Monday, August 26, 2013

Barcoola review of Tranorama's GM1 and GM16 in AN livery

Hi All

The GM class locomotives have finally arrived from Trainorama, and are worth the wait.
They capture the look of the prototype quite well, they have a fair amount of weight, and thus is quite at home on the IP or Ghan, as it might be kicking out Spencer Junction yard.

 Here are the two offerings in AN green, so far.  GM16 in the background and GM1.
GM1 entered service with the Commonwealth Railways on the 20th of September 1951 and was withdrawn on the 11th of April 1990.
GM16 entered service on the 13th of July 1956 and was ""officially"withdrawn 20th of June 1991.
 The roof of GM1 includes proper mesh grilles over the fans
 Here is the radiator detail.
 The nose and twin airhorn detail, these were original fit, later GM2 GM4 and GM10 were fitted with five chime airhorns, However as can be seen above the model does not have lift rings on the forward roof panel, please see below an image of GM2's roof showing the location of the lift rings.

 In this side view of GM1's nose, you can see the body steps painted green, I am not sure that this was the case in operation, as these are stainless steel kick plates, when GM1 was withdrawn it was repainted for display at Port Augusta station.  I am also not sure about the name plate size, the model might be the original size, the one pictured below is a copy, as the original I think was "lost" a long time ago.
The Cab steps are the shape for the GM1 to 11 series, see example below of GM2.
Some GMs had A End and B end plates installed, GM1 had these fitted, but are had to see if you are not looking for them, please see image below from GM1

 Fuel tank and valance are spot on.
 The Bogies also seem busy in the right places.

 The B end is a bit of a creation, Given that this model is one with the bellows removed, the arrangement of the "remnants" does not quite match the prototype.  I think this might be modelled off later "recreations", such as occurred in later life.  The VR style tail disk and MU air hoses are also missing on this version of GM1.
However all I can seem myself doing is painting in the marker lanterns, and weathering.

 The Clyde builders plate is a good replication, as is the frames behind the grilles.
 Overall, it looks sweet!
 The GM1 nose, coupler lift bar is in the right location, the crew look interested, GM1 had its tail disc removed, thus therefore is correct for GM1, If I was a betting man, I would say GM1 was modelled when it  hauled a special 15 coach Indian Pacific set with GM2 into Sydney to celebrate Barossa week on 15th of november 1981 when used the tail disk might have already been removed.  However some an not others, here is GM2 with the disk still applied.

Now for GM16.
Again overall resemblance is good, definitely looks the part.
 The roof, yes looks the part.
 I am sure I have a shot of GM16 with the yellow horns, but I think this was a rarity.
GM16 was retro fitted with A end MU receptacles, so this is an early modelled version of this unit, possibly early 1980s.  You might like to renumber your GM to 18, 19 or 20, as these locomotives never retro fitted, or just retrofit them! You could also fit the Ghan head board holders, would be a nice touch.

 The stirup steps are the right design and shape, and the steps and kick plate are painted stainless steel.
 Again for the series modelled it has the correct grille style and fuel tank valance.

 The roof handrail is correct as is the location of the wiring loom.

 Again not fitted with a Aend plate, not the end of the world by any stretch.

 It might look a little strange but the airhorns should slightly point downwards, see the below example on GM42.

 Here is a shot of GM20's roof to compare, painting some of the fans green or CR maroon might be a good detail touch.

 Again overall presentation is as advertised, nice!
 the Coupler beam does not seam to be as prominent at that of the prototype, again not enough of an issue for me to think about modifying it at this stage.
 I noticed that the couplers are different between GM1 and GM16, GM16's couplers, the head of the knuckle travel goes right back to the face of the coupler, thus when uncoupling there is no gap for the other coupler to get "caught" in.  So reflects the operation of the "good ol" number fives.
 GM1 however seems to have a different coupler, maybe the Auscision design (I hope not), which as this annoying gap, which in operation makes them very unreliable.  I would recommend that you replace them with #5s and enjoy the reliability.
Again as with GM1 the Bend is a little bit of a creation, GM16 when built has the lantern type, marker lights, where as this end shows the later integral type markers.  On the plus side has a full complement of MU hoses, I would recommend that you renumber your unit to either GM18, 19 or 20, too easy..

The body easily comes off the mechanism, which is a great step ahead of Trainorama's 930 class, which is an exercise in how to loose 6 instrument screw drivers into a locomotive before twan shall be parted!
Then there is the mechanism, heavy and is DCC ready and sound ready, has a8 pin plug and another 4 pins for sound decoders.

 The crew has a control stand and is correct for the type.  the front headlight is an LED, and has marker lights.
Strangely the B end headlight is a filament globe!

I fitted a NCE D14SR chip in less than a minute.

On track the model is smooth across a step 28 controller, again NCE.
The head lights are not "dazzling" almost "just right" in older age of the GM class.  The model was extremely smooth, and got straight into shunting Alice Springs, to the point I didn't want to stop.

Overall I think that the model is of a very high quality, yet seem to be robust enough to ensure that things don't spring off as soon as you touch it or put it in an Auscision box (which as far as I am concerned are designed to hunt out all your delicate detail items and ensure that they are parted from your locomotive or wagon).

Both models look as they should for the era they are modelled after, early 1980s is my guess.

As for things like colour matching, as you can see from my other detail shots of the prototype, I see no real point as any real locomotive or wagon changes colour depending on length of exposure to the sun and how dirty it is, and for AN locomotives that is about three days, if it doesn't get wet, or hit by dust!

I think GM1 is going to become GM2 in my roster, I already have a GM10.
GM16 will be renumbered to GM20, and let the fading begin!

Would I purchase another?  The answer is yes.
Once again, it is good to be an AN modeller, and GMs are born desert runners, these two can join the roster with pride, as soon as they are repainted, and appropriately weathered.



Post script, Glen is hanging out for some for ultra modern (of course).

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