Book Review
Dampflok BR 86
Dumpflok BR 86 Train in Detail No. 2
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by: Dave Shick [ ILLINI ]


Complimenting the release of Trumpeter’s BR86 Dampflokomotive (literally “steam locomotive”) Wings and Wheels has published a definitive reference for the modeler. Unlike the books on armored trains which I reviewed here, this is not a history book, but a true modeler’s walkaround-style reference work. That isn’t to say it isn’t educational: the photographs are accompanied by well-researched explanations and functional descriptions. For example, I learned that the square box in the cab (with all the tubes exiting it) is a grease pump (see picture). These tubes lead to all moving parts of the engine, and provide continuous lubrication.

This is Volume Two of a new series of "Train in detail" books from Wings & Wheels. Volume One will cover the Kriegslok BR 52 (Trumpeter release of a few years ago). Wings and Wheels also has an existing book about the WR 360 C14 (Trumpeter kit WR 360 C12) that will be reviewed shortly.

A Brief History

Some background on the locomotive is in order. This machine was first built in 1928 (86 001) with the last one coming off the production line in 1943. A total of around 775 were built, which is the longest run of any locomotive built in Germany, and saw service in various European countries until the 1980s (they were taken as war reparations).

The BR86 was a general purpose freight hauler, especially-suited to mountain routes. Interestingly, it was not associated with any armored trains, except perhaps to move cars from locale to another. Because it wasn’t armored and was vulnerable to having its boiler pierced by ordinance, it wasn’t suited for a combat role.

A more complete history can be found here, which Google does a nice job of translating.

the review

This is a paperback book of 144 pages. It is a large book, measuring about 11.5” tall by 9.5” wide (29mm x 24mm). All images and illustrations are in color, and average about four per page, so I would estimate there are about 600 all together. All the pictures are of existing, restored locomotives in various German Railroad Museums.

The book is divided into several sections, each of which covers a particular period of service. These are further broken down into specific areas of the locomotive. The service periods covered are:

Late: engine 86 283. This consists of:

• Exterior walk around
• Cab details
• Boiler tanks, compressor and water tank
• Buffer beam, steam cylinder, throttle linkage, brakes, frame and oil pump
• Drive wheel linkages, brake linkages

Mid: engines 86 001 and others. This consists of:

• Buffer beam, front frame, lamps and rear frame
• Cab exterior and roof
• Coal scuttle
• Side steps, cross head and steam cylinder
• Frame, fly crank and linkage
• Smoke box, water pre-heater, stack and bell, steam dynamo, water pump and air compressor
• Feed tanks, sand box, boiler fittings and details, water tanks and distribution head
• Interior details, boiler furnace, boiler controls

From various engines:

• Furnace door, power regulator, gauges and controls
• Cab roof, air levers and electric lines
• Lighting details
• More cab interior details
• Fireman compartment
• Grease pump (see picture)

The book concludes with two sections dear to modelers: photos of an excellent model, and paint schemes. The model was built using the older CMK resin kit; however, this book and other sources indicate that the Trumpeter kit is very similar to the CMK. That makes these photos an excellent standard (one of the pictures with this review shows that model). The text includes several indications of where the models fail to correctly represent things. A dozen color schemes are provided that include various periods, including wartime (see pictures).


This book is exactly what it says it is: a Photo Manual for Modelers. Anyone intending to build the Trumpeter or CMK models will find this extremely useful. This is especially true for anyone who intends to correct any deficiencies by scratch-building or use of aftermarket parts. It also provides an excellent education on how a Dampflok was put together.
Highs: Around 600 color pictures of the BR86 as seen in various German museums. An excellent reference for Trumpeter's kit.
Lows: Pricey
Verdict: Invaluable for anyone intending to improve on Trumpeter's (or CMK's) BR86 model.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: TD02
  Suggested Retail: About $50
  PUBLISHED: Nov 09, 2010

Our Thanks to Wings & Wheels!
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.

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About Dave Shick (Illini)

Copyright ©2021 text by Dave Shick [ ILLINI ]. All rights reserved.


Dear Bill. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to add to the comments on this otherwise absolutely fabulous book about the BR 86. I am a professional photographer and the pictures in this book are top-rate, technically speaking. I have been involved in researching a number of projects, ranging from the small (machine guns), via the medium (a Messerschmidt 108), to the big, a full size steam locomotive. The aim was always to show the relationship between the object of interest in the picture and its surroundings. This was achieved in most cases through the use of a lens with as wide as possible a field of view, and also by avoiding extreme perspective, in other words, by keeping the views as flat as practically possible. This becomes of course a serious problem in a confined space such as a cockpit of an aircraft, or as in this case, the cabin of a steam engine. In the book under review I got the distinct impression, especially in the shots of the cabin, that the angle of view could have been wider. The (alas unavoidable) use of flashlight leads to all sorts of complications, picture-wise, with black shadows, which can make it difficult to determine exactly what belongs to what. Kit makers have to make some sacrifices as far as the accuracy of their products is concerned, for whatever reason. This, however is not a complaint. Without the need to constantly correcting and completely scratch building, I doubt whether I would be doing any modelling at all. Where the absence of numbered dimensions was the hardest felt was when I was trying to figure out the precise shape of the compressor and the feed pump. I am making these comments because in the end I (and possibly everybody) had to build practically everything from scratch. When you think about it, the purpose of the book must have been to enable us modellers to improve on the parts supplied in the kit, but by not giving us actual dimensions, they failed in that sense. I realize that supplying measurements of an entire steam locomotive would be a little too much, even to think about. There are, however, a number of things inj the construction of the locomotive, which are actually a standard size (flanges come in only a very limited range of sizes, of not only just two, and pipes are also limited to two or three diameters). Knowing the actual size of such details, makes it possible to make drawings of whatever has to be built. As it is, I am forever scaling things up and down from adjoining parts of which the dimension is known (such as the wheels, or can be reasonably guessed at, by comparing them with for instance, the boiler diameter, if this shows clearly enough in the photograph). Including just a hand ful of measurements of key elements would only have been a little impost on the total scope of the book, but they would have really made all the difference. They would have made an already fabulous book, the book that any serious modeller would want to have in his possession, and would have made possible a standard of modelling up until now only dreamt of. As it happens, I have just today finished my build of the BR 86, after a solid nine months slog, hearing about the then new issue last May (2010). Should you be interested, I will send a photograph of the finished, product, together with a shot of the BR 52, which was built without the help of anything that could be called sophisticated, photographically speaking, because your book No 1 came out too late. I am sort of staying away from any great involvement with my computer, not wanting to waste any time that can be spent building something, but with the help of an assortment of grandchildren, an spurred on by Modelgeek itself, I am sure I can send you an interesting series of pictures, made possible by this book. Yours sincerely, Pieter Stroethoff
MAR 05, 2011 - 11:35 AM
Did you happen to find Libor's build of the BR86. This dude is manic about detail. I've bought several of his "spares" and am working up the courage to start my BR86. LINK
MAR 05, 2011 - 11:57 AM
Pieter, we would very much love to have you upload photos here of your build. While trains were an essential component of Wehrmacht logistics, relatively few modelers spend time building them. Thanks to Dave for reviewing this book, which while not ideal for modelers, brings further understanding of the topic.
MAR 06, 2011 - 04:19 AM

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