C70 Class Gondola
The C70 class hopper was an improvement over the hugely popular C64 class appearing in late 2005. Like their predecessors, they are transport a wide range of cargo from containers, coal, ballast and general goods. While almost identical in dimensions and appearance, the C70's have an increased load capacity of 70 tons. They are rated to a maximum speed of 120kph. The class were initially painted in an attractive dark blue livery, however this was quickly replaced with standard black as the blue paint was found to fade rapidly when in service.
Link Model's C70 are a little known model that almost slipped under the radar. My sample was kindly provided by Steven Buljubasic of Sydney. These are not to be confused with the much nicer C70 class hopper by XingXing. They are made of plastic asides for a metal plate added for weight.
Packaging consists of a glossy cardboard box with some remarkable Engrish, which deteriorates with every opening/closing and a two piece clear plastic clam shell inner. This piece is possibly the best thing about this model, so that should give you an idea of where we're heading.
The model details are very basic with no undercarriage detail. Side panelling is OK with the door and brace details relatively sharp. Rather than go for micro drilled holes for metal hooks, Link model instead decided to be revolutionary and replace these with large hollowed out squares in the sides (I don't get it either). There are no steps, ladders, air hoses or even a brake wheel - just more these of these large hollowed out squares where they should attach to. Lettering is pale, patchy and blurry. In some places it seems that they've had a few attempts at it.
The most obvious problem with these cars is body warp. These are the first plastic HO scale models I have ever seen with a three dimensional body twist. It doesn't matter what angle you look at them from, it just stares at you in the face... mocking you. I've noticed a number of small air pockets in the plastic body shell also.
The interior holds a metal weight inside which is screwed onto the floor. A separate plastic floor panel is provided which flops about at various angles as it can't sit flat thanks to the screw heads holding the weight in place. There is a removable coal load provided, ala-Bachmann C64K style, with minimal detail. Unmodified, the edges sit above the sides of the car which makes it look somewhat hilarious. If you're one of the lucky ones, you may also find the coal load is about 4-5mm's too short in length (Steven's other examples have this novel feature).
The wheel sets have acceptable detail and are attached to the body with screws. It would have been nice if they could have screwed both wheel sets dead centre. The wheels themselves are made from metal and are chemically darkened. They are also seriously out of gauge. These can be pushed to the correct dimensions with a moderate amount of force.
Initially the wheels on mine were out of gauge leading to derailments on my test track. But as mentioned above, this was really the least of my problems. The weight is screwed to the floor of the car at an uneven angle and the bogies are also unevenly positioned in an almost opposite direction. What ensues is many hours of side splitting laughter as you watch it wobble its way down the track like one of those googly-head dolls that sit on the dashboard of a car.
The model is equipped with plastic knuckle couplers, with the coupler heads being somewhat oversized. They are somewhat compatible with other knuckle coupler types such as Bachmann EZ-Mates or Kadee's. The coupler box will accommodate most Kadee types for a replacement, however I suspect any modellers with a modicum of self respect will not even bother wasting a perfectly good set of couplers on one of these.