XK2 Class 0-6-0t
382 S100 tanks were built by three factories during World War 2 to support the Allied war effort in Europe. After the war, much of the class were shipped all over the world, approximately 20 of each (sources vary), ended up in China. Most spent their lives or ended up in steel factories and lasted up until the late 1990's with the largest concentrations at Anshan and Benxi. Two have been preserved in China with the rest presumably scrapped.
Zhe Lu of Eisenbahn Canada had these hand-built brass XK2 tanks manufactured in Korea. There were three Chinese versions made with a total of 125 pieces. A number of S100 tanks have been built in HO scale in recent years by REE Models of France and Rivarossi, however this is the first true Chinese prototype. All versions are unique to their respective prototypes.
The packaging consists of a thick one-piece cardboard box with a foldable lid secured by small magnets. Inside the box is very thick foam surrounds. The model itself sits on a contoured aluminium plate and is wrapped in a fibrous paper and plastic sheet. It also comes with a pair of white cotton gloves to handle the model.
The details of these locomotives is insane - one of the best I have ever seen. Every conceivable part is recreated incredibly well. The amount of plumbing, pipes, airpumps, lubricators, valves and taps - some individually color coded - is very impressive on such a small locomotive. The cab interior is one of the best I have ever seen and its almost a shame that most of it is permanently hidden under the fully enclosed cab. The model features glazing on most of the cab windows.
The lettering of the number and steel works emblem is very sharp and with accurate stencil marks. The main body color is a beautiful matt finish and very even. It appears thicker on some of the components, such as the airpump. The white lining around the marker lights and headlights are a very nice touch.
Some of the screws are very visible, the most obvious being on the main rod on the third driving wheel. Other screw heads are visible under the cab floor and the one holding the chimney in place. These are far less obvious than the ones on the wheels and don't detract from the overall appearance.
The models weigh 203grams, quite hefty for such a small locomotive. The motion is silky smooth and the motor is reasonably quiet. The model is powered by a strong Swiss made Maxon motor.
The model is held together by a series of micro screws with Philips head design. They are easily accessible and easy to remove, but some are harder to replace than others. Be very careful working on these locomotives, they are small units with few places to grip them and there is a risk of damaging some of the very fine running gear. The cab can be removed to add a driver, or place a decoder by removing four small screws - two from the rear pilot beam and two underneath the cab, above the third driving wheel. The chimney can be removed by a single screw.
The models are DC powered. I haven't opened up my XK2 to find out if a plug and play decoder can be fitted. There is no plug in the gorgeously detailed cab and due to the lack of space I will assume they have no DCC plug (if any other XK2 owners can verify either way, I would be very happy to update this). Truth be told, I'm very nervous opening up such an intricate model. The locomotive has directional headlights front and rear and, unusually for modern locomotives, uses incandescent light bulbs rather than LEDs. These have been phased out from most model makers due to excessive heat, longevity and cost. The color and intensity is excellent.
The couplers look nice and I would leave them if the locomotive is to be used as a display piece. For those who wish to have working couplers, they have cleverly hidden coupler boxes. I would suggest using Kadee #158's - medium shank/scale heads with the magnetic pin removed.