Piko German V 60 diesel switcher

Model of a six-wheel yard locomotive
Piko V 60 locomotive
Marc Horovitz

Gauge 1 model of a German V 60 diesel switcher
Piko (Germany)
Piko America
4610 Alvarado Canyon Road
San Diego CA 92120
Price: $269.99
Website: www.piko-america.com

Mostly plastic model of a German, six-wheel yard locomotive (#37520); diecast, spoked wheels, articulated frame for tight-radius curves; 10 power-pickup points, directional lighting; interior cab detail; ready for Piko plug-and-play DCC and sound; minimum radius, 24"; all axles driven; hook-and-loop couplers. Dimensions: length over end beams, 14"; width, 4¾"; height, 7¼". Weight, 7 pounds

Pros: Excellent paint and graphics; high fidelity to prototype; able to negotiate extremely tight curves; high level of detail; excellent operating characteristics; ready for plug-and-play DCC
and sound; alternate center-buffer end beams provided

Cons: Engine must use proprietary Piko DCC and sound; engine must have DCC for sound to work; instructions could be more comprehensive
Piko V 60 locomotive
Marc Horovitz
Piko V 60 locomotive
Marc Horovitz
Piko V 60 locomotive
Marc Horovitz
In the early 1950s, Germany found itself short of switch engines to work its extensive railroad yards. A new class of locomotive, initially called the V 60 (but later given various other classifications) was rapidly developed. It was put into production by a variety of different builders, including Krupp, Krauss-Maffei, Mak, and Henschel. A total of 942 of these locomotives were built. Some eventually found their way to other European countries, including Yugoslavia and Norway. When I have visited Germany in the past, these engines seemed to be everywhere.
Piko's model captures well the character of the prototype. While the manual that comes with the engine claims it is 1:22.5 scale, its length is very close to 1:29, although other dimensions seem to vary somewhat. In fact, it is a model of a standard-gauge locomotive, so 1:29 scale is in keeping with current conventions for standard-gauge models.

This is a big engine. It is 14" long and weighs in at 7 pounds. It has a wheelbase of nearly 7". However, Piko has articulated the chassis, which will allow the engine to go around excruciatingly sharp curves. It looks much better, though, when operated on more prototypical radii.

A rudimentary owner's manual is provided. This outlines basic features and operation. In the back are exploded drawings of all assemblies. There are no directions for disassembly-only the exploded drawings. Disassembly sequence is left for the user to figure out. I.e., how does one get access to the electronics board? Perhaps this is covered with the DCC set, if you choose to purchase it.

The engine is finished to a high standard, with an excellent paint job. Even the tiniest lettering is clear and clean, though you'll need a magnifier to read it. Directional lighting is standard, with LEDs suppling the lights. The cab is fully detailed, with the driver glued in place. The detail level on the rest of the engine is relatively high but the details are robust. Handrails are made of a flexible plastic to resist damage from handling and mishaps. LGB-style hook-and-loop couplers are provided as standard. No other options are supplied. Couplers are pivoted and sprung, also for short-radius curves. The end beams have two unsprung buffers. Alternate end beams with single, center buffers-also unsprung-are also supplied.

The prototype has a rigid frame with six spoked wheels connected by side rods, steam-locomotive fashion. These are powered by a jackshaft. As mentioned above, Piko has articulated the frame of the model for sharp curves. Four wheels are in one half, while the jackshaft and remaining wheels are in the other. Both sections pivot under the body of the engine. On straight track and gentle curves, this articulation is not noticeable. A single, 24V motor powers all wheels and there are 10 electrical pickup points-all the wheels plus four sliders. It might be possible to remove the sliders if you find them visually offensive, and still have plenty of pickup points. An interesting feature of this engine is that its wheel flanges are painted black. Why this was done is a mystery. Perhaps it was to visually minimize the fact that the flanges are over-deep. Only time will tell how long this paint will tay on.

In operation, performance is very good. The engine runs smoothly and quietly. Top speed is fairly high for a switcher, but that's no problem. Slow-speed operation is excellent-the locomotive will just creep along. Its steam-engine-like spoked wheels and side rods make it fascinating to watch in action. If a standard-gauge German prototype will fit well into your railway plans, this locomotive is definitely a good one to consider.
Piko V 60 locomotive
Marc Horovitz
Don't miss the exclusive video of Piko's V 60 diesel switcher!


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