Saturday, 24 February 2018

Review: Auscision's NQYY/NQTY Container Wagons


The recent arrival of the NQYY/NQTY container flat wagons by Auscision Models has seemingly completed the rollingstock overhaul in Philden yard, at least for now. Released in August 2017, these modern HO scale skeleton-type container flat wagons are the perfect all-rounder to swing between future intermodal and steel train service on my layout.

The NQYY/NQTY's sell in packs of 4 for $260 Australian.

I bought a pack of 4 of these wagons on sale from a hobby shop with the intention of adding some variety to the PRRY container wagons that had already joined my roster, only to discover that I actually prefer these to the PRRY wagons on account of one thing; durability. Unlike the fragile nature of the CQBY/PRRY container wagons that I have already reviewed here, the NQYY/NQTY container wagons are by far more sturdy in their construction, allowing any modeller prone to the clumsy-thumbsy's like myself, to pick them up off the track and place them back in their pack without fear of the whole thing falling apart in your hands. Best of all, the container twistlock pins are already moulded into position, meaning no headaches while trying to glue them into place using tweezers like on the CQBY wagons!

All this detail is visible from above through the wagon's skeleton frame.

As you can see, the thicker side sills on the NQTY wagon shown above transfer exceptionally well into model form, giving the model added strength without losing that exceptional fine detail that Auscision like to produce on their models. The model comes complete with metal RP25-110 disc wheels, scale sized metal knuckle couplers, separately applied metal uncoupling bars, handrails and brake piping with detailed and accurate bogies (trucks) capable of operating on an 18" inch radius. There is a single hole at each end of the wagon for the air hoses to be glued in place. They press in easily enough, but I added a drop of plastic cement to the tip to keep it in position. But all that aside, the detail finish on this model is simply exceptional.

The wagons accommodate 2 x 20' foot containers perfectly!

The NQYY/NQTY 45' foot container flat wagons were constructed by FreightCorp in NSW in the late 1990's, and designed to carry 1 x 40' foot or 2 x 20' foot shipping containers. In HO scale, that equates to a 17.5 cm body length over the couplers, making them perfect for a small layout such as mine. Prototype photos show these wagons fitted with two different variations of brake wheels and a number of variations to the side body mounted shunter's steps, or in some cases no steps fitted at all. The Auscision model is produced with the 4 spoke brake wheel as opposed to the circular variation and the side shunter's steps are the singular foot rung type as opposed to the widely used see-through platform step as was modelled on their CQBY/PRRY container wagon models. The model is decorated in 4 different liveries, including the as-delivered FreightCorp blue & yellow, and a later patched-out Pacific National grime with either blue or yellow side sills, making this model a perfect choice for those modelling the modern era from the late 1990's to present.

The two centre twistlock lugs need minor filing for the 40' foot containers to sit flush in place.

Straight out-of-the-box, the couplers latched on perfectly first time and the model raced through a pair of PECO code 100 medium turnouts and a double-slip point without any fear of the wagon (or the container clinging on for dear life) falling off the track. All this despite the fact that as you can see in the above shot, the 40' foot container when positioned over the 2 middle container lugs rests a little high like a see-saw. Push down at one end with a finger as I am showing you, and the other end rises up ever-so-slightly, yet not-enough for the container to come out of position. A simple way around this would be to file down the 2 middle lugs ever-so-slightly with your wife's nail file. Or, if she catches you in the process of doing so, tell yourself that its fine as-is and pray that it won't cause a derailment on your layout.

Always read the fine print! Well, on this model you can. Automatic twistlocks fitted.

What the model does lend itself well to is weathering. Compare the above photo with the weathered wagon and 20' foot container to the one above it. A very subtle wash and some highlighting of small detail items like the tips on the container twist-lock lugs (visible above) and air hose tips on the wagon ends (visible below) with a silver paint pen, takes this model from exceptional to wow!

A simple change of container will change the look of your train.

The NQTY wagons are not just a nice-looking container flat wagon. They are an exceptional-looking HO scale model, period. Combined with the Auscision 20' foot and 40' foot high cube containers that I've already reviewed here, they bring one key element to a model railway that will make any serious modeller cringe at the very mention of the word, but I'm going to say it here anyway.... play-ability. That's right, this model is sturdy enough to make-believe your hand is a giant crane, as you swap containers on and off your train without the fear that you are going to break something. (Just don't mention that we all do this anyway when you are next around a circle of modellers or to the members of your club).

On a small layout, these shorter container wagons help add a sense of false length to a short train.

Within my final order of Auscision shipping containers on their way from the Australian Modeller online store, are the RH 20' foot coil steel containers in Pacific National yellow, allowing me to swap these wagons out into steel train service alongside the NCTY and NCNX wagons when not required on intermodal duties. The 'butter boxes' as they are affectionately known by Aussie railfans, will allow me to complete a short but sweet steel train to work in-and-out-of the One Steel siding to the left in the above photo. For that reason, my recently acquired AustrainsNEO Pacific National NR Class locomotive is already proving a much more suited replacement than the ATN Access L Class and PN 82 Class locos that it has replaced.

For now, it seems that the NQTY container wagons are set to become one of the most over-worked models on my small layout. Not just because they are such a versatile wagon, but because they are such a darn nice looking model to begin with.


Review Card: Auscision Models' NQYY/NQTY 45' foot Container Wagons

My Rating:

 (5/5)

Final Thoughts: Highly detailed, yet sturdy enough to be frequently handled, these wagons are the perfect choice for a modern era or a short layout.

See also; Auscision's high cube containers and 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