Review: PIKO G 37202 Steam Locomotive BR 80, DB III

Published: 27 August 2015
Latest update: 29 April 2016


The BR 80 steam locomotive was one of the earlier models from PIKO. PIKO entered the G scale market in 2006 with the BR 182 ‘Taurus’ electric loco. A year later in 2007, the BR 218 diesel locomotive was introduced, followed by the VT 98 railbus in 2008. In the Fall of 2008, PIKO announced a starter set with the BR 80 steam locomotive.

Over the years, several BR 80 starter sets have been available. PIKO also offers the BR 80 separately in different liveries.

Not all BR 80’s are the same. Olders models have a light grey valve gear (new ones are dark grey), and the newer locos have ball bearing chromed wheels.

I purchased the first BR 80 starter set (#37100) in 2009, and I thought it was great value for money. Soon after I sold the starter set to a fellow G scaler, I thought about getting the newer #37202 BR 80 in DB era 3 livery, which was announced in 2014.


Product Information:

Manufacturer: PIKO
Article Number: 37202
Product Description: Steam Locomotive BR 80, DB III
Year of Introduction: 2014
MSRP (2015): € 200,00 / ~ $ 225,00

Review PIKO G 37202 Steam Locomotive BR 80

PIKO G scale BR 80 starter sets and locomotives from past & present:

  • 37100 Freight Starter Set BR 80, 230 V
  • 37110 Passenger Starter Set BR 80, 230 V
  • 37120 Freight Starter Set BR 80, 230 V
  • 37125 Passenger Starter Set BR 80, 230 V
  • 37130 Passenger Starter Set BR 80, 230 V
  • 37200 Steam Locomotive BR 80, DR III
  • 37201 Steam Locomotive BR 80 ‘Werkbahn’
  • 37202 Steam Locomotive BR 80, DB III

Prototype:

The BR 80s were part of the Deutsche Reichsbahn’s standard type program. They were intended for use in major switching yards. It is not widely known that the standard type program had its roots in the search for a replacement for the Prussian T3 steam locomotive. The BR 80 became the predecessor to all German standard tank engine designs. Despite that significant contribution, the BR 80 wasn’t a success operationally. After WWII the majority of the locomotives remained in the Leipzig area in Eastern Germany. The DB only received 17 locomotives.” – PIKO Catalogue 2015

More info and pictures of the real BR 80 are linked at the end of this review.


Review:

Let’s open this big box…

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

The loco is wrapped in plastic, and protected by a sturdy foam box.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

Opening the box, we find the manual and a spare parts list, and a set of narrow gauge buffers. A hook and loop coupler is included, which can be fitted to the front.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

Here she is! Let’s take a quick look around…

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

The lights change with the direction of travel. PIKO uses LED’s, which is nice. There’s not much detail on the buffer beam as for example, brake hoses and screw couplers are missing.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

The valve gear isn’t very pretty. The dark grey colour looks better than the earlier light grey parts, but it still doesn’t look that great. Also, it’s not a complete representation as for instance the eccentric rods are missing.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

The smokebox door does not open (but I don’t care).

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

The pipes on the boiler are not separately moulded, which shows the BR 80 is definitely meant to be an affordable model. Separately applied details simply cost more to develop and produce.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

The cab looks good.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

Sharp lettering. Very nice.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

There’s a simulated coal load, which can easily be replaced if you want to add a more realistic looking load.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

The loco comes with hook and loop couplers, which can move around a bit to negotiate sharp curves.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

Let’s take a look at the chassis from underneath.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

Surprisingly, no traction tyres are fitted to any of the wheels. Power is picked up from all three axles. Only the outer two axles feature ball bearings, the center axle can move around freely to negotiate sharp curves.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review

The gears are plastic.

PIKO G 37202 BR 80 Review


Disassembly & DCC Decoder Install:


Conclusion:

The BR 80 was PIKO’s first attempt at a steam locomotive, and was designed to be affordable. Despite its low price, PIKO delivers a high quality, well proportioned model that runs well.

A lot of details are missing, but at € 200 MSRP (street prices are lower, I’ve seen them for as low as € 170), that’s what you can expect. For those looking to improve its looks, it provides a cheap base for some kit bashing.

My first BR 80 proved to be nice runner after many years of (ab)use, and I’m sure I will enjoy this new BR 80 for many years as well.


Technical Details:

  • Operation: Analogue
  • Minimum Radius: 600 mm
  • Wheels: Chrome plated
  • Axles: Ball bearing
  • Geared axles: 2
  • Gears: plastic
  • Traction tyres: None
  • Motor: 5-pole, ball bearing, unknown brand
  • Power pick-up: 3 axles, 1 set of pick-up shoes
  • Lights: Front, rear (bi-directional), white
  • Smoke generator: No

Links & Downloads: