Those lovely people at Heljan recently gave me this unpainted engineering sample of the forthcoming 'OO' gauge Class 25/3 to study and paint in whatever way I saw fit. My immediate thought was to go for a rendition of 25322 'Tamworth Castle', which was a spotter's favourite back in the day, with its wrap-around yellow ends and painted nameplates. I have fond memories of seeing the real thing working around the Warrington area in the mid-1980s.

Another option might be a 25/9 - one of a small fleet of locos that were reprieved from the scrap man for a variety of engineering work in the North West. Indeed, a faded, shabby blue finish would prove an enjoyable challenge.

But, the painting will have to wait until I can get back into my studio - who knows when that'll be... In the meantime though, it's been interesting to take a long, close look at this prototype model, which is a marked improvement over existing 'OO' 25/3 models. The overall profile looks great and there's plenty of fine detail to enjoy. The brake gear is missing from this sample, but the rest of the underframe is impressive, while there's a detailed cab interior and working LED lights in the headcode boxes and tail lights.


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