Saturday, January 17, 2015

Austrains BL class model Barcoola review

I was pleasantly surprised by the look of Austrains BL class locomotive, the history of the prototype is well documented, the first three BL27, 28 and 29 were originally allocated to Standard Gauge. Later this was changed to BL27 (this locomotive jumped between gauges a number of times to handle demand) 28, 29 and 30.
With the delivery of EL class locomotives in 1990 - 1991, the entire class were converted to Broad Gauge.  Only to come back to standard gauge in 1995, and then some back to Broad gauge in 1998, for long Island steel trains.

The standard Gauge BLs in their original allocation, had a solid black anti climber, where as the Broad gauge had the yellow stripes continue across the anti climber.

Overall, the model BL28 has some great highlights:
Metal grilles, and have the correct blocking, as you should not be able to see right through the locomotive.

The air intakes are a separate metal grille, and individual lift rings, and are see though.


Correct Q fans on the radiator, the fans are plastic and the grille again metal.
Lift rings are see through.
The dynamic brake fans and collection of lift rings, the panel to the right of the exhaust on the prototype on the side view should be raised and at the side see underneath it.
BL29's exhaust, as an example.


Narrow coupler stock, looks like an increased effort in realism.

The model has the Correct tri mounted bogies (the Austrains DL model should have had these, when in fact they were produced with CL bogies), so good on Austrains they went to the extra effort with this model to provide the correct bogies.




Includes piping detail around the fuel tank. however this does not seem to match the prototype, again not the end of the world, looks like the AC side as just been reversed.

The Non AC side.




The AC side:




Working lights and markers.
I compared this model to a Powerline body of BL30, as you can see in the photos the model is dam close.


However the model rides a tad high, this may have been done to ensure that the bogies clear the cab steps.
This has resulted in the cowcatcher being slightly higher than it should be.






The Air horns and other details.
 it seems the Standard gauge BLs were given  Five chimes that are configured like the CLs three trumpets on the bottom and two small trumpets on the top, where as the model has the reverse.  Again I am guessing this comes from checking a Broad Gauge version.
Photos I have show the CL type horns fitted, and the BG ones have the reverse.
Here are some details.
BL26 in 1989
1. BG style Air horns five high two low.
2. Bob Hawke name plate
3. builders plate, note the model version is a little low on the body.
4. A End plate missing
5. does not seem to have a VR style tail disc
6. MU cable with dummy plug.

BL27 at Keswick 1989
1. equipped with A end plate.
2. Sinclair radio antenna, note this is not fitted to the model version,
3. MU cable with dummy plug.
4. reverse airhorns

 BL29 A end 1989 at Port Augusta,

 BL29 A end airhorns, CL type fitted.
 BL30 1989 at Tent Hill, nicely fadded!
1. Builders plate
2.  CL type airhorns
3. MU cable and dummy plug
4. Coupler lights, not fitted to the model.
5. A End plate
6. Stainless handrail, future repaints have this painted yellow,
7. Sinclair radio antenna.
8. exhaust cover.

BL33 at MPC.
1. reverse air horns
2. A end plate
3. tail disk

The model



The Standard gauge fleet were not fitted with V/line style tail disks, however BL28 model has them fitted, this is a simple tasks to remove them, very carefully, with a knife.
And is fitted with reverse air horns,
Seems to be missing the couple light covers on the A and B end, again I am not going to bother with adding them, just stating the fact.
Missing A and B end plaques, they should be on the frame.  Again Austrains should not be taking tips from Trainorama.

The livery:
The application of paint on this model is fine, the right colours for things like steps and handrails etc.  the Green and gold are fine too.
However the roof is a tad too dark, like the CL and DL, Not the end of the world, I will just wash with some Humbrol 64.

Dis assembly:
This is a bit different from other Austrains locomotives.

Remove both couplers.

Then wiggle out the middle air brake reservoir, and undo the philps head screw at four locations.



Easy done!

Operation:
I tested the locomotive on DC first, and was smooth no issues.  My model was purchased on Ebay second hand, and the lights and number boards are lit with warm white LEDs, the markers change over with direction.
Nice and dependable mechanism that we expect from Austrains,

The verdict:
Well yes I would purchase another Austrains BL class, the details are good, and importantly robust.  they have some spring in them so they can take a hit.
I might look at lowering the body on the frame, however a part of me things this could be solved with a little weathering, this is probably accentuated by the depth of the cowcatcher.

Austrains have a good reproduction, some minor flaws that are for me, of no real concern, its light years ahead of the Powerline model, the roof is well detailed, paint selection and painting of details is accurate again better than their previous DL models, with only the roof to repaint.

With three BLs on standard gauge in my era, so I might see if I can convert one into a faded BL30.
I will probably add a few little details such as radio antennas and different airhorn, a dash of a little weathering, tweak here and there, such as paint the roof and add a check letter.
Then we should be, all good to go, desert running to Alice Springs and Barcoola!
I might even look at back dating one into a AL, using bits from a CL so I can change out the bogies off a BL to have the correct bogies on a DL!

Could be an interesting sub project.

I will post a detail - weathering article soon.

Here are some more model pictures.



Here are some prototype shots.
BL35 in Pacific National livery

BL35........................Burnie get out of my shot!
 BL26 in National Rail livery
 BL33 in SteelLink livery.



Hope this review is of some help.

Enjoy Scott

5 comments:

  1. Right. I was wondering why the gap between the bogies and chassis was so big.... couldn't quite work it out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. BalhannahboozetrainJanuary 19, 2015 at 3:20 PM

    Now that's a review! AL conversion sounds great! Didn't you get a VR G class? Be good to see one weathered on a layout. I'm tempted by the DL. No kitbash possible?

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  3. Thanks for the excellent review Scott

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fantastic review.

    Unforturnately I haven't had so much luck with my Austrains BL26. It arrived with both horns broken. Friends also had similar problems. Austrains didn't respond to phone calls, emails or snail mails. Anyway, not the purpose of my post. Any suggestions on where I can get replacement horns for this puppy?

    Thanks, Steve

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fantastic review. My BL arrived in the post with completely broken horns. Do you have any suggestions on what horns may be more suited to this model?

    ReplyDelete