Australian Railway Models NSWGR C38 Class Pacific Loco

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Dr Tony, Nov 13, 2020.

  1. Dr Tony

    Dr Tony Full Member

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    This is one of the most iconic Australian steam locos, but not in its arguably more recognisable streamlined form.There have been two RTR plastic locos before it, one being fairly contemporary and one being of another time ago. There have also been a number of brass models of these. So it can be fair to say that there have been many eyes looking at this, another example.
    It arrives with what seems to be a fairly short gestation period between being announced to the public and when it appeared in shops, a very commendable effort. It appears to have been created by the Australian distributor of Hornby amongst other things. Not made in Australia I hasten to add, but the usual place, China.
    The other thing that has caught a lot of attention is the price. $299 AUD, which is a little cheaper than new Co-Co diesels by most Aussie companies, and about half the going rate of a tender equipped steam locomotive.
    This is the first model for this company, and it is available only in one livery and number. Future releases we are told may be different colours and numbers and potentially the streamlined model.
    I will say that I'm not an expert in the detail of these locos. So my writing will focus more on the running characteristics as a model.
    The unit is packed in a cardboard sleeve with a foam liner, with a window to see what you're getting.
    The loco itself feels a good weight and so does the tender. There are no traction tyres used.
    The tender is done by a simple peg and plate system, easily separable. There is no wiring between the tender and the loco, so therefore no tender power pick-up. The from pony truck has good weight to it and did not derail on various difficult old set-track curved points, this was very satisfying.
    The motor appears to be a small can Mabuchi type motor, mounted in the boiler. Slow movement is Ok straight out of the box, but is no shunter. Running in may change this. Motion is smooth and good sounding.
    There is a DCC socket in the loco, don't know what sort though.
    A set of illustrated instructions come with the loco, it covers the usual warnings, lubrication anybody removal of both loco and tender
    It had no issues running over my medium radius peace electro-frog points, so while pick ups on the tender may be nice, they don't seem hugely necessary yet. It even ran well over some very old curved set-track points, which normally separates the sheep from the goats with rolling stock.
    The tender is rather interesting. Rather than having two free-rotating bogies, as per the prototype, it has fixed bogie sides and the 4 wheels are held in the centres and can move radially as required.
    This actually works surprisingly well. It only has issues on really tight radius curves, which they warn against anyway. It can deal with the same curves as a NR or 44 class class loco. The one big advantage to this arrangement is that it makes the tender really easy to put on the track, no bogies flopping all over the place, it just works. The drawbar for the tender has two positions, normal and close coupled, it comes set up normal, I have not yet tried it on close, but it looks an easy changeover.
    While on the tender there is a Kadee style coupler mounted in an NEM style receptacle. It appears to be a clone coupler, I haven't looked too much at it, but it didn't want to play nicely with delayed uncoupling with the #5s on my shunting layout. But if this just hauls passenger cars around in a parade, then it won't be a problem.
    The tender is the biggest difference to one of the older models, the old Lima. The shortcomings of the Lima can be seen in the following images.
    The tender on the Lima is from another engine in the Lima range, it was deemed close enough at the time. On its own and without a reference picture it doesn't look too bad, but side by side to this ARM one the difference is quite stark.
    The detail on the ARM loco is just so much better than the old Lima, things like screws down the funnel clearly visible in the older one.
    I was a bit disappointed to find that the headlight was purely decorative. It looks OK, but would look even better lit, but depends on your era, you may not need it lit.
    Others have pointed out some inaccuracies and maybe some of the detail is not as good as what people are used to for a modern day loco. But when you consider that it is about half the price of what other Aussie makers are pricing their steam locos for it is quite fine. This loco looks like it might survive running days quite well, without too many small bits to go astray.
    The loco has a fair bit of end throw at the front. The buffer beam struck a retaining wall on my shunting layout. But that is a very tight clearance spot.
    Things I would consider doing to it in the future include, adding crew, changing the coupler to genuine Kadee, changing the coal to real coal, making the headlight work and maybe changing the motor depending on how that goes. A further step might be to change the number to be one of the Cardiff made ones.
    All in all a nice model and one that I'm pleased to have. It beats paying more than double the other brand, that is supposed to be "coming" this year.
    Cheers
    Tony
     
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  2. Davoetype

    Davoetype Full Member

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    Thanks for the detailed review Tony. Seems like there is plenty of scope in the price difference to adjust some of the deficiencies you have outlined. Is the loco six wheel pick up? Do you plan on DCC installation? With DCC it would probably be necessary to use the tender space for decoder and speaker in which case I would tke the opportunity to install pickups.

