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Product Lab - December 2006

Published: November 14, 2006
E-flite's Blade CP Pro fully flight-ready
Product: Blade CP Pro RTF electric micro heli
Maker: E-flite
Stock No.: EFLH1300
MSRP: $249.99
Availability: Horizon Hobby

Product: Radio-control helicopters have come a long way, from a fairly obscure hobby a few years ago to a very popular one today.

E-flite's Blade CP Pro is a well-designed RTF micro helicopter package that includes everything needed to fly in the box.

The Blade CP Pro is a descendant of the already successful Blade CX (fixed pitch with coaxial contra-rotating main rotors), and is similar to the Blade CP (collective pitch), with the addition of an upgraded lightweight 800mAH lithium-polymer battery and other performance enhancements.

Although many electric micro helis are already on the market, the Blade CP Pro RTF is unique in that it offers a fully flight-ready package, including a 72MHz six-channel FM transmitter, fully symmetrical main rotor blades, balancing charger for the flight battery, six-channel FM receiver, gyro, brushed electronic speed controllers for the main and tail motors, and even eight AA batteries for the transmitter. The Blade CP Pro is flight-tested at the factory to make sure that all controls are operable and servo directions are correct.

You can upgrade the Blade CP Pro by adding a heading-hold gyro for more precise yaw axis control; a 20A brushless motor to replace the stock brushed 370 motor and electronic speed control; and other performance enhancing parts. Repair and upgrade parts are readily available and reasonably priced.

The manual is the best R/C helicopter instruction book I have ever seen (glow or electric). Even experienced R/C helicopter pilots will want to carefully follow the manual, as there are a few critical differences listed in it for checkout and safe startup of the Blade CP Pro, compared with other R/C helicopters.

For most beginners, correctly setting up any R/C helicopter (glow or electric) is a daunting task with a steep learning curve. The Blade CP Pro completely eliminated that step by providing a tested, flight-ready platform right out of the box. This is a big advantage for someone who's just beginning to learn the complexities of an R/C helicopter.

Performance: Although the manual suggests the Blade CP Pro is not recommended for first or low-time pilots (the Blade CX is recommended for beginners), it's possible for a beginner to learn on this machine with some help from an experienced pilot, along with some simulator time.

The Blade CP Pro uses CCPM control and Bell-Hiller mixing for precise movement, and it's fully capable of upright and inverted hovering, forward flight, and even full 3D performance. Idle-up curves are factory preset, with knobs that allow some fine-tuning of the curves.

I carefully followed the manual. I unplugged the main and tail rotor motor leads from the 3-in-1 control unit, then turned on the transmitter and powered up the receiver and on-board electronics. To properly arm the electronic speed controls, you must put the transmitter throttle trim in full low position and turn on the transmitter before connecting the flight battery to the 3-in-1 unit. Disabling the main and tail rotor motors for this test by unplugging them from the 3-in-1 unit is an essential step for safety, as a reversed throttle servo could cause a sudden and unexpected startup of the main blades.

The manual recommends that when you disconnect the motors, you move each of the transmitter sticks to first confirm correct movement of the swashplate (pitch, roll, and throttle/collective pitch servo direction). I found the servo directions and other controls responded correctly during these tests; I then unplugged the flight battery and reconnected the wires to the 3-in-1 unit.

While the manual recommends checking blade tracking in a stable hover, I deviated from this slightly by clamping the landing skids to my workbench and slowly advancing the throttle stick to approximately 50% travel while watching the main rotor disc advancing blade tips. The main rotor blade tips are clearly marked with tracking tape (one red, one black). In normal indoor lighting, it was clear the red-marked blade was slightly out of track (high) with respect to the black-marked blade, so I stopped the heli, unplugged the main onboard battery and tightened the adjustable pitch control link on the red-marked blade by two full turns. Repeating this test showed both blades to be tracking perfectly. Blade tracking is very important in a helicopter, as out-of-track blade conditions may result in severe vibration during flight.

The Blade CP Pro performs extremely well in a hover and in upright forward flight, even in the box-stock configuration. Most of my previous flying experience has been on much larger, glow-powered helis, which tend to be more stable and wind tolerant than the smaller micro helis. Wind conditions were slight; I wouldn't recommend flying the blade CP Pro on a gusty day. I noticed some sluggishness and delay on the rudder/yaw axis, but that's comparing the CP Pro's gyro performance to my experience with the very precise headinghold gyros on my glow-powered models.

