Friday, December 25, 2020

Piko 59311: Talent 2 in bwegt design

The Welztalbahn is set in the early 1970's. So far I have always resisted opportunities to break out from my chosen era and locale. I think that is a good thing. It makes purchase decisions really easy: Did the prototype for the model in question run within BD Stuttgart or BD Karlsruhe in the early 1970's? If No, don't bother buying it. If yes, take a closer look. I'd consider whether the model would be appropriate for a non-electrified, somewhat rural, single-track mainline. Especially for locomotives, consider if I can find evidence of the locomotive class in one of the BD Stuttgart Buchfahrplans I have, or the model is based within BD Stuttgart.

I am somewhat flexible with timing and era. A bit earlier than 1972, because I do like steam locomotives. A bit later, because I do like the ET 420 and the 614. However, I have not purchased anything modern.

Until now.

I consider the bwegt design used by the infrastructure agency of Baden-Württemberg to be very attractive. Since catenary is problematic in combination with prototype-oriented freight operations, I have been looking for a Diesel train in bwegt design for a while. Piko 52206 VT 612 "Regioswinger" was a candidate, but sold out quickly, is impossible to find now, and a rather bland and ugly prototype. 

When I first saw the Talent 2 / DB BR442 in bwegt design at Stuttgart Hbf two years ago, I was a bit skeptical. It's also powered by electricity, so not really appropriate for my layout. Nevertheless, the train and the design have grown on me. When the bwegt Talent 2 became available for pre-order from Piko earlier this year, I reserved one, and the shipment arrived in time for Christmas.

Piko has been offering variants of the Talent 2 since 2012, so the digital side of the model is a bit outdated by now with the NEM 652 plug, and the awkward option of adding sound with a rather expensive SUSI module. Nevertheless, the moldings are very well done, with crisp lines, nicely detailed trucks, roof, and sides. The shape of the train front is spot on. Due to two effective flywheels the train runs very well, even with not perfectly clean track. 

... and it looks cool. I'll get to enjoy it outside formal operating sessions.

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