Review: Heljan O Scale Class 42 'Warship'

Written by Richard Grigg, photos by Gwion Rhys Davies. 
Special thanks to Scott Rhodes and Simon Durrer for the loan of their models for this review. 


Built between 1958 and 1961 at Swindon, the Class 42s, also known as'Warships', were designed to replace the Great Western Castles and Kings and were based on the Deutsche Bundesbahn V200 class locomotives. During their working lives the 'Warships' were allocated to the following locations:

  • Bristol Bath Road 
  • Plymouth Laira 
  • Newton Abbot 
  • Old Oak Common 

Withdrawal of the class took place between 1968 and 1972. Happily, from the 38 built,2 have survived into preservation. 

Heljan has recently released a plethora of 0 scale Class 42 'Warships', covering a large number of liveries. In this review we shall be looking at D869 'Zest' in BR maroon with yellow warning panels (HJ 4202), with a RRP of £699.00 

Also available are:

  • HJ 4201 D827 'Kelly' in BR green with yellow warning panels 
  • HJ 4203 D815 'Druid' in BR maroon with yellow front 
  • HJ 4204 D866 'Zebra' in BR blue with yellow ends and twin double arrows 
  • HJ 4205 D829 'Magpie' in BR blue with yellow ends and single double arrows 

In addition, Heljan has produced 6 unnamed and unlettered 'Warships' which are exclusive to Tower Models and are limited to a production of 50 pieces each: 

  • HJ 4210 BR green without yellow warning panels 
  • HJ 4211 BR green with yellow warning panels 
  • HJ 4212 BR maroon with yellow warning panels 
  • HJ 4213 BR maroon with yellow fronts 
  • HJ 4214 BR blue with yellow fronts and twin double arrows 
  • HJ 4215 BR blue with yellow fronts and single double arrows 


The box design is really no different to that of the previous Heljan 0 scale models reviewed here (eg. the Class 53 'Falcon') so I won't go into a lengthy description. What I will point out however is that the unpacking and packing of the model from its box has been made much easier by the ability remove the entire bottom section of the inner dense foam support layer, so as to avoid damage to the model. This is a welcomed change to the packaging design and one I believe that Heljan should make as standard for all their future 0 scale locomotive releases.

Also enclosed are a bag of spare accessories as well as the all important instructions/care sheet. 


Be it locomotives, coaches or wagons, Heljan always ensures that the detail of its products is second to none and the 'Warships' are no exception. The air fans are each covered by two fine mesh grills and the sides of the model feature air vents, glazing and recessed metal handrails on either side of the cab doors. Both cab ends display the following: 

  • Different head codes 
  • Metal handrails 
  • Lamp irons 
  • Sprung buffers 
  • Sprung screw link couplings 
  • Vacuum brake pipes 
  • Electric jumper cables 
  • Train heating pipes 

Inside both cabs the detail continues with an array of levers, switches and gauges accompanied by a fully detailed back wall behind the cab seats. Both bogies feature leaf spring suspension and brake blocks.

Livery Application

The BR maroon makes a pleasing change to the more common green, black and blue liveries we're used to from this period. As ever the decals are correctly presented however I did spot something which could be improved upon: this is the nameplate provision, which has been printed onto the model as 2 decals. In my opinion Heljan should have made the nameplates from etched metal or at the very least included them as a fittable option like other manufacturers sometimes do. 

Special Features

Heljan's 0 scale Class 42 'Warship' continues the trend of previous releases in terms of special features which are as follows:

  • Rotating roof fans 
  • Directional lighting 
  • Head code back lighting 
  • Internal cab lighting 
  • DCC/DCC sound option

For those wishing to install DCC sound space has been provided within the model to allow for a sound module to be inserted.


Just like 'Falcon', the 'Warships’ power came from twin Maybach engines and, in a similar vein, the model's propulsion is provided by twin 5—pole motors with brass flywheels which are connected to the bogies via a drive shaft.

The smooth running of these models is outstanding and something I regularly mention in my reviews. In addition I should also point out that the slow speed performance of the engine whilst running on DC power is impressive. It is testament to the high quality motor assembly inside the model. 

Final Thoughts

Once again, Heljan haslifted the bar with the Class 42 'Warships'. They continue the tradition of models with exquisitely detailed exteriors combined with high quality motor mechanisms inside. Experts who know their diesels will be fully aware that another class of 'Warships' existed (Class 43s). Heljan has no plans at the moment to produce the Class 43 variation of the design but as the old saying goes: 

"Good things come to those who wait." 

Pros & Cons  


  • Excellent detail 
  • Great value for money
  • High quality motor assembly 
  • Easy removal and replacing of the model from its packing 
  • Smooth runner especially at slow speed on DC power 


  • Absence of metal etched nameplates 

With this I give an overall score of 9.5/10