Review: PIKO G ‘Umbauwagen’ DB IV

Published: 1 November 2011
Latest update: 9 June 2016


Product Information:

  • Manufacturer: PIKO
  • Article Numbers: 37600, 37601, 37602
  • Year of Introduction: 2009
  • MSRP (2009): € 105,00

37600 Umbau Coach B3yg, 2nd Class, DB IV
PIKO G Scale 37600 Umbau Coach Umbauwagen Review

37601 Umbau Coach AB3yg, 1st/2nd Class, DB IV
PIKO G Scale 37601 Umbau Coach Umbauwagen Review

37602 Umbau Combine BD3yg, 2nd Class, DB IV
PIKO G Scale 37602 Umbau Combine Umbauwagen Review

Other ‘Umbau’ coaches available in the past & present:

  • 37603 Umbau Coach ‘Jägermeister’, 2nd Class, DB IV
  • 37604 Umbau Coach ‘Deutsche Weinstrasse’, 2nd Class, DB IV
  • 37605 Umbau Coach ‘Bahnbaugruppe’, DB AG VI
  • 37606 Umbau Coach ‘Bahnbaugruppe’, DB AG VI
  • 37607 Umbau Combine BD3yg, 2nd Class, DB IV, blue/beige
  • 37608 Umbau Coach B3yg, 2nd Class, DB IV, blue/beige

Review:

First up is the #37600 second class coach.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

A first glimpse.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

Three-axle coaches always look a bit odd, but I really like their unusual wheel arrangement.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

The second class coach has seven windows.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

The ‘rubber’ bellows are plastic, and look a bit cheap because they’re so shiny.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

There’s a tiny red lense at both sides of the bellow, which can be used to equip the coach with red tail lights.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

The doors cannot be opened (but who cares?). The handrails and door steps could do with a different (darker?) colour. A bit of weathering would improve their looks significantly.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

The second class coach carries road number ‘86131Stg’.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

Sharp lettering, very nice.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

Some nice details on the frame.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

One side of the coach features a toilet compartment, with ‘frosted glass’.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

The roof looks good as well. A nice dark grey colour.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

Wait what, is there nothing negative to say about this coach? Yep, there’s a negative… The coupler sticks out quite a bit, so coupling two coaches together looks a bit silly with the large gap between the two coaches. If you have larger radius curves on your layout, you should definitely consider short coupling these coaches!

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

Designing a three-axle coach is always a challenge, as it’s rather unstable by nature. PIKO developed a clever solution. The center axle can move sideways, and has a reasonable amount of vertical flexibility. To stay properly aligned to the outer wheels, the center wheel assembly is guided by two ‘arms’ from the outer axles. Brilliant.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

The coach looks great, but I immediately added metal wheels and S-KuPLiX couplers to improve the looks and running characteristics.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

Here’s the #37601 1st / 2nd class coach:

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

The 1st / 2nd class coach carries road number ‘37151Stg’.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

Notice the difference in window spacing between the second and first class compartment.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

Finally: the #37602 second class combine.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

The combine carries road number ‘99277Stg’.

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review

The doors do not open (but again, who cares?).

PIKO G 37600 37601 37602 Umbauwagen Review


Conclusion:

The Umbau coaches are great models. Well proportioned, nicely detailed and they run well.

[Update 2015] For a few years now, I’ve run these coaches on some very poorly laid track without issues. Three-axle coaches are more unstable by nature, but PIKO really did everything they could to get them to run as best as they possibly can. Hats off.


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