by: Bill Cross [ ]
At the start of the Second World War, Germany had probably the best rail system in Europe, if not the world. Military doctrine had wrestled with the challenges of having enemies on at least two fronts since before the First World War, and rail transport of armies (as well as their re-supply) obsessed military planners. As a result, a complex and highly-efficient rail net was built that functioned frighteningly well until Allied air power finally destroyed its track, locomotives and rolling stock late in the war.
The lynchpin of the rail system was the long-haul locomotive, with the two most important being the BR52 and BR86. Trumpeter has released kits for both (and CMK for the BR52), but in the case of the 52 (also known as Kriegslok 52 (for Kriegslokomotiv or "military locomotive"), the detailing of the kit leaves a lot to be desired. While not a simplified as some of the later armored trains, Trumpeter has made what is probably a wise business decision by keeping the detailing within the realms of their usual armor kits.
Voyager and Griffon Model have both released elaborate (and expensive) PE sets, with the Voyager one including a resin replacement for the cab interior's boiler wall. LZ Models have also released two resin sets: one upgrades many of the details of the loco, and this little gem of a set upgrades the Knorr compressor mounted on the exterior.
what you get
Inside a clear plastic Ziploc baggie are:
18 cream-colored resin parts
1 tiny, tiny fret of PE valve handles/"wheels"
A mini CD-ROM with PDF files of the instructions & painting guide
As LZ Models states:
Our set contains an accurate and detailed Knorr compressor used mainly on heavy locomotives like BR52 and so on, but it was used often also on BR86, BR64 and many other smaller locos. We have followed the most common one, with true-to-scale ribbing and design, the KL5 grease pump, Knorr lubricating injectors and pressure controller - some of parts can vary slightly from parts shown in some pictures depending on their manufacturer. For extra details - grease pipes and injector levers assembly drawings are to be found in the instructions.
That pretty much says it all: this little creation takes a rather symplified part (see comparison photo at right) and expands it out to the level of detail each modeler aspires to. If you just want a better-looking compressor, this is it. If you want the grease pipes, there is some wire included that will leave nothing missing.
LZ Models' kits are not for the beginner, but cater to those of us who can't imagine not doing all the details that reality provides. This set is no different, and I applaud Libor Zachoval, the genius behind LZ, for giving us this kind of upgrade.
While the BR52 was and still is something of a specialist's kit, those who would spend the $100 for it would be well-served to include some of the upgrades available to bring the model to greater accuracy. The Knorr compressor is prominent on the engine's exterior, so I can't imagine NOT including it in any build. That LZ Models have created such a marvelous little gem is part of what makes this a great time to be a modeler.
Thanks to LZ Models for this review sample. Be sure to tell Libor and his team you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.