Track Buffer Stop, 1435/1520 mm
Railway Sleeper Wooden
Media: Resin and wood
This review examines and builds Armor35’s track buffer stop. The model is consists of wooden and resin components and can be built for Russian 5-foot (1520 mm) broad gauge or 4-foot 8˝-inch (1435 mm) standard gauge track.
Armor35 has already released several lengths of track for both gauges. I am pleased they released buffer stops. Whereas lengths of tangent track make good diorama components, like a road they are ‘open ended.’ These buffer stops are extremely flexible as diorama components as they present vertical structure, a definite point for a rail line, and can be mixed and matched with non-terminating track.
A track buffer stop is an end-of-track assembly that blocks rolling stock from rolling off the end of a track. In the US these are usually referred to as bumpers while Europeans, their trains equipped with buffer posts, call them buffer stops.
In the box
The kit is contained in a top-opening box with box art consisting of an Armor35 label showing the assembled item superimposed over a scene related to the subject. Inside are two main baggies holding several small baggies of parts:
30 x resin tie spikes (ARM35009 Railroad nail)
11 x resin tie plates (ARM35030 Lining under a rail A-III type)
5 x milled wooden cross ties (ARM35011 Railway sleeper wooden USSR)
4 x resin buffer beam bolts
4 x resin fish plates / rail joiners
2 x milled wood buffer beams
2 x resin rails with buffer structure
1 x assembly instructions
Armor35 created an excellent model with this kit. I have been very impressed with Armor35 molding and this kit does not let me down. All castings are crisp and free of flaws. The wooden cross ties (sleepers
) and buffer beams feel like a hard wood and a precisely milled along the grain. None are warped. The tie plates (liners
) are firmly held to the pour block by several thin connectors; the rails are held full length to a spacer between the thick pour block and the bottom of the rail. It should be easy to separate them cleanly. All of the smaller parts are free of any blocks and sprues.
The only non-organic detail is weld seams where the buffer structure is secured to the rails.
Model manufacturers will tell you that instruction sheets can be difficult to create and add cost. Armor35 must take a great deal of pride in their model as their instruction sheet is professionally illustrated and printed. One side is line art of the assembled parts while the other shows a two-color top and side view of the assembled item. They include measurements to guide you in spacing the rails for the desired gauge, and the drill size you need for the bore for the buffer beam bolts.
No painting guide is included; refer to the box art. Modelers might not know the “AI” method of coloring the ties; “AI” is well-known in the model railroad community as a mixture of alcohol & india ink that you soak the wooden components in.
This is an exceptional kit: separate rail to seat in separate tie plates held onto wooden ties by separate tie spikes; separate bolts holding the wooden buffer bumpers to the superstructure. Sharp casting with no flaws. I really look forward to assembling this track component and joining it to the length of tangent track I already have.
The clean castings required no clean up. First I soaked the ties in IA. That looked OK, too clean and new, so I treated them with burnt sienna oil. When it was dry I set the ties in the Tie Spacer Tool. This track stop can be assembled as broad or standard gauge. I had this bright idea to make it interchangeable by only securing one side of the rail. It can be done but it would be a lot of close tolerance work so I made it 5-foot (1520 mm) broad gauge.
I really over-thought and over-engineered this simple model. I assembled the rails and tie plates first, painted them, then tried to realign them on the stained ties. It worked but required more finesse than necessary. Here's what I recommend in hindsight.
Use Armor35's excellent instruction diagram to space and align the pieces and set the tie plates on the ties. They can be pre-painted. Align each with a straightedge (See the photos at the bottom of this page.) When they have been secured to the ties do what I wish I had done and drill out holes for the rail spikes. A .76 bit will work but it is 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.
Next, add the rail joiner/fish plate/joining bars to the ends of the rail. Take note that these go on the end of a tie with narrower spacing. Then seat the rail into the tie plates. Simple. Easy to achieve. Looks great!
Now, spike down the rails. Fine tip tweezers work great but be careful because the fine spikes are lively and can slip out of the grip. Most of them I did not even secure with glue as the fit was so good.
Mounting buffer stops
With the spikes clamping the rails onto the ties through the tie plates, now you can add the buffer beams. I found this tricky as the inverted "Y" of the buffer stop does not leave much room to solidly brace structure to when I drilled out a bolt hole for the buffer beam bolts. Careful measuring and clamping eventually set both beams, then I slid the bolts into the holes. With that the buffer stop is complete!
A variety Lifecolor rusts and rail colors, oil paint and Polly Scale colors created the effect I sought. I painted as many of the components as I could before assembly. If you accidentally scratch some off - hey, it is rust!
Handle the rails carefully. The flanges of the superstructure are very fine and can be damaged. Also, notice that the four fish plates have different bolt stubs on their inside face. Don't do as I did, try to be artistic, and misalign a fish plate - you probably can't remove it without damage. Fortunately, track stubs are often built with discarded rail that has flaws.
Again, I highly recommend that you affix the tie plates to the ties - before or after painting per your taste - and then drill out the holes for the spikes. I tried a short cut and cut short the spikes to insert into some plates without drilling them open. I can be done but you'll need the hands of a watchmaker!
The only drawback to this kit are very fine pieces yet careful handling will keep you out of trouble. It took about four hours to assemble it after I pondered how to do so. The castings and detail, the individual pieces, the wooden sleepers, all combine to create a beautiful model! Highly recommended!
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