You can use an adjustable gain pot on the 3-in-1 unit to correct any counter-torque tendencies of the tail rotor control. It was easy to adapt to the sluggishness in the tail, and I believe that for serious 3D flying, the optional heading-hold gyro would provide tighter tail control. However, for hovering and upright forward flight, the stock gyro is certainly adequate. I was quite pleased with the performance of this product, and would recommend it to any R/C helicopter enthusiast.

Marketing: The Blade CP Pro box is a very attractive retailing unit that features complete descriptions and pictures of the product. Whether you're just beginning to sell R/C helicopters or are already carrying them, the Blade CP Pro is a great addition to your inventory.
During a recent visit to my local hobby shop, I saw two customers in one hour walk out of the store with E-flite Blade helicopter boxes under their arms. This particular retailer has been selling this product for some time, and offers a complete rack of options, accessories and replacement parts for E-flite helicopter products. Parts and upgrades will provide additional income and profit to your store.

Reviewed by Joe Weigel

  • Has everything needed to fly

  • Includes excellent manual

  • Performs extremely well

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    Franklin Mint's 1971 Plymouth Road Runner flexes muscle
    Product:1971 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six Pack
    Maker: The Franklin Mint
    Scale: 1:24

    Product: The year 1971 was a tough one for muscle cars. The federal government was cracking down on emissions, insurance companies were raising costs, and gas prices were on the rise.
    However, based on Chrysler's 1971 offerings, it quickly became apparent that the Dodge and Plymouth divisions were thumbing their noses at the changing times. Case in point was the freshly re-designed Plymouth Satellite line, which still included the popular Road Runner, Plymouth's leader in the "most-bang-for-the-buck" muscle car category. All of the tire-shredding, road-ripping engine options were still available too, including a triple two-barreled carb 440 V-8, better known as the 440 Six Pack.
    Even with a lowered compression ratio, the 440 Six Pack still produced 385 horsepower, 490 ft. lbs. of torque and ran the quarter mile in 13.7 seconds. Yes, muscle was still alive in '71!

    Performance: Franklin Mint's replica is top notch. The buyer truly gets the feel of a quality product because of the extra attention Franklin Mint has given to detail. The buyer will find a care and handling guide with a certificate of authenticity, a metal nameplate, a thank-you letter, white handling gloves, and a model tool (helpful for opening the hood and trunk).
    The model itself is well crafted, with accurate dimensions. My sample's paint was flawless, as was the chrome. A few of the many details I appreciated were the excellent decals (four alone in the engine compartment), the working suspension, the correct exhaust tips and Polyglas tires, and the photo-etched pieces. I found only a few minor annoyances: the ride stance was too high (typical on most models), not much attention was given to chassis details (oversprayed body paint would have been a nice touch), and the front and rear valences didn't fit tightly to the body; the gaps were a bit distracting.

    Marketing: The details add up on a model of this caliber, especially when compared side-by-side to less expensive die-casts. Any customer who plunks down the cash for a Franklin Mint Precision model is likely to want another.

    Reviewed by Mike Soliday

  • Well-packaged product

  • Excellent detail level

  • Mopars are a hot subject

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    Academy's STR-4 Pro II a touring car contender
    Product: STR-4 Pro II
    Maker: Academy
    Scale: 1:10
    Stock No.: 15102
    MSRP: $299.98
    Availability: Model Rectifier Corp.
    Tested with:
    Trinity Epic X Stock Pro Motor (EP1166, $34.99)
    Trinity Epic ESP 3800 Vis-Pro matched unassembled cells (EP0062, $67.49)
    HiTec HFX electronic speed control (41810, $99.95)
    HiTec HS-965MG servo (32965S, $TBA)
    Nomadio Sensor transmitter and transceiver (NOM-100, $460)

    Product: The STR-4 Pro II from Academy is a shaft-driven, all-wheel drive touring car kit ideal for the entry- to intermediate-level sport racer. It features a 2.5mm carbon fiber chassis; 2mm carbon upper deck; full ball bearings; front and rear ball differentials; and a dynamic torque-limiting front one-way differential. Other parts include an aluminum motor mount, heat sink and drive shaft, and oil-filled shocks.

    Performance: Upon opening the STR-4 Pro II's box, I remarked, "That's a lot of parts." The great thing is, Academy packages the parts in individual, labeled bags for each step in the detailed instruction book. That made the build-up incredibly simple and cut out at least an hour of hunting through parts sprues to find the one item I needed.

