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Thread: ScaleTrains.com GEVo's are shipping

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    Paint the things yourselves.

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    Update: I called ScaleTrains this afternoon and spoke with Mark from customer service. He was really quite helpful (kudos to ScaleTrains in this regard). He explained that the white color we are seeing was done on purpose, and that (as some of you had guessed), it was done to represent the anti-skid coating that UP has on these units. If you look at the ScaleTrains website, there are a few photos of this unit with a darker gray on the hoods that represents an earlier version of the model. The photos below that show the whiter anti-skid color. They had not re-shot the earlier photos. However, Mark sent me a few prototype photos (see attached) to show the effect they were trying to achieve: Unit 2672 is the cleanest and the hood is slightly off-white; Unit 2645 is dirtier and the hood has weathered to a light gray; and Unit 2596 is the oldest/most weathered unit where the hood is clearly gray. So, depending on the modeler's general practice of weathering or not, one could add a little gray or dust coat carefully to the white areas and be true to the prototype.

    All in all, I still think that they aimed a bit too light on the color, as the white does stand out pretty starkly, but it is good to know that they were trying to be truer to the prototype as delivered than most of the units that would be seen on the road after some grime had accumulated.

    I am not a expert on weathering, so if any of you finds a nice way to tackle this issue, please post some photos and your method of choice (Mark suggested an airbrushing of dullcoat to start, as the hood as is is unlikely to hold any coloring. One would need to avoid the yellow rails with the coloring, and he suggested to carefully tape over the windows to avoid breaking the windshield wipers.)

    My final grade: A+ for model detail, function and sound. Perhaps a A- or B+ for color. And importantly, an A++ for customer service.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by danb; 3rd May 2018 at 03:08 AM.

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    Great job Danb.

    I don't see the photos you mention.
    Rob

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    They are there now.

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    Even though the anti-skid areas on the proto photos look to be a lighter gray than the rest of the loco, they still look gray to me. On the other hand, the models don't really look gray at all (much closer to white than anything else). That said, I don't think I'm going to worry about it enough to do anything about it.

    -Mark

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    Overall is everybody happy with how they run?
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    Have 2 ST Gevo's and they run great. They pull away on speed step 1 using the 128 step setting. Sound is amazing also. These models aren't perfect though, some glue showing were the walkway meets the engine. One of the sunshades fell off and a defective coupler, fixable. These ScaleTrains couplers work well with MicroTrains couplers but not well with Accumate couplers. All in all, still a great model.

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    Feel like I am already seeing more Kato/FVM ES44AC units for sale -- wonder how many people will upgrade to Scaletrains ET44AC -- and if the market will be flooded with cheap gently used Kato/FVM models

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mac View Post
    Feel like I am already seeing more Kato/FVM ES44AC units for sale -- wonder how many people will upgrade to Scaletrains ET44AC -- and if the market will be flooded with cheap gently used Kato/FVM models
    I’m glad I super-detailed all my Katos. A stock Kato looks like a toy next to the Scale Trains engines.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mac View Post
    Feel like I am already seeing more Kato/FVM ES44AC units for sale -- wonder how many people will upgrade to Scaletrains ET44AC -- and if the market will be flooded with cheap gently used Kato/FVM models

    I do modern era, so my challenge is to follow the prototype world. That said, the ES44s aren't exactly dinosaurs, and still will be on the rails for at least another decade. Besides, even when the ET44 becomes king, you'd want some ES44s as MU or mid-train DPUs

    Interestingly enough, I have seen moreES44s go on sale on the used market lately. My last three used loco purchases were Fox Valley ES44s Now is a great time for deals!

    Metro Red Ln (Metro Red Line)
    Under the streets of Los Angeles

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroRedLn View Post
    Yes, you can easily swap out the stock coupler boxes with MTL 1015s. Just unscrew them, slide them out (grab the sides of the knuckle and pull out) and replace.
    So I've removed the stock coupler boxes and tried to slide in MTL 1015's however I'm having an issue; the MTL coupler boxes are about 2mm to thick when compared to the stock couplers so they don't slide in.

    Do you think I could install the MTL couplers in the ScaleTrains boxes?

