Today we have an interesting diesel from Dapol - a British Railways Class 52.
I've always liked these locos - the nice maroon paint and the unusual body styling combining to make a unique and sharp looking unit.
Class 52 History: The Class 52 was one of many classes of diesels that British Railways would have built under the "Modernisation Plan". The Plan was exactly what it sounds like - a plan by BR to bring the railway system up to date, and included in this plan was the goal of taking the last steam locos out of service by replacing them with various classes of diesel and electric units. This whole plan resulted in a myriad of issues, but that's a story unto itself, so let's focus on our subject. The 52's were built by both BR's Swindon Works and Crewe Works, with a total of 74 being produced from 1961 to 1964. The 52's were unusual in that they were diesel-hydraulic, as opposed to the much more common diesel-electric. Diesel-hydraulics were reasonably common in mainland Europe, mostly in Germany, and they found some use elsewhere, as well. BR would commission several classes of diesel-hydraulics in the same era as the 52's, with varying success. I'll skip an explanation on diesel-hydraulic vs diesel-electric, but if you'd like me to explain it, and give other examples, drop a comment. Anyway, the 52's were powered by 2 Maybach MD655 prime movers putting out a combined 1,350bhp to two 3-axle trucks. The class was built specifically for BR's Western Region, and each locomotive had a two word name, starting with "Western", such as "Western Invader". The Western Region was the only region to extensively use diesel-hydrauilc, and the Westerns were brought in to replace earlier types on the top passenger services, though they would be relegated to freight duty late in their working lives. They would perform well, but age and their unusual nature would catch up to them, and all would be retired by 1977. Thankfully, 7 are preserved. I'll also point out that I'm compressing the history on these considerably - there's just far too much to put here in this context.🤓
D1009 "Western Invader" History: Our subject today was built at Swindon Works in September of 1962. It was originally turned out in the solid maroon scheme, but would gain the yellow end panels seen here in July of 1963.
It would again be repainted, this time in 1970 into BR's blue scheme. It would serve until October of 1976 when it was withdrawn. The loco would sit dead for another couple years until being scrapped in November of 1978, at the very place it was built - Swindon.
Info on the box.
What look like windows below the windshield, are windows of a sort - they would have had changeable plates/inserts behind them with the info of what train they were pulling in a four character arrangement, two per side. They were called headcodes, and would be backlit on this loco, as they are on the model, as well. I didn't install them.
At first glance, these look to have only two axles per truck - they have three, but the center axle is obscured by the unusual bogie design. This is also the case on the prototype.
You may notice a black blob at the crest of the roof here - it was a blob of the packaging that had somehow gotten stuck there, and it was stuck fairly securely too. It came off fine, though.
Very nice and impressive name and number plates - yes, they are actually etched metal.
However, the loco lacks printed number or nameplates, which is unfortunate. I'll go into more detail in the ratings section.
Operating video ~
Good - As you can see by the constellation of stars above, this loco is great. It came with an incredible amount of optional details, but the details that are installed are excellent. The paint and lettering are perfect, and it sounds and operates wonderfully. Also, it's nice and sturdy, coming in at 1lb and 3.6oz.
Bad - Very occasional minor power stutter over some switches. And as mentioned above, the name/number plate deal - I think it should've had either printed or preinstalled plates for folks who either aren't adept at fitting small details, or just don't care for doing it (I qualify on both).
Verdict - Overall, it's an absolutely fantastic model. It looks great, sounds great, and operates great. The plates are my main issue - yes, it's just a cosmetic detail, but it's an obvious one. I might try installing the plates at some point.
That's all for this review - as always, thanks very much for looking!