does this operate ok on 042 curves? if so maybe with the stock longer drawbar one could get away with 036 curves. baring there were no switches to run though. any one try this?
First, if the specific model you're interested in has the PT tender, that's just not going to work.
I have the original MTH Premier Hudson, 20-3020-1 with the 12-wheel tender. Compared to a postwar Lionel 773 which was designed for O31, the MTH is gauged "tight," i.e., the flanges are pretty close to the railheads even on straight track. Between the wheel gauging and the lack of side rod clearance, there's almost no "wiggle room" in the drive block when the loco is in a curve. Since mine is 27 years old and predates speed control, it slows down noticeably entering O42 curves, which are the minimum it was rated for. Cruise control on the newer models might mask some of that. But be advised- the wheel flanges on MTH steam are made of relatively soft metal, and will wear to a sharp edge with a lot of running on sharp curves.
Final thought: appearance-wise, a scale Hudson will have a LOT of overhang on O36 (also true on O42.) So unless you're planning to build a layout with much larger curves in the near future, the RailKing and LionChief Plus Hudsons will look and run better on O36. My $.02.
Just curious, regarding only "this series" of MTH Hudson's. If you have one with PT tender, and 1 with normal tender, can you swap tenders without issues (besides road numbers not matching)?