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So I have to go into DC to checkout a venue for my daughter's wedding.  Since we're  there, we stop by the Smithsonian Museum and I noticed that the full size steam locomotive Southern 1401 Charlotte is a 4-6-2 Heavy Steam engine like the one I just received the week before.  Mine is the Pittsburgh & West Virginia Cab No. 202 (MTH 20-3822-1), but they both have the same manufacturer, American Locomotive Co..  But I noticed that the museum 1401 had the bell in the front and mine was on top of the boiler.  Looking back at the MTH website picture, they have the bell in the front as well.

20-3822-1 | MTH ELECTRIC TRAINS (mthtrains.com)

Should I be concerned?

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No.  Different roads had their steam locomotive appliances added to their preference.   There is no reason to believe that just because the Southern had front mounted bells that the P&WV did too.  A quick google search came up with pics of several P&WV steamers with top mounted bells, although I did not find an example of a heavy Pacific.  Your model looks fantastic- enjoy!

MTH generally only has photos of old samples from pre-production runs, and then photoshops the schemes on for catalogs and online. It gets too pricey making models of everything before they can even announce them. So structural differences between models often won't get displayed on these photoshopped pre-production samples of models from a decade ago or more. Just like with the Maine Central version I got: Photos didn't show that it had different tender trucks, but it does. And they're more accurate to the real MEC Pacifics, so, I'm more than happy with that surprise. It's progress on MTH's part, fixing what is probably the biggest and longest running complaint for many with their Premier steam, that they never go through the effort of making road specific alterations other than the paint. It'd be nice if they had concept artists do artist renditions of the road specific differences on the old photos for our reference, but they don't, and neither does Lionel for some reason. Lionel's been know to do that as well, present something in catalog that won't look like that when completed, because they are working off old concept art or old photos of older runs of that model. Their new Strasburg 89 is one such model. Catalog depiction is not what it will look like when it ships, in either variation, something they've openly admitted already, because they are also using old art.

I'm with you, it would be better if we knew exactly what their intentions were for the models when they announced them, but they don't do that, and since these are pre-orders, it's not like we get to see a finished version beforehand. Though, maybe someone from Lionel and MTH will see this and start thinking about that more. Hopefully.

Both Lionel and MTH have long printed their catalogs with fine print disclaimers that EVERYTHING in the catalog is subject to change...EVERYTHING, like artwork, prices, colors, bell locations, etc., etc., blah, blah...in the final production version.

It's what corporate lawyers do 'for' their clients...recommend they include an excuse escape clause.

Think of it as 'heightening the anticipation' as you open the newly received package!

And, 'fine print' it is, indeed!

It's like the plant manager at an automotive parts manufacturer at which I worked for 32 years once said at a meeting to resolve discrepancies between engineering drawing/specifications and actual parts being built/shipped:  "An engineering drawing is but a suggestion of how a part is to be made!"

Yepper...true story.  I was there...before cell phones existed to record gems like that for posterity...and roasting ones' posterior.

Some memories never go away.

KD

I had a similar experience when I bought a NOS MTH P47 Lackawanna Pacific. When I took it out of the box, I was very surprised to see that unlike the catalog photos,  it had no feed water heater. At first I thought maybe it was a factory error, but then I saw a few others like it and figured it was legit. For a long time, whenever I would look at it, I would think something was missing, but the deviation from the catalog image has grown on me. 20220217_125136

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