Model Power/Mehano (Yugoslavia) EMD F40PH

Introduced: 1981

This model sports a mechanism that is virtually identical to Mehano's Alco RSD-15 mechanism. And as such, it followed a similar evolutionary path. The first F40PH release had a smaller motor and a large weight screwed underneath said motor. The second version (released in the late 1980s) had an improved (larger) motor that necessitated the removal of said weight. The easy way to determine which version you have is to check the bottom of the fuel tank. If there's a big screw there, you have the first version.

First version -

Second version -

Apart from the "ala carte" weights - one plunked atop the back of the chassis and one (maybe) underneath the motor - the entire chassis is plastic. The motor is an open-sided 3-poler (either version). The driveshafts are metal (with a couple of metal springs thrown in for smoother/quieter running). All wheels are geared, and all gearing is plastic. All wheels provide pickup (no traction tires), with current transferred from the trucks to the motor via a veritable rat's nest of wiring (two wires per truck). The couplers are truck-mounted Rapidos. A non-directional headlight is tangled up with the rest of the wiring. The wheel flanges are grossly oversized, so forget about running these on Code-55 track.

Despite this model's similarities to Mehano's RSD-15, it fails pretty miserably in a side-by-side performance comparison (which is not to say that those old RSD-15's were all that great). Yeah, these F40's will run around a simple circle of track well enough (good throttle response, nice slow speed creep, relatively quiet, etc). However, try to run one through a turnout at low throttle and watch the problems start (IE, hello "Mr. Stall"). I guess the main problem (relative to the RSD-15) is fewer wheels and less weight. The F40PH only has eight wheels on the rails (versus the RSD-15's twelve), and it lacks the RSD-15's forward weight (omitted, I guess, because of the F40PH's low-nosed cab). So, yeah, basically another piece of useless Yugoslavian crud.

A staple of Model Railroader ads for many years, these things seemed to vanish around 1998. Perhaps due to all of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia?

To remove the shell, simply spread the sides apart and lift.

Grade: C

Reviewed: 2/82 Model Railroader ("Model Power's version of the F40PH is modeled from one of the earlier units with the small fuel tank. It has a one-piece molded plastic body shell that is well detailed with rivet strips, louvers, screens, and see-through fan openings. The horns, windshield, and headlight lenses are added separately. Its dimensions closely match those of the prototype, except for width, where the model is a scale 6" too wide. The mechanism follows time-proven designs pretty closely. However, the motor is a bit unusual. It is built like the open-frame designs that usually have a single output shaft. On this one, the motor shaft passes through the magnet area so a universal can be connected at each end of the motor. The motor is mounted in the middle of a plastic frame so it is fully insulated. Electrical pickup is accomplished through pickups that contact the backs of all eight wheels. A small grain-of-wheat bulb provides light for the headlights and a lead weight is included for additional traction. Our sample engine operated smoothly throughout its speed range, which is fairly close to the prototype range. The slow speed seemed a little high... It should be able to haul 8 or 10 average passenger cars on level track. The finish on our samples was generally pretty good, but the printed lettering was on the ragged side, especially where it went over details molded on the sides... I'm sure this will be a popular addition to modern-era layouts. Amtrak, SF, GO Transit, RTA (Chicago), MBTA (Boston). $24")

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