Fulgurex is a Swiss based company that specializes in the manufacture of precision crafted railroad locomotives, rolling
stocks, and accessories of N, HO, HOm, 'O', and 1 scale brass models primarily of Swiss and French equipment. The company also produced scale
models of fine automobiles. The products developed are made in very limited quantities and sell for greater sums than the average railroad hobbyist would normally pay for
operating scale model trains, as the limited runs make them very rare and highly collectible. The models are made by hand, in brass and steel, in very limited series
and feature the technological advancements in model train equipment developed over time. While these trains do operate and can function on layouts, most
are purchased for the purpose of being displayed in showcases and collections. All Fulgurex models are produced in guaranteed maximum production runs, so
that a collector who buys one of 25 models can be sure that they will always have just one of 25. Because of limited production, about the only way to
obtain Fulgurex models is to order them long in advance.
Fulgurex was started in 1947 by Count Antonio Giansanti Coluzzi (1915-2006) as a specialized model train shop located at
2 rue du Midi, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Antonio Giansanti Coluzzi was a tin-plate train collector and the official distributor of the French made
Vollon et Brun (VB) brand
of HO scale trains in Switzerland. Count Coluzzi was also the founder and President of Rextoys. The Count first fell in love with trains in 1923 when as an 8 year old
wintering with his parents at Cap d'Ail on the Cote d'Azur, he would see the Blue Train on its daily run from Paris to Ventimiglia. He also loved toy trains as a
boy and began to collect them. One day his father informed him that he was now a man and that he needed to do something to contribute and increase the family’s
financial position. Count Coluzzi was of Italian descent and left Paris for Lausanne, Switzerland in the late 1930's just before World War II broke out. As he
had an immense passion and enthusiasm for model trains and an eye for fine quality, he started his own company soon after the war ended and named it Fulgurex.
The name was derived from Fulgur X Rex which translates to 'The king of the lightning flash'. The Count was later told by his father that, "there seemed to be more money in their
accounts, so I guess collecting and importing trains is OK".
As he grew older the Count got to know the master artisans of toy-train making that were tucked away in various corners of Europe and after World
War II, in Japan. He would refer to them as artists and folk artists. In the late 1940's the Count was visiting the Noë shop in Milan and noticed an 'O'
scale finely detailed tinplate model of the Italian class 428 Ansaldo 2-B-B-2 heavy electric loco on display. The model was built by Armando Ravasini who was
an engineer on the staff of Pirelli. Giansanti Coluzzi arranged to meet Mr. Ravasini and agreed to have 50 of the models constructed. Fulgurex became the
distributor of the models and Mr. Ravasini formed his company named Elettren, which means electric train in Italian. Fulgurex became
an importer and distributor in Switzerland of fine models from all over the world and carried in its catalogs the works of Tenshodo, Suydam, Olympia, Toby,
Kodama, KMT, Fujiyama, Terragni, Arma, Rivarossi, Elettren, Aster, J&M Models, Samhongsa, Lombardi and many others.
In 1962, in collaboration with Tenshodo, Fulgurex started to produce its own brass models.
The first was a 141 R steam engine, reproduced in HO scale. In 1967 Fulgurex launched its first model in 'O' scale, followed by 1 scale in 1970, then N scale in
1983. In the 1970's Fulgurex produced a 1/12 scale Mercedes-Benz SSKL and Bentley 8 Litre. A prototype of a Bugatti Type 59 was produced but was never put into
production due to the high price, which at the time was about $895. In today's dollars that is approximately $8,000. Because of the high price very few of these
models were made and sold.
