I'm back with another model review, this time from a manufacturer we don't see too often here - Rapido.
Today we have an EMD E8A, for Erie Lackawanna, up for evaluation, so let's get started!
EMD E8A History: These diesel-electric locomotives were built by Electro-Motive Division (of General Motors) from August 1949 until January 1954, and 450 cab-equipped "A" units and 46 cabless "B" units were built in total, for many different railroads. They were powered by two EMD 567B V12 prime movers, which put 2,250hp through two EMD D-15-A generators to four GM D-27-B traction motors, which were mounted in two 3-axle trucks, whose axles were of the A1A configuration (front and rear axle on each truck powered, center axle non-powered). The measured 70ft 3in long, 10ft 7.5in wide, 14ft 7in high, and the "A" units weighed 315,000lbs, the "B" units 290,000lbs. They were designed as fast passenger units, reaching up to 117mph in service. When passenger service was winding down on railroads, some of their E8 units would move on to Amtrak for further passenger service, though some would be pressed into freight duty. In passenger service they were very successful, with some seeing service into the 1990's. Many have been preserved, both operating and in museums.
EL 813 History: The prototype for today's model was built in April of 1951, originally for Delaware, Lackawanna & Western as DLW 813, and was one of nine on their roster. After the Erie and DLW merger in 1960, it became Erie Lackawanna 813. It would pull passenger trains for EL until they ended long distance service in early 1970, after which it was put into freight service along with many other EL "E" units. It would continue in freight duty through the 1976 takeover of EL by Conrail, but would serve only briefly under CR, being retired in 1977 and eventually scrapped.
I've always liked the EL paint scheme, especially on the cab units, as seen here.
The lower light is the headlight, the upper is an oscillating "Mars Light", which was designed and built by the Mars Signal Light Company. This was an early extra warning light, which has since been replaced by the ditch light setup.
See the video for the light in action - it's really neat!
The video -
Good - The paint and lettering are all perfect, and the details are also very nice. The sounds are good, and the DCC functions work as they should. The light, especially the Mars light, look great. Also, it is heavy and sturdy, coming in at 1lb 7oz.
Bad - There's a slight bend in the grilles on the fireman's (left) side, which is visible in the last photo. Also, there was a very noticeable squeak when it was running, even after the full break-in period. I ended up having to remove the bottom plates on both trucks (which are held on by clips, so are an absolute chore to remove) and I oiled the axles ... which didn't help. So off came the plates again, and this time I oiled the *bearings, which are located (prototypically) at the ends of the axles (had to remove the axles to do this), and this cleared up the squeak. A minor task like oiling the axles made a time-consuming chore by the plastic clips holding the bottom plates on - stop with the clips manufacturers, use screws! Also, the sounds seemed a little thin, particularly the horn.
*the bearings are also where the loco picks up power from the track.
Overall, it's a really nice model, and I'd highly doubt the bearing squeak is a common issue, and the other issues are very minor. So, I'd definitely recommend it!