1.24.2012

Locomotive Roster: Liluput "FLIRT" ET6.04 RRX; Liliput L163989

UPDATE: Check out Rintiland's blog(in Spanish) for a MUCH better solution for adding the decoder!  No removing of the shell or unscrewing anything!

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! 

I completed my 'video review' (posted above) which also includes my attempt at installing the decoder (more on that below), but I also wanted to share a written version with photos and such in case the old YouTube connection isn't working for you.

Impressions:
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.
What I hope is apparent in the photos is the striking livery of this set in the Eurobahn RRX livery.  The dark grey contrasted with the off-white, and orange highlights really stands out.  The interesting 'digital' design also really nicely complements the sets appearance and I think is one of the best examples of 'design' in contemporary train set livery.

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!

Decoder Install:

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)
I had some trouble removing what's referred to as the 'head'...until I flipped it around so it was standing right side up then it came straight out.
Your not done yet! Now you need to remove the body shell in pretty much typical fashion.  Although like a lot of the modern models, the plastic seems far tighter than it really needs to be and trying to carefully get the plastic seperated from the chassis is something I could do without!
The easy part...swap the 'dummy plug' in the socket and add your NEM 651 decoder! Whallah! Digital joy is now yours!

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!
You know what else is great about this model? The price!  I paid the pre-order price of 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.
Finally, in terms of operation...smooth and quiet.  Obviously I haven't had it long enough to see how it holds up over time, but its beautiful to see in operation and nice to be able to plant a passenger set on the tracks with all the lights installed! Wunderbar!
So, can you tell that I'm thrilled with this set?  I wish I could say every purchase I have had in this hobby was just as rewarding (and hopefully other FLIRT owners have had similarly positive experiences!).

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!

22 comments:

  1. Hi Jerry,
    great work again, love your reviews.
    The best part is seeing this nice train running on your fantastic layout, esp. when it passes your little harbour :)

    Jörg from Hamburg/Germany

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  2. A very beautifull train, i had see one in Switzerland this month.

    Pascal

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  3. I have the set as well, like you, I had to wait about 18 months, but hey =)

    The model was better than I expected it to be actually, livery is definitely not your average modern day stuff. I see the prototype quite regularly here, as it runs between Venlo and Hamm, and I just happen to get on the train (not the RRX, but some local thing :)) in Venlo to go to work ;)


    One thing, above where the decoder socket is, the roof detail can be removed. That's the way I figured out on which end the decoder had to be installed. Also, I used a Selectrix decoder (Rautenhaus one), and I actually had to plug the decoder in up side down..

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  4. Another excellent review (putting temptation in our way). Great colour scheme. Is this a special edition from Heiko at Modellbahn Union?

    Ross S
    North Berwick
    Scotland UK

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  5. Stupid German copyright law and Youtube! I can't see your video because the copyrighted content was not allowed on Youtube in Germany by the GEMA...

    :(

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  6. If I must say something about this train, it's without a doubt WOW !!!

    The train is beautiful, you must be crazy if you think it's O.K. ! Plus, the color scheme fits in perfectly with your layout !

    I will surely try to get this train. You make the train sound amazing ( and I'm sure it is ! )! I laughed when you put in the music in your review ( you put on the head. ALLELUIA !!!!! LOL! )

    But I must recommend you a train. One of the AVE from Spain, or any spanish train actually.

    Honestly, I think you should add Spain to your roster. And the AVE S-103 is a favorite of mine. But there's one problem : It looks almost alike with the ICE 3 ( actually, it IS the ICE 3 !), but there is also a TGV version ( S-100). there are more types of the AVE, but I can't find any models in N scale ( yet ).

    Also, I think it wouldn't hurt to put a few American trains, I mean, the Acela was designed by Bombardier, so I think it would fit in just fine.

    Happy Trains !

    Mark F.
    Phliadelphia

    P.S. I posted a comment on " Fixing A Loop Problem ", it's about the tram line extension problem...

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  7. @ Jörg - danke! I had a great visit to Hamburg last summer! Lovely city!

    @ Pascal - I agree! Thank you for your comment!

    @ Martjin - Thanks for your comment! In truth, I wasn't clear on whether or not it made it into NL...the actual map at RRX.de is not clear enough (at least to me!) about where it goes outside of Germany! Thanks for the tip on how to locate 'side a'! Too late for me, but hopefully someone else will read your words and the news will spread!

    @ Ross (Anonymous) - Thanks! I'm not sure who Heiko is, but this was apparantly done in coordination with Modellbahn Union. Sorry, I don't know much more than that!

    @ La Suacisse - That just makes me plain MAD! What really makes me mad is that its ONLY about a 10 second clip of some stupid old Petula Clark song (One that I think no one has even heard of!). Of all the stupid rules.....! I will be posting this video on Vimeo soon (I need to reduce the file size below 500mb first!) and they seem to be less of a problem with these issues. I have an old DailyMotion account that I might be able to post it to as well. When I get it finished I will update the it here.

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  8. @ Mark - Hi! And thanks for your comment! I agree about the FLIRT as you can tell, one of the best in a long time! Also, I agree with you about Spain...I must add some trains from Spain! Its actually pretty incredible how big and healthy the N scale hobby is in Spain (if I had to guess, I would say it is probably #5...behind Japan, Germany, US, and Canada), but it gets almost no attention outside of Spain!!! Some day, some day.... :-) I actually really wanted to get the PATO version TGV that was announced by Kato/Lemke/Hobbytrain (whoever they are), but apparantely they are not doing that version. I really like the TGV version...it actually looks quite nice in the Renfe paint scheme!