In 1961 Count Giansanti Coluzzi asked Tenshodo of Japan to build the models of the 141R American loco for Fulgurex in HO scale. The Count
loved this engine. He had seen it in the border stations between France and Switzerland almost daily. He commissioned a 20 piece first version and he introduced it
during a party held at his palace in Lausanne in February of 1962. The actual 141R locomotive prototypes were built in North America for the French National
Railway Company (SNCF). At the end of World War II, there was a shortage of locomotives in Europe. In order to quickly obtain the large number of
needed locomotives they were ordered from the main American and Canadian locomotive builders Baldwin, Lima, ALCO, MLW and CLC under the Lend-Lease Program. The 141R
design was based on the Green Bay & Western Railroad's successfully customized Mikados, based somewhat on the USRA Light Mikado. The Fulgurex models were completely
handmade and the initial twenty plus all following ones, were made of steel and nickel plated brass. There were four versions of the Fulgurex / Tenshodo model
produced over time. The first, the 141R-5, precisely produced in only 20 copies, came in green livery with red striping. It was equipped with spoked wheels and a
beautiful linkage in nickel silver. The road name plates on 141R-5 were written by hand and had a write error where the letters 'SNCF' were transposed as 'SNFC'.
The second version, the 141R 112, was presented in a semi-matte black livery, in photo-etched brass and differs in many details from the 141R-5.
Some of the 141R prototypes were made for coal operation and some were built as oil burners. The 141R-5 was modeled as an oil burner, but the 141R 112
was modeled as a coal burner. The 141R 112 model was equipped with suspended axles with a spring suspension. This was the first example ever made this way for
a European locomotive modeled in HO scale. The suspension provided the locomotive with exceptional adhesion to the track and good electric conduction. The third
version of the 141R was for the most part the same as the second version except for a few minor details and a green and black with red striped paint job. Finally, the
fourth version sported a glossy black livery with red stripes. From 1988 to 1990 50 units of the 141R in green and black livery were made in 'O' gauge for
Fulgurex by Kodama of Japan.
Fulgurex began to market limited run 'OO' gauge brass models of British outline locomotives in 1965. These were produced by Olympia of Japan and included 4-6-0 steamers of the
King class BR King George VI, GWR green Edward VI, and GWR green King William III. Starting in 1968 Fulgurex handled the distribution of the 1 gauge
live-steam models produced by the firms Bockholt & Söhne and Wilag. Wilag was a Swiss firm that produced replicas of the 56cm series Märklin coaches,
originally made very briefly just before World War II. In the late 1960's Antonio Giansanti Coluzzi was toying with the idea of making 1 gauge live-steam locos in quantity.
He approached his friend and fellow train enthusiast John van Riemsdijk, who had a 1 gauge live-steam layout in his garden in Hertford about building these locomotives.
Together they approached Wilag initially, but that firm decided that they could not meet the Count's needs and subcontracted building of what was supposed to be a
Southern Schools Class in 1 gauge to Felix Spring. A Bavarian Pacific styled loco was delivered instead, but it performed and sold poorly, turning into a financial disaster
for Fulgurex. The Count would not give up on his idea however. Tenshodo in Japan had made electric models of fine quality for Fulgurex, in the smaller gauges, so Antonio
asked Tenshodo to help, and they found a company in Japan called Aster that could assist. Aster made mechanical business machines. These machines which were able to withstand
continuous hard use, but the company was facing competition from the new generation of electronics manufacturers and did not want to go into electronics themselves. They were
diversifying and fortuitously they had two keen live-steam modelers on their staff. The relationship proved successful, and the first Aster School's Class locomotives in
1 gauge live-steam showed up just before Christmas 1975. The company became Aster Hobby in 1975, and jumped head first into model train manufacturing but continued to make
special wrapping and bagging machines for laundry.
The Fulgurex and Aster relationship continued to blossom over the next several years with releases of many models. A major landmark was the French
PLM Pacific, which Antonio commissioned largely because of his own childhood and later memories of these engines in real life. It was the first quantity produced
model with a proper Walschaerts valve gear. Bassett-Lowke had produced small numbers of LNER Pacifics and Royal Scots, which had a sort of
Walschaerts gear but this did not function correctly and was really only cosmetic. 800 units were built. The next year saw the arrival of the 4-6-4T’s: the heavy
Prussian engines, some of which came to France after the First World War. An attraction of this model was that it could be offered to both the French and the
German markets, in two different liveries. Again it had a good Walschaerts gear and was a very good runner.
