Monthly Archives: July 2016

To Ebay or Not to Ebay? That is the question!

This has happened to us all, we miss out on a Marklin release perhaps due to life’s many complications and distractions. Now the item is “sold out at the factory” and no longer available. For those who see gaps in their collections they would like to fill there is the secondary market, but first check out all the dealers that are on your radar, they may have that train you want behind the counter thus “dealer old stock” can still be found and had.

A few online auctions sites exist online including the site we all know that goes by the name ‘Ebay”. I was inspired to add a post because it occurred to me that much has been addressed by Ebay to curb unhappy buying experiences, but listings for Marklin ‘Z’ that don’t seem to me to be good deals linger. We as buyers need to apply common sense when reviewing items from afar having to base buying decisions on a written description and photos. Here are a couple of pointers based on my experience:

  1. If the seller tells you more about the box than the contents something might be wrong with the loco or train. One recent example was a trainset, the seller went into elaborate detail about the box (whole paragraph) and the only statement about the trainset was that it was ‘fine’ even after asking for specifics. And the single photo did not help either.
  2. ‘New’ is a catch all describing the best possible condition but sometimes it is mixed in with descriptions with phrases like “it appears to be in unused condition.” People who get caught up in the new condition box being checked and not read the text might be in for disappointment.
  3. Closely examine exploded views of photos as part of the description, I have looked at auctions that list an item as ‘new’, but the large viewing photos show 3 years of dust and maybe broken parts. Carefully examine those photos for what they really tell you.
  4. One blurry photo, single word description and ‘no return policy’ these are the auctions to stay away from.
  5. Sometimes a well informed buyer is looking at auctions listed by a misinformed seller. There are a lot of these on Ebay, through no fault of their own sellers maybe selling the collection of a relative or a lot they acquired from who knows where. Marklin knowledge takes years to acquire and bidding on auctions may require applying your experise.
  6. The best buys come from trusted sources that are dealers with Marklin knowledge who base their living on selling Marklin. The worst deals are sometimes sellers who have 10-30 Marklin items who move onto the next thing after selling those. And who you may never buy from again because who needs another tube sock or funny hat. Disclaimer: the latter might yield a really good deal for those with Marklin knowledge. Work out at the gym and hone your Marklin knowledge in your spare time!! Life without risk can be boring!
  7. Lots of photos are better than lots of text! A listing can include up to 12 so carefully look at them all for what they show versus what you want them to show.

Cautionary tale: just as I am writing this post in comes my Wife with a box containing the complete Marklin z Amtrak coach set: 8760- 8765. I bought this from a trusted dealer, and they described them as ‘new’, but what I received are boxes with magic marker writing and coaches with various defects: 1 with a broken truck and 2 missing 3 wheelsets and others with marked roofs! So this nonsense came happen to us all including myself who is trying to help and advised others about buying on Ebay:(

Special note: Ebay offers a “Money Back Guarantee” to protect buyers even for auctions without a return policy, you will have to expend time and energy but you will be protected up to certain limits.

4th Quarter 2016 release of the new “Krokodil” – 88563

The Swiss ‘Krokodil’ in scale model railroading is identified more than any other as a ‘Marklin’ model, Marklin produces it in all scales, it appears in their marketing as much as the German equivalent class E94, and its continuous appearance in the Marklin Z catalog since 1979 further reinforces Marklin’s dedication to this prototype.

The articulated Swiss loco type is a fascination for all railroaders: train spotting or model collecting. As a model in ‘Z’ it faithfully reproduces the action of the dual set of side rod wheel sets found in the prototype.

As for its history in ‘Z’ we begin in 1979 with the 8856: green paint scheme presented in the original mini-club wood-grain box. Four versions of the 8856 were produced ending in 2010 with a 5 pole motor version.

The 8852 version in brown paint scheme was produced 1983 – 1990. One other individual release was the totally lovely 2013 Nuremberg Toy Fair 88561 in black paint scheme.

In various intervening years the Krokodil was sold in train sets starting with 8115 “125 Jahre Rotes Kreuz” set that commemorated the 125 year anniversary of the Red Cross in Switzerland. Other sets included the 81423 “Schweizer Guterverkehr” Swiss goods transport set and 81433 “KNIE” circus train set. Along came the unique set 88888 “150 Jahre Marklin”: deluxe illustrated carton with two Krokodil’s including one New York Central ‘fantasy’ loco in white with copper patinated color scheme on roof.

