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Back in the 90s, the first time MTH tried 2 rail, I got a pair of the ones they did then.   I think the same shell just more details cast on rather than add-on.   I purchased a PRR and B&LE unit because I could not find 2 PRR ones.   I repainted the B&:E/

Below is most of a review I wrote for a magazine that has been out of business for at least 10  years and this is my text:

          The fidelity to prototype of the two finishes appears good and the lettering is a close match.  The word Pennsylvania appears to be about 1 foot short on each side of the body.  This is not a major discrepancy.  The cab numbers appear to be accurately placed on both units.    A nice touch is the road number properly placed on the ends of the hoods. The unit number I received is accurate for a PRR Baldwin AS616 of this design.    Pennsy also had 2 of the later units from 1954 that had the outside equalized trucks.   The paint scheme on the PRR unit is, as built, while the one on the B&LE unit is from the later 60s.   When delivered the B&LE units had wide black stripes running the length of the hoods and across the cab sides.   The placement of the orange and black on these models appears accurate.   The numbers on the sides and ends appear to follow prototype practice closely and the number is accurate for a Baldwin AS616 on the B&LE.   There is one discrepancy.   All the photos of the Baldwins in the book show black walkways, including the steps up to the cab and the raised walkways on either side of the cab.   On the MTH model, the steps up to the cab and the raised walkways are painted orange like the hood sides.   It would be an easy job to paint these if the modeler desired.   I understand that most of the roadnames were delivered from MTH with 3 different roadnumbers. This makes it nice for those of us who like to operate multiple units.

          The units are well built and sturdy with quite a bit of detail.  The shell is cast plastic with some add-on details.  Most grabs and handles are cast in.  The horn is a separate casting.  The underframe is formed steel that inserts under the plastic body.  The fuel tanks and pilots are diecast metal as are the truck components including the sideframes.  The handrails and  stantions are formed steel wire  attached to the body casting.  The handrails are blackened wire.   The end railings are attached to the steel underframe.  The cab is lighted and includes an engineer.  The headlights are directional while the cab is constantly lit.  The cab interior is quite spartan and very similar to that on other MTH diesels.  There is some cast-in detail on the pilots. The unit comes with a snow plow and the two screws to mount it to the pilot.  However, it sticks out too far to allow use of a Kadee coupler when mounted as intended.   Also, in the prime time for Baldwins, the 1950s, snowplows on the units in the East were not at all common.   I have seen no photographs of them.   Screws are included to mount Kadee couplers at each end.     When mounted in the pilots as set up out of the box, the Kadee couplers are at the correct height according to a Kadee coupler gauge.

          These models come standard equipped with a smoke generator.    I did not realize this when I started to test them.   After a few trips back  and forth down the track, the unit I was running came back at me bellowing a huge cloud of smoke out of the stack!   I was totally surprised.   Boy, did that look like pictures I have seen of Baldwins in heavy service.    There is an on-off switch for the smoke unit under the cab end on the engineer’s side.   Both units are set up, according to the engineer placement, to run long hood forward.

      The one detail that I will change is the chrome plated horn.  It is a nice casting, but it does look out of place chrome plated on an otherwise very nice paint job.  The fans and stacks appear to be located accurately and are nicely done.  The fuel tank/air tank casting is also a little spartan but appears to be well proportioned according to the drawing.   The louvers and gratings all appear to be accurately placed and sized when compared with the drawing.  The access doors on both sides match the drawing exactly.  The handrails all around the unit match the drawing also.    An interesting note, in all the pictures of PRR and B&LE units in the two books, the number boards are flush with the body and a few feet in from the ends on each corner.   However, on the drawing they stick out on the corners and have a small lens in them. This is exactly what the models have.    In the Dolzall book, more than half the units have the number boards as they appear on the models and in the drawing.  The handrails on the ends do not extend down the stairs as far as the prototype drawings.  This is a concession to the design to allow for ease of disassembly and for tinplate (scaleplate) operation.  Generally, these models are very nicely detailed above the frame and rather spartan from the frame down.   The frame looks a lot like photographs of the first version of a welded frame that Baldwin started using on the DRS-6-6-1500s and then continued into the early AS616s.    The later frames had heavier sides and large notches to allow room for the big brake cylinders.    The truck sideframes are very nice castings and really duplicate the prototype heavy 6 wheel GSC Commonwealth C Type truck well.   This truck is the trademark of most AS616s.