1970 saw the release of a series of factory painted brass HO gauge 6-wheel/3-axle continental coaches built
by Toby of Japan for Fulgurex. These were the PLM brown and black 6-wheel all 2nd #2314, PLM red and black all 1st #807, PLM Baggage Cars #25590 and #25598 in green, and
PLM all 3rd green 6-wheel coach #211. A limited run of 150 cars were produced.
An 'O' gauge model of a French 4-6-2 Paris-Lyon-Mediterrannee (PLM) steam locomotive 231G 230 was made by Rivarossi for
Fulgurex in the 1970's. It came in the traditional chocolate brown Nord Chapelon livery. Another limited run of 100 units of this same locomotive in 'O' was produced in
1985 by Samhongsa for Fulgurex. The later model featured several new detail components, including opening hatches, opening doors, full smokebox interior detail,
brake rigging and under body detail. This same locomotive was also modeled in HO and N gauge by Fulgurex. And a 1 gauge live-steam version was
issued via the Aster and Fulgurex partnership.
In 1975-76 Fulgurex commissioned limited run 'OO' gauge models of the British outline 4-6-0 Castle Class locomotives from KMT of Japan. These included
a GWR green Launceston Castle and a Great Western green Tintagel Castle. The Fulgurex HO gauge SBB-CFF Ae 4/6 Overhead electric locomotive was produced by Tenshodo in 1979.
325 units were made. 1979 also saw the release of the 'O' scale Ce 6/8 II #14272 Swiss Crocodile electric loco made by Toby for Fulgurex. 255 units were built.
In the 1980's Toby of Japan was commissioned to create the 'O' scale 2-Rail DC version of the brass SBB Swiss Federal Railways Be 4/6 #12336 electric
for Fulgurex. The 7 lb. model featured a wealth of detail such as sprung buffers, brake shoes, sander lines, windshield wipers, window inserts,
functioning pantographs and a smooth, precision mechanism. The model also had directional lighting. The valve gear and counter-weights are a joy to watch
as the model moves along. Three small brass plates on the under-side of the model indicate the Fulgurex/TOBY collaboration on this model. The Be 4/6
class prototypes were utilized on the mountainous 15-mile long Gotthard tunnel route in Switzerland that was first electrified in 1920.
In 1981 Fulgurex partnered with Samhongsa of Korea to produce an 'O' scale model of the German Tenderdampflokomotive (steam tender loco) with
closed cab BR 082 008-4. Only 150 copies were made. A year later in 1982 an 'O' scale model of the Electric locomotive of the BLS (Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon) Ae 6/8 was
built for Fulgurex by Kodama of Japan. 160 copies of this loco were issued. The first of the 8 Ae 6/8 prototypes were used on the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon train in
1926. Also in 1982, Fulgurex leveraged Samhongsa craftsmen to build the HO scale version of the Italian Steam Locomotive FS Gr. 740 364. The Ferrovie dello Stato
(FS; Italian State Railways) Class 740 (Italian: Gruppo 740) is a class of 2-8-0 'Consolidation' steam locomotives. Built for heavy freight work, the Class 740
prototypes saw service on the whole FS network, with virtually any train shed having had some of them assigned to it at some point. Other than freight trains, they
were also usually employed for passenger services on secondary lines. 200 units were made in brass for DC operation and the model was factory painted, included full
cab interior detail as well as sprung drivers/wheels. It even had a realistic looking coal load in the tender. Between 1981 and 1982 Toby again created 'O' scale brass
models of the Swiss Crocodile electric loco Ce 6/8 II for Fulgurex. This time it was 275 units numbered #14253.
The relationship with Aster continued and in 1981 the Count asked Aster to make a 1 gauge live-steam model of the Big Boy. This was the only
American locomotive Fulgurex ever commissioned from Aster. The other model commissioned to Aster in 1981 was the Bavarian gas fired 4-4-4.
Fulgurex began a relationship with Lombardi in the 1980's. Between 1981 and 1982 Lombardi made 150 units of the 'O' scale brass SBB Ee 3/3 #16312.
150 units of the SBB Ee 3/3 #16405 were then built between 1982 and 1983. In 1982 Tenshodo built DB 4-axle corridor coaches for
Fulgurex in HO scale. A run of 150 cars were made painted green with considerable external and interior detail and fitted with electric lights.