    EDIT: I ended up installing the MTL couplers in the ScaleTrains boxes and it all worked just fine.
    Last edited by Borrokalari; 10th May 2018 at 11:59 PM. Reason: Fixed my issue

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroRedLn View Post
    I do modern era, so my challenge is to follow the prototype world. That said, the ES44s aren't exactly dinosaurs, and still will be on the rails for at least another decade. Besides, even when the ET44 becomes king, you'd want some ES44s as MU or mid-train DPUs

    Interestingly enough, I have seen moreES44s go on sale on the used market lately. My last three used loco purchases were Fox Valley ES44s Now is a great time for deals!
    I was just down photographing the BNSF southern Transcon for three days. There are still a lot of C44-9Ws and even some SD70MAcs leading trains. ES44DCs were the most common units, followed by ES44C4s and ES44ACs. The ET44s were sneaking in, most were DPUs with older leaders.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    I was just down photographing the BNSF southern Transcon for three days. There are still a lot of C44-9Ws and even some SD70MAcs leading trains. ES44DCs were the most common units, followed by ES44C4s and ES44ACs. The ET44s were sneaking in, most were DPUs with older leaders.
    I model the UP and railfan here in Southern California, I see mostly ES44s, SD70Ms, SD70ACes, AC4400s, C44-9Ws and sometimes SD60Ms in yellow and grey power. I haven't seen many ET44s yet but I suppose they're slowly growing in number.

    Metro Red Ln (Metro Red Line)
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroRedLn View Post
    I model the UP and railfan here in Southern California, I see mostly ES44s, SD70Ms, SD70ACes, AC4400s, C44-9Ws and sometimes SD60Ms in yellow and grey power. I haven't seen many ET44s yet but I suppose they're slowly growing in number.
    I live in Vegas, and I pass over the UP line here heading back and forth to work every day. This line is still dominated by SD60Ms and AC4400s. Even our yard power and local power is all SD60Ms. We get a couple ET44s a week. I like the look of their radiators. It’s a fun time to be a railfan.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Got my 2 CN units yesterday and have to say they are great runners (even on my dirty track..last time I ran a train was nearly 1 year ago), are the most detailed and best sounding N scale locos I have seen. Highly recommend them and hope hey make more N scale locos

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    by Alain LM
    About the Author
    Alain is an avid n-scale modeler who collects North American rolling stock with a focus on Canadian railroads and BNSF and all its predecessors. He occasionally purchases other models from European railroads. He has been using DCC since it's been available and successfully mixes North American and European DCC equipment. Alain regularly contributes to the TroveStar N Scale Model Trains Database (data and blogs), as well as to JMRI. By day, Alain works for a world-class railway signaling firm as an automation and real-time industrial computing engineer. This Frenchman lives near Paris.

    About the prototype
    The General Electric Transportation ET44AC, often referred to as Tier 4 GEVO, is the most recent freight locomotive offered by GE, chiefly for the North American market.

    Here is how ScaleTrains.com describes the prototype on its website:

    Introduced in 2012, General Electric's Tier 4 GEVo Series represents the latest in diesel-electric locomotive technology. The GE Tier 4 GEVo is designed to meet increasingly stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions regulations.

    The EPA “Tier” emissions standards are a series, or Tiers, of allowable emissions levels based upon a locomotives’ date of manufacture. The highest and most stringent tier level, Tier 4, sets maximum allowable NOx and hydrocarbon emissions levels for locomotives built for domestic use 2015 onward.

    While similar in appearance to previous GE GEVo designs, the Tier 4 models featured a longer frame compared to their predecessors. This allows for a larger radiator “cab” (GE refers to the various sections of the long hood as “cabs”), and a "hump" over the engine cab for advanced exhaust treatment equipment.

    Initially, a boxy housing filled the entire roofline on the blue-painted field test/demonstrator units. Due to changes in treatment equipment and clearance issues, the "hump" would decrease in size and shape into a boxy compartment around the exhaust on initial production units. This culminated in an angled compartment surrounding the exhaust manifold on the latest production versions (2016+).

    Despite boxier engine cab rooflines and a radically styled radiator cab, the basic Tier 4 design shares a family appearance with GE safety cab-equipped units going back to the DASH-9s of the 1990s. It even includes the same 12-cylinder GEVo-12 series prime mover and 4,400hp as its predecessor model.

    The Tier 4 units have proven to be popular with the major railroads including BNSF Railway, Canadian National, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific. While GE has settled on a basic carbody design to keep production costs down, there are notable variations and detail differences due to customer specifications.

    With many units built for railroads across the US and in Canada, the Tier 4 GEVo can be seen operating nationwide in a variety of assignments.

    Click here to read more on the prototype, and its variants, on TroveStar.

    And now for the review

    A BNSF and a CN models

    I will be very direct and to the point: WOW!

    This is the most detailed N scale model loco, at this price point and out of the box, that I have ever seen. Without a shadow of a doubt, it outperforms the competition. Just see for yourself with the numerous photos of the production models on Scaletrains.com website. I was already very pleased with the level of detailing of Fox Valley Models and Rapido Trains, to name a few, but these Scaletrains.com models raise the bar far above the competition. The piping on the trucks and tank, the MU and trainline hoses on the pilot are detailed to a level never before reached.

    And, unlike many other brands, the modeler does not have to add any parts to engine; all the details are already assembled and firmly secured to the model- I haven't lost one yet, unlike with the IMR SD40-2W that I reviewed previously.

