|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
The WR 360 class of diesel engine was developed for the German military as a replacement for the steam-powered switching engines used in rail yards to build-up outgoing consists and to shunt incoming traffic to their required destinations. Originally developed for the Army, both the Luftwaffe and the Navy became interested in this engine and so its original HR designation was changed to WR. I should point out that Germany has never really classified these types of locomotives as 'Switchers', but we all know what is meant. Powered by a 360 horsepower engine, the WR 360 used hydraulics to transfer power from the engine to the drive wheels. Like many German wartime locomotives, the WR 360 continued its life in postwar Germany on both sides of the fence. This engine did not have a multi-step transmission so unlike the later C14 locomotive, was limited to about 45 kph.
When the Germans used different steam-powered road and switching engines to move or position the large rail guns, these engines would give away their positions by the usual plume of steam. This was not an issue with diesel powered engines so though moving at a relatively slow pace, they would not attract the attention of Allied fighter bombers. This made them a very valuable asset.
ICM has been producing some very neat things that run on rails in the last year or so. You may recall the armored railcar I built earlier this year. Well, now we have another in that line of thought with this neat WWII German switcher locomotive.
Molded in tan plastic, the kit is not really as parts intensive as you might think, though it is quite well detailed. The engine body and cab are both complete molds so no need to piece these together. As with the drasine, you will spend most of your building time piecing together the drive. This is rather complex and will look great when you have finished with it. As it is a switcher, you only need to build up the single drive section. This has the train's bumpers connected to it.
Atop the drive section fits the chassis for the engine itself. This has a nicely done interior that fits into the cab section. The kit has a clear sprue for the windows of the cab. The biggest piece of plastic is the engine housing itself. This also has very few parts aside from a couple of cab controls and some grab handles. As with the previously mentioned kit, this has a long track section on which to display the locomotive. Like the earlier kit, the section is really about twice as long as needed so I know that when I build mine, I will be using but one section as that should be enough to hold the locomotive and still have a bit of space around it. Makes a more compact display.
The instructions are well done, and like many Hobby Boss non-aircraft kits, offers no painting information during the build. That is saved for the overall model. The full color painting and markings guide offers a variety of paint options. The locomotive is overall panzer grey with red wheels and connecting rods. This latter trait is or at least was quite typical of German locomotives. There is a decal sheet that contains engine numbers, but the instructions do not mention it at all so you are on your own regarding placement. I would put them as shown on the box art.
If, like many of us, you are looking for something a bit unusual that will be a relatively smooth build, then you should seriously consider putting this one on your want list.
Thanks to Squadron Products
for the review kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line
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