Published: 25 March 2016
Latest update: 31 May 2016
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!
- Manufacturer: PIKO
- Article Number: 37580
- Product Description: Diesel Locomotive BR 132 ‘Ludmilla’, DR IV
- Year of Introduction: 2016
- MSRP (2016): € 449,00 / $ 549,99
- 36017 Interior Lighting Kit for BR 132
- 36122 Loco Decoder
- 36226 Sound Kit for BR 132
- 36320 Extra Weight for BR 132, 2 pcs.
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.
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).
The instruction manual comes with detailed explosion views, and a spare parts list (available as a PDF download at the end of this review).
The loco is wrapped in plastic, and protected by a sturdy styrofoam box.
Here she is!
First impression: this thing is huuuuuge.
I love the paint scheme, dark grey and red is always a nice colour combination.
Cab doors cannot be opened.
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’.
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.
The sides look really good, with vents in all shapes and sizes.
Plenty of detail on the roof as well.
Nicely detailed bogies and chassis.
Sharp lettering everywhere.
From top to bottom: dark red body, white stripe, silver lining, black lining, silver lining, dark grey chassis. The colours all look great.
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.
Taking a look at the front… Three white headlights and two red tail lights, which change with the direction of travel.
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.
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.
The lights in action:
The two three-axle bogies pivot on a central pin, so the Ludmilla should be able to negotiate tight ‘R1’ curves with ease.
Yep. Downside: it looks terrible, and the overhang is substantial. But it’s possible, which is important to many people.
Reverse S curves are no problem either.
Let’s look at the underside of the loco.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The loco is also prepared for a pulsed smoke generator installation, nice.
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.
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.
- 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