Nov 27, 2012
lets not go down this road again. the fvm mech. is a bad copy of the kato mech.
If you model UP, BNSF or CP both Kato and FVM are correct for early GEVOS. If you model other roads like CSX or NS they are about 85% correct. Both run good but the Kato shells are easier to take apart easier to renumber.
Am I missing something here? What are you basing this on?
Seem's everybody's putting in their two cents--I'm glad FVM did a run of CN units (ES44DC), although some of the details are a bit off. I wish he would have done the "teardrop" front cab window variant--it's been done by IMRC in HO of course. I don't like the use of plastic for add-on details like cut levers, it's not convincing, better to leave off. The quality of the plastic used by FVM is decidedly inferior to that used by Kato, soft and brittle, and as has been said, some of the parts are either glued on heat-bonded together, making disassembly a problem. The "glass" for the lighting and windows is really soft and deformable, plus if you look at an FVM engine from the front, there is a lot of light leakage from underneath the ditchlight housings (that is, if you do the extra work to make the ditchlights visible at all.) I notice that all FVM products have pad-printing that is extremely easy to remove with isopropyl alcohol, so if you're cleaning wheels or something, don't get any on the paint! That can be good or bad I suppose. I have found that some of the detail parts (most of the grabs) are difficult to install as they have been cut really short. I have had no issues with the mechanicals of either type, the FVM is a knock-off of the Kato and works just fine.
OTOH, how much more would it have cost Kato to add the safety/info labels and stencils to the body? Microscale doesn't make them for the GEVO, and the Dash 9/AC4400 set is not correct for the GEVO. I've asked Microscale to do them for the GEVO and SD70Ace/M-2 since they do make them in HO.
In the end, I have a lot more FVMs than Katos, mostly because I, like 99.9% of us, don't have an ALPS printer to make my own white decals. Kato North America always seems to be able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by doing something strange like wonky paint and funny coloured Delrin, over-production of obscure roads, incompletely decorated shells, lack of road-specific detail variations-- like they just don't get it somehow...and they don't care. So many new Kato engines being sold off for $70 or less, I don't see that for FVM.
I've given this C note to FVM. Ordered it and the decoder last night. The way I run, I'll have her well broke in by days end!
It's interesting to see the comparisons of the chassis, when I received my first Kato SD-70 ACes I was dubious about the refined/sprung trucks, firmly implanted in my mind by an early retirement due to the fine gears, sprung axle and open truck picking up minute debris, seizing and melting down...............
I thought these engines were a backward move, but installation of some Tamiya Masking Tape on the underneath of the trucks to seal the gears has now made all my ACes super reliable and smooth.
A modification such as this shouldn't be necessary, but almost all N scale locos suffer the same malady, 'all' my locos, regardless of brand or diesel/steam, get this treatment if the gears are exposed, I have never had a modified loco fail yet (I do a lot (real lot) of display running.
The best thing any N scale manufacturer could do, would be to encase the exposed gears.
I think all trucks are made this way for ease of lubing. but i do the same to all my trucks covering the gears. i have bush sd70ace that has over 200 hours on it and it is going strong.
Well the 1st FVM ES44 showed up today and in my rare form I proceeded to try and BLOW IT UP! Just one of those days. Right out of the gate I smoked the front LED circuit by not getting the decoder plugged in correctly. I know, "how the smell did he do that?" It was easy. Just get in hurry and forget to switch to your programming track mode.
Next hour was spent looking for a better LED and rigging the rear light circuit to act as the front. It can be done. Anybody remember McGuyver?
Love detail on the shell, sort of like the slow speed motor, but I think FVM could have done a little better on the amber LEDs and forward light tubes. IMHO you can barely see them. This loco is an excellent candidate for a Top Hobby Sound and light package conversion. Too bad I missed the last lotto.
Sell a third of them to fund chipping the other two thirds. Easy peasy.