It seems I've relented. As the year draws to a close, a strange, bare, flat-looking rail thingy has rolled onto my layout. Now to die-hard Aussie modellers, the sight of a PRRY container flat wagon is nothing new. Auscision first released this model back in 2009 and the re-release was over 12 months ago in 2016. But for someone who somewhere, long ago on this blog swore they would never allow a boring string of boxes to appear on his layout, I guess this is the point where I cut a slice of humble pie. Adding this model to Philden's roster is going to change everything!
|The CQBY/PRRY container wagons come in a pack of 5 from Auscision Models.|
Sold in a pack of 5 for $280 Australian Dollars, the models come in the familiar blue Auscision boxes with the see-through plastic blister packs. Despite having more packaging, bogie wheel clips and foam inserts holding the model in place than I've ever come across, I still managed to secure a sealed box with a model inside that had a broken lashing rail. The missing piece from below had obviously come loose somewhere between China, the hobby shop and my home. I quickly found it inside the tray liner. With instructions enclosed for how to remove and handle the models, it only took a second to realise that these wagons are going to need to be handled with extreme care.
|Once more the broken model always seems to find its way to my layout....|
Fragile side rails aside, the delicate framework of these models is what makes the CQBY/PRRY skeletal container wagons so appealing in the first place. If you're after a sturdy container flat wagon, then Auscision's SQKF container wagons with the solid flat base should probably be your first choice. But even empty, the see-through skeletal frames of the CQBY container wagons makes these models so visually interesting.
|These models are so delicate you won't want to handle them too often.|
My advice when handling these models, is to follow the instructions and only pick up the wagons by the bogie wheel sets. The side lashing rails are separately applied detail parts, glued in place at the time of manufacture. A drop of super glue from the underneath side of the model should be more than enough to secure the missing piece of side rail in place, and while I'm at it, I plan to add a micro drop of super glue to all the other join sections on each model for good measure.
|Being able to see the wheels and track through the empty skeleton frame is a highlight for me.|
The model itself is otherwise sound. The RP25-110 wheels roll freely through a pair of medium code 100 Peco switches and are chemically blackened. Although the wheels on the models I purchased seem to have machine lines visible on the surface. You can just make them out in the photo above. The metal scale-sized couplers are flawless, and the bogies are exceptionally well detailed. The brake wheels, see-through shunter's steps and metal release bars all look a treat. And the lettering? It's so fine that its barely readable with the naked eye!
The PRRY 45' foot or 15.58 metre long container wagons are slightly shorter than the 60' foot or 19.4 metre long CQBY container wagons. At a HO scale length of just 18 cm from coupler to coupler, the shorter F.C.L. models are a great size for a bookshelf layout such as mine. Twenty of the PRRY's were ordered in 2005 by freight company F.C.L. to handle their 48' foot containers, but are also capable of carrying a 40' foot or 2 x 20' foot containers. There is a packet of container twist lock pins included with the models to facilitate this, but be warned... they are a bugger to fit into the holes of the wagon using tweezers and some are bound to go flying off your desk, never to be seen again. If you lose some, just make that wagon a 40' foot container carrying wagon by leaving out the middle twist lock pins. It worked for me.
|Meet the new guard. XGAY's and PRRY's make for an exciting year to come!|
So there you have it. It's a nice little model of a modern Australian container wagon. Sure it is a little fragile and I would rather have seen the model made with metal side lashing rails instead of plastic, but these models aren't really intended for the Thomas the Tank market are they?
What this model does for my layout is set my era in concrete. The PRRY's were introduced in mid-2005. I've always aimed my layout to be set in the era between 2002 and 2005. Even keeping these container flats in pristine as-delivered appearance, the earliest I can now claim my layout to be set is the year 2005.
Coupled with the recent departure of my Pacific National 82 Class locomotive and the arrival of Southern Rail Models XGAY wheat hoppers, I now have a great opportunity to round out my roster to depict that mid-2000's flavour. And the best way to achieve that is by carefully adding the appropriate era containers to go with my PRRY's. Fortunately Auscision Models have released a fantastic range of Australian shipping containers, meaning I don't have to settle for that globally generic Maersk or Cosco container range that every American modeller seems to have. Why would you anyway, when as an Aussie modeller you can have 20' foot, 40' foot or 48' foot containers with noticeable local markings such as Patrick, Toll, Linfox or SCT? With the price for a 2 pack of containers at around one third of the average price for a freight wagon, adding an assortment of different shipping containers is going to be a cost-effective way to add some colourful variety to my rollingstock.
2018 is already shaping as a huge transformation year for Philden. Not only is the release of Auscision Models' 48' foot containers not that far away, but the arrival of Auscision's 48 class locos can be expected around the same time. Straight after I return from holidays, I'm hoping to place an order for 48142 and a stack of containers. Now all I have to figure out is which ones. What do you think will match best to run some export and domestic containerised grain trains?
Review Card: Auscision Models PRRY Container Flat Wagons
Final Thoughts: High on detail, this unique skeletal container wagon looks great all on its own. Although I'm sure I'll be repairing the side rails again before too long.
See also; Auscision Models NCTY/NODY Wagons