GHB Int'l / FM Models (Korea) Brass Brill 250 Gas-Electric / ITS Interurban Ltd 273 Combine

Introduced: 1985 (Brill 250) and 1987 (Interurban 273)

These models came out around the same time, so I'm going to go ahead and assume that they both sport the same basic internals. From what I've been told, they were produced in very limited numbers and are quite rare (they hardly ever show up on eBay, that's for sure).

The mechanism is a fairly simple one, with the chassis simply consisting of a flat brass rectangle -

The forward truck is powered by a vertically mounted Sagami can motor. And being a can, I can only speculate as to its internals; however, given the model's high top-end speed, I'm going to go ahead and assume it's a three-poler. Both axles on the forward truck are geared, and with all of the gearing being metal. All eight wheels provide pickup (no traction tires), with the left-side wheels employing wheel-top wipers and the right-side wheels transferring their current into the axles (and then the trucks, and eventually the chassis itself). Various ugly wires underneath the chassis transfer current to the motor. As pictured above, there is no interior detailing, lighting or window glazing. There aren't any couplers either, although Micro-Trains friendly mounting pockets (with pre-drilled holes) are provided on either end.

Overall performance isn't too bad, but then again it's not really wowing me either. Slow speed creep is pretty decent, but given the relatively primitive pickup scheme (vis'a'vis the wheel-top wipers), unevenness (or even the occasional stall) are sometimes a problem. Also, given the metal gear situation, these things do make a fair amount of noise. And although lubrication helps out considerably in this regard, they never do quite lose that buzzy gear growl as they roll along. Lastly, the rear truck is spring-mounted, which does tend to make the whole thing a bit wobbly and unstable.

I'm kind of on the fence with these models - waffling between a "B" and a "C" grade. Taken individually, none of the aforementioned problems are horrible (per se). But then again, I guess if you add them all up you do wind up with a couple of models that just don't quite cut it (operationally speaking), and will most likely wind up spending their lives looking pretty in a display case.

To remove the shell, simply unscrew the four small screws on the bottom of the chassis (inboard of either truck). The shell should lift right off at that point.

Grade: C (well, somewhere between a C+ and a B- anyway).

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