A three pack today; from Bachmann, we have an SD40-2 for Norfolk Southern, a Rock Island gondola, and from Athearn we have a Ford cabover box truck.
First up, the NS SD40-2!
SD40-2 History: The history and info available on the SD40-2 is extensive, so I'll just give the highlights. designed by EMD (Electro-Motive Divison, of GM-General Motors), and built by them and a few of their subsidaries between January 1972 and October 1989, a grand total of 3,982 of the spectacularly successful units were produced, for the North American market, as well as for export, with a large percentage of them still in service, with every Class 1 railroad in both the USA and Canada rostering many, and also being popular on smaller roads. The SD40-2 is powered by an EMD 16-645E3, 3,000 HP V16 turbocharged diesel, which powers two 6 wheeled trucks (C-C arrangement). The SD40-2 is an update on the SD40, with updated electronics being the biggest improvement (as was the case with EMD's entire "Dash-2" line). There's enough other info on derivitives and modifications to fill a decent sized book, so I'll wrap up this history here, and save the rest for another time.🙂
NS 3430 History: Originally built as an SD40 for Kansas City Southern in October of 1966 as their KCS 613, it was sold to "PAC Rail" as their PRLC 613. Sometime during the PAC ownership, or just after, it was rebuilt to an "SD40-2R" and sold to Conrail as their CR 6967. When Big Blue was split between NS and CSX, 6967 went to NS, who reclassified it as a straight SD40-2 and renumbered it to 3430. In 2015, 3430 was part of a power swap between NS and CSX, where 12 former Conrail SD40-2 locos were traded from NS to CSX, and NS recieving 12 EMD SD80MAC units. - There was a long sentence here about how I couldn't find its current status, but - After some research, I found it was rebuilt by CSX as an SD40-3, renumbered CSX 4373, and is still working. Quite a history!
Anyway, here's what's on the box.
And what was in the box.
No, the rear marker/class lights are not lit, they are painted red. Which is fine, and I'll explain why I think that later...
Overall Build Quality
Paint and Lettering
Ease of Operation
Good - First off, I really like how Bachmann locos operate, and this one fits the mold, as it runs perfectly. Also, the DCC works just as it should, and the sounds are spot on. The loco is very stout and sturdy all around. The details look nice, and the paint and lettering are good, too. The lights look nice*, right color and brightness level. Just overall a good, solid model.
Bad - I'll preface this section with this; the only issues are very minor cosmetic oddities, and the loco had no real build quality or operational issues. That said, here's the little things I noticed - First was that it lacked ditchlights, a fairly major omission on a modern model. Next, as you can somewhat see in the second photo, the frame/chassis fills a large portion of the cab with a gray metal box, and as a result, the cab lacks detail; I usually don't mind that sort of thing, but it's really obvious and catches your attention. The cab light stays on, and the headlights on both ends stay on; the headlights do brighten and dim based on set direction, but they both stay on when the headlights are set to on with the controller.
Verdict - It's a typical Bachmann model; it operates and sounds great, looks great overall, but doesn't have quite the fine little details other manufacturers normally do. Which is personally how I prefer things - the little details are often too small to see and are fragile, and the real enjoyment comes from actually running the model anyway.
For the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific (they never got close to the Pacific, but it sounded cool).
They were normally known simply as Rock Island, though in their waning years, they rebranded at "The Rock".
...and the dud end.
The bulkhead was loose from the box. But not damaged.
As we have a tire department, I couldn't resist this car.
The tires are removable, but they are not sepaerate single tires. I should've photographed them, but each size is one solid sheet, with several sheets stacked in the car.
Verdict - The loose bulkhead wasn't good, but a touch of glue fixed it quickly and easily. Also, the underframe details are very flimsy, but none were damaged. On the good side, the car looks excellent, and handles perfect. Also, it rolls unbelievably smoothly and freely.
I'd assume my bulkhead issue is an isolated event, and if not it's easily repaired, so I'd definitely recommend it.
Lastly, a Ford C series box truck.
I've always really liked these Ford cabovers.😁
You may notice the "road" looks a little uneven in these photos - the paving company (me) is new to the business, so it's a work in progress.😆
Verdict - Bad first; it is totally plastic, and thus very flimsy - but it's a model not a toy, so that's okay. The paint left a little to be desired, especially the cab, which really needed to have a glossier finish, and the headlights look a little strange. Now, the good; it was well put together, no damage or anything, and it looks really nice overall. I would recommend it.
That's all for this round, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!