by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Dance Floor (Tanzboden)
Type: Laser-Cut Kit
IntroductionModel railroaders have enjoyed animated accessories almost from the beginning. Crossing gates that lower when a train passes over a road, operating cranes, figures moving in and out of a line side structure, coal cars that dump coal through a raised dock—these are but a few favorites. But those were often marred by jerky motion with over scale components. Ah, those were the good ol’ days, although as Billy Joel sang, “The good old days weren’t always so good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems”. Indeed, tomorrow is here now with this neat digital animated kit of dancers on a dance platform by NOCH.
H0 Micro-Motion Digital Laser-Cut Dance FloorThis model is packed inside NOCH’s signature yellow box. A cellophane window displays some of the parts. On the back are images of the model and the model in a diorama, a dimension diagram, multi-lingual descriptions, and contact information. All components are securely held in a clear plastic tray with a fitted top.
The model is built up with a laser-cut and detailed one-piece dance floor, railings off a laser-cut 10-piece sheet of railings and stairs, and pressed board base. NOCH includes a 10-gram tube of special transparent 4-minute curing glue. A trio of painted dancing couples is included.
A drawback is that the motor case extends below the base so you will have to cut a hole for it to fit into. Or make a foundation to raise the model above your layout base. The whole model takes up less than three square inches. To animate the dancers is a pre-mounted motor and a circuit board and actuator button. A set of axles sticks up above the dance floor to mount the figure sets upon. Power it up and they whirl and twirl on the digital dance floor showing three different and varied dances!
InstructionsA small instructional booklet guides you through assembly and programing in five languages:
The digital decoder is programmable and automatically recognizes the Märklin ®/Motorolaand DCC / NMRA format, and even analog.
Additionally, NOCH provides you with a PDF of the instructions on their website.
AssemblyYou build this by setting railings into the base, then setting the floor into the railing-frame. First, find a way to keep the base level without stressing the electronics mounted underneath; I simply straddled it over the plastic tray the parts came in. Use the special glue to bond the open railings to the closed railings. The adhesive works very well. Keep the cap on because the nozzle will siphon in air that will start hardening the glue.
The stairs are the most challenging part of construction. Slots are cut into the stringers and notches in the treads. Be precise mounting the treads into one stringer and then carefully align the other end of the treads with the next stringer. One tread did not make it into the slot and I just cut the notch off.
Now the dancers are slid onto the axles. The plastic is somewhat flexible, which kept me from breaking them. However, I had to drill out the mounting holes on two of the pairs. Otherwise they would have been suspended two HO feet off the dance floor!
When you are ready, connect the 'brain box' to the motor and the terminal wires to the power source. Press the button and watch the action. The dancers move in three sequences. The motor and gears are a bit noisy. It is still fun to watch!
Closing ThoughtsNOCH has created another charming and interesting kit to bring action to your layout. The laser cut parts are sharp. With electronics that are compatible with several systems, modelers of many different systems can enjoy the set. While the clothing of the figures certainly portrays them as European, they can be modified or repainted to represent almost any culture; or you can create your own couples with figure kits. Of course, dancers in costume for Bavarian and other European regions are common at cultural heritage events all over the United States, so that shouldn’t discourage American modelers from enjoying this set. About the only complaints are the noise of the motor, and blackened burned edges characteristic of laser-cut parts. This is a drawback if you like the natural wood finish or a stain, however many dance platforms are painted to one degree or another.
All in all this is a fun, easy to build, charming model. The electronics are versatile enough to include diverse power systems. Whether you want a static scene or an animated model, I think you’ll find this a great addition to your layout or diorama. I happily recommend it.
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