Class J in HO scale

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Sun Oct 24 12:08:32 EDT 2021

I had a Bachmann from an early run. It was a very nice model and never gave any problems with gears cracking or anything else. Not the best puller but smooth running and reliable. I also had the first run of BLI and it was the same but had better detail and paint. I thought they ran about the same. Never saw the MTH one.
You asked about the BEST models of the J, well to me I have to say the Sunset brass ones fit that quest. They had 2 different runs that I own. The first in the yellow box was engines 605-610 with the roll top tenders. The 2nd run in the straw colored box had some detail enhancements especially on the round nose details. It came in a 604 version with Laird crossheads and as 611-613 with the flat top tender and Alligator crossheads and also as 611 with her first excursion details. They also brought in the J-1 unstreamlined version. Both runs I have run very smoothly and have never had issues. I have 3 J-1's and 8 J's and they are very smooth and trouble free. They were made by Samhongsa. To my knowledge none of the Sunset models came with factory paint.
Key and Overland both imported J's. I have not seen them in person but feedback suggests they are excellent and have better detail than the Sunsets. Overland also did the J-1 and all versions were available F/P. I think Overlands were built by Ajin and my experience with Ajin is they are definitely well engineered and assembled and some of the best brass models built. 
Way back when GEM and PFM imported the J. I had a GEM back in the mid 1970's and it was a great runner. I have seen the PFM but never owned one. Both were built to run and were trouble free items. I believe both were available naked or F/P. I remember discussion about one of them not having the proper nose shape but I can't verify that. they looked fine to me.
I love my Sunsets and don't need to look at any others to satisfy my J needs. I'm not really into plastic engines and prefer brass. I'm also a custom painter and prefer to paint all my own stuff. I have heard nothing but complaints on the various groups about BLI and others having gear issues, melting and other bad mechanical deficiencies so I just stay with my brass. Everyone has their opinions and everyone has had good luck or terrible luck with the same products. Just a crap shoot. Kind of like with automobiles. I bought a Honda CR-V 4 years ago and it's been one of the most troublesome cars I've ever owned. I based my purchase on all the great reviews and recommendations about the cars. Lemons show up on cherry trees at times!
My 2¢.
Roger HuberDeer Creek Locomotive Works 

    On Sunday, October 24, 2021, 08:16:59 AM CDT, NW Modeling List via NW-Modeling-List <nw-modeling-list at> wrote:  
 The only options are MTH, BLI, Bachmann, or brass. Unfortunately, I think you have the best of all the compromises of quality for the price. 

Mike Shockley ________________________________________
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