There are a lot of happy modellers right now who are receiving Auscision Models' much-heralded NSWGR 48 Class locomotive. I am not one of them. Instead, I decided to add Auscision's re-released and slightly larger NSWGR 45 class to my small roster. Another ALCO locomotive built in Sydney, Australia between 1962 and 1964 under the AE Goodwin license, the 45's packed 1,800 hp in their RSD20 or DL541 engines, compared to the smaller 48's with 950 hp produced from their DL531 engines. Which got me thinking, I'm running a bit late in posting my review of what is essentially a fantastic HO scale model locomotive.
|The Auscision 45's come in these pink colour-coded boxes.|
When this model was first released in January 2015, I was still drawing up plans for Philden and had yet to cut the first piece of timber for my small bookshelf layout which in turn launched this blog in May 2015. By the time I ventured to the 2015 May Brisbane Model Train Show, possessing only a Southern Rail Models 2 car Xplorer upon which to build my entire model train roster around, Auscision had already sold out of all the models which would, time-wise at least, have been able to stand alongside a Countrylink liveried train set. As you can see above, the 45 Class comes in one of Auscision's colour-coded presentation boxes adorned with the locomotive drawing. As always, they are a great feeling to open for the first time.
|The protective cradle that nurses each Auscision model safely inside the box.|
The limited re-release of some of the previously sold out numbers, apparently coincided with their O scale 45 class release in January 2017. I didn't see or hear about it at the time. It was only in March this year (2018) that I went browsing through the Australian Modeller website, and discovered that they still had the 35 Class rebuilds circa 1989 showing in stock. I ordered it on a Thursday night, and the postman delivered it on Monday. Once more, the model came nestled safely in the plastic cradle as can be seen above.
|The directional headlight and marker light override switches.|
Beneath the model, the 45 Class has the manual override switches similar to the other Auscision Models locos I have purchased. Handy if you're running these in tandem. Otherwise, simply leave them be and the headlights and white marker lights will work heading forwards, with red marker lights showing at the rear.
|The sand pipe detail was a little too long, and hung past the top of the rail.|
The detail on the bogies (trucks for our American friends), is really nice, with the only flaw I found on my model being that the sand pipes hung a little too low as can be seen in the above photo. With the model travelling through a pair of PECO medium radius points, (switches for the US modellers), I could hear and see the sand pipe detail catch and click over each section of rail. It was a simple enough thing to rectify, and I simply cut the plastic back to just above rail height using a pair of fine snips.
|The detail on this model is once more to Auscision's high standards and looks sensational.|
Once more, Auscision have packed a lot of fine detail onto this model that is easily missed at first glance. The more you look, the more you seem to find, right down to what looks like individually applied door handles on each panel along the long end. Straight out-of-the-box, the model hesitated at first and appeared a little jumpy, after a short while of travelling up and down my layout to run-it-in however, it settled down and performed faultlessly. From that point on, it started smoothly, crawled slowly and has since performed sensationally. Over the two days of exhibiting my layout at the Toowoomba Model Train Show, I ran this loco for one-and-a-half days solid without a hiccup.
|I love the detailed cabs in Auscision's locos so much, that I'm replacing my entire fleet with Auscision Models locos.|
We've come to take a lot of finer detail points for granted on Australian HO scale models. Nowadays, things like chemically blackened RP25-110 wheels, scale sized metal knuckle couplers, separately applied metal handrails, mirrors, wipers, etched grilles, brass horns, plastic MU cables and air hoses, sand pipes and on some models staff exchangers and/or sprung buffer plates, are almost a given. Whereas once upon a time modellers would all have to add these as separate detail parts. The all-wheel drive and pick-up along with the 5 pole skew motor with brass flywheels provides Auscision with one of the smoothest performing mechanisms on the market.
However, the one shot above of the driver and inside cab detail was the standout feature for me on this model. In one word, beautiful. At a time when I was contemplating which 48 Class locomotive to add to my layout, the modern wide windows on the 35 Class rebuilds of the NSWGR 45 Class won me over. By comparison, the Freight Rail blue 48 Class locos with the rebuilt window arrangement were all dark tinted, meaning the above view is non-existent on the 48's. And that in a nutshell is why I chose the 35 Class rebuild Marlboro liveried 45 over the 48.
|3518 stands in the yard at Philden in a scene that could be anywhere from 1989 to 1994.|
In the few months that I've operated this loco on my layout, the 3518 has become a new favourite. In trying to create a second-era of operation alongside my Countrylink Mark I liveried Xplorer train which was introduced to the north-west of New South Wales in 1993, the 1989 rebuilt 35's lasted until the famous Cardiff locomotive auctions at the end of 1994. In real life, they operated over the North Coast and Main North Lines of north-west NSW. The 35 Class rebuilds overcame the Union ban of June 1984 which was placed on the 45 Class locos preventing them from being lead units. They were also one of the last locos repainted in the revised red terror livery, with the addition of white chevrons on the number one end, making them look a little like cigarette packs and earning them the nickname of Marlboros.
As this loco looks amazing standing alongside my Countrylink Xplorer, the search is now on for a second locomotive to complement 3518 on my early Nineties roster. The Auscision 442 locomotive is next on my target list, but to portray the changes that were taking place on the rails of New South Wales around 1993 on my small layout, my immediate choice of a Candy 442 Class locomotive might not be the best choice, given the locos that were to be included in the Cardiff loco auctions of 94 still wearing Candy stripes were in pretty grubby shape! Perhaps the Freight Rail blue that was progressively being rolled out from 1990 onward would make a good partner-in-crime for a bright red locomotive. The smooth running of their locos, and the detailed cabs with the little guys inside, has left me wanting to add more Auscision Models locos to my roster. The problem is which ones? Stay tuned, I'll have another review to follow next week!
Review Card: Auscision Models NSWGR 45 Class locomotive
Final Thoughts: An exceptionally well detailed five star model of a 1960's ALCO favourite. I'm sure I'm not the only NSW railway fan who has added one of these models to their locomotive roster.