Product: Piko's recent release of a 2-6-0 steam engine looks to be the right locomotive, at the right time, at the right price to get G gauge back on dealers' shelves. It's based on a wheel arrangement popular with North American railroads in the late 1800s into the early 1900s. This model is nominally 1:29 scale and, while not accurate to any particular North American prototypes, is well proportioned.
Piko's release is lettered for the Denver & Rio Grande Western and includes a tender plus small details to be applied by the customer. The overall detail is minimal.
The headlight and backup light both work, and the locomotive picks up electricity through the wheels and two slider shoes. There is a smoke unit and a small bottle of Seuthe smoke fluid. An included engineer figure fits in the cab.
The tender has plastic wheels and is connected electrically to the locomotive via an 8-pin "coupler." It's ready for Digital Command Control and features sound holes in the bottom for a speaker.
Your price-conscious customers will love this part: It retails for $249.99.
Performance: The locomotive is securely packaged and ready for the rails after applying the detail parts.
Your customers will notice the heft of the locomotive, much of which is in the mechanism. I opened the bottom and found the front and rear driver axles are equipped with ball bearings; wipers pick up current from the axles not equipped with traction tires.
The locomotive runs well; our sample ran flawlessly on track that hasn't been cleaned in some time. It wasn't altogether quiet, but I expect with more running time the minimal gear noise will lessen.
Plenty of smoke flowed out of the stack — I didn't say puffed because there's no fan or mechanical flap to push it. Still, the effect is pleasing.
The cab features a backhead and seat for the engineer. There is a coupler on the tender, but not on the front. The customer can add a scale coupler.
Marketing: Although it's not a locomotive for the hardcore, Piko's 2-6-0 is an excellent value. A decent looking, smooth running locomotive for $250? How can your large-scale customers resist?
I qualify my earlier statement because this Mogul is ripe for kitbashing and detailing; Piko is running a contest for this. If you sell G-gauge add-ons, including metal wheelsets for the tender, by all means put this locomotive near them or vice-versa.
For the beginner, this is a solid locomotive that will give them a good start in large scale. It has a sense of whimsy, but pulls well and is sturdy enough to give years of service.
At the price and in this color scheme, you should be able to sell it to someone just looking for a locomotive to pull a train around the Christmas tree.
For those wanting a more traditional look, an all-black New York Central model is due out later this year.
For both sets of customers, DCC and sound are good options to push. The tender is ready for sound, and the instructions show exactly how to install it.
Product: 2-6-0 Mogul with smoke
Scale: G (1:29)
Stock number: 38210
Availability: Piko America
• Very attractive price point
• Smoke unit is a nice touch
• Toylike appearance