Thursday, 5 January 2017

Review: Auscision Models' NCTY/NODY Wagons

It's not often that I get to review a recently released product. Usually I'm the one who's late on the scene and trying to put together a model railway roster consisting of sold-out, or nearly sold-out, Australian models that would suit a small bookshelf layout such as mine. So it was a nice surprise to arrive home from a holiday to be greeted by the postman who was delivering my pre-ordered Auscision Models NCTY open wagons complete with steel coil cradles.

Nicely packaged in a box of 4, these NCTY wagons retail for $270 AUD.

These open wagons come in packs of four, and the NCTY set that I purchased was the result of a conversion of some BDY/NODY open wagons by the then State Rail Authority of NSW, which essentially consisted of removing the pairs of double doors, fitting steel coil cradles in the doorway openings and re-coding the wagons NCTY. These wagons received more conversions and re-codings during their lifetime than Liberace had costume changes, and today the converted wagons have been further converted into flat wagons carrying anything from slab steel to containers. I'm not sure how long the Tubemakers Structural NCTY's actually lasted in service, but I can guarantee they didn't stay looking this clean for long!

The underframe detail is largely visible from rail height when viewed side on.

Underneath, I imagine the detail on each model is all the same, with each variant essentially a cut-down NODY. For the steel cradles, I was surprised that they sat loose inside the model. I thought for sure they would have been factory glued or positioned in place. As I plan to heavily weather these models, having the cradles supplied loose is going to make it a lot easier!

The air hoses are supplied loose in the box and need to be hand-fitted.

Also supplied loose inside is the brake hoses that simply attach in the holes provided at the wagon ends beside the coupler as shown above. Provided in a small packet inside the box, they simply press into place with a pair of tweezers. I first dipped the ends in plastic cement for good measure before pressing them into place. As you can see below, it is a simple enough task and probably avoided the possibility of these being damaged in transit from when they left the factory.

I added a dab of plastic cement to keep each hose firmly in position.

The wagons have a surprisingly close clearance when coupled together. Only having an up-and-back bookshelf layout to test these on, I can't vouch for the 18 inch minimum radius curves that the supplier recommends these run on. Maybe a fellow modeler with an actual room-sized layout will be able to confirm that they run trouble-free around 18 inch curves. On straight track however, they just look fantastic!

Coupled closely together, there's a lot of detail and a lot to like about this model.

The couplers work flawlessly, and couple-on softly without any hesitation. A pair of these will glide through a medium radius pair of PECO points without a hitch. What I particularly like about the detail on the NCTY, is the slight difference in colour between the bogies (trucks for my US friends) and the wagon sides. The bogies are still painted in the original PTC blue as delivered. While the grey grime on the wagon under-frames simulate years of built-up dust before the wagon was modified and the remaining walls repainted Freightrail blue with Tubemakers Structural signage added. The handrails and most of the under-frame detail are metal, while the body, ladder steps and brake cylinders are made of plastic. The lettering is crisp and the small detail like the rivets on the sign edging makes this an exceptional straight out-of-the-box model. The blackened metal wheels are RP25-110 or 36 inch scale, capable of running on code 70, 83 or 100 rail, (as my layout uses), and the model is finished with scale sized metal couplers. All up, Auscision have produced 8 different body versions of what is sure to be a popular model.

A pair of NCTY steel wagons fit nicely alongside my concrete unloading area on Philden.

I remember catching sight of these wagons being shunted along the OneSteel siding at Acacia Ridge in Brisbane years ago, I think it was around 2001/2002. At the time they were being led across the Bradman Street level crossing by an 81 class in National Rail livery. Adding some of these open wagons to my roster fits nicely with my everything old is new again mentality, as I love seeing locomotives and rolling-stock re-utilized and re-painted into different schemes.

The Auscision steel coil loads come in packs of 5 in different shades and sizes.

Speaking of which, the cradles on the NCTY and later the further cut-down RCAF/RCQF wagons, were designed to carry one thing. Coiled rolls of big heavy steel. I recently stocked up on packets of the Auscision coil steel loads in various shades of mild steel or chrome finish at the Australian Modeller Shop's 20% off end-of-year sale. Knowing that Auscision's next steel wagons will be the 36' foot NCX/NCNX fishbelly wagons, I also bought enough tarpaulins to alternate between the National Rail and Pacific National lettering as I please. Having the ability to add and remove steel coil loads and tarp covers will only make operating a small layout such as mine that bit more fun.

The Auscision coil steel load nest inside the steel cradles on the NCTY/RCAF/RCQF open wagons.

The steel coil loads simply rest inside the coil cradles, and the coil cradles in turn sit inside the open wagons, giving the NCTY's that pleasing look of carrying a load. Although essentially made of plastic, the metal bands almost have you believing they are steel.

The forklift driver is wondering how on earth he is going to unload these steel coils.

Although the NODY wagons were first done by Austrains almost 20 years ago, the demand for high quality Australian rolling-stock begged for this model to be re-done. Beyond being a much improved model to the original, the Auscision version offers a total of 23 different re-incarnations of what was once a key piece of New South Wales rolling-stock. The 600 strong original fleet of BDY/NODY wagons just seem to keep reinventing themselves, and perhaps will continue to do so into the near future.

Review Card: Auscision Models NCTY/NODY open wagon

My Rating:


Final Thoughts: A new take on a favourite model. The improved detail and 8 different body designs available makes this model a winner!


Review Card: Auscision Models coil steel loads

My Rating:


Final Thoughts: Sure you could make these yourself.... If you could be bothered that is. But for $25 bucks you can have your choice of five different sizes and two shades of steel.

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Thanks for taking the time to visit Philden. I hope you'll book a return ticket soon. Cheers, Phil