    As for US trains? Well, I have a secret I haven't shared with anyone yet, but its not quite what you think...heh heh! But that's for the future....

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  9. I have recently gotten the same model, in the yellow Eurobahn livery (that was the version I took from Duesseldorf to Wuppertal in summer 2010).

    I have also installed the decoder, and have located the correct end car by looking at the supplied diagram, all cars are numbered ABCD and only one has a pantograph, so it was easy to locate the end without opening anything.

    Thanks for your blog, by the way, I have been fascinated with it for long long time!

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  10. Hi Jerry,
    The reason I asked was because Heiko is the proprietor of Modellbahn Union and he comes to our show (Model Rail Scotland) at the end of February with his trade stand. He always carries an excellent selection of the more quirky N Gauge items and a lot of Japanese stock.

    Until I saw your review I had not considered purchasing one of these sets: I suppose because it was essentially a Bachmann model rather than Lilliput as was. However, it looks pretty good and the Bachmann N Gauge product is getting much better.
    Thanks
    Ross S
    North Berwick
    Scotland UK

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  11. Hi Jerry,

    Beautiful review!!! I didn't know anything about this train and know you're 'guilty' of my last purchase (I have bought it in a german webshop, I hope to have it next week!).

    Enjoy this beautiful train!

    Thanks & BR,
    Jose.

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  12. A secret, eh ? Well O.K., as long as you have a plan in mind for them, I'm happy( but still, I can imagine the Acela siting in the downtown station perfectly).

    As for Spain, you're right about how healthy N scale is in Spain, and I agree, the TGV livery is really nice (though I still prefer the ICE livery), but it reminds me of the 3rd generation TGV witch I saw at the 30th anniversary of TGV (white,pink and grey)

    Happy Trains

    Mark F.
    Philadelphia

    P.S. I noticed that one of the head cars in the FLIRT was slanted in the video near the end of your review (more struggling! NOOO!!!). Or is it maybe the train was on an incline ...

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  13. Hi,

    After the install of the decoder it looks like the cabin of part A is not correctly pushed down near the wheels at part B. It looks like it is elevated somewhat in regard to the rest of the train.

    Thanks for the review, now I really know which train to get!

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  14. Okay, well seems like people are just as observant as I expected! You are all correct... the cab car did not get seated all the way on the chassis after I installed the decoder! :-) I noticed this as I was putting the video together as well, but chose to go ahead and use the footage anyway..whoops! It was easily fixed (just wasn't pushed down all the way, no big deal), but I do agree, its kind of a distraction!

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  15. You know this weird thing called Baader-Meinhoff named after the movie and the German terrorists? That you see and hear something you think you never heard before and then right afterwards notice it again?

    Well for me it was this train. Right after I first saw it on the Modellbahnunion website I saw it in real life, driving on the Autobahn to Frankfurt... I think it was somewhere near Hamm. The train tracks go under the Autobahn there and it was so weird for me coming from 200km away to have this coincide...

    But to be honest it now happens to me all the time. I have to go to downtown Bielefeld here in Germany every day and the parking structure is right next to the train tracks about 500 yards from the train station. Now that I am directly looking at about every single train there is in N scale I notice so many different trains go by every time I park my car. It's more than weird, trust me. All of a sudden all the model trains I saw the day before are going by and while I know that they have been going by for year I never noticed because I wasn't really looking for them.

    Same with this Triebwagen. And trust me, the Flirt in RRX livery looks just as awesome in real life as on your tracks :-)

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  16. Thanks Sebastian! I think I know what you mean...things can escape our attention until some small thing triggers something and then you notice that 'thing' you never noticed before! :-)

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  17. Hi Jerry, does the FLIRT take one or two decoders (front/rear)?


    Jon
    aka Spiff

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  18. @ Jon - Just one! The whole train is interconnected electrically so only one decoder is needed! A brilliant design!

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  19. Jon aka Spaceman Spiff3/6/13, 8:42 PM

    Still waiting for RRX sigh but I did get the Sehaus a few weeks ago but found out that it takes the new Next18 decoders. So I had to wait some more sighhh. The decoder finally arrived today. Off to the programing track I go. The programming went well but the readback came back as a different number. I then go into WTF mode. Put it on the track, not only did the Flirt start up but so did all the other locos on the layout. Again WTF? It appears that the Flirt was slightly over my isolator between the programming track and the main layout. Somehow I managed to program all the loco's with the Flirt transferring the programing commands across isolators to the layout. Fortunately my programming track is just long enough to accommodate the full length of the Flirt. Positioned the Flirt entirely onto program track and programmed all the locos and all is good now. Today's lesson was to make sure the Flirt is entirely on the programing track before programing. That being said the decoder install was install I ever had.

    Spiff

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  20. Per Walthinsen11/18/14, 4:41 PM

    Your review was very helpful. I'm planning to get one for an NSB route prototype, but I am using a catenary system with one pole on the whole track and the other pole off the catenary. Does this model have an electrically working pantograph like my TRIX SBB 460 loco?

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  21. Hello Per! Unfortunately, I don't think the pantographs allos for electrical conducting as currently configured, but I could be wrong. Sorry I'm not much help!

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