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Brawa BR06

Model number 40202

Review by Neil Wood

The BR 06 belonged to the series of standard design locomotives with a variable axle load, like the BR 41 and BR 45. The axle load could be adjusted for loads between 18 and 20 t.  The Krupp Company in Essen was awarded the contract to initially build two locomotives in this 06 series.  Even at this stage of the project, the Deutsche Reichsbahn’s interest in these giant locomotives was declining, explaining the prolonged construction period from 1934 to 1939.  The two prototype locomotives, 06 001 and 06 002 were eventually delivered by Krupp in the spring and summer of 1939.

The BR 06 was designed to ride express trains in hilly landscapes. The steam engine had to pull a train of 650 tonnes with a speed of 120 km/h, and on rising track of 1:100 the speed had to be 60 km/h.  The 06 series had driver wheels with a diameter of 2,000 mm and a front and rear bogie. The three-cylinder engine was designed for smooth running up to a maximum speed of 140 km/h. Coupled with the
5-axle T38St tender, the BR 06 had a length including buffers of 26,250 mm, which made it the biggest German express train locomotive ever built. The friction burden was 80 tonnes and the locomotive had a service load of 141 tonnes. The total weight of locomotive and tender was 224 tonnes.


 

Like the BR01.10, BR03.10 and theBR05, the BR 06 became streamlined.  It had a boiler of 7500 mm and four coupled axles. To be able to drive this steam engine through curves and switches with a radius of 180 meter, the locomotives were provided with a third coupled axle with driving wheels without rims. The rims of the second and third driving wheel were reduced by the 06 002 and the third driving axle could be shifted 10 mm to both sides.

Both steam engines were maintained in Frankfurt/M 1 and operated their service on the lines to Erfurt. The locomotives were uneconomical on this line given the huge operating and support costs. In the war, the 06 002 was destroyed by a bomb and later the 06 001 was set aside. After the war there was no need for these large steam engines, so finally in 1951 the 06 001 was put out of service definitively.


Smoke generator in action

Brawa model 40202                       Price: €474 or ₤320 or $609 US

Released: May 2005

Model Specification: Length: 305mm/12”; Livery: DRG black with red running gear; Period: 1939- 1956; Features: Metal frame and body; DCC decoder with sound generator; The headlights, smoke generator, and operating sounds can be controlled digitally; Sprung buffers; NEM Pockets for couplers; Directional headlights and rear lights; Motor: Flywheel drive; 2 traction tyres; several separately applied details. 


The loco and what comes with it

The Brawa BR06 was very expensive.  With the exception of the Trix Big Boy it is the most expensive loco in my collection.  I hummed and hawed about buying this for about a year.  What convinced me was my BR05.  I really liked the Trix one but baulked at the price.  It was around 300 Euros and at that time I was still used to British outline prices and thought the costs vastly excessive.  It didn’t even have a sound decoder as do most locos in the 300 Euro bracket.  So after a while I compromised on the Lilliput BR05.  It is ok, essentially it is similar to a Bachmann loco.  It is reliable but it does make a sort of grating noise when moving.  The detail is reasonable.  So on the whole it is Ok but not brilliant.  I always regretted this compromise and this has nagged at me for a while. 


Side view

As regards the BR06, although I loved it when I first saw it the price tag crossed it off my list.  It was 396 Euros for the sound and smoke version and that is without the VAT!  However over the last year I have continued to swill this round and eventually talked myself into it. 


BR06 pulling a D train

So when I opened the package I had pretty high expectations.  The outer packaging is quite stylish although the picture of the “model rail enthusiast” on the box is an interesting concept.  Upon opening the outer card cover there is a manufacturer’s note advising that specific parts which are at the side of the locos running gear will have to be removed if it is to operate on a radius of less than one metre.  As my new layout is to have a maximum radius of 75cm I headed off to get my screwdrivers. The inner packing is similar to that which Hornby have now adopted.  Although it is well and thoughtfully packed with additional polystyrene support around the inner surround packing.  On the inside of the surround packing there is soft cloth pieces attached where there is direct contact with the loco for additional protection.   Once the outer plastic sleeve is removed there are two bags with extra detail parts which can be put on if the model is be used for display only. 


With the side panels removed performs well on tight curves

I used the inner packing to hold the loco while I removed the screws holding the parts which would restrict movement on smaller radii.  This sounds like a hassle but was easy and quick.  The parts were saved in bags for future use.  The loco comes with full English and German language instructions and assembly diagrams.


Deals well with steep gradients maintaining constant speed

The next step was to try the loco out and see how she went.  The loco, with the sound turned off, moved off silently and majestically.  It is a large loco, in fact the largest steam loco ever made in Germany.  Having ensured its running quality I then tried out the sound.  It is good and reasonably loud. It comes from a Loksound 2 decoder.  What surprised me is that there is only five functions;

1/ Lights,
2/ Running Sound,
3/ Whistle,
4/ Injector,
5/ Seuthe smoke generator.

