Hallmark/Samhongsa (Korea) Brass Santa Fe M.190

Introduced: 1984

This model is available in two different Santa Fe factory paint shemes - Dark Green/Brown or Red and Silver. It may have also been available "undecorated", although I've never seen one that wasn't painted. Like most Samhongsa brass, it lacks window-glazing, lighting and couplers (although MT-friendly coupler pockets with pre-drilled screw holes are provided on the front and back). The model comes in two separate pieces. The cab unit has a hole that a peg on the trailing unit plops into. The mechanism (located in the cab unit) is very typical of early Samhongsa brass -

The "chassis" is simply a rectangular piece of brass with a motor screwed to it. The motor is a closed-sided can (made in Japan). I have no idea how many poles, but one would assume three. All eight wheels on the cab unit provide pickup (by way of wheel-top wipers). The trailing unit has no pickup whatsoever. Current is ferried around via lots and lots of little wires. The multi-piece driveshaft is all plastic, running from the motor to the forward truck gear tower. Both forward axles are geared (with all gearing being metal). The gear tower is actually part of the truck assembly and swivels right along with the truck on curves. The rear truck is not powered. Wheels are low-profile, so no problems on Code-55 rails. No traction tires.

These are great looking models that run surprisingly well (particularly for early 80s brass). Throttle response is smooth at all levels, pickup is fine, and slow-speed creep is excellent. The top-end speed is a bit high, but not crazily so. No problems creeping through turnouts, no problems on narrow radius curves, and no problems derailing. Not a super strong puller, but then again, I don't suppose a Doodlebug would need to be. Apart from the very dated current collection scheme (wheel-wipers and wires), my only real complaint with these models is that they do make a fair amount of noise. No, they're not "Bachmann Trainset Loco" loud, but they make more noise than do more modern models. No surprise there, I guess. Brass gears, swiveling truck towers and hollow metal shells do not make for quiet running. Overall though, these are very respectable models, and certainly operations-worthy.

To remove the cab unit shell, simply unscrew the four tiny screws on the bottom of the chassis (two under each truck). The shell should pop right off at that point.

Grade: B

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