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In-Box Review
Trumpeter Dampflokomotive BR86
Trumpeter Dampflokomotive BR86
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by: Dave Shick [ ILLINI ]

Originally published on:


The Einheitsdampflokomotive BR86 (Literally "standardized steam locomotive") was first built in 1928 (86 001) and last built in 1943 for the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (DRG) (German Reich Railway Company). A total of around 776 were produced, which is the longest run of any locomotive built in Germany. Virtually all locomotive factories in Germany (about ten) produced it at one time or another. This, of course, led to minor variations in the configuration of piping, valves, pumps, etc. The engine saw service in various European countries until the 1980’s (they were taken as war reparations).

The BR86 was a general-purpose freight hauler, especially suited to mountain routes. It was not associated with any armored trains, except perhaps to move cars from locale to another, and wasn’t suited for a combat role. One unique feature of the BR86 was the built-in coal scuttle. This would have made the engine more maneuverable in small areas, such as a switching yard. However, it significantly limited the range of the engine, which suited its role as a short haul work horse.

I reviewed an excellent reference book from Wings and Wheels here. A more complete history can be found here which Google does a nice job of translating.

The Kit

The kit comes packaged in a large sturdy box. There's a lot of plastic in there— specifically:

• Eleven unique sprues, four of which are duplicated
• One sprue of clear parts
• One tiny photo etch sheet
• One small decal sheet
• One "sprue" of rubber sand distribution pipes
• The typical trumpeter roadbed parts
• A 28-page instruction book
• A painting guide, showing two schemes

The sprues consist of:
• A - frame parts
• B x 2 - wheels, and suspension
• C x 2 - suspension, brakes, and buffer beam
• D x 2 - Upper tank details
• E x 2 - Steam cylinders
• F - Boiler cylinder
• G - Smoke Box door and upper piping and "details"
• H - Firebox, and more piping
• J - Drive train, bumper bar, pre-heater, water tank sides and other bits
• K - Cabin, water tanks and coal scuttle
• L - More cabin, water tank and coal scuttle
• M - clear windows
• N x 2 - Sand pipes

The Review

First, let me say that this kit will build into a really nice-looking display model, especially if painted in the red under-carriage, black upper body color scheme as shown on the box side art and painting guide.

However, it must also be said that the model simply represents the locomotive; it doesn't recreate it in detail. Simple is the operative word here: details are merely simplified representations of the real thing, missing, or just wrong. More about that later.

As with most models produced today, the molding of the parts is done very well. There is little or no flash, and minimal seam lines. As is usual from Trumpeter, there are some large divots from ejector pins. Fortunately, all of these are in places that won't show, with one exception: the cabin walls. Expect some clean-up.

I have built the kit to the point that aftermarket detail parts will begin to replace kit parts. I have also skipped ahead to sub-assemblies that can be done before detailing. I have included pictures of this progress, and I must say that, overall, the fit of parts is very good. The boiler, though, will require some fill and careful sanding, much like an aircraft fuselage.

One suggestion. After gluing-up the frame in step 3, be sure to place it on a true flat surface, and weigh it down while it sets up. Leave it that way at least overnight. The frame must be absolutely flat and square, or things will go badly later. Parts are provided to allow building what Trumpeter calls "Mode I" or "Mode II.” No information is provided as to what these modes represent in terms of engine number, date of production, etc. Mode I seems to be the most common. In fact, I can't find any pictures of Mode II in the reference book mentioned above. It is shown in the paint schemes shown at the end of the book.

That said, I can't find any pictures that match Mode I very well, either. In the kit, this has the hand wheel in the middle of the smoke box door, with a grab bar running horizontally above it. However, most pictures in the reference show vertical handles an each side— I chose to model this using my "grab handler." Other differences between the two "modes" are more subtle, like the headlamps. You'll need to decide what's correct for the specific engine you choose to recreate.

One area with little or incorrect detail is the domes atop the boiler. I've taken a picture with the model posed in front of pictures of the real thing. The sand domes are missing some detail, while the feed tank and its valves are an interesting mixture of attempted detail. The most glaring error is the two pressure relief valves on the rear of the feed tank. In the kit, they are shown as vertical cylinders with pipes emerging, and leading back to the cabin. In fact, these are much like the valve on the side of your hot water heater (which is what a steam locomotive is after all).

On either side of the boiler near the front are a compressor and water pump. These are both very simplified representations of the real thing. I have supplied pictures showing the both side by side. Other details on the boiler (like the dynamo) suffer the same fate.

Another area that can be super-detailed is the cabin interior. Trumpeter provides a lot of "stuff" to put in the cab, which makes it look "busy" and business-like. Unfortunately, it's not terribly accurate.

One detail fix is easy, just requiring some sandpaper. At the behest of AM models, I researched and confirmed that the top of the water tanks (the large rectangular boxes on each side) do not have the anti-skid pattern supplied on the model.

