Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SDS Models NTHF VTGX and PTLY Gas tankers review - the Barcoola Review

Hi All

SDS have released the VTGX, NTHF and the PTLY Gas Tanker.

These tank wagons are perfect for the AN modeler and the GWA modeler alike.  LPG is railed from Whyalla, to all points on the standard gauge system, including Alice Springs, Broken Hill, Kalgoorlie and even Pimba.
Even witnessed two AFTrans tankers being picked up at Pimba by the “bomber”.
The tankers are available in a two pack and single pack form, check out the link.
I purchased the 1990s pack with Boral gas, 1980s pack with an Aftrans tanker, a single pack Aftrans tanker, and a single pack  Origin PTLY.  All of these wagons are perfect for Alice Springs and Barcoola, in both the AN and GWA era.

The models come packed in their usual robust cardboard box with appropriate plastic inserts.
Out of the box I noticed that the wheel sides are blackened and of low 88 profile, nice touch!
Another fantastic feature is the all the stirrup steps, and side rail supports etc are made of what I assume is Delrin type plastic, so they spring back when pressure is applied, Brilliant!
Out of the box they roll easily and are well weighted, they are fitted with scale size couplers.
The detail around the top of the tank is will executed, and has the “spindly” took.
The detail is era specific Boral Gas has the additional vents etc.
Underfloor detail looks all there, definitely busy, Ill leave it to Glen to count out the chain links!
Comparing the quality of their previous ATBL model, the build quality of these tankers is noticeably higher, and everything fits exactly where is should be, no wavy handrails, etched detail sits in where it should and does not look like an “add on”.
First word of warning is I found some of the brake shoe assemblies sprang off in initial handling, I was not too fussed about this, seems a bit of over the top detail, Auscision stock is no different.  Just to let you know to be aware!
I guess the first caveat for this review is there is no doubt that these wagons have gone through multiple overhauls and repaints so what is correct for one wagon might not be correct for another etc.  It really comes down to which wagon SDS chose to replicate and when.  Otherwise this could become a detail tick off nightmare.

Aftrans VTGX
I didn’t have a clear shot of these wagons, but Norm Bray came to the rescue, check out his Flicker feed.
SDS chose to model VTGX 008.
So here goes, against the image on hand against the model,


       on all models they are missing the shunters step and handrails at one end of the wagon, however if you purchased their ATBLs you can take the steps and handrails of these and add them to their Gas tankers!  Very sneaky marketing if you ask me.




comparing the two shots below:

  • The VTGX 008 data box seems a little low
  • the liquefied Gas lettering, needs to be a little more centred.
  • The 80Kmh symbol needs to be about half way into the Orange band.




The Aftrans lettering is spot on for VTGX 008, I have to hand it to SDS, even with the various different fonts on these wagons the positioning an size is spot on!



The AFT symbol should be positioned a little more towards the centre of the tanker.
The handrails from the handbrake onto the tank should be half painted orange.
The poison warning symbol should be red.





Boral Gas NTHF 6404 S

Glen and myself caught up with NTHF 6404 S at Whyalla in 1995.



the red LPG lettering should be closer to the centre of the tank.
The Chemical warning symbol and the 80Kmh symbol needs to be forward of the bolster not aft.



The BORAL GAS lettering seems a little anorexic, needs to be a little thicker to be healthier.
The handrails under the GA of GAS, should also be painted black.


The NTHF 6404 S lettering should be closer to the bolster.




Origin Energy PTLY 6417
Once again Glen and myself caught up with PTLY 6417 a Spencer Junction yard on 13th of June 2011.
First of note is the model is missing the reflective striping.



The Origin Energy lettering and PTLY 6417-F lettering, is spot on.
For some reason there is a Pacific national stickers on the frame stand outs.




The ladder should be black, and the handbrake should be positioned more to the centre of the wagon, and needs a red band around the frame edge.




The Chemical board is spot on.








In summary.

SDS has raised the bar with thoughtful application and design of the handrails, and making them more resistant to damage.  In operation, this is fantastic, a great step forward!

Details are there, All up to SDS usual standard, there are some location issues with the lettering and symbols.

Some of the end lettering seems just a tiny bit out of kilter, hard to tell.


There is also some bending at the ends of the wagon, again hard to tell.

The weight is appropriate and black wheelsets are a great touch.

The verdict.

I am more than happy with the VTGX NTHF and PTLYs so now you can piff your Athearn 62ft tankers!!

This model was sorely needed, and will be right at home on Alice Springs and Barcoola.  As a prototype it spans the ages, NSW steam right through to ultra modern, and suitable right across the country.

Its also worth noting that this wagon enables all modelers to look at a LPG transfer facility, cooling points would be a great modeling challenge.

And, Yes, I have already ordered a couple more!

SDS Models are clearly passionate about their attention to detail, and cant wait for their next model the AOQX! Onya SDS Models.

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