Dapol first announced their class 22 back in 2008. Three years on, the model made its debut at the November 2011 Warley exhibition.
Here, we review this long awaited model.
The loco is delivered in a new style of box, very similar to that used by Heljan - a solid box with foam inserts:
Probably the best way to describe the appearance of the model is through pictures.
The model captures the shape and character of the prototype perfectly.
The first picture shows the model as supplied without the side valances fitted. Chassis detail is provided so that valances can be left off - apparently, these tended to fall off of prototype, although our research suggests that this did not occur until later in the lives of these locos when their demise was planned and subsequently, caused their neglect. We haven't found many pictures of these locos in green with missing pannels but it appears to have become very common when the locos were in blue.
The headcodes are lit in the direction of travel, however, we are not convinced with the headcode application. The lettering is supplied as sticky-back black plastic with the digit area being transparent. While it looks reasonable when the lighting is on, it really doesn't capture the vivid white appearance of the prototype digits. We believe that modellers will probably apply their own white digits.
Full buffer detailing is supplied in an accessory pack for the user to fit. Some of this will collide with the couplings, therefore, many modellers will probably not fit them.
The coupling is screw fitted and can be easily removed. There does not appear to be much, if any space behind the buffer beam to fit the spring of a screw coupling. To fit them may require drilling of the chassis block.
Buffers are sprung.
The roof of these locos was relatively 'clean' with little detail, however, the detail which is present is well depicted with the fan correctly mounted off-centre.
Full cab detailing is provided.
The bogie detail has got to be the best we have seen. Extra lifting eyes are provided in the accessory pack to be fitted by the user although the diagrams on the instruction sheet in the box are so small that it is impossible to see exactly where they fit. A closeup photo would be helpful. We would recommend viewing prototype photos.
The characteristic appearance of the prototype was one where they appeared to be 'tip-toeing on their wheels. This appearance was enhanced by the bogie frames being very close to the underside of the body. The above pictures shows that the model goes a long way to achieving that appearance, however, we believe that the bogie frames are slightly too low: indeed, the axle boxes appear a little low relative to the wheels behind them. Adventurous modellers will no doubt devise a way to remount the bogie frames to correct this.
The pictures above show the incredible detail on the body side.
This model is very easy to dismantle: simply lifting the edges of the body above the fuel tanks releases internal clips and enables body removal:
Care needs to be taken when removing the body as there is wiring which connects it to the chassis for the end lighting. Note that directional lighting correctly displays a single red light on the rear end and a white light on the front end.
Fitting a decoder requires the blanking plug to be removed to reveal a '21' pin fitting:
Unfortunately, the 21 pin connection actually has 22 pins and will not accept some 21 pin decoders. We tried using the Bachmann 21 pin to 8 pin converter and found that it places the 8 pin socket upside down and the actual fitting was incredibly loose.
We would recommend not trying a converter and to simply fit a proper 21 pin decoder. Dapol are aware of this issue and recommend a TCS 21 pin decoder.
Fitting DCC sound to this model represents its own challenge: since there are no prototypes preserved, obtaining recordings of the prototype is impossible. We have heard of people fitting Hymek sound packages instead on the basis of the similar Maybach engine.
This model has been designed to have sound fitted and provides a cradle for a speaker:
There is however, a wire which crosses the speaker space which needs to be carefully moved to cross over the speaker as it has no grove to pass through underneath a speaker. We believe that running the wire over the speaker is rather untidy. If the wire had more slack, it could be routed around the speaker.
This loco has a 5 pole skew-wound motor and runs very smoothly. At very slow speeds on DC we observed the armature jerking movements in the motion of the model. This may be resolved with running in, but we feel the a different gearing ratio might help.
The motor isn't as quiet as those used by Heljan and Hornby but is quite acceptable.
A selection of photos of the model on 'Ashprington Road': the up milk train and the down passenger service:
This is a superb model. It appears to be accurate in all dimensions and captures the character of the prototype extremely well. It is well designed and constructed and runs as good as the best currently available. Detail is absolutely spot on.
The instructions could use larger pictures or a downloable PDF.
The model is a 'must have' for all WR layouts and fills a long awaited vacant gap.
Graham Plowman (2/12/2011)