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1:87 Scale



B15E Class Reefer

CMR Line

Prototype Information

The B15E's came into service in the mid 2000's, all being rebuilt from older B6 class ice reefers. Rather than have ice slabs loaded into the roof, these cars were equipped with thick insulated panels and had heating, cooling, ventilation and temperature measuring equipment installed. It appears the yellow livery was applied in an effort to reflect heat and the black livery to retain heat. 

Most of these cars were quickly retired as more effective refrigeration methods became available and the B15E's were converted once again to become the PB class box cars, along with further numbers of retired B6's.


General Information


The B15E's were a bit of a surprise release, coming soon after their PB class box cars of which much of the tooling was shared. A total of sixteen road numbers were made split evenly between black or pale yellow liveries. There were rumours they would release the B6 ice reefer shortly after, but these plans appear to have been abandoned along with a number of other projects announced by CMR Line at the time. They have a metal floor and plastic shell with most detail parts being fine brass or steel. They are overall well built and are (or at least were) very good value going for anywhere between 178 and 198rmb when released.  



The wagons are packaged in standard CMR Line freight car packaging - a very thin cardboard box with clear plastic window. The model is supported with a foldable clear plastic clam shell and is further protected of paint damage and rub marks by a soft thin sheet of plastic. I am generally not a fan of CMR's approach to packaging their freight wagons as experience shows one in every ten cars will be damaged during shipping.


These were sold in four packs, however they were often split up by retailers as the models were individually boxed and were simply all held together by wrapping them in cellophane plastic. 


The main body is a one piece plastic shell that clips onto the metal frame. Mold lines are very crisp and straight with good depth. Much of the extra details form part of the main body shell, for example the mid body foot steps, doors, corrugations, waybill holder, and factory plates, however the park brake assembly, power plugs, air hoses and air vents are separately applied parts. Hand rails, uncoupling rods and some of the piping on the undercarriage are fine metal wire and the end foot steps are etched metal. The park brake uses fine metal chain rather than have it molded on as part of the shell. 


The paint work is very nice with a good sheen. Lettering including CNR Logo, data panels and road numbers are all extremely sharp and legible. The black paint on the lower portion on the yellow cars has only been applied to the front surface, so it is possible to still see pale yellow on the edges of the body work, but not a major issue and one that can be easily remedied.  


Detail on the bogies is very good for a single cast plastic piece and there is enough depth for enhanced realism. These clip into the frame. The car frame itself is a very basic metal plate with a few cross members and painted gloss black. The frame has been borrowed from CMR Line's PB class box cars and thus there is a small indentation around the door area which was needed to accommodate the working doors on those models. There is a good amount of added on detail however with air cylinders and reservoirs for the braking equipment and some extra air reservoirs, equipment boxes, piping and tanks for the refrigeration system.       



The cars have metal wheels which have been chemically darkened and feature with low flanges. They run perfectly on tested code 100, 83 and 75 track. They have a decent weight and roll extremely well. 



The B15E's come fitted with metal knuckle couplers, copies of the Kadee #5's which ran out of patent a few years back. All photos in this review show the cars fitted with my replacement #58 Kadee (medium shank, scale heads) couplers with magnetic pins removed. Kadee #158's will also work fine and as they are the whisker version, the copper plate spring won't be required. Changing couplers is simple - unscrew coupler box plate, remove stock coupler, add new coupler, screw coupler box plate back on. If you are happy with Kadee #5's, there is no point to swap couplers as they are just as good as the genuine article.  

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