    All the hardware is hex driven, and Academy supplies standard small hex wrenches in the kit. However, things go faster with a set of hex drivers like the ones in the Ultimate Tool Set from Duratrax (DTXR0400). Assembly took about six hours; all the parts went together easily with nice finish.
    The carbon fiber chassis and upper deck combine to make the STR-4 a lightweight, solid unit with just enough flex to keep the wheels on the ground at all times. Also helping are the oil-filled, aluminum-bodied dampers at each corner.

    Balancing the car is a snap, since Academy provides battery cutouts on either side of the chassis, enabling the racer to put the batteries in a variety of configurations.

    I installed the ROAR-legal, 27-turn Epic X Stock Pro Motor in the STR-4. The kit includes a range of spur gears to let the user tailor the gearing to his particular needs. I chose what I thought was a fairly tame gearing, matching the 32-tooth pinion with the 76-tooth spur.

    There's plenty of room on the deck for the Nomadio transceiver and the HiTec HFX ESC. After assembling the Epic Vis-Pro 3800 matched cells, the time had come for a test drive.

    On asphalt, the STR-4 handled really well. The X Stock motor really propelled the car off the line and just seemed to keep accelerating. Handling was nimble thanks to the oil-damped shocks and the HiTec servo, which really snapped the STR-4's steering in the direction I wanted the car to go.

    If there's a weak link in the kit, it's probably the tires. Be careful during assembly to cut the foams to the correct length and really work the tire bead onto the rims properly before gluing. Also, when running outdoors, keeping the tires clean will make a huge difference in how the car handles.

    Indoors on carpet, the tires are just a little too slick to run serious lap times. However, the car performs well and handles nimbly if you watch what you're doing with the throttle. The front one-way diff really does help the handling while braking into a turn and is a nice addition to the kit.

    Overall, I was really impressed by the parts finish and fit of the car. It all goes together easily and inspires confidence in the driver.

    Marketing: Anyone looking for a fast touring car, or possibly wanting to get into racing, will be interested in this car.

    Usually, I wouldn't recommend a car like this as a first build. However, the way the instructions and individual parts bags are set up, it's not a difficult car to build, even for someone who has rudimentary assembly skills. The end product is a quality car, ready for parking lot or sport racing. With the right setup, this car can definitely be a contender.

    Academy includes a list of replacement and upgrade parts in the box. However, a set or two of foam tires from an after-market manufacturer like Parma would be one immediate option I'd recommend.

    Reviewed by Hal Miller

  • Easy to build

  • Great entry point to racing

  • High-quality kit components

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    Revell/Monogram releases a speedy Spyder
    Product: 1954 Porsche 550 Spyder
    Maker: Revell/Monogram
    Scale: 1:32
    Stock No.: 85-4886
    MSRP: $53.95

    Product: In 1954, Porsche's 550 Spyder worked its way into the record books with wins at Le Mans and the Italian classic race, the Mille Miglia. Revell/Monogram offers the 550 Spyder as a limited edition 1:32 slot car. The racing model comes decorated as it appeared in the Mille Miglia when crewed by driver by Hans Hermann and engineer Herber Linge.

    Performance: This very attractive vintage car features a detailed body with an assortment of separately applied parts. According to the photos of the actual car, Revell/Monogram has rendered the markings on the car accurately. The cockpit also features printing on the gauges and on the engineer's checklist.

    The running characteristics of the Spyder depend heavily upon your track. I first tested the car on a Carrera track. The motor was quite fast, and the car responded well to the throttle. The magnet on our sample car was quite strong, and when set to the far back position (strongest), it provided great tight cornering.

    However, I also tested the car on my home track, made up mostly of older Scalextric and SCX components. Here the car didn't perform nearly as well. Unless I ran the car nearly flat out, it would invariably bog down in one of the corners or get stuck spinning its wheels.

    By moving the magnet to its far forward position (weakest), I improved the performance some, but it still didn't handle as well as it did on the Carrera track. The only way I can see to get around the problem would be to remove the chassis and cut the gear cover off or switch brands of track.

    Marketing: One way to ensure successful sales with this car would be to make sure to ask your customers what type of track they use before letting them out of the store with it.

