Like FVM's earlier GM diesels, these SD70's are gorgeous models that run every bit as good as they look.
Internally, these locos sport all the features one normally associates with "modern" diesel models - IE, split-frame / all-metal / DCC-Ready chassis, 5-pole / skew-wound "scale speed" motor with dual flywheels, low-friction pickup, bright bi-directional white LED lighting, working ditch lights (both front and rear), all-wheel drive and pickup (no traction tires), blackened / low-profile wheels, shell-mounted Micro-Trains couplers, all-plastic gearing, etc. Owing to the three-axle trucks, 11" is pretty much going to be your minimum radius for curves when running these (any sharper than that and the wheels are derailing).
As noted above, this model is DCC-Ready (in the extreme). A standard 6-pin DCC socket is provided on the back end of the lightboard and there's plenty of room for a plug-in decoder underneath the rear LED. As far as decoder installations go, this is going to be about as easy as it gets.
Like Fox Valley's earlier GE diesels, these models employ something akin to Kato's so-called "shock absorber" design. IE, a separate rectangular sill piece around the bottom of the shell holds the chassis contact strips firmly in place, basically making them sprung (which supposedly makes for more reliable conductivity and a quieter ride).
For the more advanced among us, separate add-on etched and wire parts are included for installation by the modeler (grabs, windshield wipers, etc). Nice for the super detailers out there I suppose, but it does tend to leave us normal humans in the dust. It's unlikely that I'll ever try installing them myself, so I guess I'd just as soon have said detailing molded right into the shell itself. Still, if you can get'r'done, you're going to have one outstanding looking model.
Performance is perfect in every way - smooth, quiet, nimble throttle response, sensational slow-speed creep, reasonable top-end speed, and pulling power to spare. And unlike FVM's earlier GP60 models, the ditchlights on these are nice and bright. Overall, just really outstanding models.
- High or low headlights
- Standard or isolated cab
- Etched metal details
- Sharp paint and lettering
- Wire grab irons
- Painted handrails and step edges
- Correct brass horn
Shell removal is a bit more difficult than is usually the case with diesels (IE, you can't just take hold of the shell and wiggle it up and off). The chassis-bump / shell-dimple system employed here makes for a very firm fit, so you're going to have to get in there with a small screwdriver or something (between the shell and the chassis) in order to free the bumps from the dimples.