It arrived in the original Auscision packaging undamaged. I couldn’t wait to get it open - I popped the lid off and there she was, packed snug in clear plastic. So snug in fact that it was a little difficult to get out of the box!
So here is how it was packed. The loco sat in a clear plastic case that surrounded the loco from all sides. Now, once I sat it on the bench right way up, I could begin to unwrap my goodies. At the No 2 end, the packaging unlocked by pull away top of the end cap. It folded down to lay flat on the bench. Next, the front and back side clips into the roof of the packaging - carefully unclipping these allows the roof to be lifted off and folded down to also lay flat on the bench.
My new baby was now wrapped in some lose plastic sheet but at least now I was able to get my hands on her. As for the rest of the packing, the cradle was inside a square plastic tube. There were some black medium density foam end stops to protect the ends of the loco from sliding within the package as well. All of this was then placed in the thick cardboard box. This box was also lined with some more medium density foam on all sides – all up she was nicely protected.
Last but not least, there were two A4 pages of information. One page was the instructions and the other was an illustrated part identification sheet, printed on both sides. The thing I had noticed was the body screws has no call out numbers, but I guess these are likely a standard part across the Auscision range.
One of the things I like about this loco is the detail that has gone into it. The model is superbly detailed.
The hand rails are multi dimensional and painted in two different colours, white and silver. The bogies have fitted ladders and sand boxes with tiny pipes. The bogie chassis have painted details such as springs and pipes and brake assemblies that are actually fitted in the correct position. Then there are interconnecting items between the bogie and chassis which just set it all off nicely.
Just above the fuel tank the air tanks sit. There are numerous pipes, valves, brackets, gauges and tiny warning decals. You can even spot a little colour in there also. On the body itself each panel, each latch, each grill is well defined. There are many tiny warning labels and decals.
Inside the No. 1 end cab, Auscision have added an internal bulkhead, a driver and fireman operators console with two human figures. Quite a nice touch but I think that some extra touches here can really set this model apart from others.
On the buffer plate there are lots of hoses hanging down. There are also two coupler release levers that look very realistic.
One thing that I would like to note is the fact that all the screws are fine thread machine type. The screw housings are plastic with a metal insert, what a great idea.
What decoder to use?
Ok, so now I need to add a decoder to bring this loco to life. I intend to add a sound decoder and the Auscision instructions recommend the LokSound and states the loco has been designed to fit a LokSound – the 21 pin variety.
At the base of the loco in the fuel tank there is space to fit a 40 mm x 20 mm speaker. Auscision have built in an enclosure to house this speaker size. My preference is LokSound and I am sure that my mate Mike Walters at DCCSound will have one, but my budget is tight right now. So I have a TCS non sound decoder lying around that will do the trick for now until the piggy bank has enough in it for the sound decoder. The loco comes with a standard DCC 21 pin plug so all is good there. Turning to the instructions they say that the body has to come off. Luckily the instructions are given on the sheet so it was just follow the bouncing ball.
Removing the body.
Removing the body is quite simple. There are 4 small screws that you access by turning over the loco. Once removed it is a simple matter to lift the body away (so the instructions said). There is a warning to note here though. At the No. 2 end there are fitted two hand rails either side of the ladder. You must very carefully bend the plastic that connects the rail to the ladder as the rail stay with the body once removed. I noticed that at each end of the body there is a small tang that holds the body to the foot walks.
You can see the tang that I was speaking of here. You can also notice some of the paint missing from the hand rails. I did not notice if the loco came like that or while I was moving these out of the way during the body removal process. No matter a bit of paint will fix that right up.
Once these are free, the body will then lift away to reveal the DC jumper board connected to the DCC 21 pin connector.
Here the DC jumper board has been removed. Here you can also see the metal inserts within the screw housings.
This is what the DC board looks like.
Adding the decoder now is as simple as removing the DC jumper and inserting the DCC decoder of your choice.
One thing that is a little bit of a mystery to me is the wiring configuration of the various lights. The model does come with lighting switches under the fuel tank. But what I was looking for is the ability to map the light functions to the function of the decoder. I am able to get the one and they respond to the direction but that is about all.
After installing the decoder I had the loco running in the opposite direction to the lights. So I did have to turn the motor wires around. This was pretty simple as on top of the motherboard the motor connections can easily be accessed. Just a quick touch of the soldering iron and the job was done.
In summary, I am absolutely thrilled at the quality and ease of being able to get the decoder into the model. The decoder installation is not as good as the On Track Models 82’s. Maybe Auscision could take a look to see if they can improve on that. I cannot wait till the weekend where the club will be at the local Model Train Show where this model is sure to turn some heads. Good job Auscision.