I had expected with a loco that cost this much there might be more.  However in many ways having a loco which automatically initiates the appropriate sounds is better than having to guess what is appropriate at what moment.  The whistle is very good.  The coupler socket is left empty so you can fit your own if desired.  Couplers are provided and are easily fitted.  Many extra detail parts are provided some of which are only to be fitted if the model is to be used as a static model.  These include two optional panels which cover the front bogies.  The one fitted below can only be fitted if the loco will be used for display purposes.  There is another set which are partially cut away for use on radii of one metre and above.


(Courtesy of Brawa) Detail of removable side panel

As this model was very costly, I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise to compare it with a cheaper loco to see what you get for your money.  I chose the Lilliput model 100593 BR05 as it is a similar style of loco.  This model retails for 306.50 Euros (about two hundred quid) and has a Lokpilot decoder and Seuthe smoke generator already installed.  While this is still expensive by UK standards it is a budget model in Germany.  It is also made by Bachmann and is comparable in quality to the locos that Bachmann produce for the UK market.  Here are some pictures of the two side by side.


Comparison of BR06 and BR05

The first observation to be made is the difference in the finish.  The Lilliput is unpainted plastic whereas the Brawa is painted metal.  The painted metal looks far better.  The plastic look really detracts from a models finish regardless of the detail that the model may have.


Comparison of tender rear of BR06 and BR05

The picture of the back of the tenders shows the difference in intensity of the lights.  Also the number plates are raised on the Brawa, as are many of the emblems, as opposed to flat transfers on the Lilliput.  At this point I have not yet fitted the extra add on detail parts to the Brawa so there are still detail parts to go on in this area.


Comparison of Cab and tender on BR06 and BR05

In this picture the difference in the paint, or lack of, finish can be clearly seen.  Although it is hard to see in this picture, to the rear of the tender is a flap where water would have been put into.  On the Lilliput it is a flat impression of a flap whereas on the Brawa it is a three dimensional feature.  It is this attention to detail that you are paying for.  Also note the raised eagle emblem on the tender and the painted and installed driver in the cab. 

On the Brawa there are very fine railings which are not present on the Lilliput.  The smoke generator on the Lilliput did not work when I received it.  Despite dismantling the loco and checking out the electrics I still cannot find out why.  I removed the smoke generator and tried it in a different loco and it worked there so it is still a mystery why it doesn’t work on the BR05. 


Front of BR06

Front of BR05

The running of the models is significantly different.  Although I have to say the Lilliput is very reliable.  It does not derail and is a good coach puller.  On an almost daily basis it pulls five Maerklin coaches up a slope where Hornby locos with the same amount of coaches just grind to a halt with their wheels spinning wildly.  The decoder is good and maintains a steady speed regardless of incline gradient.  The biggest negative is that it makes a grating rattling sound as it does this. The traction tyres seem to come off the Lilliput occasionally too but the loco still seems to run ok despite this.  The Brawa, with the sound decoder turned off, moves off silently and travels without making a sound.  It keeps a steady pace, pulls coaches and has no problem with gradients.  It has plenty of weight to keep its wheels down on the tracks.


BR06 bringing express train through crossing

No one else makes a BR06 so unfortunately there is nothing to compare it with other than other HO German streamliners.  The Lilliput BR05 is ok but overpriced for what it is.  It’s essentially the same build quality as most UK outline models but with a Lokpilot decoder preinstalled and a pre installed smoke generator (which didn’t work).  While I can accept issues like this from UK outline because of their lower cost, if I am paying 300 Euros then I expect better quality.

What I don’t like about the plastic bodies is that they are left in their natural state as they have been moulded in as close a colour of plastic as possible to that required and the finish looks “plastic”.  This phenomena was at its worst with some Lima Diesels.  I have a Class 37 where the bright yellow plastic on front makes it look like something out of my two year old sons toy box.  Often there is a unsightly crease down the boiler where the two halves were joined.  While this allows for cheaper production it makes for an unrealistic model.  You can add all the detail in the world but that seam down the boiler takes it right back into toy train territory.  How many real locos have you seen with plastic boilers?

The level of detail on this model is extremely good.  Unfortunately to differentiate the level of detail on a model of this calibre requires a very high definition camera which I do not possess.  I have shown some pictures courtesy of Brawa which show the level of detail we are talking about.

First the bogies.


(Courtesy of Brawa) Bogie detail

The front lights and buffers,


(Courtesy of Brawa) Front light detail

The rear of the tender


(Courtesy of Brawa) Rear of tender detail

The detail is absolutely incredible.  It really is one beautiful looking loco.  The model is made from die cast zinc so there will be no corrosion problems.  The model is certainly built to last.  The main differences from the Lilliput were in terms of fine detail and the quality of build materials.   Running quality was differentiated by the Lilliput being noisy and producing a rattling noise against the Brawa being silent.  The Brawa has an excellent build quality and has as high a quality of detail as you will get without going to the levels of Micro Metakit which cost four times as much.  Unlike some models the detailed parts stay on the loco where they belong rather than falling off and littering up your tracks.  However a lot of the detail is so fine that it is quite hard to see it.  What differentiates this from most other models is the thought that’s gone into it.  I really can't find any fault at all with it at all.  I’m very pleased with it and would certainly buy more Brawa product.

Is it worth 474 euros?  Well I think it is.  I wouldn’t necessarily say that about the Lilliput though!
 


Running gear detail

 

Neil Wood - November 2006

 

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