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  • Topic: MTH Challenger Review

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    • June 18, 2004 7:35 AM EDT
      • Belmont, Geelong / Australia
         
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      (MTH Clinchfield Prototype shown) MTH Challenger Review Part one The Tender. The photo's I have of the model and even that set of fantastic pictures at Nuremberg Toy Fair just do not do the detail justice. Simply stunning to say the least and fairly accurate as far as rivet counting is concerned. Lot of brass detail parts on the tender such as grab irons , steps , ladders and piping. Coal load is realistic but a bit shiny. Lettering is very crisp and the small cast plate is quite easily read though as expected writing is small. It simply states Common Standard Tender class 25-C-103. Marker lights are accurate and the reversing light is also correctly mounted and looks the part. Even has the auto stoker housing sticking part way out the front of the tender under the footplate. Moulded on detail is good and does not appear clunky or to thick. The detail on the lead truck and the centipede section of the tender is very well done although care would be needed in handling the tender. Some of the detail on those parts is very fine plastic and looks like it would break easily. Wheels are a scale 1 and 11/16 to small over the treads. Wheels measure out at 1.247 inch over the tread Should be 1 and 5/16 This is the correct size as fitted to the centipede tender which were 42 inch wheels Gauge is all over the shop as well with the worst being 1.524 inch Best at 1.555 Back to back. Adjustment is not easy but careful tapping of the axle centre with a small brad hammer will be able to get them into gauge. Some slight wheel wobble was also evident with one axle and wheel set being fairly bad. Flange thickness is not semi fine scale but quite acceptable. The wheels are heavy and hard. Tender after lubricating the axles rolls extremely freely. No way will this tender go thru a Outback #4 turnout or the C1600 Double curved turnout. The centipede section gets to much side load on it and there is a heap of side play on the centre axles as it is. Booklet says R3 curves minimum. It does negotiate a #6 turnout well. The tender out of the box is quiet heavy and on opening the unit it was found that a lead weight was fitted to the floor of the tender by way of 3 small screws. A set of bathroom scales showed the tender to weigh 5 lb and the lead weight to be 2lb of that weight. In the case of this unit the weight had broken away from the floor by stripping the screws out of the plastic. Obviously it had been thrown about in transit. ( I would be interested if any one else had this problem.) The loose weight did some internal damage mainly to the speaker enclosure by breaking it loose as well but 5 minute epoxy fixed that. Plus it had damaged some wiring by pulling the plugs apart but the Tender body had no damage. Lucky? Could be! There was a DVD disc with the tender and a complimentary DCS controller as well (which is totally useless to me) and a operators manual from hell. Plus a separate novel on the DCS system and it’s workings. Good nights worth of reading material to digest on the model in it's lubrication and tear down and reassembly. Aristocraft and USA Trains should take notice of the owners manual. Impressive. The parts book (which is on the net) has a complete exploded schematic of the tender and loco . Measuring the tender with a Vernier and trusty drawings in hand the tender comes in at the correct length of 45’-6 ¼“ in 1.32 scale with axle spacing being also accurate. Height is slightly of due to the ever so slightly to small wheels. Overall I am pleased with the tender and when the engine part arrives (It is still stuck in Australian Customs) I will go over that as well and write what I think of it.
    • July 8, 2014 10:41 PM EDT
      • Lewiston, NY
         
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      Grant, you wrote this before I got my first one!
      I have a feeling I'd better check mine for back to back spacing. Maybe it just doesn't like my small Aristo switches when backing a big train.
       I still think that this engine alone, set the mark high for value in G scale. Mine are nearing their ten year anniversary. I can't remember exactly when I got them? Hope they make more  quality engines like this. Someday soon, maybe a bigboy re-release??? or Allegheny? yeah......yeah yeah yeah!

    • July 8, 2014 11:52 PM EDT
      • Peoria, AZ
         
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      Does the lack of a review over the past 10 years mean you never got your Loco from Customs?

      This post was edited by Andrew Moore at July 8, 2014 11:53 PM EDT
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    • July 9, 2014 11:00 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Yea, he got it, eventually. It was shipped in 2 pieces, as the carton it came in was way too big to be shipped in one piece by the USPS. 

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    • July 9, 2014 4:49 PM EDT

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      Not a tough crowd, but not getting the other half of the review after 10 years, it's reasonable to ask something...

       

      Joe, were you searching for unanswered threads, or searching for MTH or Challenger? Just curious, since the post being 10 years old means you didn't just see it on the site.

       

      Greg

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    • July 9, 2014 6:08 PM EDT
      • Belmont, Geelong / Australia
         
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      The review was done and Joe posted a link to it. Ken knows I got the Loco because Ken did all the leg work and posting to Oz for me. For that alone , he has a friend for life. He in fact, was the first to see it and hence his comment in the review of the loco.

    • July 10, 2014 6:51 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      If I remember correctly you bought it from Loco Louie's, in Holmes, PA which wasn't far from where my dad lives. And I don't think they're around anymore. 

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    • July 10, 2014 1:40 PM EDT
      • Belmont, Geelong / Australia
         
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      That is too bad if they are gone. Excellent service and extremely easy to deal with. Seems to be the way of things though lately. If I recall, he was shocked to get a call from Oz.

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