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.
Article Number: 37202
Product Description: Steam Locomotive BR 80, DB III
Year of Introduction: 2014
MSRP (2015): € 200,00 / ~ $ 225,00
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
“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.
Let’s open this big box…
The loco is wrapped in plastic, and protected by a sturdy foam box.
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.
Here she is! Let’s take a quick look around…
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.
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.
The smokebox door does not open (but I don’t care).
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.
The cab looks good.
Sharp lettering. Very nice.
There’s a simulated coal load, which can easily be replaced if you want to add a more realistic looking load.
The loco comes with hook and loop couplers, which can move around a bit to negotiate sharp curves.
Let’s take a look at the chassis from underneath.
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.
The gears are plastic.
Disassembly & DCC Decoder Install:
- Guide: PIKO G BR 80 – Disassembly
- DCC Decoder Install coming soon-ish…
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.
- 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:
- Website – Wikipedia – Class 80 (external link)
- Website – dampflokomotivarchiv.de – BR 80 (external link)
- Spare parts – PIKO G 37202 BR 80 (PDF – 1,57 MB)