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In-Box Review
135
Railway Track Plus
Railway tracks and Railway Tracks with Dead End
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by: Andras [ SPONGYA ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

As far as diorama accessories go, MiniArt has been covering a lot of ground over the last decade or so using both plastic and vacuform kits. They have been adding to their line of product two quite versatile items: railway tracks and railway tracks with dead end (essentially a railway end with a bumper stop). They are typical ballasted tracks of European gauge, so can be used in Western and Central European settings, but not on the Eastern Front.

A very important point: you only get the railway tracks; the ballast is not included. This is actually a good thing, as most ballasted railway tracks look oddly regular due to the repeating grain pattern on the injection moulded ballast. This way you can create your own using readily available products for railroad modellers, AND you can use the tracks in a different context as well. (Outskirts of cities or in a station, for example.)

When I started to think about the context I could use these sets I did not come up with many options at first; after all most rail-related models (railway guns, armored trains, locomotives) already come with their rails. However, railroads are not just bases for railway models. They are everywhere in Europe. Railway embankments can be used to depict soldiers (partisans) placing charges, or just walking alongside. (As can be used with marching POWs or fleeing civilians.) They can form a central piece by depicting a railroad crossing where military police is stopping civilians or military personnel. The “dead end” set could be used in a diorama with simply some personal items, toys scattered around to convey a message about the civilian costs of war. It could be a focus of a fighting, as railway stations were always important strategic targets.

All in all, there is actually a lot you can do with a pair of rails.

Review

The sets come in sturdy boxes, with several identical sprues for the railroad. In the case of the railway tracks set, we get 8 identical rail sprues. Each rail section is 17cm long- which brings the total length of the whole set to 70cm. The wooden ties have a really nice wood texture; you get four per sprue, and all four are different the way the texture and cracks in the wood are depicted. This is a very nice touch so that the ties will not look uniform once finished. It would have been even better if they could be turned 180 degrees so the patterns could be varied even more, but the way the rails are attached makes it impossible. One side has all the tie plate pads are moulded onto the ties, and the rails slide under them. You will have to glue the pads to the other side yourself- two per tie… Overall the detail is worth it; both sets look great even if the assembly is a bit tedious. One advantage of getting the rails and ties separately is the option to show them stacked up (on a station, for example), or damaged.

In the case of the railways with a dead end set, we get 4 rail sprues and some extra sprues for the simple bumper stop included. This is a very simple contraption: a bolted metal structure with bumper attached. This limits the use of the set to a rural environment, and to a pre-war to early Cold War timeframe. (Most modern bumper stops have hydraulic dampers and buffers built in that would cushion the impact of the hit in case a train fails to stop before the tracks end.) The definition of bolt heads is excellent, and the whole structure will look great once properly weathered. The track sections are identical to the other set.

SUMMARY
Highs: Good detail, great diorama options.
Lows: Fiddly assembly.
Verdict: Recommended for diorama builders.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35561, 35568
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 29, 2016
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.90%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 85.89%

About Andras (spongya)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I am a biologist by trade, and as a hobby I've been building scale models for the last twenty years. Recently I started to write reviews of the models I bought. These reviews are written from the point of view of an average model builder; hence the focus is on quality of the model, how easy it is to...

Copyright ©2017 text by Andras [ SPONGYA ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

The reviewer mentioned that this kit can be used to depict track in central and western Europe, but not on the Eastern front. I'm looking for a track set that represents German-built track on the Eastern front (during the first few years of the war). Is this kit an option for that? If not, what might be my best option? I'm having a heck of a time finding any information about the subject. To be specific I'd like to duplicate the tie plates and rail in resin for a scratch-built base for my 1/35 Dora gun as well as Trumpeter's Karl on railway transport; the track in both of these kits is unsatisfactory to say the least.
NOV 16, 2016 - 04:46 PM
Andras, any idea how MiniArt's track widths match up with Trumpeter or Dragon rail cars? Nice review BTW. Thanks ! Tom
NOV 17, 2016 - 04:21 AM
It very nearly matches the dimensions of revised trumpeter tracks (i.e. Karl on railway transport), but its notably narrower than Trumpeter's K5 kit track. I could give exact measurements later today.
NOV 17, 2016 - 05:41 AM
Standard gauge, as used in Europe, is 1435mm; Russian wide gauge is 1520mm. A correct 1/35 track gauge would be 41mm; however, one of the shortcuts that is sometimes taken is to use a 45mm track gauge, because this matches the track for 1 Gauge model railroads, allowing the use of commercially available 1 Gauge track. On the Eastern front, the Germans would either lay entirely new track, which would look the same as track laid in Germany, re-gauge the Russian 1520mm track by unspiking one rail and moving it inward (Frederick Boucher has reviewed Armor35's products for this), or, if it was necessary to use German rolling stock on Russian rail instead of transferring the load to Russian rolling stock, would replace the trucks on the cars with 1520mm trucks. Re-gauging track to 1435mm also had the benefit of making the track unusable if recaptured by the Russians until they reverse the regauging.
NOV 18, 2016 - 06:24 AM
Thank you for the thorough response Sean! That basically answers all of my questions. I think I will scratch build and duplicate components for a re-gauged russian railway for my Karl build. Before I start building for my Dora I'll probably search through my collection of photos to see if I can figure out exactly what was used. Does anyone know of a US vendor for Armor35 products? I can't seem to find one.
NOV 20, 2016 - 03:09 AM
Here are my best attempts at measuring old trumpeter (k5 gun track), new Trumpeter (Karl railway), Dragon and MiniArt (european rail). Note that as none of these have been glued there was a little play. Excuse my 1/35 measurements in inches. 1) Old trumpeter (from K5 gun kit): 1.750" = 1556 mm (even larger than Russian gauge, which would be 1520 mm) 2) New trumpeter (from Karl on railway transport): 1.630" = 1449 mm (Stabdard European is 1435) 3) Dragon (from schwerer panzerspähwagen kit): 1.635" = 1454 mm 4) MiniArt (european rail): 1.615" = 1436 mm (basically exact for European gauge, but small enough to likely be incompatible with all Dragon and Trumpeter kits without modification)
NOV 20, 2016 - 05:12 AM
Thanks Ryan for the info. I'll have to figure something out to make it work.
NOV 21, 2016 - 07:03 AM
And here I was thinking "Oh look, more track for a dio..." and then I learn so much more from all of your comments. Thanks!
JAN 03, 2017 - 03:22 PM
Trumpeters BR 52 tracks are 41mmm wide = 1435mm, and as such compatible with Miniart and ICM, just measured their tracks at 41mm also. Mind that many tracks were mainly redone entirely due to the bad groundwork and requirements to hold/carry heavier trains (min 16tons/axle, whereas the Russians only needed to support only around 12tons/axle if I am not mistaken, it was less either way)...
APR 25, 2017 - 04:33 AM
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