For the first time Marklin is offering some new features in this newly updated version with item number 88563. Updated features include LED’s, hidden catenary screw, new road number, and correct Swiss headlamp/marker light changeover. This Era II class Ce 6/8 III electric locomotive is scheduled for release at the end of 2016, it will be one of the big highlights in mini-club history for this loco type in 37 years.

Marklin has this listed as a “limited run.”

Siding: early ‘Krokodil’s” with 3 pole motors can be upgraded with 5 pole motor part #211904.

Marklin train set 81411: BR V 31 loco and hoppers

The 81411 train set was released as a 1997 One Time Series by Marklin for their MHI Program thus finding itself on the cusp of the future transition to the 5 pole motor. No fear the 5 pole motor upgrade is easy with this locomotive type: part number is E211903. Locomotive comes with 4 hinged roof hoppers for the transport of limestone these cars are classified as Tds Seitenentladewagens with various road numbers. Here is a train set that features weathering, one of the few I might add, but this weathering is lightly applied around the hinged roof covers in the form of lime dust. The weathering appears to have been applied with an airbrush in a separate application over the printing: very good! Attractive train sets are abundant in Marklin Z, but one cannot have enough! I like this set very much, it worked great right out of the box with the original 3 pole motor, but I opted for upgrading to 5 pole which was very easy to do. Motor upgrades are pretty easy on locos without side rods with few exceptions including multi unit sets. Great detail and color plus the less common “Lollo” locomotive make this a great set to add to a collection. At least the color of the loco and its type make it different than everything else.


81411- HEG train set that includes loco and 4 hinged roof hoppers with light weathering, MHI One Time Series 1997.

Siding: Original 3 pole motor can be upgraded to 5 pole with part #E211903.

Marklin BR 218 in Z! What else?

The German BR 218 diesel locomotive includes numerous variants following the 1968 reclassification of the V 164. Six of those variations produced in Z by Marklin are included here. Many versions of a Marklin Z loco suggest to me many fans of this prototypical class otherwise Marklin would have produced some other loco instead. A relatively short rather boxy locomotive with trim ends describes this loco in short order, but what makes this loco so cool is all of that and more. A compact and I dare say elegant locomotive that was appealing to its engineers as a quiet alternative to steam engines, and a generally good locomotive to be assigned to if your career was as a coveted engineer, at least to me. 2500- 2800 horsepower isn’t bad coupled with multiple gear ratios thus giving this loco the stature of ‘multi-class’ locomotive. A long history is one way to mark success, of the nearly 400 built many are still in operation throughout Germany: 40+ years (*nearly 50 but who’s counting). And that’s 7 days a week most weeks for those 40+ years! Happy belated birthday old friend!


  1. 81782- H.F. WIEBE, former class 218, privately owned and lettered for the firm H.F. WIEBE. Originally sold as part of a train set with rolling stock lettered for H.F. WIEBE. Sold through Conrad Electronics in an edition of 500.
  2. 88786- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 320-0, ocean blue and beige paint scheme
  3. 88787- DB AG, BR 218, operating number 218 260-8, current ‘traffic red’ paint scheme,        Era VI, One Time Series 2013


4. 8878- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 438-0, Era IV, Marklin Program: 1988-2008                   5. 8879- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 104-8, Era IV, Marklin Program: 1989-2004                   6. 8880- DB, BR 218, experimental paint scheme, operating number 218 217-8, Era IV, Marklin Program: 1990-1999

_DSF9738 _DSF9746

Quiz: Can you name the locos?

Marklin BR 216 locomotive diesel class

Marklin produced 4 BR 216’s in Z, this post includes two newer versions: one an ‘Insider’ Model and the other an ‘MHI-One Time Series Release’ from 2013.  The class 216 follows the reclassification of locos in Germany in 1968 thus the 216 is the former class V 160. Modifications to class V 160’s included bumped out ends thus making for an arguably more attractive loco along with internal improvements that included changing from steam heat to electrically generated heat for coaches, it followed that certain exterior changes were also made including roof equipment and sides; the elliptical window which was characteristic of the BR V 160 disappeared, I would deduce that it was appealing but impractical. But some BR V 160’s simply had a name change and others found their way to private industry.


