Monday, 12 February 2018

Review: Auscision's high cube containers

It's hard to believe its February 2018 already. What happened to January? Where did it go and what have I been up to in Philden layout land? Well, a lot is happening behind the scenes and before I fall behind with posting reviews of all the cool new stuff that is arriving in Philden yard, I thought I'd better share my thoughts about the containers I swore I would never add to my layout. Because here they come in waves, starting with the recently re-released Auscision high cube 20' foot and 40' foot boxes.

The re-released 40' foot high cube container packaging on the left, and the version 2 blister pack on the right.

First released in February 2010 (that's 8 years ago, and gosh hasn't that time flown?), Auscision really raised the bar with their 40' foot high cube containers, compared with the generic overseas varieties that are commonly produced in moulded plastic only. Sold in blister packs of 2, these containers featured modern domestic Australian transport logos and colours for the first time. The original 23 different liveried containers were re-released in August 2017 along with another 24 different designs released for the first time as Auscision's version 2 range. Although structurally and design wise, the only difference I could tell between each version was the blister packaging, with the original blue Auscision pack shown above on the left, and the new version 2 pack shown above on the right.

Two styles of the 20' foot Australian domestic containers first released a decade ago.

The 20' foot high cube containers were first release a decade ago in January 2008, and carry the same superb detail as their bigger cousins. What immediately struck me was the separately applied door latches that really set these apart as models in their own right rather than just a plastic model train accessory. The four corner pin holes in the base of the model mean that they are ready to place straight onto any Auscision produced container wagon. I can't speak for other brand container flats, but I'm sure fitting holes onto pins would be a common occurrence.

What the container does highlight however, is the different nuances of the container wagons that Auscision does produce, with the CQBY/PRRY container wagons first requiring the fitting of the twist lock pins to the wagons. Anyone who has done this before may be able to back me up here that fitting them in the provided holes on the model with tweezers was a bugger of a task. I couldn't fit them in without having some of the tiny suckers fly off my desk never to be seen again. And having them line up perfectly with the holes on the underside of the containers called for some cheating by shaving the tip of each twist lock pin with a knife to get the pins and the holes to marry-up. The NQYY/NQTY container flats by comparison come with the pins moulded as part of the deck. You simply place the container on the wagon, making them my instant favourite by far. But more on them later.

Nice looking models, just a bit too clean... weathering to follow!

The fact that these models have been re-released a decade after first being produced is as much a testament to their quality as their popularity. The 20' foot packs retail for $24.95 Australia, while the 40' foot containers sell for $29.95 per pack. Price-wise, in my opinion they hit the spot. At $12-$15 Australian per container they quickly add colour to any layout. Without them... well, the container wagons would look pretty pointless. For a small layout, budget, or both, a set of just four container wagons can soon give a layout a completely different looking train by just mixing and matching an array of different containers. Which is what I intend to do. The above examples shown are just the first of many containers that will soon appear across my bookshelf layout.

Behind the scenes, my new extension is almost complete. I've just been too busy to present a step-by-step like I did when first starting this blog, but basically it is following the same perspex-enclosed-shadow-box concept as the rest of the layout. When finished it will replace the current staging shelf with an extra track, a new operational point of interest and full scenery complete with a second station. Whether the scenery is finished in time for this year's Brisbane Model Train Show or not remains to be seen. If not, then the reversible backdrop will come into play and I'll exhibit Philden from the other side, while the new section plays the role of hidden staging.

But for now there are containers and container wagons waiting for me to weather. While a new loco and still more containers are due to arrive any day now that will only further reinforce my honing in on 2005 as the year that Philden exists in. As for 2018? Its showing no signs of slowing down, and Auscision are planning on releasing even more Australian domestic containers in the form of 48' foot and 20' foot side door versions. I'll share my review of the NQTY wagons and some examples of the finished weathering on the containers over the coming weeks, but for now, its safe to say that the little square boxes have won me over.

Review card: Auscision Models 20' foot & 40' foot high cube containers

My Rating:


Final Thoughts: Much better than just a plastic model railway accessory, these containers deserve to be treated as models in their own right. They're sturdy, highly detailed and look real nice.

See also; Auscision's CQBY/PRRY Container Wagons

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