1983 saw the release of the 'O' scale PLM 6101 locomotive in green and black. 150 copies of this loco were built by Samhongsa of Korea for Fulgurex. 1983 also
witnessed the release of the Swiss type SBB-CFF Re 6/6 #1611 electric outline loco by Tenshodo for Fulgurex. 250 units were produced. In 1984
the Fulgurex HO gauge version of the Ae 6/8 BLS Bern Lotschberg Simplon brown #206 overhead electric locomotive was released. Between 1984 and 1985 Lombardi produced
150 'O' scale brass models of the SBB De 6/6 for Fulgurex. Lombardi then produced 100 units of the brass 'O' scale SBB Ee 6/6 for Fulgurex between 1985 and 1986. In 1986
Fulgurex commissioned Tenshodo to build both the the brass model of the SBB-CFF BM 4/4 II Diesel #18451 and the Re 4/6 SBB-FFS green and grey Overhead electric locomotive
#11156 in HO gauge. A limited run of 230 DC power units of the the BM 4/4 and a quantity of 300 of the RE 4/6 were built. Samhongsa
was tapped again in 1991 to create the Elektrolokomotive of the SBB, Ce 6/8 I in 'O' scale. This locomotive, with its square body and low snout like hoods, was the
forerunner of the crocodile. 100 dual motored units were produced in brown paint. 1987 saw a commission built by Lombardi for Fulgurex of the brass 'O' scale model of the
E-loc SNCF series 2D2 5500. This locomotive is often referred to as the 'pig nose' or 'snout nose'.
Between 1989 and 1990 Lombardi made 2 'O' scale brass versions of the SBB Ae 3/6 electric locomotive for Fulgurex. These were limited runs of
60 in brown and 60 in green. Lombardi was commissioned in 1990 to create the SNCF 2D2 9100 for Fulgurex in 'O' scale. 120 units were built.
In 1995 Fulgurex issued a Swiss Federal Railways (SBB-CFF-FFS) Ae 8/14 Electric Locomotive #11852 in HO scale. The #11852 was an example
of one of three locomotives produced in the late 1930's for use on the Swiss Federal Railways' Gotthard railway. After production and for many years this
locomotive set was the most powerful in the world. The highly detailed Fulgurex 2-unit model was of all brass construction and factory painted.
Again in 1996 Fulgurex collaborated with TOBY Model Company of Japan to create an HO gauge brass model of the Whyte class 1C-C1,
Ae 6/8 Crocodile of the Swiss Federal Railway. The loco had six driven axles and two motors. It was available in either AC or DC versions.
In 1917, the SBB requested that Maschinenbau Winterthur (SLM)
and Brown Boveri Co. (BBC) design a heavy freight locomotive suitable for the St. Gotthard route. Once the four prototype locomotives were built and evaluated,
a contract for series production of the winner would be issued. The specifications were very broad and the competitors had a great deal of freedom to arrive at
a suitable design. To meet these requirements, the SBB requested proposals for a locomotive that would be capable of developing a tractive effort of 32,400 lb at
25 mph and have a top speed of 40 mph. The new locomotive was also to make use of side rod coupling of its drivers such as was steam locomotive practice. The
sharp curves on the Gotthard route imposed a limit of five rigidly mounted driven axles and thus the planned use of six rigidly mounted axles for the new
electric locomotive was ruled out. After four prototype locomotives were built for series production, SLM and Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon proposed a 1C-C1
locomotive with uniquely long snouts and a relatively short center section. None of the prototypes used such a design. The SBB was convinced that this design
was the right one and thus was born the Crocodile.
Through 1997 Fulgurex and Aster delivered 1 gauge live-steam models of some of the most famous British locomotives. These included 800 0-6-0T's,
250 Mallards, 150 Sir Nigel Gresleys, 60 Silver Links, and the King George V. In 1999 at the Nuremberg toy faire Fulgurex introduced a DR BR 18 210 model in 1 gauge.
