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Heljan Class 33s.

9461 Views 37 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  spongebob
I am contemplating in buying a Heljan Class 33 diesel Ref 3312-33025 "Sultan".
Has any modeller and reader of the Forum pages, bought a Heljan Class 33 and what are your findings on the 33s?
What is most important to me, does the Heljan Class 33 run smoothly and silent? as found with previous Heljan models.
Any views and comments will certainly be appreciated.
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I believe that someone on one of the other threads has mentioned that the roof isn't quite the right shape and is a bit shallow in its curvature.
The only proper review i've read is in this months Rail Express modelling supplement and as usual a right good slating was given to it for this reason. and something to do with the window frames being too narrow. However it's gotta be better than the lima version which is older than i am!
I think its another one which like the hornby class 60 has only made it over from China in limited numbers.
Personally i'd wait and read a couple of other reviews before deciding whether or not to buy one perhaps reviewed by someone a bit less of a perfectionist and more of a modeller than the rail express reviewer.
I'll publish several images tomorrow of pictures I took at Warley of this model.

Basically my view is if you want one then there is not an issue as it looked a well made model. I will declare that I am not a Class 33 expert however this model did sell out at the Warley show and so those who did want one and who attended the show were happy to buy on the basis of what they saw. The fellow in Rail Express does seem to have a bit of a repution with his reviews although I must admit I have not read any myself.

Happy modelling
I too am thinking about buying sultan, partly due to the fact that i've just detailed a lima model as this one and it wouldn't take much to make me rip the etched plates back off it!
Typical innit you spend all that time trying to make it look something like and then someone goes and makes it RTR!
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I have looked at my Warley pictures and I thought I had some good ones of the Class 33 but I haven't. They are all of the Heljan O gauge Class 47. I'll have to get around to publishing these as they are pretty good.

So the best advice would be to look at a few images on the websites of online dealers. Rails of Sheffield have very good pictures and the one below is an example:-

Happy modelling
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My advice: If it looks right then i'd go out and buy one.

I don't tend to pay much attention to magazine reviews on the basis that they start having a whinge over a few mm's or slightly wrong colours being used (Unless YOU notice its the wrong colour you wouldn't know otherwise).

Example being the ONE anglia 90 and coaches Hornby did last year - Yes the colours not correct on it (Saw the real things a few months ago), but it didn't put me off of it. Its a nice, colourful model and i can't wait for the DVT this year to run with it.
I Bought a class 33 before Christmas and yes the roof does look a bit flat, But it goes well, and looks the part.
I will be buying a all Green one when they come out, though it would be nice if they could do something better with the roof.
Maybe heljan will modify the tooling before releasing the 26 and 27's later this year. I will still be buying a 33 despite the reviews but it may have to wait as there are several other loco's on my wishlist in the meantime.
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QUOTE (spongebob @ 7 Jan 2006, 18:19)Maybe heljan will modify the tooling before releasing the 26 and 27's later this year. <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I just hope that they correct the tooling before issueing more Cl.33's..
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Heljan may or may not rectify the tooling of the class 33s. Certainly the class 33s 3300-33101 and certainly the model BR green "Eastleigh" due for release, has now been fitted with a more powerful head code lighting in that of white powered LEDs.
As the newer class 33s will be priced the same as the current available 33s, it makes sense to wait a bit longer for a more superior model.
Maybe its just me,but surely something cannot be more superior,or more better;they are just better or superior.
In the case of the Heljan Class 33 it is neither,it is simply flawed.And before anyone leaps in,so are Bachmann'c Class 40,37/0 and44,45,46.
Is it worth buying or preordering a first edition loco these days?
The critics to be fair to them generally tell it like it is but some get carried away with their own importance i feel. Some are worse than others and as i think i pointed out further up the thread seem to be more critical of diesel than steam locos. Perhaps that is because the most critical reviewers only deal in diesel anyway.
The magazine or more accurately free supplement which seems to get my back up most went so far as to give their own minimum standards for new releases in their first issue. I can't remember exactly what they were but this it seems alone is their benchmark for judging a new loco. They also derided the highly acclaimed and indeed standard setting hornby class 50 as being gimmicky and toylike when it came out for having a working fan,opening cab doors and adjustable louvre grilles. Then a few months later couldn't speak highly enough about it(about the time bachmann brought out the 40 if i remember correctly).
It seems as with everything there are 2 trains of thought in the model world those who seek perfection and are reluctant to settle for anything less and those who are happy to overlook flaws and errors as long as something looks close and runs well.
Even then i am sure that some will find some faults acceptable on some locos and unacceptable on others. The first time i saw a helan 47 it was immediately obvious it needed to go on a diet and the handrails must've been about 6 ince thick on the real thing but now i have 3 of them.
I will be buying a western to go with the hymek i've just bought as i again think the cab ends look ok and its a damn sight better looking and more convincing than any of its predecessors.
I want a bachmann 57 next but not 57301 as i can't bear to part with my newish heljan one at a £30 loss even though half the sandboxes fell off one bogie.I notice no one screaming and carrying on about the cock up on the freightliner one with the nameplate on one side at the wrong end merely a polite mention never mind having to potentially wreck a very nice paint job to sort it out.
It was a major relief when i bought this months rail express to find there were no loco reviews for me to get annoyed about.
I don't know if the writers of model rail express are modellers even as they are also responsible for the rest of the magazine as well.
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Not to make this sound too harsh but is is just me or are some people expecting too much from RTR manufacturers nowadays?

