A nice 'surprise' at Christmas this year was the arrival of this beautiful model of the Eurobahn Rhein Ruhr Xpress (RRX) FLIRT (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train) from Liliput (i.e. Bachmann). The DB version was released just about a year ago, with an SBB version released last Spring or Summer, leaving me to think that this special livery produced in coordination with Modellbahn Union was going to be forgotten! However, I got a pleasant email from the shop in Germany where I ordered it almost 18 months ago that it was being shipped to me...in time for Christmas! Whoo hooo! 18 months is a long time in anyone's book to wait, but I have to say, it was well worth it!
Let me first say that this model is fantastic looking. Beautiful printing, lettering, and details. I don't know enough (or anything really) about the prototype to comment on the fidelity of this to its 1:1 inspiration, but given the apparent attention to detail on this model, I have to expect that its reasonably accurate.
Roof top details also provide a dash of color and some interesting 'texture' to the overall appearance of the set. But its the already installed interior lighting, automatically switching white/red LED lights combined with the overall detail and finish of this model at a pretty amazing price that really sets this model apart for me!
There was one small "hick-up" I experienced with this model concerning the decoder installation. I believe it was said nicely by "Putzi" on the Model Rail Forum where the statement was made that the decoder installation is more of a 'medium' difficulty than the 'easy' one I was expecting! Absolutely correct! And if you've seen the video (and if your in this hobby, I'm sure you can commiserate!) you'll understand a little more of what I'm talking about. Although its a basic NEM 651 decoder install, getting to the socket is the big challenge!
Honestly, I probably would have broken something if I didn't have this link to a tutorial on the install.
Once you find a nice, protected place to turn this long set on its backside (the cars are all connected - and its heavily implied in the instructions not too disconnect them!) you will need to remove the screw under the 'head' of the cab to remove the front cab 'head' section. Oh...which side you ask?
Hmmm... I happened to guess wrong and went through a lot of unnecessary effort to open up the side that did not have the NEM 651 socket! I did later find out that Haltiner Online blog does show you the clue to discover which side has the socket (there is a silver sort of rectangular box on just one end, this end has the socket)
Some more cool things about this set:
It might be considered a nuisance to have to keep all four of the cars connected all the time. But (and I think most of you will agree with this) the good part is that this allows for all the wheel-sets to have power pickup! Personally, I will deal with the cumbersomeness of lifting all four cars connected together any day if I could get more power pickup!
€155 (figure $200 USD), which is about half of what you would have to pay for anything even remotely close to this from any of the other European manufacturers. What a value! The prices seems to have gone up to around €180 - €200, but still a great value in my opinion.
I'm also curious to see what other liveries Liliput eventually (hopefully?) produces. It appears that the prototype is quite popular in many European countries and there is a huge list of great looking color schemes to produce for years to come. This was a very smart move on Liliput's part and I hope that their overlords at Bachmann are rewarded by this investment and continue to produce even more N Scale surprises in the future!