A pretty good variety here today, so let's get started!
First, from Athearn, we have an EMD GP38-2, this one being Illinois Central Gulf ICG 9567.
GP38-2 History: Designed and built by EMD (Electro-Motive Diesel) and their Canadian subsidiary, GMD (General Motors Diesel), they were built between 1972 and 1986, with an incredible 2,213 of the units produced, for a great variety of railroads. Powered by an EMD 16-645E, which put out 2,000 HP to two 2-axle trucks, they proved to be reliable and versatile, with the majority still in service today.
ICG 9567 History: Originally built as Gulf, Mobile and Ohio GMO 747 in April of 1972, painted their sharp red and white livery, after their merger with the Illinois Central it became ICG 9567, getting a repaint into ICG "Creamsicle". Eventually the ICG name was phased out in favor of straight Illinois Central, and 9567 received its third paint scheme and reporting mark, becoming IC 9567 and wearing IC's "Death Star" livery. Enter Canadian National and their IC takeover, and 9567 is repainted for a fourth time, into CN's normal black/red/white livery, but keeping the IC reporting marks. Being 50 years old this year, 9567 has gone through 4 railroads and owners in two countries, but still continues earning its keep, still more or less on home rails.
The box info.
Details, in this case "KarTrak" labels.
More flimsy Athearn railing, this time actually having some loose from their anchors.
From the box, a crooked and loose footboard section.
Which promptly detached completely, even with very careful handling.
If you look, you can see damage on the pilot, and the broken off mounting stud still in the hole.
This did not happen in my care, and the box wasn't damaged, so apparently it was put in the box this way.
I reattached it with much glue, delicate work, and frustration.
Loose handrails. 😠
Also, the rear headlight is far brighter than the front. The front is normal and fine, but the back is really bright. Which is fine, too, just unusual.
Other than the damage and questionable quality railings, it was fine cosmetically.
Overall Build Quality
Paint and Lettering
Ease of Operation
Good - Typical nicely operating Athearn mechanism and electronics. The lettering was also crisp and clear, with the paint also looking nice over the majority of the model. Also, it is mostly sturdy and has decent a weight.
Bad - The pilot and footboard damage and the loose railings (which are also typically flimsy to boot).
Also, the numberboards, especially the front, were either not painted or molded right, or were damaged prior to installation.
Verdict - This is the worst condition I've ever received an Athearn model in, and the second worst period.
This amount of damage and shoddy construction isn't acceptable. I buy things with the full expectation that they'll arrive perfect and ready to run - I do not like having to repair brand new locos or having to handle them overly carefully. Now, I can only review the example I have - that said, the model does operate exactly as it should, which is most important to me, and after the cosmetic repairs it looks fine.
I would fully expect these are isolated issues, so as long as others aren't having the similar problems, I'd certainly recommend it. However! If I had known of these issues beforehand, I would not have purchased the model. So take that as you will.
Next up, some freight cars!
First, another Athearn model, this time a Railbox.
The Good - The details, paint, and lettering all look great. It's sturdy and has a decent amount of weight, it rolls nice and freely, and it handles fine in a train.
The Bad - Very flimsy and delicate under frame details.
Verdict - It's perfectly fine, and I'd definitely recommend it.
Next, a Bachmann offering.
I thought this one was cool with the unusual 3-axle trucks.
The Good - Almost everything; the details and handling are all great.
The Bad - Slight blemishes on the decking, along with some unrealistic molded details.
Verdict - Guilty! ... Of being really nice. Definitely recommendable.
And lastly, a Model Power building.
These are "transfers" (I think), not stickers.
When I review things, I remove them from the box at my desk, and as I study it, I write down what I find and think in a notebook, typically keeping "good" and "bad" things in separate places on the page.
The Good - Through ten lines of writing, this had one single good feature, and I quote "main building fairly sturdy".
That was it. And note I did not say "redeeming feature".
The Bad - So much here, I'll number it.
Model was glued into the cardboard box in multiple places with lots of glue (see photo), meaning I had to rip it off that, then deal with the chunks of cardboard still glued to the model, which required a razor, a small screwdriver, and a file.
Every single sticker/transfer was peeling and/or the wrong size.
The canopy supports were crooked and not secure to base.
No interior whatsoever. Not even a facade!
The Ugly - It was bad. Like, really bad. Absolute cheap junk. Under no circumstances would I recommend this abomination.
Don, your gas station is a dump!
Well, that's it for this round - thanks for looking!