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Brawa Coaches

Model numbers 2440 and 2444

Review by Neil Wood

Model 2444 Express train coach C4ük with kitchen DRG
The Deutsche Reichsbahn fitted out several of its former Prussian-type third-class coaches with a kitchenette. Although the coach layout remained unchanged, 2 compartments were emptied to house the kitchen.  Travellers collected their meals from the kitchen and dined in their compartments. Meals were not served to guests in their seats, which means the kitchen car was a precursor to the current buffet car, although in those days the meals were freshly prepared on the train. The Deutsche Bahn later took over these coaches and continued to use them for passenger catering. 

Model 2440  D- Train Express train coach A4ü Pr 20a DRG 
From 1912, the Prussian State Railway bought the first D-train cars of an "iron construction type". By replacing the previously used wooden beams with ones made of steel, it was possible to substantially increase the stability of the vehicles and severely reduce the weight. Visible evidence of the “iron construction type” were the rivets on the side walls and the fact that it had no strut frame. Because these cars proved their worth in service, KPEV purchased more of this iron construction type in the following period. Between 1913 and 1918, 528 D-train cars were produced for KPEV, the majority of which were of the iron construction type. Between 1920 and 1922, the newly founded German Reichsbahn purchased a further 436 D-train cars all of which were of the iron construction type.  In absolute figures, the D-train cars of the Prussian construction type made up the majority of the trains. Only when the car construction programs were started at beginning of the 30s did the DRG begin to have more unit cars than Prussian D-train cars on stock. There were still large numbers of these cars at DB and DR. It was only when the DB started its conversion program and the DR its reconstruction program that the Prussian train car disappeared from the tracks. However their bogies, buffer boards and other car parts were used for a long time after in the converted vehicles.

Brawa Models 2440 and 2444               Price: €76.50 or ₤51.73 or $98 US
Released: November 2004
Model Specification: Length: 234mm/9.2”; Type: A and C 4ü; Livery: DRG; Period: 1912- 1956; Features: NEM coupler pockets; interior fittings; interior lighting can be retrofitted; can be converted to run on three rail AC; several separately applied details.


What you get in the box

Having spent a small fortune on a Brawa Loco I could hardly get poor quality coaches to go with it.  These Brawa coaches are about twice the price of those of Maerklin or Fleishmann which are comparable price wise with those made by Hornby for the UK market.  I only bought two as a sample to see what they were like before committing myself to a full rake of coaches.


Side view of C4ük

They come in the same external packaging to the locos.  The packaging is well presented if somewhat cheesy.  Note  the picture of a model rail enthusiast on the model box.  They are however, well protected and come with an accompanying leaflet which gives a bit of history, an assembly diagram, parts list and shows how to apply some of the included detail parts.  The coaches come out of the boxes easily.  It is immediately obvious that they are a bit special.  The detail level is phenomenal.  I have not seen this level of detail before on a coach.  I have not yet got round to putting on the extra detail parts on the Brawa as, they are primarily intended for use on a static model, I need to try them and see what will restrict movement for running.


View of rear of A4ü

In this review I have compared them with Hornby BR coaches.  In terms of detail the Hornby coaches are about the same quality as Maerklin or Fleischmann and more UK outline modellers will be familiar with them.  Some of the recent Hornby coaches have been rather costly but they have certainly been a great improvement.   These particular ones retail for 30 quid which is 45 Euros, so about two thirds of the cost of the Brawa ones.


Comparison of rear of coaches

On an initial visual comparison of the two coaches from the rear, the rivets on the Hornby are bigger although it is a bigger scale coach so some allowance should be made for that.  Similarly the railings are thinner on the Brawa but that could be for the same reason. The detail level on the Hornby isn’t bad.  However the Brawa seems to have a lot more of it and it is finer.  One factor could be that the Brawa models an older coach and older coaches were not concerned with aerodynamics and had far more protrusions. The Brawa has a vast amount of separately applied details and many more small windows.  So maybe a comparison of coaches from different eras is not such a great idea.  However some basic conclusions can be drawn. 

The couplers in these pictures don’t look too different from the rear view but when looked at side on the Hornby ones are more noticeable and they are hideous.  The European style Brawa couplers, while still not perfect, are small and thin and less obvious.  Because the Hornby ones are far larger, your attention is drawn to them.  The Brawa coaches are supplied without couplers installed so you can choose to fit the European ones supplied or fit your own.


Comparison of rear from different angle

The Brawa coaches are made of plastic, as are almost all including the Hornby ones here, but the roof is made of an unusual type of plastic which has a different look to it.  It looks a bit like the stuff they put on to shed roofs.  It has a sort of grainy look to it.  In short it doesn’t look plastic.  This was a concern I had with some other coaches.  The Hornby BR coaches I looked at in this example had a good finish on the sides and back but the roof is an area of let down, it is unpainted grey plastic and looks it.  Now if they can manage a good finish on the sides, why not the roof?  Lets face it on a model railway the roof or the upper part of a model is the part most often seen so you would have thought it merited special attention.


Note the difference in the roofs

In terms of differentiation of detail we have got to the point that my camera does not have sufficient magnification to give full justice to how detailed the Brawa coaches actually are.  I have used some of Brawa’s own pictures to show this.


(Courtesy of Brawa) Detail from coach side panel


(Courtesy of Brawa) Detail from rear roof


(Courtesy of Brawa) Detail from side roof


(Courtesy of Brawa) Detail from bogie

So what does the extra money buy you?  Well attention to detail for one thing.  I cannot find a fault with these coaches.  I’m usually pretty good at finding fault with things.  With other manufacturers coaches are generally ok but do not have “wow factor”.  These Brawa ones do.  The Hornby coaches are good.  They have a couple of issues such as the obviously plastic roofs and the toy like couplers which can be changed.  But when compared to the Brawa coaches there is still room for improvement.

The Brawa coaches offer a fantastic level of detail which exceeds that offered by any of the larger model manufacturers.  The closest I have seen yet is Branchline who make American outlines kits and some ready to run coaches.  Their detail level is similar although you have to build most of them yourself and the end result is dependant upon your model building capabilities.  The issue with the Brawa coaches is that a lot of the detail cannot be readily seen by the naked eye, unless, of course, you have the eyesight of an eagle.  It is also worth considering that coaches will be moving when they are seen on a layout.  In the above detail pictures you can see how detailed these coach models are but these are blown up several times life size.  The Hornby coaches are not as well detailed but sufficient enough to be seen by the average eye.  So the question is do you want to pay for detail that you need a magnifying glass to see?  If you do then buy Brawa product as it has detail of this level.

Neil Wood - November 2006

 

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