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1:24 Istanbul tram OcCre Catalogue # 53010 Available from OcCre for €96,45 Istanbul, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire, once had a large tramway network on both the Asian and the European sides. It first started as a horse tram in 1860 and was gradually converted to an electric tram system starting in 1912. Many additional routes were added to the tram system, in progressive stages over time. The network reached its most widespread extent in 1956 with 108 million passengers being carried by 270 tram-cars, on 56 lines. However reflecting developments in many cities around the world during the 1960s, the tram service began to be closed down in 1956 and was completely stopped in 1966. The Authority thought to re-introduce heritage trams in Istanbul using the same type of rolling stock which was running in European part until 1962, and in the Asian part until 1966. The original Istanbul tram network was almost completely destroyed, including depots, termini, electric power stations, etc., except for some of the rolling stock which had been preserved in transport museums. Using old photographs, people's memories, and other sources, some rolling stock was built for the European side resembling pre-1962 European-side tram stock, including the size, shape, interior, colour scheme etc. The prototypes had originally been built in 1915. Around 1990, the Istiklal Caddesi became a pedestrian zone, and the tram was restored and revived in 1990, in the form of the Taksim-Tünel Nostalgia Tramway. After a 24-year absence, trams returned to Istanbul. The length of the line is 1.64 kilometres (1.02 mi) and there are 5 stops. The Istanbul nostalgic tramways are two heritage tramlines in the city of Istanbul, Turkey. The city has two completely separate heritage tram systems, one on the European side (the Taksim-Tünel Nostalgia Tramway, aka. T2 line), the other on the Asian side (T3 line, aka. the Kadıköy-Moda Nostalgia Tramway). The kit OcCre’s new Istanbul tram kit replicates one of those heritage trams mentioned in the passage above, and is packed into a slender, standard OcCre box, as per our Terror article that we published recently. A colour-printed wraparound label is affixed to this with tape, and a cut-out in the lid is designed to display the plastic tray of components within. Lifting the lid and removing the inserted component tray, we come to the main box and here you slice a few tape tags to open up the contents. All the timber parts are bundled with two sheets of photo-etch parts and are securely held together with a shrink wrap covering. This compact method of packaging ensures zero damage and all parts are pristine. Now we cut away the cellophane… This sheet of parts, all cleanly laser-cut, concerns the construction of the tram seating. Each seat is comprised of four parts, varying slightly, dependant on where in the tram it is installed. Note that no parts are engraved with numbers. Instead, you will need to refer to the printed parts plan that is a part of the assembly manual. Timber quality here is high, and all parts are only held in situ with small, easily cut tags. We now have an MDF sheet included. This one contains a number of parts for which removal of wood grain would have been a PITA, so this is a nice move. The largest part is the tram floor, with various slots and connecting tabs, roof side supports, roof end frames and roof support frames etc. Our next two plywood sheets are identical, containing frames, cabin ends and internal frameworks, more seat parts, door parts, bulkheads, etc. Each sheet contains over 30 parts, again, all cleanly cut in high-grade ply. Laser scorching is very low, and very localised, and char clean-up should be nice and easy. The next two sheets are also identical to each other, but instead of being produced from ply, these are also supplied as MDF. This is actually quite a savvy move as I mentioned, as a good number of these will go into building exterior areas of the tram, and of course, there will be no wood grain to remove. Here you can see the slab sides for the tram, more roof frames, boarding platform and chassis frames etc. A nice thick bundle of various size timber strip stock is included and bundled together with elastic bands. This material will form areas such as internal framing and the planked roof etc. Quality is very good, with only a little wispy material needing to be removed from some of the strip. That’s the last of the timber areas in this kit, as we now look at the two photo-etch sheets included here. The first one is made from brass, and includes the instantly obvious shutter gates, tram destination sign brackets, external window frame corner trims, etc. Etch quality is superb, with the removal tags being thin and narrow. The second PE sheet appears to be manufactured from some sort of nickel-alloy, and parts here include the boarding step housings, electric roof sheathing, cabin parts, ventilators, external footplates, and also hand rail mounting points. A number of lengths of thick brass wire are included for fashioning all manner of items, such as the trolley pole that catches the overhead electrical lines. Some of these items will need straight edges, so you’ll need to be careful when it comes to ensuring you straighten the wire suitably. I do think that some of these wire items will really lend themselves to being soldered, so if you are capable of that, it’s time to ready the hot iron! I admit that I didn’t really know how the exterior livery was going to be approached on this model, such as paint, decal etc., but OcCre have in fact included a nice, glossy sheet of self-adhesive panel stickers that should adhere nicely to the smooth MDF surfaces. These have the livery and text already in situ. You will need extreme care in applying these to ensure they line up perfectly, as I don’t know just how sticky they are. Printing quality is excellent, and this really will create the appearance of the tram you see in the photo at the start of this article. For the windows, a sheet of acetate is included, and for the internal ceiling, another printed sheet is included. This needs to be glued to the internal roof framework before fitting the various ceiling lights and ventilators etc. I do suggest you don’t use any glue which is too wet and would damage the thin paper sheet. Look at using a quality glue-stick instead. Now we can take a look at that neat plastic tray of components that we can see through the box lid. This is split into twelve compartments, with each holding either a singular type of item, or multiples of different elements. Many of the parts in here are made from cast white metal, such as leaf-spring suspension, interior lights, dampers, cabin components, wheels, couplings, lights, grab-rails