Model railways: what's hot in 2021

Header_Model railways what's hot in 2021
battery-operated ICE 3 by Märklin
The battery-operated ICE 3 by Märklin is suitable for children as young as three years old thanks to its easy-to-use magnetic couplings 

At BrandNew, Märklin presented countless H0 novelties (scale mostly 1:87) for children as well as for adults. The Märklin my world starter sets with plastic tracks, an infrared remote control and a battery-operated locomotive are suitable for children from the age of three. The locomotives and cars are connected via child-friendly magnetic couplings. What is new are the Port Logisticsstarter set and a five-piece ICE 3. For children aged 6 and over, the Märklin Start up range with starter sets includes the usual Märklin C-tracks for power supply and the digital control of the vehicles. Adolescents and adults can go full throttle with the TGV Euroduplex high-speed train, which is 102 cm long in the basic set and which can be extended to 275 cm with four sets of two double-decker cars each. To TGV Video. (Märklin Germany)

Filigree motorized crane arm

track vehicle by  Viessmann
Intricate H0 model of the ROBEL track vehicle 54.22 with motorised crane arm by  Viessmann

The 40 cm long track tamping machine Unimat 09-4x4/4S from Märklin has all it needs to become the functional model highlight of the year. It has numerous sounds, an electrically powered pantograph and a motorised replica of the ballast compaction that takes place during track construction work. Many new Märklin H0 products are also being produced for two-wire tracks under the Trix brand. (Märklin Germany)

Viessmann has brought out the ROBEL track vehicle 54.22 in the Aarsleff version as an H0 functional model for two-wire track systems. The 13.4 cm long track construction vehicle has a motorised crane arm despite its flat design and offers a wide variety of working sounds. (Viessmann Germany)

Imaginatively designed buildings and landscapes

Agricultural ensemble by Busch
Agricultural ensemble in H0 from various separately available kits by Busch

Accessory manufacturers are also coming up with new detailed products. Busch, for example, is now offering an individually assemblable ensemble for H0 from the age of agricultural production cooperatives. It consists of individual construction kits with mostly pre-coloured cardboard, wood and/or plastic parts. For example, the two high silos for fodder in a concrete moulded stone look measure 245 mm. The Marienberg hallhas movable gates made of real wood. The Insemination Action Set comes with models of a cow and a working inseminator and the milk filling station with wooden hut and vending machine is also ideal for mini dioramas. (Busch GmbH & Co. KG)

Faller also presented numerous H0 buildings – ranging from an historic town house in tower design to the six-part action set Römerberg-Ostzeile town houses to two new railway stations and the complete “Bran” castle that is modelled on a fortified complex built in Transylvania in the 14th century. For enthusiasts wanting modern layouts, there is an architect's house with a slab roof or the DHL packing station with covered parcel machines. (Gebr. FALLER GmbH Germany)

maintenance hall GleisBau by kibri
maintenance hall GleisBau by kibri 

Also modern is Willingen station from the Viessmann brand Vollmer. A modern maintenance hangar for track construction is being offered under the kibri brand. The 349 mm long building kit with removable roof has pre-assembled, manually movable rolling doors. An impressive mixture of a historical building with a modern façade is the Specht wood factory kit. (Viessmann Germany with the Vollmer and kibri brands)

For individual layout design, NOCH is launching a basic landscaping equipment package consisting of grasses, flocking material, trees, adhesives and a lot more. The Easy-Track construction kit “Andreastal” lets model railway fans build tracks over several levels. The farm H0 and N in 1:87 or 1:160 scale consists of laser-cut cardboard parts and various accessories right down to tiny bird boxes. (NOCH Modell-Landschaftsbau Germany)

Motorised miniature scenes

Playful reverie with electric swing by NOCH
Playful reverie with electric swing by NOCH

More and more accessories are coming with motion functions. NOCH, for example , has a micro-motion tree with swing, where a hanging swing with a small girl swings on the branch of a mighty oak in 1:87 scale. Another motorised gadget is the individually paintable erotic dancer from Viessmann who fights against gravity on a long pole. With its “Sala Motor-Drome”, Faller has brought a wall of death motorcycle show to life as a little bit of funfair nostalgia.

Moving cars on the railway layout

Faller’s popular Car System Digital has been expanded to include an ultra-compact radio control in USB stick size. The radio master handles the communication between the ultrasonic “satellite” tracking system, the self-driving car and truck models and radio expansion modules. (Photo: Gebr. FALLER GmbH Germany)

On big tracks

Track-cleaning locomotive for garden railway use
Track-cleaning locomotive for garden railway use 

Although the most popular model railway market is still the one for size H0 that uses a 1:87 scale, large gauge models are also among those in the BrandNew product presentations. Robust locomotives were presented for the LGB garden railway system with 45 mm gauge. The spectrum ranges from a shunting locomotive to the Ge 4/4 I electric locomotive based on a Swiss model to the Amtrak F7A diesel locomotive, which can be expanded to a three-part locomotive unit 180 cm long. The new track-cleaning locomotive with motorised rotating cleaning wheels is an aid for everyday use and was modelled on a track construction machine. All the locomotives have many light functions and realistic sounds thanks to digital control. (LGB Germany)

There is also an impressive new addition to the fascinatingly detailed 1:32 scale models. The 603 mm long Swiss electric locomotive series Ce 6/8 I has been put on the tracks by Märklin. Weighing just over 6 kilograms, it comes with voluminous sound effects. (Märklin Germany)

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About the author:

Peter Pernsteiner, Engineer and freelance journalist, discovered his love of technical journalism while doing an electrical engineering degree and soon after that ended up in the editorial department of a large ICT trade journal. Since 1994, he has worked as a freelance journalist for many magazines – also in the model railway sector. In 2016, he also started up a YouTube channel for technology reports, which has since attracted worldwide attention.