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In-Box Review
135
Russian Railroad Switch
Turnout with cast frog, Type IIIa 1/9, USSR (Russian gauge 1524 mm)
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

introduction
This kit is Turnout with cast frog, Type IIIa 1/9, USSR (Russian gauge 1524 mm) by Armor35, item ARM35031. This multi-media kit builds into a 806 mm (31 11/16 inches) model - over 92 feet in 1/35! It includes points, stock and closure rails, frog and wing and guard rails, tie plates, headblocks, cross ties (sleepers), track spikes (fastenings), bolts, and a switch stand with a lantern.

Railroad modeling is being fortified with an ever expanding selection of models in the dominate military scale of 1/35. Armor35 produces German and Russian resin track and trackside equipment such as track signs and water standpipes, wooden and resin crossties (sleepers), and scale natural sand and stone ballast, coal. Armor35 also makes associated military and civilian figures.

While there is not currently a 'model rail scale' for 1/35, it is very close to No. 1 Scale (1/32), also referred to as Gauge 1, Gauge One, and 3/8". Thus, it does afford some crossover to electric model railroading.

Armor35 focuses on 1/35 models of Soviet railroad subjects as well as soldiers, workers and peasants of The Workers and Peasants Red Army, circa The Great Patriotic War of 1941-45.

Turnout with cast frog, Type IIIa 1/9 kit
This model was developed in cooperation with Sergei Dorozhkov, director of Pereslavi Railway Museum. Armor35 previously released a limited section of this 5-foot gauge Russian railroad turnout, kit ARM35004. Then they created the extension set ARM35032, Turnout frog section, Type IIIa 1/9, USSR (Russian gauge 1524 mm). Armor35 has combined those two kits to bring us this full turnout: ARM35031.

Including the 480 track spikes, there are over 780 pieces in this kit! The kit is a combination of the aforementioned kits ARM35004 and ARM35032.
    ARM35032
    480 resin track spikes
    153 resin ties plates (3 types)
    39 wood ties
    28 resin fishplates
    10 resin rail bolts
    8 resin rails
    3 paper templates
    3 resin frog and guard pieces
    1 resin frog tie


    ARM35004
    18 resin bolts, fasteners and spikes
    17 resin ground throw switch stand parts
    12 resin ties
    8 switch lamp lenses
    3 brass switch stand parts
    3 baggies of sand, ballast, coal
    1 acrylic track template jig
    1 assembly instructions

Assembled, this will be a wide, expansive model! Judge it by the Tiger I straddling one of three sections of assembly templates.

Armor35 offers several of the items above as separate items; I list these at the end of this review.

quality
Resin
Casting is generally good. I have not found any air pocks. Many parts are still on their pour block. A few pieces have burrs where they were removed from their sprue/block. Uncharacteristic for Armor35, there are a few pieces with flash. The flash is thin to the point of being translucent, so should be no problem to remove. Some of the longer rails are bowed but I find this to be of no concern as the resin is not brittle. Most of the bolt/nut detail is sharp although some of the bolts on the frog component look rough.

Railway equipment tends to be hefty, yet in 1/35 some parts should be delicate. Armor35 achieved this, as you can see by looking at the spikes and tie plates. Remarkably, most pieces are whole but there are a couple of tie plates cast onto the ties of ARM35004 that broke off. I do not think these will be noticeable, especially after ballast is added.

Wood
Armor35 supplies dozens of wood ties milled to Soviet profiles. They are precisely milled along the grain. The wood is hard and does not splinter. However, a couple of them are slightly warped. This wood takes paint like any other surface but did not soak up pigment, as mentioned below.

Metal & lenses
Two frets of metal photo-etched parts are included. One is the base for eight lenses for the switch stand lantern. All are cleanly etched.

detail
There is plenty of remarkable detail in this set. Rail profiles are impressive. Rails have open holes for the bolts. Plenty of bolts are provided, both cast-on and separate. Armor35 even cast some bolts with thread!

If this kit was metal instead of resin, the switch stand might be functional. Connecting rod, crank, and point throw bar are all included.

Atop the switch stand is a lantern. Each lenses is printed as a tinted clear material and each contains the concentric circles common to lenses.

While the ties for ARM35004 are resin, wood grain is visible on them and they are equipped with tie plates. The detail of this turnout is amazing.

Finally, three samples of ballast, sand, and coal are included. These must be meant only as samples because there is hardly enough material to fill out between two ties.

Instructions
Model manufacturers have told me that instruction sheets can be difficult to create and are costly. Armor35's instruction sheet is well illustrated and printed. They use line art and halftone illustrations. Be careful during assembly for as I discovered building ARM35005 Water Crane USSR, the ink was not waterproof!

However, unlike another of their kits, they did not include the drill sizes you need for spikes and bolts. When I assembled kit ARM35029 Track Buffer Stop, 1435/1520 mm, with Wooden Railway Sleeper, I found that a .76 bit would work but it was tight! I settled on a .74. Drill the holes for the resin spikes as deep as you wish - deep as the spike is long or shallower; you can cut the spike or simply leave it partially protruding as a spike that is working out of the foundation. That's prototypical.

A simple painting guide lists three colors: wood; dark steel; shiny steel.

Military modelers might not know the model railroad “AI” method of coloring the ties; “AI” is well-known in the model railroad community as a mixture of alcohol & india ink in which one soaks wooden components.

