42101 arrived at Philden Station in the early hours of Christmas Day, attached behind Santa's Sleigh. With the model only being released by Auscision Models in August 2015, the four month wait to unwrap my newest locomotive on Christmas morning proved to be agonizingly long. So what were my initial thoughts of my first Auscision product joining Philden's locomotive roster?
|Auscision's 421 class locomotive comes tightly packed inside a beautifully presented box, and retails for $295.|
The 421 class bulldog locomotive was a bit of an unusual addition to the NSWGR fleet when introduced back in 1965. Based on the 42 class NSWGR locomotives, these 1,800 horsepower locos were built with a No. 2 driving compartment on the flat end of the loco. There were only 10 of these locos built by Clyde Engineering in Sydney under license from EMD. Given the class designation of 421, the locos were numbered 42101 through to 42110. I grew up close to the railway line in Gosford, NSW and my fondest memories of watching trains as a kid occurred during the transition era. The dirtiest brown and yellow diesels (more correctly known as Indian Red livery) were quickly being repainted into the bright Candy Colour State Rail Authority livery. Suddenly everything old looked new again with a fresh coat of paint. So I chose locomotive 42101, the first to be repainted into the Candy scheme in September 1983 for some back to the Eighties retro-role-playing on Philden.
|It's back-to-the-eighties for now at Philden Railway Station.|
With a 5 pole skew-wound motor, all wheel drive metal pick-up, die-cast chassis and 21 pin DCC socket and speaker enclosure hidden inside an easy lift highly detailed plastic body, this model is designed to run on 18" inch curves on anything from code 70 to 100 rail. But it was the external features that really impressed me straight away. Details such as sprung buffer plates, metal etched side mirrors and windshield wipers and highly detailed bogie side frames.
|That classic EMD Bulldog nose, spoiled only by the missing handrail to the right of the nose door.|
Although the 421 class loco had previously been released by another Australian manufacturer in the past, the Auscision version is a marked improvement. Instead of moulded plastic handrails and staff exchanger boxes, the Auscision model has them in full detail, with separately applied metal parts and see-through etched metal grilles. Add to that the figures seated inside the driver's seat and a fully detailed cab compartment at both ends, it had all the hallmarks of a 5 star model. Right up until I noticed the missing hand rail beside the door on the nose of the No. 1 end. It seems that any model with a missing part is destined to make its way onto my layout! With 4 from my past 6 Australian model railway purchases arriving with broken or missing parts, it is just plain disappointing to pay top-quality price for a model that simply doesn't arrive in top quality condition.
|Underneath, the 421 class has switches to manually isolate the headlights for when in use in multiple.|
Underneath, the 421 does have one neat feature. The headlights and marker lights are both easily isolated for those wishing to run their locos in multiple. I don't know if I'll ever use this feature running a single locomotive on a small bookshelf layout, but it's nice to know its there, and I'm sure plenty of room-sized modellers running lengthy trains will be shouting for joy at this feature.
|The grab irons on each side of the nose were an after delivery modification, and Auscision modeled both versions.|
The headlights, marker lights and number boards all looked beautiful when running in standard DC mode. One thing I did notice however, was that the headlights on the No. 2 flat cab end appeared much brighter than on the No. 1 round nose end.
|The empty cab detail inside the No. 2 end looks real nice, although the headlights appear brighter for some reason.|
Straight out of the box and onto the track, the locomotive performed flawlessly. It was quiet, responsive and performed exceptionally well at super-slow speeds. Measuring just 22 cm over the couplers, the locomotive is the perfect size for a bookshelf layout such as Philden. Ausicion's scale sized metal couplers appear to work perfectly with the genuine Kadee metal couplers that are on my Southern Rail Models and On Track Models' rolling-stock, and so far I have every indication to believe that my new 421 will outlive the majority of the NSWGR 421 class locos themselves. It's just a pity, a real pity, that the missing handrail on the nose of my locomotive has detracted from what would have been a certain 5 star model. It's a case of Deja vu that another new Australian model is going to require a replacement part to be mailed out.
|The separately applied air grilles, hand rails, staff exchangers and side mirrors are a real treat.|
Review Card: Auscision Models NSW 421 class diesel locomotive
Final Thoughts: A would-be 5 star model that oozed quality in every respect, but was sadly let down by a missing handrail. Hopefully I'll have better luck next time.