This introduction to this review is taken almost verbatim from
the late Stephen Parascandolo's
Croydon Tramlink website, and we are
grateful for permission to replicate his words.
The London Transport Museum commissioned the model reviewed from Halling in Austria, who had already had already produced a 1:87 model of the Bombardier Cologne KR4000 tram from which the Croydon trams were derived. The Croydon model was released by the Museum in August 2007 (surprisingly quietly! ed.)
Click on the pictures to view the larger images
David Orchard wrote (of the motorised version):
Most of Halling's motorised articulated trams are built exactly the same way: each end bogie pivots on a circular aperture mounted in a fairly solid chassis moulding, and has both axles driven via a small half-inch long grey plastic 'prop shaft' (strictly a cardan-shaft or 'kardanwelle' in German - the reason for saying this will become apparent). Each prop shaft connects to a substantial longitudinal motor via a fairly simple click-in universal joint (UJ) at either end, and each bogie has both axles electrically interconnected via both motors, providing very good track pick-up indeed. The centre portion is a fixed bogie floating by fairly solid pivots to each of the two chassis mouldings, and has a clip-on body unit including four rigid articulation "curtains" (these can be trimmed back or their location slots extended in order to tackle sharp bends. Unlike on other Halling models, the motored bogie clearance does not need to be increased for sharp curves, thank goodness. )
The main body units clip onto the chassis mouldings rather tightly, and in between there is a 'false floor' incorporating seat backs etc. This floor is always set 'high' to accommodate motors, even in un-motorised versions. In the Tramlink model it isn't very firmly fixed - others Halling models are better - and I recommend PVA glue to lightly fix it in place (not plastic solvent glue, or you'll weld it solid !) The other tip not in the instructions is that the front fender has to be removed before the body unit will lift off - unclip it downwards for Tramlink and forwards for all the other models like K5000 ! Good news is that the Tramlink model incorporates weights in the body unit roofs - a good point not always seen on other Halling models - and the pantograph is the later strengthened version that does not fall apart.
Unfortunately this is not true for the bogie units. These can easily fall out of the chassis moulding either during postage or with rough handling. It is fairly simple to click the bogies back into place (watch out you don't trap the wires, though), but meanwhile the prop shaft will have fallen out either into the box (if you are lucky) or onto the floor (if you are less lucky.) It is very inconspicuous and looks like a small maggot; if you manage to drop it into bird feed you have really lost it ! It can be replaced in the tram from below with enormous difficulty, or from above (remove the body and false floor first), using tweezers and care to align the UJs, with only moderate to severe difficulty. If you lose it altogether, email www.halling.at to ask for a set of six replacements. Halling staff have reasonable general English, but don't know technical terms, but use the words "kleine kardanwelle" and you should be understood. I got mine for free; I suspect I wasn't the first to ask.
That said, it's a super model with eight out of twelve axles driven, just like the full-size Croydon car, and (like all Halling's twin-motor models) runs beautifully and will tackle mild gradients with ease. (The first of this type of Halling car - the K5000 - originally came out with one motor and only one driven bogie. It worked nicely on the level, but that was it.) For those who want to motorise an un-motored Tramlink car, there seems to be a Halling motorising unit for the Vienna E/E1 "steering rubbing car" (their own website terminology - the German is "Gelenktriebwagen" which means Articulated Motor Tram) under their reference 2001004 A / E drive where all the parts look as if they would fit Tramlink (Halling parts are pretty highly standardised.)
model actually incorporates two electrically-connected motors, each
driving an end bogie, and each equipped with flywheels to aid smooth
ten points here - this model will run really well.) Unlike the K5000
models from the same manufacturer, the wheel flanges are 0.5mm rather
than 1.0mm, reflecting tramway rather than railway practice.
Clifford Reed wrote:
only have an un-motorised Croydon tram at present. The finish is very
good on the outside of car 2545. The destination blinds are separate to
be fitted inside for routes: 1 Elmer's End -
Wimbledon, 2 Beckenham Junction -
3 New Addington - West Croydon: all in both directions! Mirrors are
included to be fitted later, however there is no advertising or
lettering for the outside other then the number. The roof
detail and pantograph all look good and working (no power). My only
comment on the down-side is the one level floor at about waste height in
the doors (just below window height!!), but the tops of seats are
moulded into this: the cab section is well represented with driverís
seat and console cleanly modelled in one colour plastic.
On the whole, this is quite a good representation of the Croydon
CR4000 car. Without measuring it, it looks to be an accurate model,
including the 750mm stretch in each half that sets these cars apart from
the Cologne version, as well as the correct Croydon cab (curiously, the
same makers model of the K4000 also appears to have the Croydon cab,
distinguishable by the narrower, parallel corner window pillars). The
centre bogie (truck, as it doesn't rotate) is necessarily simplified,
but the full size one would be very difficult to model at all
accurately; as it is hidden behind the skirt panel, the simplification
is not particularly obvious. Beyond the interior, which Clifford has
already talked about, the only real disappointment is the relative lack
of detail on the roof over the articulation, which looks bare as a
result. However, I can also understand that modelling the linkage and
the cabling would probably render the model incapable of operation, and
would thus defeat the object. It is a compromise which has to be
accepted on a model which is intended to be operable, rather than being
kept in a glass case.
Acknowledgement is made of the late Stephen Parascandolo's Croydon Tramlink website, and Stephen's family's kind permission to use the words, and the associated Croydon Tramlink Yahoo! Group, in preparing this review.
The copyright of all the photos in this review remain with David Orchard.
The opinions offered in the reviews on this page remain those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the of views of The Model Bus Website.