'O' gauge Type 4 ready for action.
All done! Having taken the best part of a week's work, this super Heljan Class 40 is finished and ready for use. A bit of extra work was put into this project, partly because I love Class 40s, but also because I wanted to try a few slightly different approaches. I've never been able to do the same thing over and over again (my one day on a production line job testifies to that!), so some variety in my work keeps my enthusiasm alive.
I'm very pleased with the results, the use of gloss varnish as part of the 'weathering' job proving especially effective. This is something that I usually reserve for steam locomotives, but it certainly gives the green livery a much deeper lustre and takes away that tell-tale plasticky finish that even the best ready-to-run models carry. The varnish also conveys a slightly oily finish to the body and contrasts beautifully with the dusty matt weathering shades that have been airbrushed over the roof and bonnet top especially.
The contrast with the textured bogies is also a welcome effect, matching many colour images from the 1960s that I worked from. Looking up close, there's plenty of grit and grime trapped around the springs, axle boxes and fuel tanks - just the thing for a machine that has been working hard on a steam-age railway in the early-to-mid 1960s.
As with many a RTR model, you can only truly appreciate their worth once they've been weathered convincingly. I thought the Heljan '40' was pretty good when we first received the review sample, but I reckon it's even better now!
Sadly - for me at least - this model has to be returned to Tower Models in Blackpool, who kindly allowed me to try out my weathering skills. I'm not sure what it's fate will be, but I imagine it will be up for sale. So, if it takes your fancy, I'd get in touch with Tower pronto...