Friday 3 March 2023

Soviet Narrow Gauge 1/87 Scale

Several of my modelling friends are happily modelling in a range of scales. Some even consider the variety of scales as a particular element of joy in their modelling. Apart from a few road/rail excavators I haven't done much modelling in other scales than 1:35 for the better part of 20 years and since 2018 exclusively in 1:19. Now and then a special challenge in a different scale can be fun, though. 

H0e scale PD-1 (ПД-1) draisine in 3D print from Ukrainian K-Models. 

For many years I have been interested in Soviet narrow gauge. Why? In the 1980s it was difficult to obtain information and that alone got me interested. In the 2000s I was lucky to visit some industrial lines with Soviet origen. Having a basic kowledge of Russian has also helped me seek out information online and in books. Until now I haven't been modelling anything from the 750 mm gauge due to the size if I stayed in my usual scales. Now I have found some promising possibilities in H0e (1/87 scale) from Ukrainian manufacturers.

With the current war in Ukraine one should think the Ukrainians would have their hands full and no time to produce models. Nevertheless they have a rather fine selection of models in 1/87 scale with 9 mm gauge of Soviet designed prototypes in the standard Russian/Soviet narrow gauge of 750 mm. I took the chance and ordered a few models being a little sceptical if the package would ever arrive in Denmark. My sceptisism was put to shame as the package arrived surprisingly fast and in good condition.

The PD-1 (ПД-1 in cyrillic letters) was designed in the 1950s for personel transport on Soviet narrow gauge lines, primarily on industrial lines, although the type also found its way onto some of the passenger carrying lines. The draisines saw service in most regions of the Soviet Union on industrial lines for logging, peat extraction and for quarrying clay, chalk, gypsum etc. 

Drawing of a PD-1 draisine. The bonnet seems a bit out of shape? The bonnet and engine came from the production line of the GAZ-63 2 t. lorry that was built in the years 1948-1968.

A PD-1 next to a somewhat larger AM-1 DMU on the Russian Tesovo peat line, now being developed into a museum. 

The PD-1 model is 3D printed in transluscent green material. The model is small measuring 7,5 cm in length, is 3 cm high and 2 cm wide. It is quite a difference from my usual 1/19 scale! The model comes preassembled with metal wheelsets and the rear wheel chaindrive fitted. In a ziplock bag are two steps to be added if wanted. There is no material for glazing in the windows and the model is basically an empty shell with no bottom. The wheels turn and the model can be made to run and it must be possible to equip it with a motor. My two PD-1 draisines will remain static models.

In green transluscent plastic the K-Model draisine shows off its detail very badly. A swift spray with black primer brought out some of the model's fine detail. Included are representation of the hydraulically operated turntable, fine reinforcing ribs in the bodywork and tiny springs on the axle assemblies.  

With the primer dry it is time to work out if a few detail parts are going to be added before I decide on a paint scheme. The draisines were found in quite colourful variants and almost any combination will go.

In the package from Kyiv was also a 1/87 3D printed kit of a Э-652б dragline excavator also from K-Models. A medium sized Soviet excavator that could be equipped with face showel and dragline alternatively. If the PD-1 draisines turned out a succes, I wanted to be able to add the two draisines to a diorama scene where I thought the excavator could be a good item to have standing in the background.

Reprint of original factory drawing included in the kit box. Great for checking out if any details need to be added.

The main excavator parts laid out on my worktable. The 3 part lattice boom is quite a fine piece of printing.

In the bottom of cardboard box was a greeting from the manufacturer in the form of a laser cut stamp in wood with a motive mocking the Russian war effort. That aside I have also been to the optician for a new set of spectacles. Going down in size modelling wise is costly!

The Ukrainian 'tractor brigade' pulling away a sadly looking Russian BMP-2.


  1. Really interesting post Claus. Do you have a link for K-models?

  2. I don't have a link to a K-Model website. I shopped at eBay on:

  3. Thanks Claus, I'll check it out.