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In-Box Review
SSyms DRB Flatcar
SSyms46 DRB 14471 Köln 'Deutsche Reichsbahn'
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

SSyms46 DRB 14471 Köln "Deutsche Reichsbahn" from Artitec is an HO scale heavy duty flatcar of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, item number 20.320.02. It features styrene and metal components.

This flatcar is categorized as Epoch II. During the 1920s the Deutsche Reichsbahn (German Railroad system) commenced a modernization and standardization program, the Verbandsbauarten. Similar to America's United States Railroad Administration (USRA) war emergency endeavor of the Great War, eight types of rail cars were commissioned, utilizing many interchangeable parts. In the early 1930s four of the designs were improved by welding the assemblies in lieu of using rivets. That lowered the weight of the cars and allowed for a greater load capacity. Many were also outfitted for speeds up to 90 km/h (55 mph). The welded designs were very robust and survived backbreaking use in World War Two. The Deutsche Reichsbahn was essential to the war fighting ability of the National Socialists.
    During the war, the four most important types of freight wagons, with partly slightly modified dimensions, were completely redesigned to make them more steel-saving, faster and cheaper. This was achieved mainly by the fact that as many steel parts as possible were omitted or replaced by other types of steel or wood. The cars built from 1943 on average were about 20% lighter than their predecessors, but at the same time designed for a higher load weight. They were equipped with the Hildebrandt-Knorr brake and approved for a speed of 90 km/h, with the exception of the open carriages. However, the price for the use of low-grade steel and weak profiles were high wear and corrosion , which resulted in permanent deformation.*

The SS-class were heavy duty flatcars (Schwerlastwagen). The SSyms46 DRB was a development of the eight-wheeled rail wagon "SSl(a) Köln".
    This flat wagon, built from 1928, was longer and, at 40 tons, also had a higher maximum load than its Verbandsbauart predecessor based on technical drawing A3. The most obvious new feature was the fish belly girder. All wagons had a hand brake. On the welded versions which appeared from 1934 there was an open, foldaway brakeman's platform instead of the brakeman's cab (secondary letter a), in order to be able to transport longer loads over the ends of the wagon.**

The SSyms eventually had a capacity of up to 80 tons. It featured a loading length of 8.8 m (28 feet 13/16 inches) and 9.5 m with folded platform rails, and exchangeable wheelsets for Soviet broad gauge interchange. The brakeman's platform was uncovered, as indicated by "ym" in the class code descriptor. The "s" suffix identified the car for fast (schnell) trains running at up to 90 km/h. Post-war some were even rated for running at up to 120 km/h.

"SSyms" is nomenclature of the Wagengattungen, the system of German railway wagon classes.
    ...introduced in Germany in 1902 and 1905 by the Prussian state railways based on their system of norms, and was soon taken up by the other state railways (Länderbahnen). On the formation of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, the system became mandatory across the whole of Germany. In the course of the years more and more adjustments to it were made. The wagon class comprises one or more main class letters (Hauptgattungszeichen) (in capitals, sometimes with lower case letters in between) and possibly several secondary class letters (Nebengattungszeichen) (always in lower case). Combinations of several main class letters are possible, e.g. on passenger coaches with different accommodation classes.***

The "46" is actually a designation given by the Deutsche Bahn in 1949. The flatcar was re-designated in 1964 was the Sa 705, and again in 1980 as Sammp 705. (Thanks to Blaubar for that information and other guidance.)

Thus, the SSyms was a heavy duty flatcar with an open brake platform built for high-speed service.

The Model
Artitec packs the model in an end-opening carton with an acetate window on two sides. The flatcar is secured in a custom fitted top-bottom sandwich cradle. It is ready-to-run and except for optional detail parts, fully assembled. Artitec data includes the smallest possible curve radius: 360 mm. That's a flange squealing 14-inch radius! A four-language paper showing optional-part attachment points is included, printed in exploded fashion.

Molding is crisp. I found no flash, mold seam lines, sink marks not visible ejector circles. The model looks to be made of just a few main pieces: frame, deck, trucks. A metal weight is embedded under the deck. The trucks have metal wheels with low flanges and appear to be made with acetal side frames. They are free-floating and each is secured with a screw and washers.

Coupler/draft gear is metal and plastic. I admit I don't know much about this system other than it looks like the Märklin loop or Relex coupler. They are mounted in the body and sprung to self-center. However, it in no way resembles the buffer and chain/hook and loop coupler system used in Europe. Just as the link-and-pin system is difficult to model for working model trains, a working hook and chain system would also be challenging in HO scale.

Length over the buffers is 152 mm, which is just shy of 13 1/4 meters, or 43 feet. Weight is 3 oz, which is light per NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight of 4 oz.

I pushed it along code 83 track and over code 80 and 83 turnouts. It tracked solidly and rolled freely.

SSyms46 DRB 14471 represents a welded car as I do not see a single rivet anywhere on the one-piece frame. The one-piece deck features molded wood grain with embedded metal tie-down straps. The brake end has a railing for the brakeman. It is molded in flexible acetal to resist damage from ham fisted models like your reviewer. This part boasts a fine thickness and impressive detail for the brackets and brake handle. Stirrups on the end are not fine but not oversized, either.

DRB equipped each flatcar with ratchets and wrenches and other tools for securing the load. While the optional parts instruction sheet shows these, they are already mounted on my sample. As are two small hand wheels and some attachment loops. There are also two tiny cranks on each side but I can not tell if they were molded on or separately attached. (I chose not to pick at them to find out.)

Detail of the trucks include long leaf springs, bearings, link suspension and brake shoes. All detail is molded on.

One detail subject missing from this model is any air brake detail, individually attached or molded on. The fishbelly frame design and heavy duty trucks would hide that apparatus.

Optional PartsTwenty-three separate parts are held in a self-closing baggie:

    Spare brakeman end rail
    Stowed deck stakes & bracket X 2
    Deck lateral load planks X 4
    Air hose X 2
    Rachets X 2
    Load stakes X 10

A further 23 photo-etch parts are held on a fret:

    End sill tie-down cleat X 10
    End sill steps and shackles X 2
    Placard X 4
    Oval handle X 2
    Grab handles X 5

Not all of those parts are shown on the optional parts illustration sheet; four small O-rings are shown but they were not included with my model.

Quite a bit of detail is included and allows a modeler options to enhance his model SSyms46.

Paint and Markings
DRB car number 14,471 is painted in the Deutsche Reichsbahn's livery of the era which was not flashy - there was a world war to support. Basic black was the order of the day. The timber deck is molded as a "wood brown". Whether a factory fresh deck was painted with a dark brown preservative like DRB wooden cars is open to speculation.

DRB rolling stock sported a good amount of stenciling, no doubt the same basic information as AAR used: loading and weight dimensions; physical dimensions; maintenance information on the air-brake system and journal bearings; built and maintenance dates. DRB flatcars also has tables painted on them, presumable a loading matrix.

This model features exceptional printing that is legible including the car number 14,471. Another feature of DRB cars was the Gattungsbezirk, so-called class districts.
    From 1921 all goods wagons with the same or similar functions were grouped into which were the names of German cities, mostly those in which there was a Reichsbahn divisional HQ.^

Deutsche Reichsbahn's SSyms46 DRB 14471 Gattungsbezirk is Köln.

Artitec's paint and printing is first-rate. This SSyms46 will look great with weathering on it but it is a handsome model as-is.

Optional Parts
My sprue nipper cleanly popped the P/E parts off the fret. The blackened brass easily bent to form the steps. It fits under the end sill and aligns via two low pegs that go into two etched holes.

Tiny cleats can be attached to the corners of the end sills.

The plastic deck guide boards have pegs under them that lock into holes in the deck. They can be adjusted for narrower vehicles.

The air hose is only good for static models because they foul the couplers on corners.

Those tiny parts and others greatly enhance the model.

SSyms46 DRB 14471 Köln "Deutsche Reichsbahn" from Artitec is an excellent HO model of that heavy duty flatcar. Fidelity of detail and molding, superb printing, excellent fine optional details and smooth operation enhances this fine model. I appreciate the extra parts.

Even though one probably can see it, I would prefer that there be a hint of the air brake system underneath the car. This model is made to run on a layout and thus it has a functional coupler system instead of an authentic hook and chain system. Perhaps optional parts to create that system could be made for modelers who intend for this model to be static?

Artitec has created a sharp HO model SSyms46 for the DRB era. Modelers of the DRB of the WWII era should appreciate this model, whether it is intended to run on a layout or set in a static diorama. Happily recommended.

Please remember to mention to vendors and retailers that you sdaw this Artitec model here - on RailRoad Modeling.

Deutsche Reichsbahn
The Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft was officially founded in 1924. Before 1924 the DRG consisted in a different form. On the 1st of April 1920 the seven existing former state railways of the states Prussia, Bavaria, Saxon, Württemberg, Baden, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Oldenburg were put together in the Reichseisenbahn.


* Wikipedia. Güterwagen der Deutschen Reichsbahn. [Web.] 9 June 2017 01:32.

** Wikipedia. German railway wagon classes. [Web.] 10 June 2017, at 21:36.

*** Wikipedia. German railway wagon classes. [Web.] 10 June 2017, at 21:36.

†. Joost Wilbrink. Dbtrains.com. Epoch II. [http://www.dbtrains.com/en/epochII.] n.d.

^. Wikipedia.
Highs: Fidelity of detail and molding, superb printing, excellent fine optional details and smooth operation enhances this fine model. I appreciate the extra parts.
Lows: Perhaps optional parts to create the hook and chain coupling system could be made for modelers who intend for this model to be static?
Verdict: A sharp HO model SSyms46 for the DRB era. Modelers of the DRB of the WWII era should appreciate this model, whether it is intended to run on a layout or set in a static diorama.
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: 20.320.02
  Suggested Retail: €38,40
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 18, 2017

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This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


Great review here. The kit's name and nomenclature prove tricky and misleading however, as the SSyms (amongst other details, 80-tonnes load version) was renamed into SSyms 46 in 1949 by the Deutsche Bahn and then renamed again into Sa 705 in the 60's and finally into Saamp 705 in the 80's. The manufacturer has mixed up some stuff here AFAIAC. (some 300 of these vehicles were in service by the DB after the war) /Stefan
JUN 18, 2017 - 03:05 PM

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