    Cheers

    and happy modelling

    Richard
     
  3. Echidna

    Echidna Full Member

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    Dear Dr Tony,

    the following books may be of interest for those wanting more information,

    1 / " 38 The C38 Class pacific Locomotives of the NSWGR " John B. Thompson ( Everleigh Press, 1992, 2000 )

    2 / " NSWGR C38 Class 4-6-2 Pacific Express Passenger Locomotive - a photographic profile " compiled by Billy Lewis ( THP - Train Hobby Publications , 2011 )

    3 / " A Compendium of New South Wales Steam Locomotives " compiled by Alex Grunbach ( ARHS NSW Division, 1989 ) pp 210 - 229.

    Book 1, is the definitive publication, whilst Book 3 is compiled directly from the NSWGR / SRA of NSW archives; both of these books have extensive, close up photos, and Book 1 has detailed scale drawings.

    Although the C38 class are comparable to the LNER A4 Pacifics, engineering wise they are very much a product of American steam locomotive engineering design, though manufactured in Australia. 3801 - 3805 were streamlined, 3806 - 3830 were not, total 30.

    ( Some of us are old enough to remember when Australia built their own trains, and when Governments were proud of their Government owned engineering works. )

    They had a cast steel bed / frame which incorporated the cylinders and main reservoir, Boxpok driving wheels, roller bearing axle boxes, cast steel trailing truck, 245psi / 1688kPa boiler pressure, which was the highest pressure for a locomotive boiler in Australia, and according to E.S.Cox in "Locomotive Panorama Vol 2", the cab layout design was the inspiration the BR Standard cab layout. ( E.S.Cox was part of the design team for BR Standard steam locomotives. )

    Boxpok cast steel driving wheel design patented by GSC / General Steel Castings of Granite City, Illinois, USA.

    Good review, and nice photos accompanying, thank you.

    By the way, in your photo 4 the white posts appear to be plug ins, is this part of a proposed signal, or has it some other use ?

    Best wishes and regards,

    Echidna
     
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  4. Dr Tony

    Dr Tony Full Member

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    Hi Richard
    At this stage I don't intend to go the DCC route, my layouts are simple in operation so one of the great benefits won't be realised. That may change, but not in the near future.
    I can post a pic of the instructions, it shows a spot for the decoder in the boiler in front of the motor. The motor is towards the rear of the loco right near the cab.
    I am pretty sure it is six wheel pick-up, but I will have a closer look now, with the multimeter.
    The tender is not 12 inches wide so no room for a speaker capable of producing the dynamics of the prototype in my opinion :avatar:
    Would have to make a wiring harness to get pickups from the tender and for any speaker wires.
    Cheers
    Tony
     
  5. Dr Tony

    Dr Tony Full Member

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    By the way, in your photo 4 the white posts appear to be plug ins, is this part of a proposed signal, or has it some other use ?

    Echidna[/QUOTE]

    Hi Echinda
    Thanks for that info, i should read books more than i do.
    Those poles are indeed removable. They are located on my portable inglenook layout, Peate. This is a folding layout to take to board games nights to be used by non-train people. The posts have to be higher than the wagons as they indicate the point of where to stop at the uncoupler magnets. They have to be removable to fold the layout. They are simple scratch builds out of styrene that slots neatly into each other.
    I haven't yet thought of anything more imaginative or prototypical to decorate them. Not really the sport for a signal as that will be not visible by the "driver" of the loco in the cab of the model, as opposed to the real driver sitting at the table.
    Cheers
    Tony
     
  6. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Nice review Tony. :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs: I know these locos are or will be available through retailers in the UK. If I'm correct, Hattons are one of the retailers.

    For other detailed info on the C38 Class, Data Sheets do a great scale drawing (HO scale) of the locomotive. These can be purchased from Joe at Casula Hobbies. ;)

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  7. Wolseley

    Wolseley Full Member

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    They were designed by Harold Young, CME of the NSWGR, but the design was very heavily influenced by the New Haven Railroad Hudsons. The C38 probably would have been built as a 4-6-4 were it not for the fact that nothing larger than a 4-6-2 would fit on most of the turntables that they would have to use.