    Reviewed by David Popp

  • Ready to race

  • Accurate details

  • Performace varies by track

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    Technitoys' McLaren M9A F1 car is formula for racing fun
    Product: SCX Vintage Series McLaren M9A Formula 1 car
    Maker: Tecnitoys
    Stock No.: 62050
    MSRP: $56.99

    Product: The latest offering in SCX's vintage line of cars is this McLaren Formula 1 1:32 scale racer. SCX originally released the model in 1970; this reproduction is limited to just over 4,000 copies. The model is based on the McLaren M9A, one of five four-wheel drive F1 cars entered into the 1969 British Grand Prix. The car was driven by British driver Derek Bell.

    Though the McLaren drove well through the time trials, in the actual race, it proved something of a disappointment. The M9A suffered a punctured tire on the fifth lap of the race, causing the car to crash and be eliminated. Though Bell would go on to become a great driver, the McLaren M9A was never raced again. The car is offered decorated as it appeared in the British Grand Prix.

    Performance: I have one word for this car: fun! Because it's a vintage slot car, it follows the original open-frame motor design with no down-force magnet. This means you've got to use some skill to drive it to keep it on the track, which I find very rewarding in a slot car. With just a little care, you can power the car through the corners and get some very nice drift action in the process.

    In looking for competition for the M9A, I put it up against my SCX Vintage Tyrrell-Ford F1. Both cars were introduced by SCX in the early 1970s; both have the same motor, making them a good matchup. When running the Tyrrell and the McLaren head to head, the slightly larger-diameter front and rear tires proved to be a bit of an edge for the McLaren.

    One item of note on the M9A that will probably be a factor for most purchasers of the car is that the blade is too deep to run on standard SCX track. I use a variety of old and new SCX and classic Scalextric track for testing cars, and out of the box, the McLaren's blade was too deep for any of it. I eventually clipped 1/16-inch off the bottom of the blade, and the car has run smoothly since.

    Marketing: SCX's vintage McLaren comes packaged in a colorful orange display box with flip-up lid. Also included is a collector's booklet, featuring a few black-and-white photos of the real car, as well as some neat facts about the M9A. This car will be a great addition to anyone's classic slot car collection.

    Reviewed by David Popp

  • Fun to race

  • Comes in colorful display box

  • May require a blade trim

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    Dragon Chess breathes new life into old favorite
    Product: Dragon Chess
    Maker: Dragonchess Inc.
    Stock No. DC2005001
    MSRP: $34.95

    Product: Chess, in one version or another, has been around for centuries. tracing its earliest roots back to 7th century India, where Sanskrit records call it chaturanga or "four arms."
    Back then, the game was slower, with the rook and knight pieces able to move as they do now, but the power of the queen and bishop were much reduced, and the pawn was able to move only one square (even on its first move).

    As years passed, the game was revamped. Game play was sped up with new pawn movement, and more power was allotted to the queen and bishop, even going so far as to allow the former the movement of a knight. However, the knight movement was withdrawn after a time, as experience proved it was simply too much power in a single piece.

    Through all of these changes, two things have remained constant: the number of chessmen on the battlefield (16 to a side; 32 in all); and the size of the board - eight rows of eight squares each. Until now, that is.
    Sure, the Internet is full of variant chess games, but Dragon Chess (the brainchild of model-railroad enthusiast and interior designer Lex Parker) wants to be taken seriously as the next evolution in chess' long and illustrious history. The first thing one notices about Dragon Chess, right out of the box, is the chessboard. Big, with two folding leaves and a glossy smooth finish, the classic board has been redesigned with a total of 124 squares, rather than the typical 64. It has been widened with two ranks (rows) and two files (columns), and two "alcoves" of 12 squares each have been placed to either side of the main battlefield.

    Two clear plastic bags contain the chess pieces - one with all the black, the other with the white. The pieces themselves are large, made of molded plastic, and have felt bottoms attached to their bases. While the various "classic" chess pieces are easily recognizable, the dragons are what really grab the eye. A hulking figure, the dragons dwarf just about every other piece.

    I have just two complaints about Dragon Chess. First, while impressive and glossy, the game box is large and cumbersome, ill-suited for placement on any normal-sized shelf in the home or office. Second, the rules, as they are currently printed, do not reflect the board as it exists, and can therefore cause some confusion upon initial setup. However, Dragonchess Inc. has revised the rule booklet and will gladly send out a copy upon request. Also, the new revised rules will accompany all future shipments of Dragon Chess.

