by: Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse [ ]
Water cranes, or water columns, were vital equipment at any railroad stations, back in the days where locomotives were all steam powered. They were used to refill the tenders of steam locomotives, as these used a large amount of water while operating. Some of the larger cranes were able to deliver up to 10 cubic meters, around 2600 US gallons, an hour.
The water cranes were often located at the end of the station, so that refilling could take place during halts, while passengers or cargo was handled. When not in use, the cranes were swung paralleled to the tracks, so they were not in the way of trains driving by.
The kit comes in a rather long and slender box, probably only for making room for the box art, and not because of the kit parts sizes, since none of these are longer than a couple of inches at the most. The box art looks nice, but there’s no artist’s signature.
The kit consists of 50 parts molded in light grey styrene and two small sprues molded in clear styrene for the signals. In this review sample, the clear styrene sprue (Af), which contains the signal’s light bulbs, is actually missing!!! That’s really annoying, since I then have to scratch some bulbs myself, because they will be visible when the signals are constructed. There’s no instruction sheet included, but the building manual is printed on the back of the kits box.
The finished model will be 175mm tall.
The content of the box is as follows:
3 sprues in light grey styrene
2 sprues in clear styrene (1 missing in this sample)
1 length of thin string
All the molded parts are nicely cast with crisp and clear details. There are no visible ejector marks, but some of the parts have some flash, which has to be cleaned up.
The assembly is rather straight forward, with no real problems. Most of the pipes come in two halves, which, when assembled, requires some clean up to remove the seem/glue line. But be careful when doing this, because you’ve easily sand to much off, and end up with oval parts instead of round ones.
The signal lanterns are to be painted red on two of the sides, in a way, so that when positioned in use, over the tracks, they will shine red, and when not in use, they’re clear/white. Use a transparent color for this, as this will look more realistic than a “solid” color.
MiniArt has given us one paint option, which is the bottom 1/3 in black, the middle 1/3 in white and the last 1/3 and the cranes “arm” in grey. Looking through the pictures on the internet, it seems that you can paint this in an array of paint schemes, so there’s really a chance for letting your artistic license run wild.
MiniArt has produced yet another well executed item for their growing railroad series, and it’s an excellent accessory for a diorama or maybe a vignette. It will add a lot of realism to a build, as this item like this could be found on every railroad station in the world. I’m not sure if this particular design belongs in Russia, Germany or anywhere specific, though, but if anyone’s more knowledgeable, please enlighten me.