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donald duck from modellbahn union: et 403 in retry

interview ruhr n: infinite variation between two shadow stations

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The legendary ET 403 nicknamed Donald Duck was released by Lima back in the 1980s. This unique trainset ran in Germany for the Lufthansa to between Düsseldorf – Frankfurt. As an alternative to the expensive domestic flight. Modellbahn Union is now re-releasing this trainset. With divided success is our conclusion.

ET403 in practice

The original trainsets had been purchased by Deutsche Bahn in the early 1970s. With the intention of offering comfortable high-speed travel based on tilt-bucket technology. It was a test that failed. The railcars proved unsuitable for this purpose and were soon discarded.

German railroads were therefore very happy with Lufthansa’s initiative to replace the domestic flight between Düsseldorf – Frankfurt with a train connection. The already discarded ET 403 was painted in airline colors and deployed. Because of its typical nose and orange color, it became nicknamed “Donald Duck.”

In the early 1990s, the railcars were removed from service due to technical defects. The striking couples have been preserved and are being restored for museum purposes.

the et 403 in model: the exterior

After unpacking the model from Modellbahn Union, a sense of doubt about the color scheme immediately sets in. In reality, the train set is “pebble gray” with a light orange, yellowish color. That last one is well struck, but the pebble gray looks more like white.

Also notable are the brown grilles on the top. Those were gray with the original. Over time these may discolor, but uniformly brown they have never been.

The shape turned out nicely. The model convincingly gives the perception of a real “Donald Duck.” The pantographs are very finely rendered, so refined that it is not advisable to touch them. Damage is quickly a reality.

the interior

At over 500 euros for the digital version, this can genuinely be called an expensive model. The two driving coaches and two intermediate coaches are equipped with interior lighting. That one is admittedly particularly bright and shows the built-in interior well. Those who dare can disassemble the hood and give small travelers a place to stay.

When disassembling, one has to be careful with the bogies. Power is transferred from the wheels to the train set by small pressure springs. The miniature engine is nicely tucked away and there is a clear view into the train set from there as well. The engine does tend to be noisy. Therefore, this one has some work to do to get this train set rolling.

the cons: sound and delivery

Those who opt for the 519 euro digital variant with sound may be disappointed. The noisy motor drowns out sound, and the built-in speaker does not provide convincing full sounds. A performance of this level does not fit this price range.

Also noteworthy is the number of reports we received about damaged or partially inoperative models. Scratches on the exterior, damages and faltering decoders. In Sven Nikolaus ‘ video, his model passes almost everything.

the conclusion

An iconic model released by Lima back in the 1980s. This new attempt by Modellbahn Union turned out pretty well optically. The price and quality of the model are out of proportion, especially with the digital version. The likelihood that the model provided will make a claim on your qualities as a hobbyist makes us recommend thinking carefully about this purchase.

  • Modellbahn Union
  • ET 403 Lufthansa Airport Express
  • Recommended price: analog 399 / digital 519
  • Item No. MU-N-T40301

This article is also available in: Nederlands


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