Built Review
Railroad water crane
Railroad Water Crane
  • move

by: Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse [ HEDERSTIERNA ]


Water cranes, or water columns, were vital equipment at any railroad stations, back in the days where locomotives were all steam powered. They were used to refill the tenders of steam locomotives, as these used a large amount of water while operating. Some of the larger cranes were able to deliver up to 10 cubic meters, around 2600 US gallons, an hour.

The water cranes were often located at the end of the station, so that refilling could take place during halts, while passengers or cargo was handled. When not in use, the cranes were swung paralleled to the tracks, so they were not in the way of trains driving by.


The kit comes in a rather long and slender box, probably only for making room for the box art, and not because of the kit parts sizes, since none of these are longer than a couple of inches at the most. The box art looks nice, but there’s no artist’s signature.

The kit consists of 50 parts molded in light grey styrene and two small sprues molded in clear styrene for the signals. In this review sample, the clear styrene sprue (Af), which contains the signal’s light bulbs, is actually missing!!! That’s really annoying, since I then have to scratch some bulbs myself, because they will be visible when the signals are constructed. There’s no instruction sheet included, but the building manual is printed on the back of the kits box.
The finished model will be 175mm tall.
The content of the box is as follows:
3 sprues in light grey styrene
2 sprues in clear styrene (1 missing in this sample)
1 length of thin string


All the molded parts are nicely cast with crisp and clear details. There are no visible ejector marks, but some of the parts have some flash, which has to be cleaned up.

The assembly is rather straight forward, with no real problems. Most of the pipes come in two halves, which, when assembled, requires some clean up to remove the seem/glue line. But be careful when doing this, because you’ve easily sand to much off, and end up with oval parts instead of round ones.

The signal lanterns are to be painted red on two of the sides, in a way, so that when positioned in use, over the tracks, they will shine red, and when not in use, they’re clear/white. Use a transparent color for this, as this will look more realistic than a “solid” color.

MiniArt has given us one paint option, which is the bottom 1/3 in black, the middle 1/3 in white and the last 1/3 and the cranes “arm” in grey. Looking through the pictures on the internet, it seems that you can paint this in an array of paint schemes, so there’s really a chance for letting your artistic license run wild.


MiniArt has produced yet another well executed item for their growing railroad series, and it’s an excellent accessory for a diorama or maybe a vignette. It will add a lot of realism to a build, as this item like this could be found on every railroad station in the world. I’m not sure if this particular design belongs in Russia, Germany or anywhere specific, though, but if anyone’s more knowledgeable, please enlighten me.
Highs: Really nice subject. Some very nice details all round.
Lows: Nothing, except my review sample was missing the clear parts for the light bulbs.
Verdict: A very useful item, if you're doing a railroad scene in a diorama or vignette. I can highly recommend this kit.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35567
  PUBLISHED: Mar 20, 2017

Our Thanks to MiniArt!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse (Hederstierna)

Copyright ©2021 text by Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse [ HEDERSTIERNA ]. All rights reserved.


Jacob, this is a sharp model. It should be well received.
MAR 20, 2017 - 07:33 AM
I am definitely not an expert on water columns but the only water columns of this design I have found are German. There were zillions of designs and variants but the only designs closely resembling this one are in German locales, with one example in Lebanon. Germany used many simpler designs so I can not figure out what the step in the spout was for. I will ask a German railway source. Here are two examples: LINK LINK
MAR 20, 2017 - 07:36 AM
Frederick: Thank you for enlighten me on this. That one picture is excactly the same kind as the kit. Very nice. Jacob
MAR 20, 2017 - 01:40 PM
Good review, Jakob! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Now if I can just finish my BR-52!
MAR 20, 2017 - 10:57 PM
Bill: Glad you like it, and I'm even more happy, that there now are no excusses for getting on with the mighty BR 52 Jacob
MAR 21, 2017 - 01:27 PM
Another great accessory for those interested in detailing-out theirtrain-based dios!
MAR 24, 2017 - 06:50 AM
The step in the spout, as you put it, is so the bottom part can turn from side to side. This way it can service two rails, one on each side.
MAR 27, 2017 - 12:07 AM

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move