By kind permission of the editor from the July 2010 issue Garden Rail, copyright (c) 2010 Atlantic Publishers.
Garden rail have been very generous in providing a full three pages for the review. I would however want to take issue with the comment regarding the ability to manhandle this model. I simply do not understand why Mr. Moon thought that he needed an extra pair of hands. The model is (naturally) at the upper end of the range in terms of bulk but it is not overly heavy nor difficult to handle. The locomotive weighs in at around 6.8 Kg, the tender at 4.4 Kg (from which it appears that the comprehensive packaging weighs just a touch less than the locomotive). If that is going to give you cause for concern then I advise you to steer well clear of medium to large brass locomotives and the likes of Bockholt's steel Berkshire (my personal choice if I ever had to duel armed with a model locomotive).
The tender can be grasped with one hand if you wish and connects to the locomotive in an extremely simple manner, it being nothing more complicated than the control cable mentioned in the review plus a pin under the front of the tender that drops into a loop at the back of the locomotive. The locomotive itself can be easily carried with the fingers of one hand under the smokebox front and the fingers of the other hand under the back of the cab. My 5 year old son can carry the tender using both hands, my 8 year old girl can safely manage the locomotive. The level of detailing is good without being so fine that you dare not dust it. I would not suggest that any model is dropped on the floor or otherwise maltreated but MTH do build theirs to withstand normal handling. My suggested method of getting at the undersides of these models is to place them on a foam filled seat cushion, as might be available from a chair or settee, and gently roll the locomotive on to its side and then its back. None of the detail parts should be damaged by this, the only risk would be if the cushion cover had a loop pile that might conceivably get caught.
I do agree with Mr. Moon that the instruction manual should have a "read this first" section regarding initial unpacking and assembly and I also admit that the current drain with three motors and two smoke generators does exceed my 3 amp rule of thumb for gauge 1, this model can make use of 5 amps. I would point out that it is with DCS that the greatest level of control can be obtained (with the DCS controller itself fed from either an A/C, rectified DC or pure DC supply) though a useful sub-set of features can be used from an A/C controller if the correct pulse codes are provided. The model will also operate happily on plain old variable voltage DC and will have an entirely adequate set of sound effects in this mode.
If you have any further queries then please note a change to the telephone number, now being 485113