Amongst the releases promoted by Piko this year, some older models cascaded from Classic to Hobby range caught my eye. These were the refurbished ex-DR double deck coaches in traffic red. This shuffling was accompanied of a RRP reduction from Eur93.49 to 39.99 in the case of driving car, and from 69.99 to 29.99 for the all 2nd. Previously these coaches has only been available in the Hobby range as (innacurate) Metronom examples. With such a saving, some economies were surely inevitable. Nevertheless, I placed an order for a couple and waited...
Last week, they finally found their way to my post box. Although they weren't the most common type on RÃ¼gen (this falls to the unavailable-as-a-model DABbuzfa 760) they were certainly present around 2000, so they're the best thing available to me for my Regional Expresses. Like an excited child at Christmas, I eagerly pulled them out of their packaging for a good look. Naturally, the driving car (DABbuzfa778.0) draws my attention most.
Shortcuts or otherwise, it certainly looks the part. Without going into any great detail, the only thing that gives me any cause for concern in the basic model is that perhaps the cab isn't raked back far enough. Have a look at the prototype to see whether you agree.
Really my concern with these models isn't any fundamental accuracy issues, it's what detailing they might need to be brought up to a similar standard to my Roco coaches. With the financial saving compared to the classic models, I'm prepared to put a bit of effort in. So rather than being a review, this post mainly concerns my search for the modelling I will want to do.
The biggest job is the window frames. They're aluminium or something on the prototype, and in the catalogue images they appeared painted. However, those catalogue images were probably actually the classic models. The unpainted clear plastic on the model just doesn't look right. I have tried painting window frames previously, but it's tedious and needs a good steady hand, which I don't always have. I think my best option might be to try drawing up an etch to make overlays from stainless steel. They'll be a nice straightforward thing to learn etch design with too.
Another obvious area is the bogies. Compared to the classic model, Piko have reduced the number of parts drastically. It's essentially just the basic frame now, no brake rigging or other details. Here's the leading bogie, drivers side of a Piko "Classic" DBmq776.
As you can see, it has brake blocks nicely in line with the wheels and an indusi (German AWS equivalent, a bit more like ATP) receiver. Now, the equivalent view on the "Hobby" DABbuzfa778.0.
It shouldn't be too hard to make up the missing details. They are different on the DABbuzfa778.0 to the DBmq776 though, and there is the addition of sanding gear.
There's also quite a lot of printed detail.
I'm not sure what I'll do about this, I always find it hard to blend added details into the factory finish. I'll just see how much it bugs me over time for now!
Finally, the model lacks factory fitted lighting. However, it is available as an accessory part, but at 30 Euros I will probably just make my own. It's not a job I find tricky!
As a closing note, a front end comparison between the "Classic" DBmq776 and Hobby DABbuzfa778.0.