etc. There are a small number of turned brass parts and screws in here too, as well as brass eyelets, washers, and a spool of rigging cord to simulate the electricity cable for the trolley pole. There is a small ply sheet too, with just four small parts for an external roof ventilation opening. As with the previous OcCre kit we looked at, the instructions for this release are all driven by clear colour photos of each stage, showing actual construction of the prototype model. This series of colour, foldedr A3 sheets goes through the building process in a clear and organised way. It’s also worth noting that the parts themselves are added to the mix in a sequential way, meaning it’s easy to trace where in construction a particular element is required. All stock timber sizes are also shown in dimensional form too, to ensure you use the correct material in the appropriate area. A set of written instructions is also included, referring to the specific photos. Conclusion This is certainly an unusual and well-executed little project from OcCre. There’s quite a lot of construction to be had here in both frame and PE, with a more than generous number of extra fittings thrown into the mix. A thoroughly detailed and nicely designed model of a famous heritage tram, and one that I image will be addictive to build. Just as well there’s a whole fleet of world heritage trams to choose from! Maybe we’ll look at a couple more soon. My sincere thanks to OcCre for the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
1:24 Istanbul Diorama OcCre Catalogue # 53010D Available from OcCre for €60,95 If you’ve recently taken a look at our Istanbul tram review, you might like this particular review article. Yes, of course you can display your tram on a shelf, or in a cabinet, but what about outside Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar? That’s exactly what this new product from OcCre allows us to do, and with relative ease of construction. This is what OcCre have as their website product description: “The diorama is a representation of the entrance to the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, one of the largest in the world. Located inside the old “walled city", on the European side of Istanbul, between Nuruosmaniye, Mercan and Beyazıt, with more than 58 covered streets and 4,000 shops or stalls, every day the bazaar attracts between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors. The bazaar offers a wide range of products, in particular jewellers, precious metal workers, spice shops and carpet shops. The stalls tend to be grouped together by type, following the tradition of the ancient guilds. The bazaar includes two Bedestens, or domed stone-built structures, which are used for the storage of merchandise. The first of these was built in 1464, by order of Mehmet II, although it then had to be mostly rebuilt in 1864, following the earthquake. This fabulous diorama combines perfectly with the tram of Istanbul, joining the nostalgic line of Taksim-Tunnel with the Grand Bazaar, in an effort to group two large emblems of the city of Istanbul.” The kit The Istanbul diorama is packaged into quite a plain, shallow corrugated cardboard box, with a colour product label attached. There is also a reasonable amount of weight here too, so you know there’s plenty of building material afoot. Upon opening the box, it ca be seen that the multitude of sheet material is wrapped in a heat-sealed sleeve that needs to be cut away. As the sheets in here are various sizes, and the internal box has no compartmentalisation, this is a good way of ensuring that damage risk is minimised. There are also a number of printed sheets which are rolled up, some strip timber and brass wire. A catalogue and sheet pointing to the instructions, are also included. More on the latter in a moment. The numerous sheets are made from MDF and are very neatly laser-cut. You will note how some of the parts have dovetail connections too. In essence, the entire diorama is built up from a series of wall panels that have the Islamic arch shapes that attach to them to create a 3D relief, and this is sat upon a base which is built from sections, to incorporate the ruts along which the tram lines would run. Oddly enough, there is no actual brass section strip to recreate the tram line itself, but instead, timber strip, painted silver, it what’s prescribed. Using some metal strip could be a nice enhancement, but you would need to purchase that yourself, measured against the OcCre tram wheels for best fit. The idea behind this diorama is that anyone can typically build it, simply out of the box contents. To decorate the walls and floors etc. a series of colour-printed textures are provided, on A4 sheets. These include stone, marble and parquet styles, and these need to be cut out to suit the various structures, and then glued into position with a glue stick, for example. Using wet glues may cause the sheets to ripple and not adhere as flat as they should, although the instructions do actually show brushed PVA as being the glue of choice. Sheets of paper are also supplied to simulate the Bazaar interior, with crowds of people and stalls etc. When it comes to depicting the exterior details, more printed sheets are supplied, with such things as Turkish rugs, flags etc, and these can be draped over the display stands that sit outside the various stalls on the exterior of the Bazaar. These stalls also have printed awnings to shelter them from the Turkish sun. To recreate the road itself, then a series of strip card is supplied. This needs to be cut into brick-sized sections, and then plastered over the road in a staggered manner. You can of course then paint and infill between them and add some airbrushed staining to weather things realistically. Brass wire is supplied for all manner of things, such as the random-looking electrical cables that run along the outside walls. OcCre supply no instructions for this kit. Instead, they provide an online build guide which is very comprehensive, showing everything right down to measuring out specific dimensions for everything. This multi-part guide is excellent, with the facility to be able to download each part as a PDF. To check out the guide, head to this link: http://www.occremania.com/diorama-de-istanbul-parte-8-2/ Conclusion Dioramas aren’t usually my thing, but this looks very tempting, just to see if I can make a reasonable attempt at it and add some airbrush work to make it look a little more lived in. There’s certainly a nice quantity of building material here, and all nicely produced. Recreating the street surface will also be quite absorbing, as well as those kerb stones that are cut from the thick strip timber. My sincere thanks to OcCre for providing the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of the article.