    Although models of the C38 are most often seen in green, these locomotives looked equally impressive in black (3813 was the only one never to have been repainted black at any stage in its life). To show you what I mean, here's a photo I took in 1974 of 3820 on a rail tour to Taree and back:

    NSWRTM Taree Tour 10 - 3820 Kimbriki - 24 February 1974.jpg
     
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  8. Echidna

    Echidna Full Member

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    Hello All,

    a UK friend of mine has directed me ( Australia ) to the Railpage ( www.railpage.com.au ) - Forums - Model railways - C38 Southern Model Supplies ( branded as ARM / Australian Railway Models ), wherein one of the posters going by the nom-de-plume** ae6t, has been rather critical of the glaring errors ( in his view ) of this manufacturer's version. Apparently, he was a locomotive fireman at Everleigh who worked on C38s ( this would mean he is in his 80s ), so it is reasonable to presume that his criticisms are valid.

    However, I am also informed by a retailer that the first batch is all sold out, and a second batch has been ordered. It would also seem that models sold outside of Australia will be packaged as Lima by Hornby International, and Hatton's of Widnes will be one of the UK sellers. Revamped Lima NSWGR TAM cars are also to be re-released.

    As I am neither well versed in NSWGR matters, and having only seen the ARM / SMS version still encased in its packaging ( it had been purchased, and the retailer was about to wrap and post it on ! ) ( & above photos ! ) , my only comment at this stage is that the new SMS version is a finer, and better detailed version than the previous Lima offering, but is not as well detailed as the other C38 currently available from Eureka Models, then again it is about half the cost of the Eureka Models version as well, so in this instance at least, you are getting what you pay for. ( This is not, nor should it be interpreted as, a criticism )

    Another local friend is having a test run of two ARM / SMS versions next week, so I will pass on his views !

    For those who do not know, Southern Model Supplies / SMS is the Australian Distributor for Hornby Trains, hence the likely reason for the ARM /SMS version to be marketed as Lima outside of Australia.

    ( ** all posters on the Railpage website use a nom-de-plume. )

    Re Wolseley's beaut photo of 3820 on a 1974 railfan trip to Taree, the only time I ever saw a C38 in steam in normal rail service was at Sydney Central in January 1968, whilst on summer school holiday with my Dad. The Pacific was on an arrival x Newcastle, and it was in black with red lining, lovely, and the smell of the locomotive was intoxicating.

    The other memorable things of that holiday was Sydney Double Decker AEC buses, and original Sydney sparks on the Underground, where riding in the leading Driver Trailer you got a blue flashing light show from the moving electrical control contactors located in glass cases on the bulkhead behind the driver; a free disco before discos were known about ! Oh, and the interior electric lights, which were switched on for the underground section, were hard pressed to illuminate themselves, let alone the rest of the carriage ! Hence the disco effect !

    Regards, Echidna.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020 at 3:56 PM
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  9. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Hattons have already announced that they will be selling the C38 for £148.00 ($267.00 AUD) and yes, it is branded as ARM. Looking forward to the TAM, MFE, MBEs too. These will be sold at £20.00each. The first run of C38 and 12 wheelers have sold out in the UK according to the Hattons page. See link below.

    https://www.hattons.co.uk/newsdetail.aspx?id=899#disqus_thread

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  10. Wolseley

    Wolseley Full Member

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    Interesting. Odd, though, how the Hattons page shows a prototype photo with 3820 in the weird one-off livery with a green painted smokebox. Anyone who doesn't know much about the C38 would surely be confused.
     
  11. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    They do, but at least it lets the Poms know a little about the C38 Class now ! As for liveries, how many different liveries did 3801 have over the years...
    One things Hattons didn't do was confuse them with a photo of a streamlined 38. That would have really confused them ! ;)

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  12. Wolseley

    Wolseley Full Member

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    If you're looking for the class of steam locomotives with the largest range of livery options for the modeller, it would be hard to beat the LMS Princess Coronations.

    I wonder how a streamlined 38 Class would look in Candy Stripe livery....
     
  13. Wolseley

    Wolseley Full Member

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    We were in the city today with our grandsons, and I took them to Hobbyco to see the window display (actually we went inside and I came out $15 poorer, but that's another story) and there was one of these models running on the layout in their window. Very nice it looked too.....
     
  14. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    You mean like this....


    Or in Freight Rail blue....


    Or perhaps in Pacific National livery...


    :avatar::avatar::avatar:

    Cheers, Gary.
     

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