The model came in green livery. Fulgurex also offered the Aster BR 03 electric.
The highly detailed Fulgurex Deutsch Reishbahn 18.201 (DR 18) 1 gauge locomotive was announced in 1999 and delivered in early 2000. The catalog number was 1240
and a total number of 50 pieces were made, produced by Samhongsa of Korea. In 2006 Fulgurex produced the French 230K. 2010 production
focused on western European prototypes, including in particular the SBB and
French lines (Nord, Est, Etat, and SNCF). 1 gauge models included the Nord class 141 TC 2-8-2T; a Chapelon Pacific in Nord, SNCF and EST schemes; and an
SBB class Ae 3/6 in either green or brown. Fulgurex gauge 1 locomotives tend to run in the $10,000 range and appear in series of perhaps 50.
Fulgurex was purchased by Daniel Ingold and Marcel Hufschmid when the Count retired. At the 2011 Toy Fair, Fulgurex announced plans to produce
the French Tenderlok 141TB 'O' scale brass model in four paint schemes, including three variants from the SNCF. The prototype 141TB locomotives were built from
1911 and were used until 1962 in local traffic around Paris. The brass model in 1:43.5 came equipped with digital command control. At the same time
Fulgurex also announced the 'O' scale brass Tenderlok DR/DB BR 62. A limited run of 45 individually numbered units were made in 2012. It featured full front and rear lighting,
opening doors and covers, smoke chamber door with interior cab detail, as well as digital control and sounds. 15 prototype BR 62's were built in 1928. After the war
7 remained with the DB and 8 with the DR. The DB locomotives were kept in use until 1956. The DR ran their tenderloks until 1970. The Fulgurex model came in four
livery variants of the DB and the DR. In 2013 Fulgurex issued an 'O' gauge
Bugatti Presidential railcar. The company produced a total of 50 railcars in three paint schemes for the ETAT and SNCF. In H0 gauge, Fulgurex produced
the SBB Ae 6/6 in nine different versions, some in production numbers as low as 24. The prototype Ae 6/6 was produced from the mid-1950’s through the
early 1960’s for service on the Götthard and outperformed the crocodile.
At the 2017 Spielwarenmesse trade faire in January, Fulgurex presented a gauge 1 novelty (1:32) Swiss class E 3/3 steam engine that was
used up to the 1970's as an all-rounder. The small-series model is entirely hand-built from brass and steel and has some impressive details.
Fulgurex was an enterprise designed specifically to produce and distribute the finest model trains for the most demanding of
those obsessed with miniaturization including the distribution of the first Elettren trains. Fulgurex has, since 1947, been known as a leader in developing model
trains for the connoisseur. The Count Giansanti Coluzzi was a passionate collector of both model trains and cars, especially those of prestige style and marque. His extensive,
and very selective, collection of trains and cars gradually turned into an impressive private museum at his primary residence in Lausanne, Switzerland that,
in part, contained over 300 Rolls Royce models of almost every scale, livery and type. He was also the author of a fine book on trains, "The Trains on Avenue
De Rumine". The book contains 3,000 brilliant color photographs of model trains including four and a half pages of pictures and text illustrating several
Elettren locomotives, passenger, and freight wagons made through 1980. The book also documents the history of James Stanley Beeson,
an Englishman with the reputation of being the Faberge of model-locomotive makers. "The Trains on Avenue De Rumine" also contains a picture spread of Fulgurex 'O'
gauge models operating on Marcel Darphin's layout in the Swiss town of Zug, a circuit, reproducing part of the railway-traffic system running between France and
Switzerland, that is considered one of the most beautiful and comprehensive in Europe. Marcel Darphin was the founder of Darstaed trains.
The book also features a preface by Allen Levy, one of the founders of ACE Electric Train Company Ltd. of London.
In 1989 Count Coluzzi's model train collection was reputedly sold for over four million pounds sterling, leaving him
only the car collection housed in huge cabinets filling about a dozen rooms in his residence in Lausanne.