  1. 88783- BR 216, Era IV, operating number 216 199-0, Insider Model 2011, One Time Series
  2. 88784- BR 216, Era IV, operating number 216 188-3, MHI Release 2013, One Time Series


Two locos that are easy on the eyes!

Introduction: Marklin’s BR V 160 + 216 + 218 in Z

One of favorite Z type locos are the diesels: BR V160, BR 216 and BR 218 and their variants. A technical consideration for railroaders operating a layout of German prototype, you won’t find a better and more satisfactory runner than these with the 3 pole or 5 pole motors, they are perfection and even feature LED lighting with trailing lights to boot. There are real bargains to be had with many of these models on the secondary market, and of course a 5 pole motor upgrade is another consideration that is very easy to perform with this loco type. Overall there are three types that fit this category with sides and paint schemes that boast the obvious variations, but let’s not overlook roof details with variously shaped vents and stacks as well as color changes which yield 4 general variations in this interesting Z group.


from left to right:

  1. BR V 160 with operating number V 160 003
  2. BR 216 with operating number 216 188-3
  3. BR 218 (without stacks) with operating number 218 320-0
  4. BR 218 (with stacks) with operating number 218 217-8

A close look into the grills and ends of lovely diesel locos starts with these locomotives classes due in part to paint schemes of mixed variety. And private industry offered bit parts in this illustrious history.


from left to right:

  1. 8866- DB, BR V 160 “Lollo,”operating number V 160 003
  2. 81411- HEG, former BR V 160, operating number BR V 31
  3. 88782- DB, BR 216 (following 1968 German loco reclassification),                                           operating number 216 005-9
  4. 88785- DB, BR V 160 “Lollo,” operating number V 160 005 *note the brighter grill than that of 8866


5. 88784- DB, BR 216, operating number 216 188-3                                                                                  6. 88783- DB, BR 216, operating number 216 199-0


7. 81782 (starter set)- H.F. WIEBE, former class 218, privately owned with no operating number    8. 8880- DB, BR 218, experimental paint scheme, operating number 218 217-8                                 9. 88786- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 320-0


10. 88787- DB AG, BR 218, operating number 218 260-8                                                                         11. 8879- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 104-8                                                                                  12. 8878- DB, BR 218, operating number 218 438-0


Marklin weathering: experts in Z!

Marklin has released ‘weathered’ rolling stock before, but the weathering on a current release of 10 cars is so good it deserves special praise. Those 10 cars are none other than the GI 11 boxcars for the DB in three versions: 82175- 82178 type GI 11 without hand brake, 82261- 82263 type GI 11 with brakeman’s cabin, and 82264- 82266 type GI 11 with brakeman’s platform. In 2014 Marklin released these same cars lettered for the DB in a 10 set pack without weathering, they showed off Marklin’s excellence in injection molded plastic; you can see all the bolts and planks that built the prototype along with crisp lettering throughout: car set 82559 is long sold out but some are still available from some of the Ebay listed dealers. The 10 individual cars this post is dedicated to is currently out of production (short shelf life for these beauties!!!), but Walthers still has them in stock! The weathering is coal soot from the loco and other floating dust and grime from many miles traveling the rails. Authentic to the prototype, this weathering is applied to the lower extremities of the cars in varying thickness and spread: no two are the same! I would to see more of Marklin’s obvious weathering skills applied to other locos and rolling stock thus making the world one step closer to being complete and true! Bravo to Marklin!


Three car types from set 82559 side by side with the newly released heavily weathered same car types.

Siding: wheel sets are also complemented with authentic weathering. Wheel sets from Marklin Z rolling stock can be similarly weathered and aged using an airbrush with water based pigment, they simply unclip from the chassis, hold them in place and give each a light swipe from the airbrush gun!

Marklin Insider Club Membership

Just received my Marklin Insider membership renewal. Prices keep going up all the time, but not Marklin Insider membership which has gone down $10 bucks, it is now $99 a year and includes the club car, insider loco reservation form, and Marklin Magazin and Insider News Magazine subscriptions. You also get the annual catalog. But you also get the DVD’s “Year with Marklin 1 and 2.” I look forward to the DVD’s with much anticipation, the episodes include much background on German rail through presentations of museums, hobbyist layouts , and more. But the ‘Bonus’ track includes cab rides with the latest including a 3 hour cab ride in Switzerland’s “Glacier Express.”

