine, lightly sprung buffers on the Heljan models - they leave the Airfix/Dapol ones for dead!

    I have been filing down the ladders on the kits as well but the Heljan ones are still better. However, somewhere in my stocks of kits and bits, I do have some etched walkways and ladders for the Airfix/Dapol kit. I must find them!
     
  8. SRman

    SRman Full Member

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    I forgot to add: I also have some useful transfers with alternative numbers from Cambridge Custom Transfers for these Esso tanks, as well as the four sets of numbers in the Airfix/Dapol kits. While Heljan offer four different numbers, I have only two from them, because I bought one of the 4-packs from Hattons with all the same numbers.

    I don't envisage any problems removing the factory numbers and applying the CCT ones.
     
  9. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Great review and photo's, the detail on the models is impressive as well.

    Paul
     

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