The LGB Genesis has arrived!! I finally got to see one, hold one, and watch it run at our last Large Scale train show. It is an impressive model which is 1:29 scale, so it will run with Aristo or USA and fit right in. This is the locomotive that we see on the rails today pulling AMTRAK trains all over the country. It is sleek and futuristic, and a sort of "throwback" to the days of the streamliners where trains looked fast even when standing in the station. This is the locomotive that railroaders modeling the modern era have been looking forward to for their passenger operations.
This is one large locomotive, which has been engineered to run on LGB R1 curves, and looks ridiculous doing so. The plow assembly and rear skirting move unrealistically as the locomotive runs through these curves. This one needs at least 10 foot diameter curves and wide-radius turnouts to look right racing along the rails. For those with these wide curves, the plow and rear skirting can be immobilized to make the locomotive look more realistic. No provision has been made to mount Kadee couplers on this locomotive. It comes with both LGB knuckles and their Hook and Loop. Talented modelers will get around this deficiency, and Kadee themselves are in the process of working on a conversion for this locomotive on their web site using an 831 or 1831 coupler.
The locomotive I watched running was painted in what is called the Phase III color scheme, but the newer color scheme is now available. A New Haven version will be made in limited numbers by LGBOA (not cheap). This locomotive will be in the colorful McGinnis scheme of orange, black and white which appeared on their diesels, and EP-5 "Jet" electric locomotives. Additional numbers are included with the locomotive so that you can have several with different road numbers. American manufacturers should take note of this, as there is a great deal of discussion on the boards on how to get locomotives re-numbered without destroying the original paint.
The detail is good for this model. The roof has the antenna, five chime horn, and a nicely etched cover over the dynamic brakes. There are several warning signs printed on the locomotive which are crisp and legible. The sheet metal inserts for the air intakes are poorly done, and will probably be replaced by modelers who want a see-through look with the diagonal bracing showing like the prototype. These are as "hokey" as Aristocraft's screens on their U-Boats produced in the 1980's. The cab doors open along with the cab windows. The control switches are inside the cab and are difficult to get to unless you have slim fingers or a tool. The cab interior is nicely done with three seats and illuminated computer console displays. There is only one engineer, but additional crew members could be added.
The truck side frames are nicely done, but the sanders are missing, and the truck springs are not functional. There are open mounting holes in the sideframes which the prototype does not have. The paint was not as crisp as we have come to expect on our model diesels, with some spots that did not get complete striping. Hopefully this deficiency will be corrected on future runs of this model.
LED's are used for all headlights, ditch lights, and the red tail lights. The lights give off the unrealistic blue glow that we have discussed previously. This can be corrected by changing them to warm white LED's, or by coating the LED with Tamaya clear yellow paint. Bulbs are used for the cab light and for the number boards. I don't care for the red LED tail lights, because in the real world they are never lit unless the locomotive is running light without a train in tow. There is no smoke unit in this diesel and no information on how to install one. Some clever modeler will figure out how to do this, and hopefully will pass this knowledge on to the world. There are instructions provided on how to put in a sound system and to connect DCC to the motors.
Once broken in, the locomotive starts smoothly and coasts to a stop when power is reduced. LGB put traction tires on each truck which are unnecessary since this is a fairly heavy locomotive. Pulling power is sufficient for most trains, with AMTRAK adding a second unit for their longer streamliners. Power pickup is via eight wheels and four pick up shoes. Top speed is good and should simulate the prototype quite well. Current draw while running light is 1 AMP, which is great when compared to USA trains and the "power hogs" that they produce.
The German reviewer in Gartenbahn magazine ripped LGB about the proportions and contours of the nose of this locomotive, but you can tell he is a real "rivet counter". "The locomotive is 5mm too short, 20mm too high, and 5.3mm too wide", but who carries a metric ruler with them to check things like this. MTH got ripped by GR for not having the right nose contour on their new F3. On the layout, the overall appearance is pleasing and close enough to the prototype to be considered a good representation on the Genesis. It is pretty much to scale, which is more than can be said for the F7's that LGB produces. At least it is 1:29 scale and American, which is where LGB missed the boat for many years, causing them to fall into bankruptcy. If I were into modern locomotives, I would definitely consider buying one of these for my own layout.
The new LGB AMTRAK coaches are out, and while I will not be doing a review on them, they are 1:29 scale, well detailed, and look great behind the Genesis. One can only hope that LGB gets it's financial act together, and produces the high level "AMFLEET" cars that were announced. When they become available, you will finally be able to have a modern streamliner as seen running all over the USA on long distance trains.
Choo Choo owned the Genesis that I examined closely, and which was running on the club display layout with Neil's AMTRAK coaches. Jim Matthews of SE Trains allowed me to look at his display locomotive and examine it closely along with the AMTRAK coaches. For these two people, I am extremely grateful. The Genesis can be had for about $275.95 and the coaches are available (coach and café car only) for $187.95. Both a good value for the money. Since this is my first LGB review, I hope I have presented a clear report which will be helpful for anyone making a purchase.