Review: PIKO G 37580 Diesel Locomotive BR 132 ‘Ludmilla’, DR IV

Published: 25 March 2016
Latest update: 31 May 2016


Introduction:

PIKO announced the G scale BR 132 diesel engine as a new item for 2016, and is definitely the highlight of the year. The first locomotives will be delivered in Europe soon, worldwide delivery will take slightly longer (estimated arrival in May, according to PIKO America).

I was lucky to already receive a review sample from PIKO, so I could write this review for you. Thanks for your cooperation and trust, PIKO, I wish there were more manufacturers like you!


Product Information:

  • Manufacturer: PIKO
  • Article Number: 37580
  • Product Description: Diesel Locomotive BR 132 ‘Ludmilla’, DR IV
  • Year of Introduction: 2016
  • MSRP (2016): € 449,00 / $ 549,99

Review PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla

Optional accessories:

  • 36017 Interior Lighting Kit for BR 132
  • 36122 Loco Decoder
  • 36226 Sound Kit for BR 132
  • 36320 Extra Weight for BR 132, 2 pcs.

Review:

The BR 132 – nicknamed ‘Ludmilla’ – from PIKO comes in a DR era IV paint scheme. Plenty of other paint schemes exist in real life, so we’ll probably see a few of those in G scale in the coming years as well.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Inside the box, we find a set of narrow gauge buffers (for those who want to run the loco mixed with their existing narrow gauge rolling stock).

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

The instruction manual comes with detailed explosion views, and a spare parts list (available as a PDF download at the end of this review).

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

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

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Here she is!

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

First impression: this thing is huuuuuge.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

I love the paint scheme, dark grey and red is always a nice colour combination.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Cab doors cannot be opened.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Inside the engine room, you’ll find a 2D mockup of the engine. From a distance, it looks good. If you look closer (like in this picture), you will notice it is ‘fake’.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

The loco comes with road number 132 478-9. I suspect the first batch of the Ludmilla will sell out quickly, so we might see a new road number in the future if PIKO decides to do a rerun of the loco in this particular paint scheme.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

The sides look really good, with vents in all shapes and sizes.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Plenty of detail on the roof as well.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Nicely detailed bogies and chassis.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Sharp lettering everywhere.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

From top to bottom: dark red body, white stripe, silver lining, black lining, silver lining, dark grey chassis. The colours all look great.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

The Ludmilla is of course a standard gauge loco, which means PIKO needed to fiddle with the dimensions a bit to make it look good on 45 mm track. PIKO does not indicate a scale for this model (they never do), but I did some measurements for you which you’ll find further down this page.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Taking a look at the front… Three white headlights and two red tail lights, which change with the direction of travel.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Inside the cab, we find the well-known PIKO engineer figure. There’s no lighting inside the cab or engine room, but PIKO provides a separate interior lighting kit for those who want to install it anyway.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Limited detail in the buffer area, which traditionally is PIKO’s ‘weak’ point. Personally, I’d like to see some more details: brake hoses, screw couplers etc.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

The lights in action:

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

The two three-axle bogies pivot on a central pin, so the Ludmilla should be able to negotiate tight ‘R1’ curves with ease.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Yep. Downside: it looks terrible, and the overhang is substantial. But it’s possible, which is important to many people.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Reverse S curves are no problem either.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Let’s look at the underside of the loco.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

We find the standard PIKO motor block design: chrome plated wheels, ball bearing axles, plastic gears. Power is picked up from all three axles, and a set of pick-up shoes.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

The locomotive is analogue by default, but can be easily upgraded with a DCC (sound)decoder by removing this panel (four small screws). PIKO offers a decoder and sound kit for the BR 132, but you can of course buy (sound)decoders from other brands as well.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

All you need to do is remove the main (analogue) circuit board, and install a decoder in the same spot. It’s also prepared for installation of a loudspeaker. If you want to do more advanced stuff (e.g. installing pulsed smoke generator, interior lighting), you’ll need to disassemble the loco completely.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

Below, you’ll find another circuit board with plugs for lighting and other stuff. I’ve included the wiring diagram as a PDF file at the end of this review.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

The loco is also prepared for a pulsed smoke generator installation, nice.

PIKO G 37580 BR 132 Ludmilla Review

So, how does the Ludmilla perform on track? As it shares the same drive unit with other PIKO locomotives, I expected the loco to perform equally well. The BR 132 tackles tight curves well, and runs smoothly. Power pick-up is good.

I haven’t measured the pulling power, but the loco seems pretty powerful. The loco weighs nearly 4,5 Kg, and has good traction. If you wish to increase its weight even further, PIKO sells a set of extra weights.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an outdoor layout at the moment, so I couldn’t shoot a nice video of the loco in action. Therefore, I included the video below from YouTube user ‘Stefans Gartenbahn’, he always makes pretty nice videos.


Conclusion:

The BR 132 / Ludmilla is a locomotive many people wished and asked for, and PIKO now finally offers one in their ever expanding G scale range. I’m pretty sure this locomotive will sell like hotcakes.

Designing a standard gauge locomotive to run on 45 mm track is not an easy task, but I think PIKO did a good job with its dimensions. It looks well proportioned.

On the technical side, there are no major surprises. PIKO’s standard motor block design allows for reliable operation and a good performance on track. It’s good to see a DCC conversion is so easy, and I also think that offering extra’s like interior lighting and extra weights separately is a good decision to keep the price of the ‘base model’ as low as possible.

Although I am not a huge fan of the real Ludmilla myself, I think PIKO’s BR 132 is a good looking model. It’s a shame that I need to give this impressive loco back to PIKO… 😉


Dimensions & Measurements:

  • Scale: not specified by manufacturer
  • Length (over buffers): 718 mm
  • Height (top to rail): 175 mm
  • Width (maximum): 118 mm
  • Wheel diameter: 37,7 mm
  • Axle distance trucks: A1 – 58 mm – A2 – 56 mm – A3
  • Weight: 4,43 kg
  • Pulling power: not measured

Measurements are my own. I always try to measure as accurate as possible, but sometimes it’s quite difficult. Cannot guarantee 100% accurateness.


Technical Details:

  • Operation: Analogue
  • Minimum Radius: 600 mm
  • Wheels: Chrome plated
  • Axles: Ball bearing
  • Geared axles: 4
  • Gears: plastic
  • Traction tyres: 2
  • Motor: 5-pole, ball bearing, unknown brand
  • Power pick-up: 6 axles, 2 sets of pick-up shoes
  • Lights: Front, rear (bi-directional), white + red
  • Smoke generator: No
  • Loudspeaker size: Visaton FRS7 or similar

Links & Downloads: