Last Updated: 5 May 2023
Disclosure: Product paid in full by LSTN, no external incentive or compensation.
PIKO has been around for many years, and they offer a wide selection of G scale products for both the European and American market. In the range of products for the German standard gauge railways, PIKO has offered freight cars in all shapes and forms. Either new molds, or mold variants, or new paint schemes.
In this review, we’ll take a look at a 2023 New Item: a type Gr 20 boxcar with a brake cab, in a DB era III livery. This boxcar has been released a few times in the past in different paint schemes, but this DB era III paint scheme will match well with the BR 24 and BR 94 steam locomotives that were also announced as a new item for 2023.
If you want to skip to the review and just want to look at some pictures, there’s a full photo gallery of 28 pictures: Gallery – PIKO G 37968 DB Boxcar Era III.
As usual, the product comes packaged in a sturdy box with foam clamshell inserts and a plastic wrapper. As storage is always a problem with large scale, I do feel the box could have been a bit shorter to save a few centimeters, but I imagine PIKO just wants to stick to a certain amount of box sizes for efficiency reasons.
The sticker on the box clearly displays the article number, and some details about the product. However, the road number #150 124 on the sticker does not match the road number that’s on the actual boxcar itself (#150 524). Just a one-off mistake, it can happen, right? However, on two other recent PIKO purchases, there were also errors on the sticker. Once Is Chance, Twice is Coincidence, Third Time’s A Pattern…
An incorrect sticker won’t spoil the fun though. Let’s move on.
The Gr 20 boxcar comes in a nice brown color, and has a nice matte finish so it definitely does not look like a cheap piece of plastic.
The overall shape of the boxcar is captured well, and it is well proportioned to fit other G scale products.
Most details like the doors, small steps or vents are molded on, and not separately applied. It’s a typical compromise in G scale to keep products affordable, and in my opinion it does not take away from the overall appearance of the boxcar.
The large sliding door can be opened, revealing the cargo space inside. There’s no proper floor inside, the middle part is brown, and a black chassis part is visible on both ends.
Any applied lettering or numbers are crisp, as expected from PIKO.
The underside of the boxcar shows a set of whiskers that realign the wheelset to the center when leaving a curved track section. Simple, yet effective.
PIKO’s boxcar comes with plastic wheels, but can be upgraded with metal wheels. The boxcar then looks like this:
PIKO did well in capturing the overall shape and appearance of the popular German standard gauge Gr 20 boxcar. The boxcar is a great addition to any other DB era III products also offered by PIKO.
My main gripe are the factory fitted plastic wheels. These days many (if not all) manufacturers ship their rolling stock with metal wheels, and it feels like PIKO wants to play the cheap game. There’s arguments to be made for both sides, but an additional 20 Euros on top of the 130 Euro MSRP would definitely help it feel (even) more like a premium product.
Specifications & Dimensions
- Scope of Delivery: Boxcar, Parts List, Warranty Card, Promotional Flyer
- Body Material: plastic mold injection
- Chassis Material: plastic mold injection
- Detail Parts: plastic mold injection
- Axles: 2
- Wheel Material: plastic
- Couplers: Hook and Loop, 2 hooks
- Other Features: sliding doors
- Recommended Wheel Upgrade: PIKO G 36165 Metal Wheels 35 mm 2 pcs
Dimensions – PIKO
- Wheel Diameter: 35 mm
Dimensions – LSTN
- Length (over buffers): coming soon
- Length (over body, excluding brake cab): coming soon
- Height (top to rail): coming soon
- Width (body): coming soon
- Weight (factory plastic wheels): 702 gr
- Weight (PIKO chromed wheels): 820 gr