Monday 10 June 2024

TU4 Diesel Locomotive in 1/87 Scale

My little adventure exploring Soviet narrow gauge in 1/87 scale continues to haunt me. I have aquired Peco H0e track and points for a small diorama, mining equipment in H0f and now a resin kit of the classic Soviet narrow gauge diesel locomotive TU4 has arrived from Ukraine.

TU4-2620 at the Peregruzochnaya 'Station' on the Pishchalskoye peat line in Kirov Oblast, 2018. Photo: Igor Kaisin.

As the PD-1 draisines the TU4 is a kit from K-Model in Kyiv via eBay. 'Haven't Ukrainians more urgent things to do than making resin kits of narrow gauge locomotives these days?' many may ask. Yes, there is a war going on, but Ukraine is a huge country and the economy is still working despite difficulties like temporary power shortages and more than a million men and women in the military. Pubs were open in Britain during the 'Blitz' so obviously miniature models can be produced in Ukraine during wartime, too. 

The TU4 kit is unmotorised and cast in good quality resin. There are small amounts of flash to be cleaned away, but nothing a semi-experienced modeller can't handle. I have found no warping or air bubbles in the castings. Most of the parts are quite small as can be expected in 1/87 scale. I'm quite sure it is possible to motorise the model using a N-scale diesel mechanism. My plans for the kit have yet to be formulated, but most likely the kit will end up a static model on a siding on a small mining diorama.

The kit's cardboard box. Although sold by K-Model it says SK Trains on the box lid.

The box contains three zip-lock bags with parts.

The major parts laid out on the cutting mat. The loco is shorter than a logging bogie in 1/19 scale!

Loco body and frame. Nice clean castings with very thing flash to be removed.

The first TU4 was built in 1962 (first prototype built 1958) at the Kambarka Engineering Works (КМЗ, Камбарский машиностроительный завод) in the Soviet Union. 3210 TU4 locomotives were produced until 1974, most of them in the Soviet standard narrow gauge 750 mm. The locomotives were (and are still) used on many narrow-gauge railways serving industries like logging, peat extraction and minerals. Regular narrow gauge lines in Ukraine had TU4 locos in service into the beginning of the 21. century.

TY4-1417 in a configuration looking very much like the K-Model resin kit. Image from USSR, 1970's.

With a production that size a number of changes occured to the design and 4 major subtypes of TU4 locos has been identified. It's mostly subtle external differences, like window shape, placement of headlights etc. and due to rebuilds and swapping parts at repairs there are often many individual differencies. The K-Model kit seems to be of a mid-production TU4 differring clearly from the first 200 produced and the last 1000, some of which had a TU5 cab.

TU4 production was distributed all over the Soviet Union and lately examples have been exported to vintage railways in e.g. Finland and Sweden. Here is Östra Södermanlands Järnväg's no 21 imported from the Haivoron line in Ukraine and rebuilt/regauged to 600 mm. Here shunting at Mariefred Station in 2023.

The kit parts go back in the box as I currently haven't time for yet another project. But I like to know the kit is safely in my stash for the future. One never knows with small kit companies, particularly those located in countries attacked by Russia.

No comments:

Post a Comment