Trumpeter 1/35 Dampflokomotive BR 86 Kit First Look
by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||March 2011||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Dampflokomotive BR 86||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||0217||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||First plastic kit of this subject in this scale; very nice detailing throughout||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$169.95|
Steam locomotives were the prime movers around much of the world during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Before there were highway networks that could carry large loads of people and goods around the countryside, railway networks were the arteries that interconnected sea ports with inland population centers and industries.
Two major type of steam locomotives were developed to service these railways: tender locomotives and tank locomotives. Tender locomotives are typically longer range engines that have larger boilers and drive systems to pull larger loads some distance or smaller loads longer distances. Tender locomotives are so-named as the fuel and water supplies are carried in a separate car, a tender that is connected to the rear of the locomotive. Tank locomotives are typically designed for switching and shorter range duties as the locomotive has an integral water tank, usually build on either side of the boiler, plus a fuel bunker for coal or wood (or later oil) at the rear of the engine.
The BR 86 dampflokomotive (steam engine) is a German tanklok (tank locomotive) that is classifed as a 2-8-2 or Class 1D1 that started service in the late 1920s and remained in production through 1943. The BR 86 was designed for high-traction duties such as moving freight through the central German mountains, but was also employed in shorter range duties where water and fuel could be easily obtained. Of the 775 examples built, only 20 were destroyed in World War II, two are unaccounted for, and the remainder saw service through the end of the war. After World War II, many of these engines were divided up to serve in Austria, Poland, East and West Germany with some operating as late as 1974.
For a few decades now, 1/35 scale modelers have been able to satisfy their latent model railroading genes with some interesting releases such as the BR 52 and BR 86 multimedia kits from CMK and plastic rolling stock kits from DML. These offerings made for some nice diorama or vignette possibilities for modelers though the selection was still too sparse to generate too much interest. When Trumpeter entered the market with their ever expanding range of kits, they entered the 1/35 railroad modeling ring with their Leopold railway gun and the Karl Morser rail-transported heavy mortar. From there, Trumpeter has released an impressive number of cars for the BP 42 armored train series, the WR.360 diesellok, the BR 52 tenderlok, the armored BR 57 tenderlok, and this BR 86 tanklok.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on fifteen parts trees plus trees of gray styrene parts for the track and roadbed base (not pictured here). Two cardboard carriers with vinyl (rubber) plumbing and one fret of photo-etch round out this beauty.
Construction starts with the track and this is the same track that has been released with all of the previous 1/35 railway kits from Trumpeter. You can build it as-is to display the model, or you can combine the tracks from multiple kits to be able to display multiple cars along with this locomotive. I would also create a rail jig at this point so you can check the spacing and alignment of your drivers and wheels during assembly so you won't be surprised with a model that doesn't sit properly on the tracks later on.
Next comes the locomotive frame. This goes together much like the BR 52, but this time there are four drive axles and eight driver wheels. As long as you take the time to ensure the frame is perfectly squared, assembly should be trouble free. Build up of the frame with all of the connecting rods and main cylinders is done just as nicely as the BR 52. The drive cylinders, valves, pressure tanks, and lots of plumbing are all nicely replicated. The single-axle pilot and single trailing axle are also mounted to the frame which help to dampen out lateral (or yawing) motion in turns that might derail the coupled to the engine.
The boiler is next and it too is nicely done. There are two subvariants of the BR 82 represented in this box identified in the instructions as Model 1 and Mode II. Mode I refers to a variant with a small grab handle used to open the front of the boiler whereas Mode II has a larger horizontal handle. Unlike the BR 52, the external plumbing in this kit's boiler is separately molded so you will have lots of depth to weather and detail paint later on.
The cab is equally detailed, and the layout of the cab allows for easy viewing of that interior detail. There are some nice references available to help you replicate the look of the cab (and rest of the engine) and will make this effort worthwhile.
The fuel bunker is mounted to the back of the cab and it has a cap put onto the top for your use. While the instructions don't call it out, the bunker is open from the top of the cab roof all the way down to the floor-level of the cab. While the real BR 86 doesn't have such a cap, this part allows you to put a little something in there to simulate a full bunker without having to fill that bunker. I'd recommend some finely ground charcoal or carbon available from most pet shops to put into that cap, then cover with white glue dilluted in water to keep your fuel load in place.
Once of the more intriguing design features of this model are the vinyl sand pipes. There are two domes atop the boiler that contain plain old sand. If the drive wheels loose traction on the rails due to ice (or oil or whatever), the engineer releases sand out of the domes and the sand pipes would place that sand with precision immediately in front and behind each drive wheel. Molding these pipes in vinyl will ensure that they are more tolerant to being handled (and not broken) than if they'd been molded from styrene.
With the sand pipes installed, now come the eight drive wheels and the connecting rods. All of this detail rounds out the main drive of the engine and provide some impressive details to see when finished.
Up until now, the BR 86 looks more or less like any other line engine, but next in the assembly line are the water tanks that mount onto either side of the boiler. While the bunker provide the fuel for the boiler, it takes onboard water to be converted to steam to make this beast move.
With the tanks installed, the final details go into place including platform steps around the boiler to provide the engineer and fireman access to the sand domes and other areas regularly reached during refueling/servicing.
Markings are provided for two examples:
- BR 86 245 in Deutsche Reichsbahn colors
- BR 86 271 in wartime military markings
The DR engine is painted overall black with its running gear in safety red whereas the engine 271 is rendered in a unique weathered overall gray with the running gear in black. Many of the wartime engines were repainted with the running gear black to reduce the visibility of the engine by not providing a convenient aim-point for strafing fighters. It is likely that some of the BR 86 engines received temporary winter or other camouflage when operating near combat areas similar to the improvised camouflage applied to the BR 52s.
Kudos go to Trumpeter for providing the Reichs eagles in this release. They did provide good ones in the BR 52, but the swastikas were complete in that version and had to be 'neutralized' before sale. This time the swastikas are not complete so the 'politically correct' crowd can use them as-is while the rest can add the other part of the swastika to render the historically accurate markings.
CMK was the first to market with their beautiful resin and photo-etched 1/35 BR 86 kit by quite a few years. This Trumpeter kit is also very nice and is likely patterned off the same engine on display in Germany, but with a retail price well under half that of its CMK counterpart, it is certainly more affordable. Moreover, this Trumpeter kit is also more buildable for most modelers that don't know or care to deal with cleaning up resin parts.
This is a very nice kit that I finally had to add to my railroad project backlog and for good reason. I've had a display base for a European train station that I acquired years ago from VLS before they closed shop and sold their assets to Squadron Mail Order. I'm glad I bought it when I did as it has never been reissued. While I thought it would look like a great diorama with a special FlaK car and the BR 52, this BR 86 would look much better (and is smaller). Look for this project in the near future to finally come to life!