Atlas (China) Fairbanks-Morse H-24-66 Train Master

Introduced: 2000, revised 2003

There was little hope that this locomotive would ever be produced in N scale. But as luck would have it, Paul Graf (venerable Atlas employee) decided to pick it as his 10th Anniversary (with Atlas) "present". And judging by its subsequent success, a "Paul's Anniversary Loco" might just become an annual tradition down Atlas way.

The mechanism sports all the features one normally associates with "modern" Atlas diesels - IE, split-frame / all-metal chassis, 5-pole / skew-wound motor with dual flywheels, low-friction drive, bi-directional LED lighting, all-wheel drive and pickup (no traction tires), blackened / low-profile wheels, shell-mounted Accumate couplers, all-plastic gearing, etc. The chassis is fully DCC-Ready (and, as pictured above, available with factory-installed decoder).

The shell features painted safety rails and etched metal grills.

Performance is perfect in every way - smooth, quiet, flawless pickup and throttle response, exceptional pulling power, etc.

Starting with the 2003 release, this model came with "golden white" LEDs and Atlas's "scale speed" motor. It also came in a new shell variant - "Ends with large number boards and a single headlight".

Shell removal is pretty simple - just take hold of the fuel tank with one hand and the shell with the other, then just sort of wiggle it up and off.

Grade: A

Reviewed: 12/2000 Model Railroader ("The new Atlas H-24-66 Train Master runs well, features nice detail, and is available with or without a Lenz DCC decoder... The Atlas model has an injection-molded plastic shell with separate cab, walkway, and handrails. Most details are molded in place, except for the horns, number boards, and clear plastic headlights and windshield glazing. The separate etched-metal grills covering the fans at the end of the long hood are great. These screens were a key spotting characteristic on the real engines, with the fans clearly visible behind the screens. A problem on the model, however, is that the fans and grill are the same color, making it almost impossible to see the fans... The handrails are also nice, as they're not only molded in the appropriate color, but also have the corner and end handrails and stanchions appropriately colored. The model compares favorably with prototype drawings... The model's only discrepency is the length of the long hood, which is about a scale 9" too short on the model.

"Mechanically the Train Master is similar to other recent Atlas locomotives. A heavy cast split-frame chassis fits around the motor, twin flywheels, and drive shafts. A five-pole, skew-wound motor powers the model. Drive shafts from each end of the motor turn brass worms above each truck, where acetal plastic gears transfer power to all axles. All wheels were in gauge according to an NMRA standards gauge, and all pick up electricity. The trucks can be easily popped out of the frame if needed. A circuit board atop the chassis holds the headlights and the diodes that provide directional lighting. The lamps aren't bright enough to noticed below 6 volts. Decoder-equipped models have this board replaced with one containing the DCC decoder circuitry.

"Our sample ran well throughout its speed range, with fairly smooth starts. Its .9 ounces of drawball pull should equal about 22 free-rolling cars on straight, level track. As with most N scale locomotives, you'll be using the lower half of the throttle range. Plastic Accumate automatic knuckle couplers are mounted in draft-gear boxes at each end of the shell. Modelers wishing to swap these for MT couplers can substitute no. 1015/1056 couplers. Our CP sample was nearly painted. The striping and lettering were also nicely done, including the scale 2"-tall footboard warnings on each end, which were sharp and legible. The Train Master is a fine model, and N scalers should welcome the availability of this all-new locomotive. CP, Central RR of NJ, EL, PRR, SP, Undec. $99.95 ($134.95 with decoder)")

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