W&R Enterprises/Samhongsa (Korea) Brass EMD F45/FP45

Introduced: 1989

These two models (F45 and FP45) were W&R Enterprises' first (and last) foray into N scale brass. They came out at the same time, so I'm going to assume they share the same basic internals. Consequently, I'm going to save myself a bit of time (not to mention money) and review them both based on the single F45 I actually have.

Like most Samhongsa brass, these models lack couplers, window glazing and lighting. Micro-Trains friendly coupler pockets are provided in the shell. One interesting item included in the box with these models are what appear to be paper stickers (!) for the numberboards. Good grief.

These are decent looking models (I particularly like all the see-through screens). However, the paint on my GN unit is not up to normal Samhongsa standards (assuming Samhongsa painted them and not W&R). The white stripe along the sides is pretty ragged and uneven when viewed under magnification.

The mechanism is pretty typical of 1980s Samhongsa design. The chassis is all metal and fairly hefty. The motor is an open-sided, straight-wound 5-poler. Four of the six wheels on each truck provide pickup by way of flimsy wheel wipers. A fifth wheel conducts current directly into the truck assembly (with the sixth wheel being electrically neutral). Current is transferred to the motor courtesy of miles of wiring (two wires per truck). The lengthy driveshafts are made of plastic. All six axles are geared, and all gearing is metal. The latter is kind of nice since Samhongsa is notorious for using crummy plastic gears in a lot of their diesels. There are no traction tires.

Despite the somewhat primitive pickup / electrical system, these models perform admirably. Mine runs smoothly and quietly at all throttle levels. Slow speed creep is impressive and the top-end speed, although a little high, is at least somewhat reasonable. I experienced no problems with stalling (even through turnouts), nor did I have problems with the thing derailing (even through sharp curves). Wheels are low-profile, so no problems on Code-55 rails.

Ultimately, a very respectable (and runnable) model. However, given the less-than-stellar paint situation and the dated internal design, I can't quite give it an "A" rating.

BTW, the MR reviewer below mentions cab interior detail on his sample. However, mine is not so equipped. I have no idea what that's all about.

To remove the shell, simply remove the four screws on the bottom of the chassis (two on either side of the fuel tank). The shell should lift right off at that point.

Grade: B

Reviewed: 6/89 Model Railroader ("These models are W&R's first venture into the N scale locomotive market, although they've been importing HO models for about 5 years. The units were made in South Korea by Samhongsa, and they come painted in a variety of schemes. The dimensions on my FP45 checked out perfectly... The models are what the manufacturer calls "detail specific", that is, each is correctly detailed for its paint scheme. Santa Fe units, for example, had no air conditioners as delivered; these were added during rebuilding. Headlight locations are correct for each variation, and the Great Northern units have correct fan winterization hatches. These are the first N scale locomotives to have the correct number of MU hoses front and back and to have cab detail. Although you can hardly see them, an engineer's seat and control stand are on the right and two seats are on the left.

"Four small screws hold the body to the frame, which is a simple piece of brass channel. The open-frame, 5-pole motor (labeled Mashima, Japan) is attached to the mounting bracket by two screws. The drive shafts telescope and are easy to remove. All the wheels are powered and pick up electrical power that is delivered via wires to the motor. Simple, straightforward construction is apparent throughout this model, and for my money that's just another way of saying it's well engineered. I'm also generally impressed by the appearance of the three samples I've seen. They're nicely painted, though the separation lines between colors are a bit ragged. The colors look a little dead out of the box, but they brighten up once the decals are applied and sealed with Floquil's clear flat... The models performed quite well. They run smoothly and quietly and can pull about 17 free-rolling cars on straight and level track... This series of EMD F45 and FP45 models features some mighty fine engines that Santa Fe and Great Northern modelers are going to love. Here's hoping we'll see more N scale locomotive products coming from W&R as they certainly did the job right. F45: GN, BN, SF. FP45: SF. $200")

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