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HO Scale Norfolk Southern Heritage Units

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HO Scale Norfolk Southern Heritage Units
Posted by johngriffey18ca1 on Saturday, March 24, 2012 11:32 AM

Does anyone know if there are plans to produce these units in Plastic? I know Overland has announced production but I wonder if MTH or Athearn and Intermountain will "tag team" the heritage units as no one company has both a production ES44 and SD70ACe in HO scale?  Does anyone know?  Thanks for the help!  

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Posted by B30-7CR on Saturday, March 24, 2012 12:06 PM

I know that Athearn is running SD70ACes and SD70M-2s for NS currently. I can't say anything about the other two.

Crap happens. When it does, stop, take a deep breath, and call the wreck train.

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Posted by THayman on Saturday, March 24, 2012 10:26 PM

I expect that Athearn and/or MTH will get to doing the SD70ACe heritage units, some time after those appear. As for the ES44AC units...

Intermountain is currently producing both ES44AC and DC units, but they are the first production ("Phase 1" if you will) of the GEVO line. The NS ES40DC they produced is accurate for the early NS DC orders, but neither it nor the ES44ACs they have would be accurate for the current GEVOs that NS is painting up.

To do the heritage units properly, they would need to tool a new long hood with modified radiator section and rear (new high horizontal headlight, etc.), as well as the new cab style (with four-piece side windows, nose-door on the opposite side, and the notch cut out where the nose headlight would otherwise be) and the new thicker stanchions.

IMRC may very well be planning to do the new style GEVO eventually, although there were a few distinctive iterations in between that they might also want to tackle. I suspect though that it would be in their best interests to do so. With GE continuously attempting to standardize GEVO features, we are now to the point where new GEVOs built for the different Class Is are virtually identical (short of the paint scheme). A CN unit, for example, that once had tear-drop windshields, a different anticlimber, and nose-mounted marker lights, is now indistinguishable from a new CP, UP, CSX, or BNSF GEVO. Heck, even the rear ditch lights that were once unique to CN and NS are now standard. The NS still gets to be unique with the cab headlights.

So if IM tools the newest phase, they can do one loco with minimal variation and put every paint scheme on it accurately. If they do, they can also do all of the NS heritage units.

Athearn has also apparently said they are still working hard on bringing out their GEVO, although I ave heard some mention that they are doing new tooling instead of just working with the T55. So perhaps Athearn will make the latest variant, since it is more uniform across roads and IM has already covered the first phase. In that case, Athearn could do the NS heritage. Otherwise, they could not (without it being a foobie).

 

So in essence, while the SD70ACe heritage units could be done (when the prototypes are released) by either Athearn or MTH realistically soon, the GEVO units cannot accurately be done unless (or until) either Intermountain, Athearn, or another manufacturer does a proper current production GEVO. IM's current offering simply can't cut it.

-Tim

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Posted by johngriffey18ca1 on Saturday, March 24, 2012 11:11 PM

Thanks Tim for the in depth answer.  I really appreciate it and I've been looking for that type of explanation on the forums, but rarely get it.  Thanks so much!  This explains it!

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Posted by kyle.fl.good on Friday, May 04, 2012 10:43 PM

Hi, I'm new to this website/magazine, but figured I'd offer my little knowledge on this subject.  I talked to MTH via facebook about them making the new Norfolk Southern Heritage Units, they said they would be making both the SD70's and the ES44's in the appropriate paint schemes per the prototype.  This is great news for me, as I happen to love the quality of the MTH engines.  As of now a scheduled release date was not available, but I will keep checking and if I get any updates, I'll try to let you know.

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Posted by NSDash09 on Thursday, July 05, 2012 6:56 AM

I thought i heard a while back that athearn did purchase the tower 55 molds so this influx of possible designs on a similar unit could be the right incentive to produce the gevos. I also heard that Athearn had some trouble with one of their factories going bankrupt and that athearn lost access to their RTR tooling. I heard that had something to do with why my Local Hobby Shop barely has 15 Athearn RTR locos. I suppose the gevo tooling might have gotten stuck in that although i rather hope the gevos are part of the Genesis line. If MTH is the only maker of the heritage GEVO's I might paint some IM ones myself. I don't overly like MTH, mostly based on price.

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Posted by THayman on Friday, July 06, 2012 1:27 PM

kyle.fl.good

Hi, I'm new to this website/magazine, but figured I'd offer my little knowledge on this subject.  I talked to MTH via facebook about them making the new Norfolk Southern Heritage Units, they said they would be making both the SD70's and the ES44's in the appropriate paint schemes per the prototype.  This is great news for me, as I happen to love the quality of the MTH engines.  As of now a scheduled release date was not available, but I will keep checking and if I get any updates, I'll try to let you know.

 

Is this in HO, or in O? MTH does already make an HO SD70ACe, so those units will be easy enough to do, but they do not make an ES44AC in HO yet (only in O).

In order to do the heritage ES44s in HO, they would of course need to announce an HO ES44AC. Although Intermountain has already produced one, MTH could potentially get the jump on them by tooling the new phase ES44AC, as used in the heritage units (left-side nose door, nose headlight recess, new radiator section, new rear, etc.). They would also then be the only ones doing an accurate new phase ES44 for any RR. I do suspect though that Intermountain may plan to modify their tooling to release the new phase, and if Athearn ever does get to releasing an ES44, it would make more sense to scrap the T55 tooling and do the new phase, since it is ubiquitous and mostly consistent (with the headlight variation on NS being the only quirk) across all Class I RR's at the moment. But if MTH and/or Intermountain do that first, it might be a tough market.