88731 Max Liebermann special repair notes that deserve consideration!!!

The Max Liebermann class 601 special one time series from 1997 is a two locomotive set that deserves a special highlight with regards to any under the hood repair. I just upgraded mine with new 5 pole motors, and it deserves some special considerations before you might consider doing the same. As with others in this series, Marklin continued to make changes and improvements including more durable couplers that allowed less gap between coaches and locos thereby making some parts non interchangeable between the 1st release of this loco type #8873 (DB) and the second release 88731 (DR). Those non interchangeable parts include the circuit boards and couplers all other parts are interchangeable through the series. The first coupler designed for the 8873 was a plastic clip with electrically conductive brass under spring tension, cars and powered end cars were simply pushed together gently until clip engaged with post located inside each car. The 88731 used a new design coupler that was flat with electrically conductive brass surrounding it and more surface area for electric transfer than the 8873. The new coupler necessitated the elimination of the center post in each car end which thereby led to a newly designed circuit board that would accept the newly designed couplers.

Please note before you make the motor upgrade to this set there are two distinguishing  remarks I would like to make that might be helpful: 1. one loco coupler is semi-permanent, it needs to be carefully released from the clip that holds it in place. Use gently pressure to wriggle up the opening in the loco shell and with little pressure slide out coupler. *Other coupler will simply slide out at the normal 90 degree angle that is used to couple cars and locos together in this set.  2. Marklin did not have their heads on straight when they assembled my set, they soldered the circuit board whiskers directly to the motor wires. I am not sure if this was widely done with this set, but this is the first I have seen it. In order to change the motor or do a strip down cleaning and re-oiling 4 solder points need to be removed (2 each powered end car). *Do not attempt to remove circuit board without removing the solder points first, motor is held in place under circuit board mounting plates held in place with 7 screws, it is impossible to remove motor and circuit board at the same time. In order to remove solder points heat them up with iron and pull wires away, remove any roughness of solder left on wires by gently heating residual solder with iron, bend wires back in place to make contact with new motor wires. *The down side to this repair are several opportunities to break parts or melt plastic parts with soldering iron. Not all three pole motors need to be replaced and maybe this is one.

Speaking from experience with a couple of 8873 sets, couplers used in this train work great, I have never had one break or malfunction.

“Good night, and good luck.”  -Edward R. Murrow

“Lollo” that’s the name! or BR V 160 for sure!

“Lollo” is the cutest nickname for a hardworking diesel locomotive, but what’s in the name? The loco was nicknamed “Lollo” as an apparent allusion to the actress Gina Lollobrigida and because of the apparent shapely front end of the loco (?). After a quick google search, I told my Wife about the nickname given to this loco, my Wife rolled her eyes when hearing that a loco would be named after an Italian sex symbol; one wonders what else is named ‘Lollo”?

Thus far to the best of my knowledge Marklin has produced 4 variations of the V 160: 3 individual releases and 1 with a train set. Note: two of these locos were renamed in 1968 following Germany’s new classification thus they are technically BR 216’s.


from top:

  1. 8866- German Federal Railroad (DB) BR V 160 pre-production general purpose diesel locomotive. Operating number V 160 003. Era III (1962). Originally sold with 3 pole motor. Build date: 1990-1994.
  2. 88785- German Federal Railroad (DB) BR V 160 pre-production general purpose diesel locomotive. Operating number V 160 005. Era III (1962). Current catalog.
  3. 88782- German Federal Railroad (DB) BR 216 005-9 former BR V 160 reclassified in 1968 as BR 216. Operating number 216 005-9. Build date: 2005-2008.
  4. 81411- HEG – Hersfelder Eisenbahn GmbH privately owned former BR 216, operating number BR V 31. Sold as part of train set 81411 which included loco and 4 hinged roof hoppers. Originally sold with 3 pole motor. Build date: 1997. One Time Series for MHI (Marklin Handlers Initiative).


Photo: the new “Lollo” with bright new grill is second from right!!!

*Note: LED’s on all these locos with warm white and red lamps that change over with direction of travel. Great feature found on all versions of this loco type even with the early ones!!!!! And they are superb runners!

Siding 1: 8866 and 81411 can be upgraded with E211903 5 pole motor.

Siding 2: check out the cool elliptical window that disappeared following modifications to the V 160.

Siding 3: In 1968 the V 160 was reclassified as BR 216, V 162 became BR 217 and V 164 was reclassified BR 218. A very informative Wikipedia page is dedicated to the V 160 that fans should check out.