Armor35 references AK Interactive and Mig products for securing the ballasts.

conclusion
Turnout with cast frog, Type IIIa 1/9, USSR (Russian gauge 1524 mm) is an extraordinary kit! It is big in terms of space it will occupy, and big in terms of over 700 parts! Armor35 has combined two partial kits, which can be used in smaller dioramas, to allow modelers to model a full turnout. This can be a unique and visually captivating subject of a diorama.

Separate rails to seat onto separate tie plates held onto wooden ties by separate tie spikes; separate bolts holding rail joints/fishplates to join the rails. Bolts and spikes galore! Metal pieces do what resin probably can't. Printed lantern lenses look much better than painted clear styrene!

Casting is predominately high-quality. There are a few minor burrs and flash but nothing significant. The wooden ties can't be beat. Individual parts that create sub-assembly components add to the authenticity.

Drawbacks include some fragile items and there is not enough ballast and sand to pack the track.

Regardless, this kit is a true craftsman style model that can steal the show from whatever figures, vehicles or ordnance you incorporate into the scene. It can't help but become a showpiece!

Certainly recommended!

Armor35 items used in this kit
ARM35009 Railroad nail (Track spike)
ARM35011 Railway sleeper wooden USSR (Cross tie)
ARM35021 Ballast (Sand)
ARM35022 Ballast (Stone)
ARM35023 Coal
ARM35030 Lining under a rail A-III type (Tie plate)


Please tell manufacturers and vendors that you saw this model here – on KitMaker Network!
SUMMARY
Highs: Separate rails to seat onto separate tie plates held onto wooden ties by separate tie spikes; separate bolts holding rail joints/fishplates to join the rails. Metal parts and printed lantern lenses.
Lows: Some fragile items. Not enough ballast and sand to pack the track.
Verdict: An extraordinary kit! This can be a unique and visually captivating subject of a diorama.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35031
  Suggested Retail: $78 / 4970 ₽
  Related Link: TURNOUT WITH CAST FROG, TYPE IIIA 1/9
  PUBLISHED: Aug 08, 2015
  NATIONALITY: Russia
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 93.83%

Our Thanks to Armor 35!
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 Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Wow, this is some kit!
AUG 09, 2015 - 03:55 AM
If I might ask; perhaps a stupid question - what makes this specifically a Russian turn out? It looks non-denominal to me! Is it that you have actually scaled it out to 5 foot gauge rather than use the model industry standard #1 Gauge???
AUG 09, 2015 - 04:12 AM
Hi Michael, Armor35 produces their models in 1/35 for the military model community. They predominately produce Soviet 5 ft gauge prototypes. They also make some Reichsbahn standard gauge track, plus some 'occupied territory' track that is re-gauged to 4' 8.5", with indentions in the ties showing the former 5-ft tie plate position. The models are made with subtle equipment specific to the Russian railway practices. Of course, much of the track and designs were fairly standard world-wide by then. A frog was a frog, switches needed points, etc., whether in Russia, USA, France, of S. America. Soviets used spike to hold the track whereas some European countries bolted it down; as such, Soviet track looks at home in the USA. I do not know if Armor35 knew about the model industry standard #1 Gauge. Hope this helped.
AUG 09, 2015 - 06:20 AM
Is the gauge useful for the Trumpeter line of 1/35 german railway engines and rolling stock?
AUG 09, 2015 - 06:58 AM
Got it, thanks. Very impressed that they would also make track that appears to have been regauged. I have thought about doing something along those lines from scratch!
AUG 09, 2015 - 06:59 AM
Hi Mike, Sort of. Let me explain. Germany used "standard gauge" 4 ft. 8 1⁄2 in. (1435 mm) spacing between rails. Russian used "broad gauge" of 5 ft. (1524 mm). In 1/35 those gauges are 41 mm and 44 mm, respectively. In real life, the Germans re-gauged Soviet track by sliding the rails closer together by 3.5 in., or 3 mm in 1/35. ( LINK ) ( LINK ) You can do so with this model - simply offset the tie plates 3 mm on one side of the ties. The only difficulty would be the resin ties with the plates cast on. Those you could, 1. Cut 3mm out of the middle of the 12 ties, or 2. Set new plates on the ties, or 3. Carve the plates off the ties on one side and attach new ones. Otherwise, nothing would change. So, as this kit is issued, your German rolling stock would be derailed because the gauge is too wide. Yet you could re-gauge it with little effort and run your DRB trains on it.
AUG 09, 2015 - 12:15 PM
Frederick, Nice review and thanks for the explanation. We wouldn't want to derail the Germans now ... or would we?... —mike
AUG 09, 2015 - 12:45 PM
Of course that was the general idea behind the Russians picking 5' as their gauge.
AUG 10, 2015 - 02:32 AM
Fred, thanks for reviewing this, it looks super. A very expert review by a train nut, haha! And also for discussing the gauge differences. I remember years ago play-testing the "Strategy & Tactics" war game "Drive on Stalingrad," and part of the problem for the German player was the glacial pace it took to extend rail heads east for re-supply. The Russians adopted wider rail gauges deliberately to thwart invaders, and it proved a problem for Germany during WW2. Re-gauging isn't easy. It's important that model companies produce both gauges (I believe Mirror Models has several Russian freight cars in its line). Part of me wishes the manufacturer allowed for an easier switch of gauges, however, than asking us to adapt resin ties. At least part of the kit can be re-gauged easily, so that's good.
AUG 10, 2015 - 04:25 AM
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