Just letting everyone know about my first purchase from "Trainz". I have read a lot of good reviews here on the forum about "Trainz", but have never been game enough to take the plunge and purchase anything from them.
It is a long way to get the item to me here "down-under" in Australia, and if there is something wrong/it doesn't work, it's a long way to get it back to Buford, Georgia. A lot of the locomotives they advertise for sale don't say if they are operational or not......just that they are "untested". A bit of a gamble for me.
Anyway, they had what appeared to be an almost brand new MTH RailKing 30-1156-1 "Pennsylvania" 2-8-8-2 USRA Mallet Steam Engine & Tender on their eBay store, and I have been looking to buy a big articulated steam engine for quite some time now. I had been unlucky in bidding on a couple of "Big Boy" loco's on the recent Cabin Fever MTH stock liquidation auction (you know who you are), but here was my chance to get a decent articulated loco that would run on my O 31 curves, without having to bid against fellow train lovers.
I've got to say it was the easiest sale I have undertaken in quite some time. The loco and tender came in their original polystyrene box and cardboard outer box, complete with a sealed packet of spare traction tyres, and a sealed bottle of MTH smoke fluid. The original owners manual and warranty card was also intact inside the box. The wheels and pick-up rollers on the loco (and on the tender) showed no signs of wear or ever being in contact with the rail tops. The paint finish was perfect.....no scratches or even any wear marks from being stored in the polystyrene box.
I opened the loco up to inspect the grease in the gearboxes, and to see how the wick in the smoke unit was, as this loco has some age on it now. Getting into the gearboxes was a little more difficult than first thought, but I managed to crack the code and come at them from underneath via the removal of the two trucks away from the motors. The smoke wick was brand new (pure white) with no signs of the heater element ever being turned on. There was no evidence of any smoke fluid ever being in the chamber bowl.
While I had the body off I installed a TVS in the red (+) wire nut, and onto the black (-) wire ground screw, and then oiled all the wheel bearings and drive rod assemblies. I also replaced a couple of the traction tyres, as they seemed a little loose/stretchy on the rim of two drive wheels, then I buttoned it up and took the body off the tender. Had a good look at the chrome plating on the back of the speaker......perfect, nothing to report there. Took the original MTH "white" battery out (bit of a trick as the circuit board had to be partially removed to access the two screws holding the plastic battery case to the frame), and replaced it with a spare BCR I had. Buttoned the tender up and put both units on the track.
Turned the transformer on to around 10 volts, waited 60 seconds for the BCR to charge, and then turned the transformer off and back on again, and...... the beast started to move slowly in the forward direction. Tried all of the ProtoSound 1 features (steam whistle, bell, crew talk, freight yard sounds, electric coupler etc) and everything worked fine, first time, and exactly as they should. Direction can be changed by hitting the "Direction" button on the transformer, and that wonderful "chuffing" sound that matches the speed of the loco!!!!! This is a keeper!!!
All I can say is the loco is exactly what I thought it would be......and more. It navigates my tight O 31 Buco brass rail curves easily, and does not foul on any of the switch lanterns. I am one happy camper!!!! Thank you Trainz for such a great experience, and I certainly haven't bought "a pig in a poke"!!! I can highly recommend Trainz as a place to get a decent deal.