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The Pacific was based on a Boston & Maine locomotive.It went through several drive revisions before ceasing production in 1966.I recently purchased one of the last new 1930's versions in dealer inventory.Unfortunately, the major NYC dealer shipped it poorly--with no packing peanuts or any other material at all around the locomotive box--just stuck inside an Athearn case that originally carried multiple locos, and taped shut.Otherwise I love the model (more than the MTH steamers I wrote glowing reviews about below). My friend has a pacific like mine and it has always run perfectly. On a flat layout it will pull 43 cars at a resonable speed.Paul Menkens writes: I have of these, 2 Mikados and 1 Pacific. soon after I got it, when I contacted Athearn they told me that they were trying to get some replacement gears and to keep getting back to them and they would eventually be able to fix it for me (at no cost) finally about a year and a half later they said to send it in and they did fix it and it has run fine since however they broke some of the detail parts and the headlight has not worked since. When these things run they run great, when I inquired about the replacement gears at N. I would like to get a second 3900 but none are to be had in Houston.This document is a guide to HO steam locomotives (of North American prototype). Under each manufacturer, both the strong and weak points of their steam locomotives are listed.Feel free to submit any comments that might be of value to others.
Athearn's Big Boy uses a plastic body while I understand, BLI uses a Diecast body for heavier traction.However some of them suffer from degredation of the cast material, causing them to swell and warp.Pickup varies from tender only to tender and loco, some have plastic drivers, some plastic with metal rims.Now repaired, it runs great for me in DC mode, is exceptionally quiet and smooth, lights very nicely (has actual bulbs in numberboards, not sure about headlight and tender backup light--they may be LED--are bright).
Now if I only had a good means of weathering that repaired cab roof... their comments were that 1)their gears were machined from solid delrin and wouldn't split like the original molded plastic ones and 2)these are nice locomotives and it baffles them as to why Athearn chose to save money by putting such cheep gears in scott writes: I have a Challenger and enjoy it.
Some of them run very well and the whole lower boiler and frame is cast, giving them a fair amount of weight.