    The model is available for each of the class I railroads that acquired it, as well as in the GE demonstrator blue livery. In addition to the prototypical paint schemes, a fantasy paint scheme featuring the ScaleTrains.com herald is also available. Due to numerous details that vary from one model to the other, this product release represents no less than 12 different variations, the BNSF itself being available in 3 versions.

    The variation points reside on the following elements:
    - Trucks: Hi-Ad or C4 (A-1-A) for BNSF
    - Engine cab, with 2 types of exhaust compartment
    - Headlight: high cab mounted for NS, nose-mounted for all others
    - Ditch lights, with or without rear ditch lights
    - Cab door, with or without window
    - Antennas: dome or farm array, of different shapes
    - Tank fuel fills: single or double
    - Handrails: two types
    ... and a few other railroad specifics.

    The ScaleTrains.com model itself sports a unique combination of those features, that makes it a special model in its own right.

    You can download here a detailed description of all variants where I have regrouped, in one single table, the features of all model types as listed on ScaleTrains.com website.

    Unboxing

    The model is packed in a nice red cardboard box, that is a bit higher than the usual jewel box and a bit more than twice as wide. So it will take a bit more space than 2 other locomotives on your shelves.


    Plastic clamshell holder


    The locomotive is securely stored in a plastic "clamshell" holder, similar to what you can find on high-end N scale steam engines or on several HO models. I like very much this type of holder that can be used as a natural cradle when servicing the engine.



    Operator's Manual (17.6 x 8.5 cm - 6.9" x 3.3")

    The Operator's Manual is printed with a very small font; not very easy to read, even with good eye glasses. It has 4 pages of text, essentially related to the DCC & Sound instructions. Fortunately, the manual is available for download in PDF on ScaleTrains.com website, so you can enlarge it on your screen. Note that the PDF file also contains the assembly drawing, that is not part of the printed manual.

    First run
    There is absolutely NO tuning required to move the engine. The DCC-Sound version starts moving slowly and smoothly at DCC step 1 (with a 128 step configuration). The DCC no sound equipped with the ESU LokPilot, out of the box, starts moving at step 1. The DC version starts moving at around 2 volts. In analog mode, the DCC-Sound version starts at around 8 volts.

    Sound volume is properly tuned to my taste, i.e. not too loud. Conversely, at higher speeds, you will hardly hear the engine sound but you are not going to drive it like a TGV high-speed train, are you?

    Pulling power seems to be at par with similar engines of other brands (see video below by DaBob's ManCave).

    Couplers are the ScaleTrains.com plastic semi-scale E Type knuckle couplers. They are meant to look prototypical and to couple firmly; so no automatic uncoupling. The coupler box seems compatible with the one of Micro-Trains Line 1015/1016 coupler, so I guess that replacing it can be done pretty easily, if you'd like or need magnetic uncoupling.

    Running an MU between one engine equipped with LokSound and the other with LokPilot requires a bit of tuning, even if out of the box and at constant speed, speed matching is quite OK. Defaults of LokPilot for acceleration and deceleration are not aligned to the LokSound project, no first thing is to set them at same value; secondly, the starting delay of the LokSound (CV124.2) must be disabled.

    To read the rest of this review (which was too long to post here), please follow this link to the TroveStar blog section.http://www.trovestar.com/generic/blog.php?Article=286

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    Default GEVo in Action

    Finally got a chance to video the ScaleTrains GEVo in action. Sorry for the shakiness of the iPhone video, but the sound is great. This UP unit was running at speed 3 (on my Digitrax controller) and could have easily run at speed 1 if my track had been cleaner. I am impressed.
    Last edited by danb; 28th May 2018 at 12:35 AM.

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    Great thread on Scaletrains. So after running them for a few years now, what's the verdict on the Scaletrains Gevo's? Just as good mechanically as Kato but with all the added details? Are any of you having mechanical issues, etc... Just want to get a sense for the company and the product...

    -Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by lgl007 View Post
    Great thread on Scaletrains. So after running them for a few years now, what's the verdict on the Scaletrains Gevo's? Just as good mechanically as Kato but with all the added details? Are any of you having mechanical issues, etc... Just want to get a sense for the company and the product...

    -Greg
    They are fantastic. They run as good as they look. I’d buy them again in a heartbeat.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Kato are good (always) but ScaleTrains' Rivet Counter are far superior to anything else when it comes to details. Quality/Cost ratio is just higher than competition.
    N scale - CN, CP, BN, BNSF.
    DCC - Uhlenbrock Intellibox IR / II - JMRI - Sprog - ESU LokProgrammer
    TroveStar N Scale Model Trains Database - Curator
    All N Scale catalogs on TroveStar!

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