Over the years, I have become somewhat frustrated, as a fan of MTH's products, that their smoking whistle first profiled in OGR in the January 2009 issue has been rolled out fairly slowly. The first O scale engine to have the whistle was the 2016 (I believe) Premier Big Boy; in 2017/2018, the whistle was offered in the Challenger. Meanwhile, since Lionel's smoking whistle premiered in 2010 on the Vision CC2 and 2-10-10-2, Lionel has continually expanded the range of models with smoking whistles, going as small as a Shay, an Atlantic, and the recent H10s.
Now, however, there has been a complication to my ax grinding. Flipping through the MTH HO catalog, I noticed that the HO Big Boy and HO GS4 will both have whistle steam (see attached photos). With this revelation comes a few questions:
1. The one that has to be asked: Is this is a typo? MTH stated in the respective catalog that their most recent Z1 2-8-8-2 in O scale would have whistle steam, but the model does not.
2. If there is no typo, what breakthrough did MTH finally make allowing them to fit their whistle steam unit in an HO engine? Did Lionel's patent expire?
3. If there has been a breakthrough, what is the limiting factor on installing the feature in more small MTH engines?