Charming Model Studio's third and possibly final model was also their first diesel, promising to be even better than their previous releases. Two runs were made in quick succession and most of the first series sold out very quickly. 50 units of each number were built, apart from the two 'fake livery' versions of which only several units of each were produced.
Packaging consists of a thick two piece carboard box. The stiff foam used in previous products has now been replaced with a softer type which has a tendency to snag some of the details - so make sure you wrap the model in the provided clear plast wrap sheet. To protect the model from damage, it is screwed on to a semi-permanent three-piece plastic shell from the bottom with hex bolts into the chassis and an Allen key is included to remove the model. These models no longer come with a users manual, only a small card with the DCC functions and a brief diagram of the model. Interestingly English language is no longer offered. There are no extra detail pieces included in the box, however the decorated unit # 0010 comes with the badge to be installed by the owner.
The details are what we've come to expect from Charming, reproduced to an unbelievably fine level and they look superb. That is, when they're attached to the model. Assembly of said details doesn't seem to have been particularly careful and all of my units have at least a few parts which have detatched. Charming claim these models have over 600 parts. I estimate 90% of these to be microscopic and about 10% of them are loose, just waiting to wriggle free and be lost forever. Handle with extreme care. Oh - and a word to the wise; Do not touch the uncoupling rod at either end of the locomotive just above the coupler. This is a three-piece detail part and it is not glued together. It is instead held together by calm pleasing thoughts and dreams. Any form of contact will see it collapse in a tangled mess which will take (literally) hours to put back together again and that is providing you manage to find the centre piece after it silently launches itself through the air. Don't ask me how I know.
The 'special' feature of the NY6/7 diesels is of course the smoke unit, not the first equipped to a Chinese locomotive - that honour goes to Orangutan's DF4 series models, but certainly this is the first quality unit. The smoke output is synchronised to the power output and is really stunning to behold, especially on the NY6 versions with four exhausts! Unfortunately Charming were banned by Chinese customs from exporting the models with a small vial of oil and this must be purchased separately by the owner. As all the units were tested however, there should be enough residue in the sponge for a few goes before it runs dry. The smoke can be turned on or off via your DCC system (function '3').
The China Rail logos applied to the sides are stunning, complete with rivet holes. Given Charming's usual attention to detail, I was looking forward to seeing separate metal numbers on the car sides and ends, however they've taken the easy way out and just painted the road numbers on instead. The rest of the paint is very nicely applied, sharp lines and evenly coated.
Each road number sports specific details. Some have the earlier darker green/cream or the modern green/white livery. Select models have roof mounted air-conditioners and one example interestingly only has a single air-conditioner unit on one end. Bogie detail is incredibly beautiful, made up of a huge amount of separate parts.
Unfortunately, the fun ends in the performance area. Yes, the motor is quiet and powerful and electrical pick up is nigh on perfect, however there are two major faults. The first is that the wheel base is simply too long with not enough tolerance to work through moderately sharp points. This means a guaranteed derailment on my #4 Peco points. Secondly, there was a design flaw in the mechanism which produces an unacceptable 'hopping' motion as it rolls down the track. In some versions this is not as noticeable as others and if you're really lucky, you may not notice it at all (or maybe not until you read this report!). The flaw only seems to affect one bogie. What really hurts however is Charming Models apparent lack of interest in fixing the model, unlike how they've handled their previous products. This leaves a very sour taste in the mouth and I will certainly be far more cautious before buying any more future products from this company (although rumours are they may not make any further products with the cancellation of the ND3 class diesel as well as their apparent change in direction as a company to begin a layout museum similar to Miniatur Wunderland in Germany). I will of course be happy to amend this report if they decide to adjust their attitude towards their customers.
These models use an ESU Lok Sound V4.0 sound decoder and hosts a very impressive array of genuine sound effects. As usual the sounds are very nice, and yes - as in previous other releases, Charming have no problem deafening you when you start it up for the first time. One of my cats needs a pacemaker fitted after I fired up my NY7 in fairly close proximity to her. Asides from the engine throttle noises, there are the usual coupler attach and detatch, pneumatic systems, generators, oil pumps, flange squeal and brakes. There are also some voices from the crew, level crossing alerts and station announcements (initially these locomotives were designed for freight service, but were often thrown into passenger service when required). The crew and station noises are a bit of a pain as they go on for a very long time and can't be interupted, save from lifting the locomotive off the rails; not easy if you have overhead wiring installed.
These models feature a huge array of lighting effects including headlights, ditch lights, running and directional markers, sparking brake shoes, cab and now for the first time - gauge lights, I kid you not. All are of course able to be turned off individually. Light colours are genuine and the effects are simply superb.
As mentioned above however, you will need to learn Chinese to find out what function does as the manual no longer provides English descriptions.
Not required. The model comes with genuine scale head Kadee couplers couplers and as these are my couplers of choice, I haven't needed to test any others.
I have serious mixed feelings about the NY6 and NY7. it's a model I've wanted to have seen made ever since I entered the hobby when it was in its infancy some 20 years ago. When Charming announced it would take on the project, I was absolutely overjoyed and as I had already purchased their previous 6K and 8K electric locomotives, had absolutely no hesitation buying three units. I feel like Charming have let us all down with this model. Of course they look fantastic and have some really cool features, but if we can't run them through even basic trackwork or watch them hop down the track like they're using a pogo-stick, not to mention having a company that is uninterested or unwilling to fix the problems that they know exist, then these become very expensive paper weights. Apparently the second release of models promised to 'inspect each unit individually prior to sale'. Yeah right...