    Performance: Each army is arrayed upon the board, facing the other, as they would be for a normal game of chess, except that the dragons now occupy the corners of the expanded chessboard. (Note that while the queen is still placed on the square matching its color during setup, the corner square on the player's right is black, as a consequence of enlarging the board.) Pawns are included for placement in front of the dragons.
    Standard movement is used for the classic chessmen. The dragon is allowed to move in any direction - forward, backward, side-to-side or diagonally - but for only up to three squares, and only if the squares are unobstructed. While such movement doesn't make the dragon as powerful as the queen, it displaces the rook as the second most powerful piece on the board.

    The object of Dragon Chess remains the same as chess: checkmate the opponent's king. However, it is quickly apparent that those used to the usual game of chess have to do away with - or at least substantially alter - preconceived battle plans based upon the traditional board. With a wider range of movement for the queen, bishops and rooks, not to mention the addition of the dragons, the game is not only greater in scope, but tactically more complex.

    Finally, the board is demarcated so that if players craved a game of traditional chess, they'd be able to play with a mere rotation of the board (so that the white-square corners of the smaller playing field are on each player's near right).

    Marketing: Weighing in at $34.95, Dragon Chess should appeal to all but the most die-hard chess traditionalists. Display it with other high-end board games in your store, and if someone approaches the counter with a copy of standard chess, point out Dragon Chess as an alternative purchase, in which they get chess plus a whole other game too.

    Reviewed by Tim Kidwell

  • Two-in-one value

  • East-to-learn rules

  • Expanded strategy for chess fans

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    Master mythical beasts with Sababa Toys' Dragonology
    Product: Dragonology: The Game
    Maker: Sababa Toys
    Stock No. SAB1700
    MSRP: $34.99

    Product: Based on the bestselling faux encyclopedia and children's book, Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons, Sababa Toy's Dragonology: The Game offers players the chance to discover the existence of different dragon species and dominate them as they compete to become the one master dragonologist.

    A large, glossy board depicts the world's five inhabited continents, and is adorned with dragons all around its border. Also included are six painted plastic adventurer figures, nine colorful dragons, transportation tickets, Bit of Knowledge cards and a twelve-sided die. All the pieces are made with a certain amount of "toy factor" in mind, and resilient to sometimes ungentle younger hands.

    Performance: Basically a race game, Dragonology can be played with two to six players. The objective is to travel around the world, learning about dragons and dominating three of the species. Once this is accomplished, players must hurry to become the master dragonologist.

    The game itself is not a complicated one, relying primarily upon a "roll then move" engine, like Monopoly. There is the added dynamic of transportation tickets - by air, land, or sea - which allow players to move more freely about the board, but this movement is limited by the number of tickets possessed.

    By collecting knowledge cards, players learn more about dragons and can eventually dominate a dragon. Players also learn dragon spells and charms that allow them to take cards from other players, completely change opponents' hands, steal a dragon or shield themselves from spells and charms. The player who dominates three dragons and is the first to make it to the Dragon's Eye wins the game.

    Marketing: With an age range of 8 and up, Dragonology is geared toward a younger audience, with easy-to-learn rules and tough game pieces. For customers who are looking to play a game with their kids, this should fit the bill nicely and serve as an introduction to more involved bookshelf games.

    Reviewed by Tim Kidwell

  • Ties in to dragon craze

  • Sturdy components

  • Fun for kids

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    Create modern art with Silver Dolphin's Collage It
    Product: Art Academy Collage It
    Maker: Silver Dolphin
    ISBN: 1-59223-467-4
    MSRP: $16.95

    Product: Collage It by Art Academy is one of the latest art kits from Silver Dolphin Books that focuses on modern art. Unlike kits that contain generic art projects for children, Collage It introduces the works of artists like Picasso and Matisse and provides techniques that allow children to produce similar creations.

    The Collage It box contains 13 sheets of colored paper, two sheets of shiny gold paper, one sheet of corrugated cardboard, two tubes of 3D paint, two small squares of felt, a tube of glue and a 48-page book. Each chapter of the book gives a brief biography of an artist and discusses the style and techniques used to create their work, concluding with directions to create a collage inspired by the artist in five steps or less.

    Performance: This collage kit is both easy to use and fun for children and adults. We paged through the book to find a couple of projects to try, and both of us enjoyed the colorful illustrations. Although my daughter wasn't very interested in the artist's biographies, she enjoyed the descriptions of the different materials used for each style.

