I don't necessarily mean to be the "Grinch" here but "expensive" is an understatement for the product.
1- The locomotive is NOT armoured, It is just an unarmoured switch locomotive with a new paint job. 2- The tender is a slope-back tender for a US prototype switch locomotive. It is not armored. 3- Manufacturer of train is not identified 4- The cars sit WAY too high above the track. Most all armored trains extended the armor down almost to the track to protect them from low angle fire. 5- The rivet "detail" is far too gross and clunky 6- You will not have an operable train locomotive until you buy the tender, too. Total of US$208 ($90 + $ 14s+h twice) 7- As shown, the train comes in at a grand total of US$416.
I will admit that these cars are eye-catching, but it gripes me that Bradford is hyping them as great scale models. True scale models can be had for 1/2 the price or so. The Bradford cars with their armored superstructure sitting high atop ordinary HO freight car chassis make laughable items. They are cartoonish.
I am a modeler and was taken (= intrigued) by the armored trains. My interest sent me to research the armored trains. I even converted a 1/72 scale (static) model train to operate on HO track, with some allowances for practicality and operability. I also have an N gauge and a Z gauge armored train.
I will sit down now and be quiet. This was just too egregious not to speak up.
I think like any body else they are just trying to cash in on an area they think is under utilized. The train hobby is many times larger then the wargame hobby and does not have knowledge of armored trains. They are also going for the collectible buyers. Many buyers do not realize they are only purchasing part of the train. For me it was... Oh look new shinny!
The BP-44 was more or less the final “state of the art “ development of the WW-2 German armored train.
It is a symmetric train with the locomotive at the center and 2 tenders, one in front and one behind the locomotive to extend operational range.
Next came a pair of artillery cars. Then a pair of command/communication cars, Next was a pair of combined flak+artillery cars. Fore and aft of them was a pair of tank carrier cars with a Czech T-38 light tank on each. A pair of “antitank” fighter cars were next carrying turreted 75mm guns (turrets from Panzer IV tanks on an armored box).
Outside of these came at least a pair of ordinary flatcars with supplies to repair damaged track. These cars would also serve to detonate pressure mines before the combat cars reached the mines.
Total of 10 cars plus the locomotive and two tenders, making the complete train 13 units long, end to end.
I doubt that Bradford will offer anything approaching a complete “armored train.”
Photo below is a 1/72 scale model of one half of BP-44 armored train kit assembled. Not included are the flat cars carrying supplies to repair track.
. Armageddon Models photo
Note that armor reaches down nearly to the top of the rails, leaving no big gap underneath the cars.
NOTE and CAUTION: The photo above is of the Armageddon Models train (from France). It is only one half of the train, so a second kit is required to build a complete BP-44. For the record, these kits are some of the saddest examples of injection molding that I have encountered. Lots of flash, incomplete fill ("short shots"), and mold mismatch. And each half sells for more than US$100. The good news is that an experienced modeler can salvage the carbodies and create a pretty nice looking operable HO train. The 1/72 car bodies are slightly oversize for HO, but checking trackside clearance was OK.
It is possible that the kit has been improved since I built mine 19 years ago, but I doubt it. Reviews of the kit that I have seen indicate that the situation has not changed. Armageddon has the only such 1/72 kit, so they have a "lock" on the market. As the only seller, they could sell whatever they could make and therefore had no incentive to improve it. I have since heard it referred to as a "skimmer" or "spoiier" kit. It spoils the market by burning buyers who are eager for an armored train kit. (Me included.). I have never bought another Armageddon/Mach2 models product.
CAVEAT EMPTOR - you have been warned.
UPDATE: HobbyBoss (Japan) has begun releasing individual cars in 1/72. These are non-operating cars If these are the quality of their other products, they will be quite good. However, they run about US$50 each.