Train Collectors Association National Division WEB Site

The Train Collectors Association

Western Division

TCA Western Home Page

[Home]  [Train Collecting Tips page]  [Index of Manufacturers]

Fulgurex Precision Models

Fulgurex Precision Models Logo

History

Fulgurex 'O' Scale 2-Rail DC Brass Swiss SBB Be 4 6 #12336 Electric Loco 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 MüHLETHALER Brass 'O' gauge DB 4-6-2 Class BR 01 Loco #01 173 for DC 2-rail 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 VB brand 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".

J&M Models for Fulgurex Gauge 1 Wagons-Lits Grand European Express Pullman Car No.4004 made in 1980- as part of limited run J&M Models for Fulgurex Gauge 1 Wagons-Lits Grand European Express all 1st Pullman Coach No.4158 made 1979 as part of limited run J&M Models for Fulgurex Gauge 1 Wagons-Lits blue Train Sleeping Car No.3532A Produced in 1979 as part of a limited production run J&M Models for Fulgurex Gauge 1 Wagons-Lits Baggage Car running number 1263M made in limited run in 1981

Fulgurex by Elettren 'O' scale 3-rail electric FS 2-B-B-2 Ansaldo Electric Locomotive No. CA0428 circa 1947 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.

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.

Fulgurex by Tenshodo HO scale SNCF 141R Steam Outline Engine & Tender, first version in green with red striping 20 units made in 1962 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'.

Fulgurex by Tenshodo HO scale SNCF 141R Steam Outline Engine & Tender, fourth version in black with red striping circa 1960's 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 Gauge 1 Dampflok Chapelon Nord Pacific 231 Steam Engine & Tender Starting in 1968 Fulgurex handled the distribution of the 1 gauge live steam models produced by Bockholt & Söhne and Wilag. 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 a partnership with Aster and Fulgurex.

In the 1980's TOBY of Japan was commissioned to create the 'O' scale 2-Rail DC Brass SBB Swiss Federal Rys. Be 4/6 #12336 Electric Locomotive 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.

Japanese made H0 scale brass model, by FULGUREX, of the Italian Steam Locomotive FS Gr. 740 364 made 1982 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. 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. 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.

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, Fulgurex HO scale Brass SBB Ce 6/8 II Crocodile 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. 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.

Fulgurex Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) BR 18 Gauge 1 Steam loco and tender 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. 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/Aster 1 gauge Steam Locomotive Shay Live Steam 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". This work includes four and a half pages of pictures and text illustrating several Elettren locomotives, passenger, and freight wagons made through 1980. 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.

Fulgurex/Aster 1 gauge Steam Locomotive 2-6-0 Colorado & Southern 1:22 scale Live Steam 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.

Fulgurex/Aster 1 gauge Live Steam Locomotive PLM 231A 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 retail price.

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).

Back To Top of Page

horizontal rule

 

Home ] Train Collecting Tips page ] Index of Manufacturers ]
To request more information about TCA contact any Western Division board member or send e-mail to: info@tcawestern.org