The motorized HO Scale (1/87) Comet, from Elkton Virginia USA based Coaster Dynamix®, is the only replica of a classic wooden roller coaster currently available to modeling and model train enthusiasts. Touted by Coaster Dynamix® as “The world’s most incredible, operating HO Scale roller coaster model”, theis highly detailed, a joy to build, and would be right at home with the Faller® Wilde Maus and Big Dipper in any model collection, scale model amusement park, or model train layout.
Unlike the Faller® models, the many high quality parts arrive, mostly, in labeled plastic bags and require no removal or trimming from the ubiquitous racks of parts common to most model kits. As it is with any complex HO Scale model, there is delicate work to be found with the Comet, especially with assembling the cleverly designed structure cross members and walk boards. Also, several assembly steps absolutely require that the glue be completely set, so patience in assembly is definitely a virtue. Average time of actual assembly should be about twelve hours. Be prepared to take several breaks and to take your time.
The Comet Instruction Manual is well written and contains no glaring omissions. As always, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the manual before actually beginning assembly while paying special attention to the “Helpful Hints” near the end. Though the assembly process is smooth and generally trouble free, we do have a couple of minor suggestions to streamline the process:
- While you are waiting for the “Bents” to dry from Page 6, jump ahead to Page 8, assemble the Motor House and allow to dry.
- While waiting for the “Bents” to dry from Pages 10, 11, and 12, jump ahead and assemble the track segments on Pages 13 and 19. Make absolutely sure that the glue on these has set completely before proceeding. It is also imperitive that the track section joints be filed/sanded until they are totally smooth. Even the slightest bump can cause the train to not perform properly.
- The Comet can be quite finiky and may not preform properly if not on a perfectly level surface.
Additional tools and materials required are as follows:
- Modeling Glue. We recommend using Faller® quick drying Super Expert Cement. Even if you ALWAYS replace the cap and clean the applicator stem after each use you will still find that the very thin metal applicator will occasionally clog. When this occurs, and it will occur, use a match or butane lighter to, briefly, apply heat to the applicator tip to unclog the stem. Faller Glue is available through our site. If you are adding the Comet Neon Sign you will also need Gel type Super Glue. Standard modeling glue will not adhere to the sign.
- Modeler's Knife.
- Fingernail Clippers for trimming the structure cross members.
- A small file, such as our Blue Cushion Board, for smoothing track section joints.
The Comet can be powered either by a 12VAC/DC power supply or by the 16VAC accessory output of a model train transformer. A 12VAC/DC power supply is not included but is available on our site. (Part #CD-S501)
Though lacking some of the detailed flourishes of the Faller® models, unlike its German counterparts, the Comet begs to be customized. It most cases we build the models we sell just as they come out of the box but with the Comet we couldn’t resist just a bit of personalization.
Applying some sort of surface to the base such as grass, dirt or whatever, though one of the simplest modifications to implement, yields dramatic results. Our first step was to apply readily available modeling grass to the base. Though there are many theories on the best way to do this, we chose the following method:
- Assemble the base and allow to dry.
- Lightly sand the assembled base with medium sandpaper for better adhesion.
- If you are planning on adding the Comet Neon Sign, modify Hatch #1 (and #2) now and replace. (See below)
- Spray the base with a fairly heavy coat of clear lacquer.
- Evenly sprinkle on a good layer of modeling grass.
- Allow to dry for about twenty minutes and shake off any excess grass.
- Apply two more coats of clear lacquer allowing it to dry between coats.
- Trying, as best as you can, to not touch or rub the base, finish assembling the model.
- Touch up as necessary.
Our second modification was to paint the main canopy and the train cars a red color matching the red of the handrails and walk boards. Possible color combinations with the Comet are endless. Use your imagination.
Our third, and last modification, was to add the Coaster Dynamix® Comet Neon Sign to the structure opposite to the standard Comet sign. The minimal instructions provided with this very cool addition do not include wire routing directions but the Comet base does provide two removable “Hatches” one of which can be used for wire egress. On Page#5 of the Comet Instruction Manual it shows the location of Hatch #1. This is the one you will use. This stock Hatch fits very snuggly. To allow the sign wiring harness egress, use a Modeling Knife to cut a notch roughly 1/16 inch deep and ½ inch wide along one side of the Hatch and in the corresponding Hatch support ridge in the base below the Hatch. (If you are planning to add lighting to the canopy, also similarly modify Hatch #2) The Comet Neon Sign operates on three AAA Batteries which are not included. Of course, if you purchase it from us, we do include the batteries at no additional charge!
Though this was our final addition, don’t feel like you have to stop there. Adding the following accessories, available on our site, will certainly up the realism ante:
To get some ideas on customizing your Comet, or just to be entertained, be sure and check out the radical Comet mods in our Design Shop.
The Comet is a well engineered and accurate representation of a real world classic wooden roller coaster that is fun to build and, should you choose, a real blast to customize. Though custom designs can be time intensive to build, they are both entertaining and rewarding to assemble and operate and, with the Comet, offer a world of creative possibilities for roller coaster enthusiasts and modelers everywhere.
Though an age suitability rating is not suggested by the manufacturer, due to some fairly small parts and overall complexity we have rated this product for ages 12 and above.
We are interested in hearing about building experiences with this model and would like to share your impressions with other visitors to our site.
*Categories are rated on a scale of from one to ten where applicable and reflect only the opinions and experiences of our staff. We provide these ratings only as a guideline to aid you in your product choices. Your building experience may vary.