    Each project lists what you'll need to create a collage. There was only one project that used materials strictly from the kit. Most of them require things from around the house, ranging from plain white paper to drywall anchors. This limited what we could do, so we chose the project that used all-kit materials, a surrealist collage of a bird. The steps were very easy to follow and allowed a lot of room for individual expression. A nice touch was a tip box that described one of Miró's techniques for sketching shapes. The tubes of 3D paint opened easily, flowed smoothly, and were a good shape and size for painting smaller details. Overall, this was a fun and colorful project to do and would be appropriate for many ages (the box lists ages 8 and up).

    Marketing: If your store has an arts and crafts section or educational area, consider displaying Collage It there. The sturdy kit can be propped open so that customers can see its contents without actually having to open it.

    Reviewed by Megan Hove

  • Eclectic, easy-to-make projects

  • Comprehensive instruction boo

  • Quick and easy to display

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    Athearn, Precision Craft bring out the Big Boys
    Product: Big Boy 4-8-8-4 steam locomotive
    Maker: Athearn
    Road name: Union Pacific-005, 4006 and unnumbered
    MSRP: $449.98
    Maker: Precision Craft Models
    Road name: Union Pacific-1941 versions, Nos. 4002, 4019 (both with sound and DCC, 4003, 4014 (DCC ready); 1944 versions, Nos. 4023, 4024, (both with sound and DCC); 4021, 4022 (DCC ready)
    MSRP: $749.99 with sound and DCC; $649.99 DC

    Product: A pair of impressive new models of the Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 are vying for our attention. Made by Athearn and Precision Craft Models, both models are excellent replicas of the world's biggest steam locomotive.
    The two models include automatic dual-mode Digital Command Control (DCC) and realistic sound systems that also operate on DC layouts.
    The Athearn and Precision Craft Big Boys share a number of characteristics, starting with the chassis. Each locomotive has a pair of engines that swivel beneath the boiler and firebox. This compromise leaves a gap in the steam pipes above the rear cylinders, but it allows the models to negotiate curves as sharp as an 18-inch radius.
    However, the Big Boys look much better on curves in the 30- to 36-inch range. On prototype articulateds, the rear engine was rigid and only the front engine moved from side to side on a hinge between the rear cylinders.

    Performance: Athearn's model features a crisply detailed plastic boiler shell and cab that enclose a heavy die-cast metal chassis and mechanism. The model has excellent detail, with finely molded rivets, safety tread on the front platform, detailed cab and a see-through tread pattern in the running boards. Many individual details are factory-applied to produce an excellent freestanding appearance.
    The mechanism is concealed inside the boiler. It has a powerful can motor and flywheels mounted in a heavy, two-piece die-cast metal weight. The model runs smoothly and quietly.
    The model comes with a dual-mode sound decoder made for Athearn by Model Rectifier Corp. A push-button radio control unit is supplied for use on DC, and it can be used to reset some CVs with your power pack. On DC, this unit controls the speed, direction, bell and whistle. During DCC operation, the function buttons on the throttle control the sound effects. A pair of downward-facing speakers are hidden in the tender, and the sound system's volume can be adjusted manually or through a CV. Overall, the sound effects are realistic.
    Precision Craft's Big Boy is made mostly of die-cast metal. Most of the model's 55-ounce weight is in the boiler, which consists of two well-detailed zinc alloy castings that join at the running boards. The cab is a separate casting. Numerous details are factory-applied to match specific prototype modifications made during the lifetime of the full-size locomotives.
    A can motor and pair of flywheels are mounted in the middle of the boiler. The model includes a smoke unit that can be turned on or off. It delivers a realistic plume of smoke during operation. The model is a smooth, quiet runner.
    Our sample Big Boy included an automatic dual-mode Digital Command Control (DCC) decoder and the Electronic Solutions Ulm (ESU) LokSound sound system concealed within the tender (the model is also available without sound and DCC). Dual 1-inch speakers are mounted face down on the tender floor. A DC Master control unit, sold separately, allows users to operate sound effects during DC operation. In DCC operation the sound effects are controlled by the function buttons on the throttle, and the sound quality is good.

    Marketing: Both models reflect the top quality design and construction techniques favored by their respective manufacturers. Both locomotives can haul 125-car consists that'll be impressive on any layout, and both will operate well on curves down to a 22-inch radius.
    In short, the choice for modelers will depend upon the price and preference for an all-metal or a plastic-and-metal model. Both locomotives are handsome, well-done machines that capture the impressive size, power, and sound of the real thing.

    Reviewed by Jim Hediger

  • Both are top-quality designs

  • Both can haul 125-car consists

  • One metal, one plastic and metal

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