Searails EMD Model 40

Curn Mar 22, 2015

  1. Curn

    Curn TrainBoard Member

    On September 30th, 2013 I place an order for a Searails EMD Model 40 locomotive, which was the last day for the $179 introductory price (shipping included apparently!). Yesterday, March 20[SUP]th[/SUP], 2015, my EMD Model 40 locomotive was delivered. From the beginning, this project had many hurdles, and setbacks. Jim Shiff was kind enough to keep those who ordered a engine up to date on the progress of the project. With all the times the brass shell had to be redesigned, and all the failed castings, I doubt that Jim made any money off me. But I do thank him for sticking with the project, and delivering another great product to the Z community.


    The Searails Model 40 is a small locomotive. The PowerMAX drive is an extremely small mechanism. There is a photo on the Searails website of it sitting on the tip of someone’s finger and it really is that small. Size wise, the shell is a little larger than it should be, and seems a little too tall. As long as you don't double head it with an AZL engine, it's not noticeable. The brass body does give the engine a very dense feel.

    Cab width 14.85mm
    Length (platform end to platform end): 31.70mm
    Height (rail to top of roof): 20.5mm
    Weight: 18.4 grams

    The surface is pretty good being that it is made using a 3D printed wax master that is cast in brass. It is almost as good as Shapeways FUD. The included photos speak to this better than I can. Micro photography is not kind, but for normal viewing it is just fine.


    The locomotive came with directional LED headlights, that are connected by thin magnet wire from the chassis to the shell. Because of this the mechanism is semi-permanently attached to the shell. This makes painting the undecorated version a bit of a challenge, but on the Searails website there are instructions for making a painting mask to cover the mechanism while airbrushing.

    At 18.4 grams, the engine is heavy and can pull quite a few cars. With 1% grades and 195mm radius curves, it could pull 9 PFE reefers, and started slipping with the 10[SUP]th[/SUP]. On my smallest layout (95mm minimum radius), it can only handle 4 cars.

    The PowerMAX mechanism is geared low, and so it can go very slow. On the down side to this, there is a bit a gear noise. It is no where near as bad as an F7, but my phone read it as 30-35 decibels when I had it going at 50 smph. (which is pretty much full speed for this thing). It may quiet down with use. Given its small size and small wheel base, power pick-up is a bit of an issue with this engine. It's comparable with the Marklin 0-6-0 in that regard. Clean track is a must for this one.

  2. minzemaennchen

    minzemaennchen TrainBoard Member

    Making those tiny, little locomotives is a big challenge and I'm glad Searails pulled at least that project off. Prototypical accuracy of course is part of the challenge, my bigger MP15AC or DC or SW1000 are pretty much on the limit, so no surprise this model 40 is a bit on the chubby side. Should go well with MTLs GP9.
    With all the details and free standing railings I can imagine what drama the production process was, I guess they were not counting scrap, would be easier to count to good parts....
  3. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    Cool little lokie, for sure!! Would look good painted in Milwaukee Road orang/black!

  4. zscaler

    zscaler TrainBoard Member

  5. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

    It really was an Nn3 product, from what I see. As pointed out, it would pair well with an MTL GP series in the yard. Here is a bottom view that will give you a better perspective:

    Searails EMD40_Bottom.jpg
  6. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

    This is not the same product as the Nn3 GE 25 ton done by Searails, it does however have the same power source, the power max, but you can now get the GE 25 ton as a standard gauge (9mm) unit as well as the narrow gauge (6.5mm) unit.

    Attached Files:

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