-Tim

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Posted by THayman on Thursday, July 12, 2012 7:32 AM

For what it's worth, I was looking at Athearn's Facebook page today, and came across this (posted way back on March 29th):

"We’re excited about Norfolk Southern’s heritage locomotive program and can’t wait to see all 19 fallen flags. As you know, Athearn is committed to offering the most realistic models possible in the Genesis line. Therefore, we’re awaiting the first SD70ACe locomotives from the paint shop before we commit to producing an accurate model. In addition, the GEVO we acquired from Tower 55 is an early version and the NS heritage units are a much later variation. Once we have more information, we’ll let you know what we decide. Until then, please be sure to post your photos of the heritage units on our Facebook page."


More recently, they also posted (in reply to a comment on July 3):

"The model we acquired from Tower 55 is the early version. If we decide to offer the NS Heritage Locomotives, they will be Genesis models. Therefore, we would need to tool a new cab and long hood to prototypically accurate for the GE versions."

 

So it would appear, as I suggested, that Athearn is at least considering doing the SD70ACe heritage units, but that they would have to tool an almost entirely new ES44AC to do those ones. Which, given the quality of the T55 tooling (which was alright, but certainly open to improvements), would be a good thing anyway.

-Tim

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Posted by Arras88 on Friday, July 13, 2012 4:51 AM

Here is what MTH is going to release.

http://www.pwrs.ca/announcements/view.php?ID=6535

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Posted by simon1966 on Friday, July 13, 2012 6:42 AM

Is it me, or in the MTH promotional photos in the link, are the SD70's sitting too high on their trucks?  Seems like too much space between truck and body?

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Friday, July 13, 2012 7:03 AM

There was a nearly complete collection of HO models on the wall in the NS display car at Spencer:

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by THayman on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 11:33 AM

simon1966

Is it me, or in the MTH promotional photos in the link, are the SD70's sitting too high on their trucks?  Seems like too much space between truck and body?

The photos are of the O scale models, even in the ad for the HO ones. You can see on most that the lower part of the pilot (with the steps) is a separate part attached to the truck, to allow for operation on tighter curves. This is typical of many of their larger O models.

I would expect that what you will see in the HO final products will be essentially the same as what has already been produced by MTH in their previous HO SD70ACe runs.

-Tim

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Posted by Heritagefleet1 on Saturday, August 18, 2012 1:32 PM

 Athearn showed pics on their Facebook page yesterday, of the 'First Shot' test of the Athearn Genesis GEVO.

There are 5 pictures clearly comparing it to the T55 model(in the background)

According to Athearn, they will still need to commit to producing an entire new mold for the long hood and Cab variations, not to mention that they have NO drive chassis developed, nor the fueltank(shown is the existing T55 mold)or truck sideframes(steerable truck shots shown)

Before everyone starts going Ape, note that even Athearn has stated that while they have commited some research to the Gevo concept, its a long way off from production - you're probably looking at 18-24 months - at least - before these would ever hit the store shelves.

Intermountain already has the tooling underway for several iterations of the Gevo versions and can probably have a to-market late phase model that would work for the NS heritage units within 12-14 months - if they start now. BTW: intermountain has already Announced that they are commited to the NS Heritage project- so they are coming.

On a subnote: Intemountain's second release of ES44's, there have been quite a few improvements in the lighting quality (much brighter and better), along with some new soundfiles that add the K5HLAA "Gevo" horn, to the selectable horn files.  I juat received my first 5 units and all the bugs that were a disappointment on the first run have been addressed/corrected making the Intermountain GEVO a very attractive model to have on the roster.

It would be nice to see a genesis GEVO from Athearn but Intermountain has the market, the tooling and  a leap on the competition with a viable, accurate and very smooth running, modular tooled model available right now - for less than what the future releases of Athearn models are costing.

I have no doubt that the Athearn model(if and when it becomes available) will be well detailed - but the Intermountain already benefits from a better detailed tooling and superb runnig mechanism than the T55 model offered - it'll be interesting to see what Athearn counters with - the price will have to be very competitive to make it worth the cost to switch.

 

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Posted by Arras88 on Sunday, August 19, 2012 11:44 AM

I do really like Athearn Genesis models. They are so detailed and look very well. However, there are two things which I wish Athearn changed in their new models.

1. The motor or the whole driving system. I don't know what the reason is why Athern's models don't run so smoothly as others models. Comparing Aces from MTH and Athearn - it's a huge difference in running between these units. You can put any Kato, Atlas, IM, MTH, BLi model on track and it will run smoothly and guietly. Every Athearn's model sounds like is going to fall apart into a 1000 small parts in a minute. It is very dissapointing.

2. The lights. I can't understand why they still use these horrible bulbs. It was ok in the last decade. There is a plenty of LEDs nowadays which are eternal and have much better light. I have some Athearn's models in which bulbs are burnt and I can't replace them because they are melted in plastic (ditch lights).

I saw this video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vodo2OXdCFc&feature=player_embedded

They are going to do a lot of changes in their toolings (SD70ACe) and deliver the most accurate model on the market. Is it really so hard to change the electronic board in future models? I have a complete UP Heritage series but I chose MTH models. MTH's models are not so detailed but run perfect and all lights are LEDs.
I would like to have some NS Heritage models. I am really thinging about to give Athearn a chance to convince me that their models might be good.

I am not sure if any of Athearn's engineer, owner or other employee reads this forum and follows what their customers have to say. I realize that a single voice from a faraway country somewhere in Europe won't change the situation. Maybe you guys in US have a more power to reach a right person in Athearn company. Of course if you agree with me. Maybe it's only my opoinion !!! But I talk with some friends here and they think the same.

So .... Dear Athearn. If read this please think about small changes (maybe LED first). I will definitely buy some NS Heritage units. Unfortuntelly, I am affraid that I will end with MTH ones again.

 

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