XL25B Class Baggage Car
The 25 series passenger cars were built to replace the 22 series. The 25B series were non-air-conditioned carriages and were built between 1992 and 2010. Many are still in use today, although not in as great numbers as their air-conditioned cousins, the 25G. Compared to the 22 series, they were larger, rated for higher speed and had improved brakes. The XL25B baggage cars can be found all over the country and often spliced into air-conditioned trains.
Orangutan released a total number of eighteen road numbers of 25XL. These were a very welcome addition as at the time there was no other modern baggage car type. Orangutan made most variants in the common green/yellow or red/orange/grey livery as well as a couple of very rare liveries. Production numbers were limited between 300 and 50 units per road number and as such, some types - particularly the special livery versions, are incredibly difficult to find.
The cars are mainly plastic with the roof, body and floor as separate sections. The feature chemically darkened metal wheels and NEM coupler boxes. They are typically very well assembled, although a few examples I've found have some minor air gaps between the roof and body. I feel uncomfortable gluing these together as I like to be able to access the interior of the cars from time to time.
The cars are sold in a 2 piece hard clear plastic case with the models supported in a soft two-piece plastic support with paper insert, unusual for HO scale models. There are some small pieces of soft sheet plastic and a foam sheet to protect against paint damage while stored or during shipping, however despite this there are still some scuff marks which appeared somewhere between the factory and my possession. The packaging works very well, however the type of plastic used is prone to cracking so they should be handled/stored with care. No instructions or schematics are provided.
The XL25B's are very nice models and feature extremely good details. Some notable features include metal handrails, flush windows, etched metal end gates and lots of under carriage details. The interior is moderately detailed with grooved floors and crew compartments. The doors are non-functional and the windows sit flush with the body work. The bogies have a nice depth and a good amount of detail.
There are plenty of roof details with lots of air vents, heat exhaust and weld lines. The paint work is excellent with very sharp lines and a nice matt finish. The lettering is equally excellent and some of it is incredibly small such as, yet perfectly readable. The data panels on the car ends and warning labels on the car doors is particularly worth mention.
The cars are nicely weighted and run very freely, better than most passenger cars I have. A couple of the axles had a bit less resistance than the others, but this was a fairly easily fixed by wearing them in a bit.
All of the Orangutan XL25B's are equipped with interior lighting. They are supplied with electricity from copper plates on the inner walls of the bogies which remain hidden when in operation. I like the copper plate system Orangutan have used where the axles rotate inside them, rather than the common brush type which others, notably Bachmann, use. I find the resistance on the wheels is a lot less allowing them to roll better and are far less prone to damage and dirt build up. Unfortunately they are not fitted with a capacitor so are prone to flickering as the cars roll over rail joints, points, or dirt, etc. The LED light color is bright whitish blue, representing fluorescent lighting which is fitted to some cars. It is a bit bright for my liking, but this can be fairly easily diffused.
The couplers have NEM boxes which pivot as the cars navigate bends, in similar fashion to practically all the Chinese passenger car models from all manufacturers. They are fitted with fairly low quality plastic knuckle couplers. They are functional, however the trip pins twist with little pressure and the shafts are fairly flimsy, not to mention air gaps between carriages which are a bit on the wide side. I have replaced mine with Fleischmann couplers for the most part (part 6515 or 386515) which solve all of the problems. I also have a Kadee #19 to connect to locomotives as my entire locomotive fleet is equipped with Kadee knuckle couplers.