          I checked the major dimensions to determine how the close the model was to scale.  As I mentioned above, I could not scale off my drawing, so I have just a few dimensions to compare.   I consider any dimension within 3 inches to be a result of my measurement error and not an error on the model.  The overall length of the locomotive at the coupler faces was exactly the same as the drawing at 58 feet.  The drawings show that the height over cab for the prototype was 14 feet 1 inch while the model scales out at 15 feet 3 inches.  All the MTH diesels I have looked at, scale about a foot too high.   The model locomotive wheelbase scaled at 41 feet while the Locomotive Cyclopedia specifications state that the prototype was 44 feet 6 inches.   The shortened wheelbase results in there being a larger than prototype gap between the back of the pilots and the ends of the trucks.   According to my drawing the truck wheel base should be 13 feet and the model measures 13 feet 3 inches at the wheels.  However, the journal centers for the end axles are right on 13 feet.    The axle spacing within the trucks for the center axles was accurate.   

          Each unit contains two motors with flywheels.  Most MTH engines run well right out of the box.  These units have required some tinkering.   One of these units ran fine on straight track, but immediately shorted out when entering a curve.    I tracked that problem down to the contacts on the insulated wheels touching the truck frame.   With some fiddling, I was able clear it up.   The other unit has shorted out intermittently and blown my circuit breakers.   However, when turned over in a cradle on my bench, it seems to run fine.  I suspect that it is a similar problem to the first one, but I have not been able to find it.   I have 4 other MTH locos and have not had a problem in the past.   MTH recommends lubricating the axles with a small drop of oil and the exposed gears with a little lubricant before extended operation.  I did this and the units do run a little quieter.  However, they were not loud to begin with.  I have run the two units together and they run well together.   They will creep down to a fairly slow speed when new.   My experience with the MTH PAs and GP30s tells me that they will smooth out and run even better after a few  hours of operation. The only quirk in the operation is that they have a very high top speed.  They just keep accelerating to rocket velocity as the throttle is moved to full 12 volts.   This is not a major problem because they run well at low speeds and can be controlled easily.   They just have a very high top end.  They also run somewhat slower when the smoke generator is turned on.   These units pull very well.

          The 6 axle trucks track reasonably well but not as well as MTH 4 axle trucks.   I had no problems running these units through switches, but I did have some problems on curves.    The instruction sheet says they will go around a 36 inch radius.   The tightest radius on my layout is 48 inches and they just squeak through the curve.   The units did derail on the curve until I straightened out a couple of kinks that had developed when I ballasted the track.   They also derailed on a 52 inch radius curve when the rail joints were not tight and smooth.   I do not think they will go around a 36 inch radius curve.    One reason for the more sensitive tracking is the long truck wheelbase.   Another is the truck design.   MTH designs the 6 wheel trucks with an  idler axle on the inside closest to the tank.   It holds this axle on the rails with spring tabs from the truck body.   The axle can float fairly easily because of the light springing.    It also basically carries no weight.   The two powered axles have no springing.   Having this lightweight idler axle out at the extreme end of the truck allows it to move around and climb the rails very easily.   The two Alco PAs from MTH are designed the same way and have similar tracking characteristics.   My suggestion to MTH would be to power the two end axles and place the idler axle in the center to obtain very reliable tracking.

          These engines are designed for tinplate use and there are compromises for that market.  Generally speaking this means that there is less detail and less accuracy below the deck level than above.  On the tinplate version, the pilots are mounted to the trucks to swivel on sharp curves.  The same pilots are used on the 2-rail versions mounted on the frame.  This makes the pilots too high.  They clear the railhead by about a scale 18 inches.  This is characteristic of the MTH diesels.   From a top view, the frame at each end should angle toward the body a little at the stairwell.  They are squared off on this unit.  The truck side frames are mounted to accommodate tinplate wheelsets and are too wide on a scale unit.  The handrails are mounted to the body and do not extend down along the steps on the end as they do on the prototype.  This feature makes it very easy to disassemble the unit if the need arises.    The wheelbase was shortened to accommodate tinplate operation.

          Many of the compromises with appearance can be corrected in my opinion with a little modeling effort.   The height and the truck wheelbase would be difficult to change and probably require major work.  I think it will be fairly easy to lower the pilot some to improve the looks.  This could be done with a spacer block and some longer screws for a quick and dirty fix.  I have tried this on MTH GP30 locomotives and it worked well.  I think the truck side frames could be moved in closer to the wheels fairly easily also.  The side frames need to be removed and the mounting holes on the motor frame elongated.  Then the side frames could be remounted.  There is a motor shaft that projects out to the sideframe on one side.  The side frame would have to be ground away in this area.   I am not sure this is worth the effort unless a full super detailing is planned.  Changing the shape of the pilot deck would also be major work.  To reshape it with the cutouts would require body work to both the frame and the body casting.  Building a new fuel and air tank assembly would be a typical scratch building project.  I may tackle some of these changes and then again, I just may weather these units and run them for awhile.