Rextoys was a toy manufacturer founded by Count Giansanti Coluzzi that made a range of vintage 1:43 scale vehicles
in various liveries, including some that were military related. Originally their models came packaged in an attractive maroon outer cardboard package containing
an acrylic display case with black base. Later packaging just consisted of an acrylic display case and base. Through Rextoys, the Count wanted to create a scale
"museum" of dream cars, from what he considered to be the great era of the automobile, in terms of their historical, artistic and industrial importance. Launched
in 1982 (although some references indicate 1987 as the launch date), the range was intended to consist of a variety of model Cadillac, Packard, Ford, Lincoln,
Chevrolet, Pierce Arrow, Chrysler, Buick and Rolls Royce automobiles. Many of the cars had not at that stage been made as models and were selected personally
for the range by Count Coluzzi. However because production ceased, many of his chosen models were not produced.
According to Alain Morot the first Rextoys (Cadillac Series) were commissioned by Count Coluzzi from Bernard Peres (a French citizen, formerly
of Record Models and Provence Moulage) who was living in Porto, Portugal, following a bankruptcy in France. It was while Peres was living in Portugal he
started producing the Vitesse brand in Maia (near Porto). Morot was the North American Importer of Rextoys, from the time the first range of Rextoys was
produced in Portugal through to the time the very last range was produced in France, and was influential in the release of some early models as well as
influencing different versions of some models. It has been reported that in the very last days of the company in the mid nineties, he undertook a trip to
China on behalf of the Count, to arrange production of the 1938 Buick Century over there (he traveled with the model master with him).
After a couple of years operating in Portugal, the Count hired a Frenchman, Jean Claude Fournet (from Paris), to manage the production and
marketing of the Rextoys brand. Fournet chose an unknown manufacturer in the Vosges region of eastern France to manufacture the new models, a 1935 Ford V8 series,
as well as the previous Packard and Rolls Royce models. Mr Dieu (the manufacturer) was already making very detailed military models (commissioned by the French Army)
under the brand Replex at the time. After several successful years of production, a dispute broke out between Count Coluzzi, Fournet and the manufacturer,
Mr Dieu. Somehow, an investment bank became involved in the melee and a legal battle ensued, resulting in all existing tooling ending up in a state of legal
limbo and it is now expected that the tools will never reappear for use in manufacturing the intended range.
Rextoys were originally introduced as a strictly 1/43rd scale, die-cast made model. Various versions of Ford, Chrysler, Packard, Cadillac
and the limited issues of the Rolls Royce Phantom IV series became highly appreciated models and sought after by collectors worldwide. Because of the Count’s
appreciation for the Rolls Royce marque, Rextoys produced seven beautifully crafted Rolls Royce Phantom IV limousines. The models issued were the limousines
of His Majesty, the King of Spain (#31 and #32); Her Royal Majesty, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (#33); the Duke of Gloucester (#34); the Emir of Kuwait
(#35); Her Royal Highness, Princess Elisabeth (#37) and Her Majesty, the Queen of England (#36). These models are considered almost as rare in real life as
the full size vehicle. The only convertible produced in the series was the #32 King of Spain issue which appeared in a gloss black livery.
By 2003 a number of future projects had been announced but sadly none saw the light of day. Proposed were a 1938 Buick Century (convertible,
touring and sports sedan, sports coupe, and pickup versions), a 1937 Chevrolet (sports sedan and coupe, cabriolet [convertible] and pick-up versions), a 1935
Lincoln V12 (sedan, open front sedan, limousine and convertible versions), a 1936/37 Pierce Arrow (town car, sedan, coupe, phaeton and roadster versions and
possibly the Travelodge caravan trailer), and a 1935 Auburn (sedan, phaeton, coupe brougham and cabriolet versions).
Although sought after worldwide, building an entire and complete collection of Rextoys models might still be attainable today. The Rextoys
range ended with its last issues being released in 2001, and the company closed down in 2004 leaving the avid collector to find about one hundred different
models that had never been produced before in die-cast form, were artistically designed from original drawings and plans, and were available at a realistic
Click this link to access the Fulgurex English language website. Trains can be ordered direct from Fulgurex, but some models are only stocked by
Reynauld’s Euro Imports (www.reynaulds.com).