Hobby Boss continues to expand it locomotive series in 1/72 scale by adding the German Br.86. There are over 220 parts on 7 sprues and an independently molded cab (probably with slide mold technology). One of the sprues is molded in clear for the cab windows. Along with the above-listed parts and sprues there is a display base. You have two marking options, a military one in field gray and a civilian locomotive in the typical red and black.
The overall surface detail is excellent and very delicate. I was surprised to see how fine the steam pipes were in the boiler sides. Overall fit is superb and I did not need to use filler anywhere, except in a spot where I damaged the part (i.e., my own fault).
Construction of this model begins with the chassis and wheels. Make sure you actually have the display base assembled (or at least dry-fitted) when you are assembling the wheels. In my case, the chassis was not quite wide enough for the wheels to match the rails. The difference is minor (less than half a millimeter), but there is a bit of slack between the wheels and the rails. I’m not sure if it was my assembly or the mold’s fault. Make sure you do plenty of dry-fittimg before you commit to glue.
Putting together the main subassemblies (boiler, cab, front/back stoppers) was uneventful and lots of fun, as everything fitted in place. Please be aware the instructions are complex and, at times, confusing. For instance, there is one assembly step that actually has 8 sub-steps. There are arrows and lines everywhere and it is easy to get confused. I wish there would have been more assembly steps in the instructions, which would make for fewer points of confusion along the way.
Speaking of instructions, they call for installing parts D22 (climbing steps) on both front and back stoppers, but parts are provided only for one (either front or back). From pictures and drawings, I would suggest using them on the front stopper.
Also, the instructions do not show parts C7/C14 which are part of the smokebox/boiler system. Glue them together and then add the sub-assembly to the bottom of the boiler.
Assembly of wheels, connecting rods, and pushing rods requires a fair amount of alignment. Also be aware that the position of the main wheels is set by the connecting rods. I choose not to glue any of the wheels until I had all the connecting and pushing rods dry-fitted in place, and only then did I commit the main wheels to glue.
The rest of assembly was really easy and simple. However, the instructions do not include the interior color calls. I decided to add a bit of color to my cab by painting the engineer’s seats in wood and some handles and valves in red. However, it is virtually impossible to see any of that detail in the finished model.
Decals are minimal, both in size and quantity, but they behaved very well with no need for setting solution. They do tend to stick to the surface (even on top of the coat of Future which was applied), so use plenty of water to float your decal into position. By the way, if you choose the military version of the locomotive, the swastika is split into two decals, which means one of the decals is very small in 1/72 scale.
The display base is a simple affair to assemble, with the rails being independent from the rest of the base for ease of painting. It looks realistic and highlights the model when finished.
Due to the high part count and the problems with the instructions, I would recommend this kit to intermediate modelers. Otherwise, this kit is a joy to build.
I would like to thank Squadron and IPMS/USA for the review sample.