          If I could request my choice of changes to this type of unit, I would like the following in order of priority.  My first wish would be to change the 6 wheel truck design for better tracking. Then I would like to see the sideframes mounted at the proper width.  Finally I would like to see a little more attention paid to the details below the belt line such as fuel tanks and air tanks.

          To sum up, I rate these units at about 8.0 for operation (primarily because of the easily repaired shorts) and about 7.5 for fidelity to scale.  I also rate them about 8.5 for value.  To qualify all this, I would like to explain what I mean.  These units do not compare with very expensive brass models in terms of fidelity to scale and level of detail.  However, I think you could buy 3 of these for the same price as one brass one.  They generally run well out of the box and pull very well.  From 3 or 4 feet away, you will probably not be able to distinguish them from brass.   The only operational problem was the tracking of the long trucks described above.   As I have stated in the past, if fidelity to scale is very important to you, these locomotives will probably be a disappointment in terms of detail.  If a good operating locomotive that is obviously a Baldwin AS616 in most aspects, is what you want, these diesels are for you.   They have a lot of potential for more detailing for the those who want to and  they are reasonably priced.

Even if you can find an early 2-rail version, it would still have the twin vertical motor "China Drive."  One project that I never got around to, was turning an MTH AS-616 into a four-axle AS-16 using the better-performing central motor drive and AAR-Type B trucks from an early-1990s Weaver Ultra Line Alco.

The drive parts are still available from P&D Hobby (now online only.)  Depending on the railroad you model, and whether you would accept a 4-axle prototype, this would net you a better runner without having to hunt for a potential unicorn.  My $.02.

If you guys are looking for an accurate Baldwin AS16 or AS616. The MTH car body is a joke.

There is nothing better than the Overland Baldwins. If you are patient they do turn up. I've bought six in the last few years.

Sometimes they get expensive, I let others buy the expensive ones. Most I've bought for less than what Sunset 3rd rail is charging for new locomotives.
And at least I know the OMI models have the correct wheel diameter on the trucks, not like some GP7's that have been imported.

We have 2 very different markets here.  I try to sell things that are relatively inexpensive, and are OK as far as scale goes.  I like to be able to offer a decent engine with P3.0 and smoke for under 400.

Obviously there are those here who would rather spend from $600 up to maybe 2500.  on a super highly detailed engine.   Thats OK.    Its just not what i would consider average. FWIW.    Five hundred bucks is still a good chunk of money for most ppl, at least Im thinking.   I could be wrong.

We have 2 very different markets here.  I try to sell things that are relatively inexpensive, and are OK as far as scale goes.  I like to be able to offer a decent engine with P3.0 and smoke for under 400.

Obviously there are those here who would rather spend from $600 up to maybe 2500.  on a super highly detailed engine.   Thats OK.    Its just not what i would consider average. FWIW.    Five hundred bucks is still a good chunk of money for most ppl, at least Im thinking.   I could be wrong.

Nope. You're correct.  Not everyone is made of money.

But I could completely do without P3.0 and smoke, and all the rest of the gee-gaws.

You are right there are two markets.
Modelers who want accurate models and those that are happy with anything that is produced.

This post is in the 2 rail forum, and the OP asked "Has anyone 2 railed one of these, and are they scale?"

The OP deserves to know if the model is scale or what "deficiencies" it might have.
It might be within that modeler's skill set to correct those "deficiencies" or the "deficiencies" might not matter to them.

That is a question for each and every modeler. The answer to that question is different for each and every modeler.
There is no wrong answer here, if you are happy with the model that is all that should matter.

I owned one of these a long time ago. I can say the hoods are too wide and too tall.
I took the time to measure the model and check it.

I only wish someone would have been brave enough to review the model critically before I bought mine.

For me, the effort to correct the hood width and height would have cost too much in both time and energy.  
I chose to sell off my model. That began my hunt to find more accurate Baldwin models.

I have seen one excellent example of a modeler correcting the hoods and making an accurate scale model out of one of these.
When I asked him about his model, he said it was "A LOT of work" and "it would have been easier to scratchbuilt the model."

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