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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT - Piko G Scale Starter Set

Piko Model Railways Natalie Trickett


NATALIE TRICKETT gives her perspective on a G Scale Starter Set.


I have always wanted to have a go at building a G scale layout. I love the idea of a train running around the garden for the children to enjoy, so on a whim a couple of years ago I bought a Taurus from our shop that was on special offer. Itís worth keeping an eye out for offers in the Piko range on our website as we usually have one or two locos on offer at a silly price. Unfortunately I havenít got round to actually running it for one reason or another, mostly down to my main hobby (horses) taking up any free time I have, so when I was asked to review a G scale set I jumped at the chance to finally have a go. It was a little daunting at first, I usually rope in the husband to help Ďbuildí things but wanted to do this on my own so I had a clear picture on how it all worked.

PK37100 Piko Starter Set

I chose PK37100 BR80 Freight Starter Set, it looked to me to be the one my children would most enjoy. First appearances are important to me, the packaging is professional and the product is displayed nicely so you can see what youíre buying without having to open it up. The box detailed the contents and how big the layout is when completed, and boasts no tools needed. My first thoughts were that the children would love this for Christmas; the box is probably as big as them! I didnít expect it to be as heavy as it was either!

PK37100 Piko Starter Set

The set has an RRP of £209.00 and included in the set you get:

  • 1 x BR80 Steam Locomotive (£180.00 on its own!)
  • 2 x DB Ore Wagons (Usually £45 each)
  • 1 x Set of Power Clips (Usually £1.90 each)
  • 12 x Curved track (PK35211 a full circle totaling £81 usually)
  • 1 x Transformer (usually £58)
  • 1 x Controller (Usually £53)

If you were to purchase the products individual it would set you back over £460 - So the price of the complete set is an absolute bargain at only £209.00! The size of the circle of track is 140cm x 140cm. The loco feels good quality; it doesnít feel too delicate and has a good weight to it. The paint job is fairly basic but there is some good detailing with moulded rivets and a detailed cab area. It also has working lights and there is even a driver in the cab! The valve gear is a little plasticky looking but nothing a small amount of weathering could sort out.

Piko G Scale Set

I couldnít fault its running - smooth at all speeds with no jolting or stalling, and it wasnít too noisy. This is important to me as my children are loud enough, so I avoid anything that increases the noise! Obviously you could hear it but it wasnít loud enough to be a bother.

The loco comes ready-to-run with all the axles and running gear pregreased. It has standard couplings that are compatible with all the big G scale manufacturers and you can purchase the coupling separately if needed, the part number is PK36030.

As with the locomotive, the wagons are sturdy, good quality plastic and nicely detailed. All of the transfers and the painted detail is clear and have been applied perfectly. Though the wheels are plastic they do have metal axles and it took me a while to realise they were plastic and not black metal. The underneath of the wagons are well detailed. So far I have been highly impressed with the overall quality and value of this set.

Piko G Scale Set

the track has brown plastic wooden sleepers with brass track that is weatherproof and can be left outside all year. All the different separate pieces and points are available separately, but for ease Piko do G Scale track packs which are also discounted. They do a Station Track Pack PK35300, a Siding Track Pack PK35301 and a Double Oval Pack PK35302 to expand your layout. The track is also compatible with the other big G-gauge track manufacturers.

So letís have a play!
I always read the instructions so that I don't go ploughing ahead and ending up having to redo everything! On this occasion it took less than two minutes as the instructions are fairly basic. This either meant I was going to struggle or it would be very simple! Along with the instructions there is a catalogue showing the track system, which is handy if youíre planning on expanding. There is also a spare parts manual for future maintenance.

I found the track fairly hard to push together. Itís not something older children and adults would struggle with but my 5 and 6 year old children couldnít do it without help. The track is easiest assembled flat on a table wiggling it left and right as you push it together. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy. The joints in the rails fit together very tightly and I hadnít even fitted the plastic clips underneath the track to hold it all together. I wouldíve if this was a permanent layout in the garden but for a quick play I just stuck it together on the table without them.

Piko G Scale Set

Wiring to the track couldnít be simpler either. Supplied in the set are track clips that slip under the track and screw down. These are available separately if needed (PK35270). The next step is attaching the leads coming from the track clips to the controller. The two wires are pushed into a self locking socket at the back of the controller; these sockets are colour coded so you canít go wrong! Next is wiring the power supply to the controller, again same principle applies, just match up the coloured wires to the sockets at the back. At this point youíre ready to run!

Piko G Scale Set

The set comes with a Piko single track controller that is very simple to use, and is powerful enough to take this locomotive and a fair amount of wagons. If you find at a later date that you need more power for what you are running we produce a couple of different G scale controllers, the most popular being our GMC-10LGB single track controller.

In all it took me about 40 minutes to put the whole thing together, but now I know how to do it I could probably do it in under 10 minutes. This set is ideal to stick on the table when the kids are bored, get the Playmobil out and they'll have hours of fun building it up and putting things in the ore cars! It can also be used as a starting point for the serious modeller who wants a good set and fantastic value! To sum it up the detail, quality and running of the loco is good enough for a serious modeller, and the price is low enough for the children to be able to have a play without worrying thay they are damaging hundreds of pounds worth of locos and wagons.

Natalie works in our sales office and is often referred to as the happiest person working here!

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