The Arnold 2954 US Army Medical Service was a 1999 limited edition! Sound DCC conversion ahead…
The VT 08 (more exactly the SVT 137.149 “Hamburg”) was a a German DMU built first in 1952. It had numerous uses, and among them, a very original one: the US Army based in Germany purchased 6 double-car units for their use. Two of them were used as a medical transport unit within the US military basis, this is the model recreated here by Arnold. One of them was even use as a train for president Eisenhower and sent to the US.
Original German wikipedia on the VT 08 here and many beautiful pictures on this website in French.
There’s something magical about opening an old model!
The Arnold model has part nbr 2954, and is an analog model. Yellow and red light bulbs are in both coaches. The motorized unit only has one powered boggie, but the entire car is basically a big metal weight. Track behaviour is good in analog, thanks to power feeders on 6 wheels in total.
The dummy unit has interior seats, and power feeders for the front lights. However, power feeding there is not as good and leads to blinking of the headlights in some cases.
Coupling is done via a custom accessory, with a plastic “accordeon” similating the car joint. The visual effect is very good (cars are literally stuck together visually). However, attaching or detaching the coaches is hard due: the plastic is too hard, and the fear of breaking a part is high.
My model was brand new. I was lucky enough to find this rare model on a website specialising in Arnold spare parts and collector models: http://www.arnold-ersatzteile.de/ (in German). They sometimes sell products that are impossible to find elsewhere.
My goal was:
- Sound DCC conversion
- Installing a Next18 Interface adapter, and a Next18 sound decoder
- Driver cabin lighting in both cars
- DCC controlled yellow/red headlights in both cars, replacing the bulbs with LEDs
This led me to try out the Zimo MX658 Next18 sound decoder (for the motor car), and a Tams FD-R Basic 2 function decoder for the dummy car (decoder review here). As usual, I would install a Next18 socket adapter from Doehler & Haass, allowing future decoder changes if needed
I won’t detail everything here. My biggest challenge was finding room for the decoder. I had to mill the metal casing, a first for me!
Based on tips I found online, I invested in the (relatively cheap) Proxxon 27110 Miller. It’s not a professional tool, but I was able to get things done relatively easily. Plus the device is relatively small: it’s enough for most N scale needs, and doesn’t take too much room to store.
You can see the milling process in some of the pictures below.
A great old model, make sure to check the video above! I leave you with the review of the model (as always, before it was DCC converted):
I always try to be fair and square when giving grades, see the details about the evaluation criteria here !
Reminder: I am a hobbyist and these articles only represent my personal views. I am not receiving any compensation, in any form, from the brands or stores mentioned here. The product names, marketing names, and brands mentioned here are the property of their respective owners.