Since its new business model went into effect, MTH seems to be making fewer locomotive models for my railroads of interest. So, my purchasing has been reduced, but I still like to buy a few new models each year, and MTH is my preferred brand. In recent years, I’ve been limiting myself to lower-priced models. The prices of high-end die-cast steam engines have gotten much higher than I’m willing to pay.
So, recently, after shopping around, I decided to buy an MTH Railking model of New York Central ALCo RS-3 #8344 (30-20816-1) that was in stock at a Forum sponsor. I chose this particular model because locomotives with this livery and similar road numbers ran on NYC’s Boston & Albany subsidiary and around New York City – two places where I’ve spent some time. MTH delivered this model in November 2021 at an MSRP of $359.95. It arrived on my doorstep last week and now, a few days later, I’ve unpacked it, looked it over, and given it a test run.
Upon examining the model, my first impression was that its quality of manufacture was exceptional. Actually, I thought it was perfect. I’m very particular but couldn’t find any defects. And this was not the first model locomotive that I’ve ever seen. I then set it up on my 10’-by-5’ layout and gave it a brief test run. The model’s ALCo 244 engine startup sounds seemed as though I was standing right next to an RS-3 as its engine gathered itself up and settled into a rough idle. I then set the Z4000 transformer to about 12 volts and the locomotive began to run forward very smoothly at about 15 scale miles-per-hour with perfect speed control. It ran equally well in reverse. The horn and bell were loud and clear. I operate conventionally and don’t use smoke, so DCS and its features remain untested and irrelevant to me.
One item that disappointed me was that the model does not include engineer or fireman figures – a minor omission that can easily be remedied.
Suffice it to say that this model has so far fully met my expectations at a reasonable price. But I would still like to see MTH producing more locomotive models for railroads that operated in the New England states – especially the New Haven, Boston & Maine, New York Central (Boston & Albany), Rutland, and Maine Central. I’ve been an MTH customer for 25 years and would like them to stay in business.