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Heljan Class 07 Dock Shunter

Decoration-wise the green and blue are credible but a tad dark for my taste. Please do not go on the reproduction of colours in these photographs. The paint is probably authentic for a full size loco but there has been no attempt at scale colour, subjective though this be. The wasp stripes appear to be spot-on, though on blue liveried versions between the yellow of the buffer beam and the wasp stripes there is a very slight mis-match. The fonts used for numbering, both liveries, are a tad too thick to my eyes. From viewing numerous pictures I noticed that the TOPs data plate position on the cab sides of blue liveried locos varied. On both my blue versions the position of the data plate is in “a” correct position but I have not yet been able to verify if it is correct for these specific locos. The cast oval 71A shed plate as seen on pictures of some locos is not represented on these model.
Original version long hood left
Air braked version long hood left
(above and below) Comparing sides of original (green) and air braked (blue) versions so the accurately represented differences can be noticed
Original version short hood left
Air braked version short hood left

The printed instructions are also a weak point, and overall I did not find them particularly helpful.  There is one page of diagrams of the parts making up these models.  However these are not exploded diagrams, they are only line drawings, and other than a notional part number the parts are not described nor detailed where they fit.  Whilst things like bonnet and cab sides, and the loco’s chassis frames, are readily identifiable the majority of parts look to be meaningless rectangles and straight and wiggly lines.  Plus to state the locos were withdrawn when the “Southampton docks complex shut down in 1977” is a significant misinterpretation of the facts.   The week before I received my models I walked past the Eastern Docks, photographing LSWR relics whilst I was there, and was driven past the Western Docks.  Southampton Docks are very much still there and working!  What they should have written was these locos were withdrawn after wagon load traffic handled in the docks significantly decreased, particularly after shipping containers came into use.

Finally to cover something which is apparent at the beginning.  The packaging.  Groan!  Whilst sturdy packaging is definitely required to protect these delicate models in transit from China and around this country I cannot help thinking that the packaging for this model (and other recent models) is well over the top and a waste of this planet’s precious materials.  The model is wrapped in an over large piece of polythene.  It is then clamped into a clear plastic cradle wrapping the top, bottom and ends.  This is then inserted into a clear plastic sleeve covering the top, bottom and sides of the cradle.  This is then inserted into a double walled wooden tray which is placed into a window box with closing flaps, the only concession to the world’s resources being this window is mercifully not glazed.  All this packaging requires some strength to take apart and put together, which does not prepare one then to be careful when handling a model with delicate features.  Also be aware that Heljan have chosen a convention that original locos are version 1 and air braked locos are version 2, but perversely both my air braked locos were labelled as “V1”, so you cannot trust the box labelling.

Whilst there are some negative aspects to these models overall they are very good models indeed and I congratulate Heljan.  I very much look forward to building my port complex so I can run them for what they are intended.