MTH class J

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Wed Apr 1 11:50:39 EDT 2009

Some important major things you did not mention is the mth price -OUCH! The price is totally not worth the short comings of the mth J.
Second is that you did not mention is that you can adjust the speed control on the BLI J's using any DCC System, You can not on the mth J's.
Does the mth have the correct tender as with the BLI's? Another thing is that you did not mention is you can't double head the mth J's with another brand, unless you change all your locos to match the mth loco. Our society members complained about the $$$$ of the BLI. Why do you think they'll do at the $$$ of the mth?
Mike can keep his J as I am no fool to part with my money!
PS the sound on the BlI J was taken from the Link's recordings and can be adjusted using any DCC system. Mike's DCS only has very limited compatibility with other DCC systems.

Stephen Rineair

Subject: MTH class J

Hello everyone,

I just received my MTH class J locomotive and can share a few initial
observations. It has many features that I haven't tried yet (including
smoke, playable whistle, etc.), so I will mention some basics. I recently
sold my Bachman Spectrum J's so the only comparison I will make there has to
do with operation. I have 2 BLI J's and 2 brass J's for comparison. The
overall appearance is very good. BLI's drivers are totally black whereas
the MTH has unpainted tires. Likewise for the pony trucks. I think the MTH
trailing truck and tender trucks have better detail than the BLI. The paint
is flatter on the MTH than the brass locos, and the BLI is the shiniest. I
think the space between the loco and tender is too far on the MTH compared
to BLI (and the brass have prototypical space if you can manage your curves
that way). The headlight has a good slightly yellowish tint to it - looks
realistic. The MTH has a beautiful coal load in the tender - piled high and
with lots of texture. The BLI coal pile is flat and with an obvious cast
plastic appearance. At least they have coal. I haven't yet gotten around
to putting coal in the tenders of my brass locos! Both the BLI and MTH have
a traction tire and spare driver set. This is where they both outperform
the brass locos - more traction. In my situation, traction is the most
critical element because I needed locos that could haul a 14-car Birmingham
Special up a 1.6% grade, and the brass J's were not able to do that. After
that, sound and operation are high on my list of attributes. Both brass
locos have cams and were retrofitted with Soundtraxx DSD 150 (SP GS4)
decoders. They perform superbly. In my estimation, nothing comes close to
this combination. The brass locos can start up or come to a stop with
ultimate realism, and the chuffing sound at speed is very realistic,
coordinated exactly with the driver RPM's. This is a big plus for the MTH -
the exhaust matches the driver RPM at all speeds. This is not true for the
BLI. Also, the overall sound package on the BLI ranks last. The whistle is
horribly raspy, and the exhaust sound at speed is ridiculous and has no
relation to the RPM's of the drivers. The whistle sound of the MTH is
better, but tends to sound a little bit like an automobile horn. The
control of both the BLI and MTH is spasmodic. On the BLI's, you keep
turning up the throttle, and then suddenly the train lurches forward. It is
very hard to make a smooth start. Likewise, the MTH does nothing at first,
then jumps forward, and even worse, increases in huge increments at each
click of a Digitrax throttle. Maybe this can be adjusted. The MTH also
makes a grinding sound at speed which worries me - I will contact them about
that. The Bachman Spectrum locos ran very smoothly and quietly. I would
have retrofitted them with Soundtraxx decoders, but they didn't have the
pulling power, and of course had the bright red stripe instead of the N&W
red as is the case on both the BLI and MTH. Personally, I like the
lettering on the MTH better than the BLI, however it is more muted. Well,
that's it for now. When I can work more with it, I will make another
report. If anyone else has an MTH, please share your observations.

Bob Folsom
Clemson SC

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