The ultimate 4mm scale Class 33 is on its way!

Disillusioned by the poor quality of the existing ‘OO’ gauge ‘Cromptons’, we have initiated a radical project to exclusively manufacture two new models - to the highest specification – that will feature accurately proportioned bodies as well as representing the significant differences between as-built and late-life machines.

RAIL EXCLUSIVE has committed itself to the production of what could easily be described as the first completely ‘accurate and authentic’ 4mm scale model of the BRCW Type 3 (Class 33). Two versions of the popular ‘Crompton’ locomotive are being made to our own highly demanding specification. They should both be available in a wide selection of popular colour schemes by the end of this year.


New and Old: Brand new D6564 (later No. 33046) poses next to ‘C’ Class steam
locomotive No. 31592 at Tonbridge shed in 1961.

Photograph courtesy of Tim Saunders.

The ‘Cromptons’ were notable for being BR’s first diesel loco in the Type 3 power range, and the first to be equipped with electric train heating (ETH). Constructed to a Southern Region specification, the lack of steam generator allowed a powerful eight-cylinder Sulzer engine to be squeezed into what was an essentially updated Class 26 body. A total of 98 locomotives were built including 12 to a narrower body profile (33/2). From their introduction in 1960, they quickly replaced steam becoming responsible for most non-electrified passenger and freight work on the region. ‘Standard’ locos (33/0) remained in the significant majority when a small batch was modified for push-pull working in the mid-1960s (33/1).


Although based on the SR, the locomotives soon travelled far and wide, initially on cement duties, which took them up the ECML and oil trains to the West Midlands. In the 1980s, the secret of how useful the Class 33s were got out, and they took over duties in West Wales, from Cardiff to Crewe, and along the North Wales coast. Sectorisation saw the class in demand from Network SouthEast, Railfreight Construction and the Civil Engineer, witnessing the application of many colourful liveries. EWS maintained a number at the turn of the millennium and, more recently, DRS operated a small fleet although they soon fell from favour. Incredibly, 26 survive in preservation with four still seeing main line railtour use with West Coast Railway Company.


Philip Sutton, RAIL EXCLUSIVE’s boss, explains: “Having lived in South East London during my early years, I naturally developed a close affinity with the Class 33s. I feel tremendously nostalgic for that period and have always wanted to recreate those happy days in model form. Unfortunately, the old Lima model and Heljan’s more recent offering both have significant issues that prevent me from doing this to a reasonable standard.”


“With no indication that things were likely to change, the only option left open was to personally commission a new model. Accordingly, we will remake the Class 33 to our exacting and specific requirements. The model will be new from the wheels up and has been completely redrawn using personally recorded measurements to ensure all previous dimensional mistakes are a thing of the past. As explained in the information sheet, the general level of detail will be substantially upgraded at the same time and a DCC sound option introduced.”

Click here to download PDF information sheet


Market research suggests there is a gap in the market for such a model – the Hornby (ex-Lima) product is more than 30 years old and forms part of the beginner’s ‘Railroad’ range. The Danish firm Heljan launched their interpretation back in 2005 but it received critical reviews due to an incorrect roof cross section that is impossible to rectify.

One of the most exciting aspects of the project is the decision to offer the two distinctively different roof styles – an as-built version with its original recessed silencer (never produced by Heljan) and the later modification with roof panel clips and relocated exhaust. This will be welcomed, especially by fans of the ‘transition era’.


The new generation models will be branded as ‘Special Editions’ and presented in new RAIL EXCLUSIVE designer boxes. They will be manufactured in low volume twin-packs to justify the investment involved and can be pre-ordered immediately, via our guaranteed ‘made-to-order’ reservation system via phone, post or by clicking on the relevant livery graphics (which take you to a page giving more details).


‘Early Escapees’ D6501 & D6578

‘Superliner Superpower’ D6547 & D6554

‘Brighton Blues’ 33014 & 33062

‘Tunnel Twins’ 33050 & 33056

‘Double Dutch’ 33046 & 33047

‘Minimodal Motivators’ 33025 & 33030


The RAIL EXCLUSIVE Class 33 project is being launched with six livery packs spanning over 40 years of service, so there should be something for everyone! Additional liveries, like EWS and NSE, will be produced if there is sufficient demand. Click on the livery for more information.

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