You can't expect RTR manufacturers to get everything right all the time. They no doubt spend countless hours sitting with scaled drawings in front of them comparing them with the moulds they make until they get everything near enough scaled down. Some of the time some details may have to be omitted, due to them either being too small to add on or just simply won't look right in that scale.
I have a 33 in Dutch livery and it is a superb runner. I have now fitted it with a Lenz Gold decoder and it is a better runner than my Hornby 50, 60 and 31, Bachmann 57 and 66s and the Heljan 47s.
On the subject of accuracy. I wonder how many people notice these faults or know the precise shape of the locomotive until the resident 'expert' proclaims that there is a problem. In fact I read one post on another forum where the author actually said that he hadn't noticed the 'problem' with the 33 until it was pointed out to him. If that is so, then there cannot be a lot wrong with it.

I am not saying that everything is perfect, but to me, the Heljan 33 looks like a 33 and that along with the superb running is enough for me. Life is too short.

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I am delighted with my heljan class 33, its a great runner. As far as I am concerned we have never had it so good, RTR models for the most part are excellent.
As long as everybody is happy with their Heljan class 33 that's really all there is to say on the subject.I'm not and I won't be buying any of them,my loss I had planned to buy 3/4 but cannot see how to resolve the problems as they appear to me(no I wasn't influenced by reviews,I borrowed amodel from my friendly dealer,and compared it to my own reference material and photos)If this model is OK what are the Slim Jims going to look like?
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I've just seen a good picture of the real thing and compared it to a pic of the heljan one on rails' website and you can definitely see the problem. Instead of a nice continuous curve from gutter to gutter there is a pronounced slope above the cabs in particular before the start of the curve. I think the reason it looks so clear on the photo i'm looking at of the NSE liveried one is the way the light catches it.
I would like to see a model close up before i decide whether to buy one or not but i am longing to pension my old lima one off.

Speaking of rails they are showing 12 of the class 60's in loadhaul in stock at the moment if anyones interested.
Spongebob,Recently ian Allen re-issued their Rail Portfolios book on the class33,beg.steal or borrow a copy.just a few minutes with this and the Heljan model and what the fuss is about becomes very clear.It ain't something that can be fixed with brass overlays that's for sure. it is rather sad really,because I can't see anyone else doing a Class33,I can't see Heljan fixing it yet I can see the Hastings 33's coming out with the same problem and worse still the Class26/7.
Almost time for my pills,i can feel ahead coming on!
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I must be missing the point as to the criticism of the Heljan c33 OO models. The roof is not quite correct as to the protocol version - to the modeller, what difference does this entail? The c33s after all don't run on its roof and in no way interferes with the running over track. I certainly enjoy watching my c33 pulling a rake of coaches on the layout. After all, all said and done, I am a rail modeller who enjoys all his bought locomotives irrespective of any minor design errors in manufacture.
If Heljan had failed to fit a motor, wheels or windscreen etc, then it would give us real cause as modellers to criticise.
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My feelings exactly. We compromise and suspend belief in so many areas of this great hobby of ours that when push comes to shove I settle for playing trains with my well loved 'models'.
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