A few years ago, a Chinese manufacturer announced a range of G-Scale products. Although met with initial hesitation due to quality concerns, these appear to have made their way into numerous collections across the world. They’re known as Newqida (a company that historically made model RC cars) but uses the “Train” brand on the box that can make them difficult to find.
The main selling point is certainly price. With a new tank wagon from Piko costing over €100 (and discontinued LGB items still going for a similar price on eBay) it can feel cost prohibitive to grow the collection. The entire range of stock from Newqida comes in at a significantly lower price at what I’d consider a good value.
I’ve bought a few Newqida items so far – primarily from eBay from a seller called blity. These were priced at €27.50 each (~£25) (plus shipping) with a slight discount for buying a group of 3. He lists quite a few Newqida products and has sold passenger carriages and flatbeds in the past.
At a price point that many in our hobby may consider “too good to be true” I thought I’d share my thoughts on the products with a brief review.
The packaging is plain and doesn’t quite give that same excited feeling you get with the big red box of the LGB brand. The cardboard feels less sturdy than the premium counterparts. Inside, the contents held by plastic which appears effective in keeping everything protected.
Looks & Aesthetics
The tanker is modelled after the common two-axel tanker wagons often branded by the oil companies. The Newqida Tank Wagon is very similar The LGB 4040 range had several variants (Esso, Shell, BP to name a few.) The Newqida stock also has a range different fictional brands although the liveries may look familiar shall we say (Shall, DB).
In terms of aesthetics they do have a plasticky shine to them that definitely suggests plastic more than the metal prototype they’re meant to represent.
Candidly, I was positive surprised by the quality when I first opened them. The wagon have a reasonable amount of detailing include a break handle and break pipes at one end, moulted wood on the walkways, plastic ladders and an opening valve. The detail of the the prints are also fair from a distance.
Running & Functionality
I had very few problems running these wagons and although I can’t claim to have the infamous LGB “test track” our apartment does necessitate the use of R1 curves and points. Generally operation was good although I had a few instances of struggling to run back through points set to the opposing track although this was inconsistent. I suspect this was primarily down the weight as it weighs only 375g.
The wagons come with hook and loop couplers with a hook only at one end. Members of the GScaleCentral.net forums have reported the spring for the hook can be brittle and may need replacing but after a few months of (albeit intermittent) running I’ve not have any problems.
Unlike the LGB or Piko equivalents, you’re unable to store any liquid in them (I remember being amazed at this as a kid). The sections that make up the tank are only pushed together and not sealed so when you try filling it with water you’ll see it very quickly drain out the seams at the bottom.
LGB has long proclaimed the high quality of it’s UV resistant plastic a necessity for those of us that enjoying running the railways outside. Although the box does state the product is for outdoors and indoors, I can’t verify the quality of the plastic.
As can be expected at this price point the wheels are plastic but are easy to swap with metal ones if desired. I’ve been using the ones from Bachmann and Liliput (allegedly the same physical product) which adds weight and, very subjectively, seems to result in better running (or it may be just be the clickity-clack I’m enjoying). Out of the box they come with the disk rather than spoked style wheels.
My main reason for buying them was to modify (or kit-bash) them. In growing our railway. we’re keen to have a few custom wagons with a nod to places, companies and locations important to use. These were purchased with the intention of converting to 3 milk wagons representing local dairy farms. Given the price, with 3 costing less than 70% of the price of a Piko wagon new, the seem like a good place to start. I’ll write separately on that topic.
For the price, they’re exceptionally good value and I’m content to run them on my railway. For anyone wanting to quickly and cheaply expand their rolling stock fleet or looking for a good starting point for kit-bashing. Running reliability is good (but not great) and time will tell how they handle the rigours a garden railway can face (sun, rain, children.)