NY6 / NY7 Class Diesel-hydraulic Co-Co
Charming Model Studios
Ten NY6 and twenty NY7 class diesel hydraulic locomotives were delivered to China by Henschel of West Germany in 1972. Together with the NY5, they were China's only imported mainline diesel hydraulic locomotives. Shortly after their introduction diesel hydraulics were dropped in favour of diesel electrics as technology improved. Both were extremely powerful machines especially for the time with the NY6's developing 4250hp and the NY7's almost 5000, making them the most powerful diesel hydraulic locomotives built. They were not without their problems however, suffering crankshaft failures due to cracks in the main bearing. By 1980, most were temporarily out of service while repairs were carried out.
The NY series were predominantly passenger locomotives and operated mainline passenger trains on the Beijing - Guangzhou and Jingshan railways up until the 1980's. As the Beijing class became more popular, most were allocated to working international trains (Beijing-Ulaan Baatar-Moscow) as far as Datong. A small handful of NY6 were reserved for special trains for national leaders and foreign VIPs and used up until the early 2000's before being replaced by the double unit DF11Z class diesels. A small handful of survivors have been preserved in the Beijing railway museum, the others scrapped from the late 1990's to the early 2000's.
Charming Model Studio's third and possibly final model was also their first diesel, promising to be even better than their previous releases. Two runs were made in quick succession and most of the first series sold out very quickly. 50 units of each number were built, apart from the two 'fake livery' versions of which only several units of each were produced.
Packaging consists of a thick two piece carboard box. The stiff foam used in previous products has now been replaced with a softer type which has a tendency to snag some of the details - so make sure you wrap the model in the provided clear plast wrap sheet. To protect the model from damage, it is screwed on to a plastic cradle from the bottom with hex bolts into the chassis and an Allen key is included to remove the model. These models no longer come with a users manual, only a small card with the DCC functions and a brief diagram of the model. Interestingly English language is no longer offered. There are no extra detail pieces included in the box (asides from the ones that fall off the model which happens all too frequently with these models), however the decorated unit # 0010 comes with the badge to be installed by the owner.
The details are what we've come to expect from Charming, reproduced to an unbelievably fine level and they look superb. That is, when they're attached to the model. Assembly of said details doesn't seem to have been particularly careful and all of my units have at least a few parts which have detatched. Charming claim these models have over 600 parts. I estimate 90% of these to be microscopic and about 10% of them are loose, just waiting to wriggle free and be lost forever. Handle with extreme care. Oh - and a word to the wise; Do not touch the uncoupling rod at either end of the locomotive just above the coupler. This is a three-piece detail part and it is not glued together. It is instead held together by calm pleasing thoughts and dreams. Any form of contact will see it collapse in a tangled mess which will take (literally) hours to put back together again and that is providing you manage to find the centre piece after it silently launches itself through the air. Don't ask me how I know.
The China Rail logos applied to the sides are stunning, complete with rivet holes. Given Charming's usual attention to detail, I was looking forward to seeing separate metal numbers on the car sides and ends, however they've taken the easy way out and just painted the road numbers on instead. The rest of the paint is very nicely applied, sharp lines and evenly coated. Each road number sports specific details. Some have the earlier darker green/cream or the modern green/white livery. Select models have roof mounted air-conditioners and one example interestingly only has a single air-conditioner unit on one end. Bogie detail is incredibly beautiful, made up of a huge amount of separate parts.
Unfortunately, the fun ends in the performance area. Yes, the motor is quiet and powerful and electrical pick up is nigh on perfect, however there are two major faults. The first is that the wheel base is simply too long with not enough tolerance to work through moderately sharp points. This means a guaranteed derailment on my #4 Peco points. Secondly, there was a design flaw in the mechanism which produces an unacceptable 'hopping' motion as it rolls down the track. In some versions this is not as noticeable as others and if you're really lucky, you may not notice it at all (or maybe not until you read this report!). The flaw only seems to affect one bogie. What really hurts however is Charming Models apparent lack of interest in fixing the model, unlike how they've handled their previous products. This leaves a very sour taste in the mouth and I will certainly be far more cautious before buying any more future products from this company (although rumours are they may not make any further products with the cancellation of the ND3 class diesel as well as their apparent change in direction as a company to begin a layout museum similar to Miniatur Wunderland in Germany). I will of course be happy to amend this report if they decide to adjust their attitude towards their customers.
These models use an ESU Lok Sound V4.0 sound decoder and hosts a very impressive array of genuine sound effects. As usual the sounds are very nice, and yes - as in previous other releases, Charming have no problem deafening you when you start it up for the first time. One of my cats needs a pacemaker fitted after I fired up my NY7 in fairly close proximity to her. Asides from the engine throttle noises, there are the usual coupler attach and detatch, pneumatic systems, generators, oil pumps, flange squeal and brakes. There are also some voices from the crew, level crossing alerts and station announcements (initially these locomotives were designed for freight service, but were often thrown into passenger service when required). The crew and station noises are a bit of a pain as they go on for a very long time and can't be interupted, save from lifting the locomotive off the rails; not easy if you have overhead wiring installed.
The 'special' feature of the NY6/7 diesels is of course the smoke unit, not the first equipped to a Chinese locomotive - that honour goes to Orangutan's DF4 series models, but certainly this is the first quality unit. The smoke output is synchronised to the power output and is really stunning to behold, especially on the NY6 versions with four exhausts! Unfortunately Charming were banned by Chinese customs from exporting the models with a small vial of oil and this must be purchased separately by the owner. As all the units were tested however, there should be enough residue in the sponge for a few goes before it runs dry. The smoke can be turned on or off via your DCC system (function '3'). The smoke unit works very effectively and is easily replenished with smoke fluid using a pipette into any of the exhausts. They only require a few drops and excessive filling can damage the smoke unit irreparably.
These models feature a huge array of lighting effects including headlights, ditch lights, running and directional markers, sparking brake shoes, cab and now for the first time - gauge lights, I kid you not. All are of course able to be turned off individually. Light colours are genuine and the effects are simply superb. As mentioned above however, you will need to learn Chinese to find out what function does as the manual no longer provides English descriptions.
There are a number of screws on the underframe to remove the shell, should you feel the need to do so. As these are very delicate models, I have resisted the urge to open mine to date.
Not required. The model comes with genuine scale head Kadee couplers couplers and as these are my couplers of choice, I haven't needed to test any others.