All of the above does, of course, provide a great opportunity for the after-market detailing companies, a few of which have answered the challenge. ET model, and Alliance Modelworks have developed Photo Etch and resin detailing kits. LZ models has produced a few resin kits that address specific areas. I will be doing individual reviews of each of these sets in the near future.

Finally while it might seem that the constraints of "Political Correctness" have taken root in armor modeling, those who want to replicate the real world, ugly as it might have been, should not be concerned that Trumpeter has chosen not to show the swastika in the emblem of the DRB. While it looks like a sort of Nike "swoosh," this is actually a case of keeping from going afoul of countries where the swastika is banned. Alongside the DRB emblem is a mirror-image "swoosh" you simply apply over the larger decal, thereby generating a proper swastika. Aircraft modelers have long been accustomed to this workaround.


As I said above, this kit will build into a really impressive looking model right "out of the box." However, looks can be deceiving, and the correct details just aren't there. If desired, many of the faults can be corrected using the aftermarket upgrades available.

Pictures of the actual locomotive were supplied by LZ models, and are used with their permission. Thanks, Libor.
Highs: A nice display model of a very interesting subject. Will look great on the mantle.
Lows: Lots of soft, missing or incorrect detail.
Verdict: Will build into a really nice model straight from the box. However, it needs a good aftermarket set (or two) to correct missing detail if you're into that sort of thing.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 00217
  Suggested Retail: $114 (discount)
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 01, 2011

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About Dave Shick (Illini)

Copyright ©2020 text by Dave Shick [ ILLINI ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Pretty slick looking kit. Thanks for the peak inside Dave! - Jeff
AUG 02, 2011 - 11:07 AM
Sorry guys, lesson learned. I used Google translation on an article in German, and it came up with "unit". I know Bill is fluent, I should ahve asked him.
AUG 02, 2011 - 01:13 PM
On the anti skid pattern: Could it be that Trumpeter used a post WWII engine as a base? As far as I could find out all 13 surviving engines have been in use post WWII and most of them have been german or austrian units. So maybe the pattern was added later? The BR52s have been rebuild a lot post WWII gaining many features dropped in the "simplification" process. Maybe the BR86 where given a similar treatment.
AUG 02, 2011 - 04:13 PM
All I have to go by are pictures from the W&W book, and some from Libor, all of existing engines in various museums. None of them show this pattern. In any case, Trumpeter's rendition of the pattern is a very unrealistic pattern at scale. This is true of all the parts that have the "diamond" pattern. I didn't emphasize this before, because I thought I'd been too negative already.
AUG 02, 2011 - 04:59 PM
Thanks for the information. Sadly the only BR86 "in range" (< 100km) is currently "in storage" and those accissible are all in south/east some 400+ km away so I can not try and take some pictures of the german engines (My guess is Libor has photographed the polish engines)
AUG 02, 2011 - 11:19 PM
Thanks for the review; however you are mistaken about the "nike swoosh" on the Reichsbahn emblem. It's actually half a hakenkreuz & the other half is right next to it on the decal sheet. You merely lay one on top the other & voila - no more political correctness!
AUG 07, 2011 - 11:07 AM
Thanks, Heaver, for pointing that out. Some countries won't allow swastikas to be sold, so this is an ingenious way to fix the problem. I will edit the review to reflect the situation.
AUG 08, 2011 - 05:32 AM
Good to see this up, well done review Dave. MBR - there is not a point talk about any base what Trumpeter used for their kit, because they simply made a copy of earlier produced CMK resin kit to the last screw (just like with their BR52 loco). This one was based probably on drawings of very first BR86 engines, as later on many areas were improved and their design changed. But still there were many mistakes and wrong bits in CMK kit anyway, and you will find exactly the same ones in Trumpeter´s kit. That is about the base - based on CMK base which was very early one (of course it does not correspond with number plates provided in both kits - once again, the same numbers and decals in both kits - there are 2 numbers provided with the kits, and both belonged to later produced locos with different frame, different valves, compressors etc...it just reminded me that CMK have mentioned in their instructions black and red painting scheme for 86 245 as that was painted in 1935, although in fact this number loco was manufactured in 1936 ) Few years ago at model show in Germany very accurate drawings and references were offered for free to Trumpy managment to make their BR57 right - well, but it would be very expensive to produce the kit well detailed and exact, they said and refused his offer. Simply they dont want and need to do their rail kits any better. Anyway, at the end - before I get too excited - this loco painted in grey BR86 283 is located in Germany, on DEUTSCHEN DAMPFLOKOMOTIV-MUSEUM in Neuenmarkt. Every year I find a couple days to get to Germany and visit some of their great museums across the country and take hundreds pictures for my references. Cheers Libor
AUG 10, 2011 - 03:28 AM
Nice review and discussions. Here's an in-progress forum of this model being built: BR86 2-8-2T Locomotive by Trumpeter
JAN 28, 2013 - 04:39 PM

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