BJ Class Diesel-hydraulic Bo-Bo
MTC Model Train China
Production Summary - Single Unit
Production Summary - Double Unit
The BJ class diesel hydraulics are a small beefy class of locomotive, built from the mid 1970's to early 1990's, designed to haul express passenger trains. The bulk of the class were located in and around the Beijing area, yet as the class has aged, many have seen service elsewhere. Most were double ended units, yet there were a number of double unit machines (with single cabs). There was a small handful of broad gauge locomotives built for use in the Manzhouli region for use on the Russian network, and MTC are producing one of these locomotives, however I am quite certain this will run on the same HO scale track for compatibility's sake.
Note this review covers the single unit type only
My first model in nearly two years (A nice graduation present for me)! This is one of the coolest locomotives in my fleet. A fantastic addition to Chinese locomotive fleets that fits the bill as a mainline or secondary passenger locomotive or in use as an industrial diesel. It represents excellent value for money and with 18 versions eventually coming, there should be enough colour schemes and bureau choices to please just about everybody. (note - it would appear that MTC may have cut short the amount of versions to be released.)
Unfortunately from my three samples, it's been a relatively mixed bag in terms of quality control. My blue sample with the aforementioned paint scratch issue, the green one had a loose number board & fuel tank and the orange (my personal favourite!) arrived with the motor dislodged from its mount with both the motor shafts disconnected and loose. So, if possible, its always best to check these first hand prior to purchase if possible.
The packaging comprises of a very solid 2 piece box with foam insert and a clear clam shell plastic case with sleeve. An instruction sheet is included (in Chinese). The models come with a limited edition certificate, similar to a credit card.
MTC have come a long way very quickly from their first offering of a toyish SS3 to a very high quality modelling company. The BJ class has a plastic body with VERY sharp details as well as many separately applied brass parts. Most of these parts are extremely fine and have an excellent compromise between Bachmann's durability and Haidar's delicacy. Worth noting (the good stuff) are the horn detail, windshield wipers, footsteps, undercarriage details and number boards. While the bogie side frames could probably have been a little sharper, the depth is nice and they've even gone to the of trouble of applying some ultra fine brake rigging components which seem to like to fall out whenever they feel like. It is a nice touch, but unless you run your locomotives upside down you probably won't even notice them if they do go astray. There does unfortunately appear to be some quality control issues - asides from the aforementioned, a bent up footstep, paint scratches (from the factory) and a shattered handrail stantion. Some tiny sand pipes are included to attach to the bogies for those mad enough to attempt it. The cab doors are spring loaded.
I have not been able to fully test this locomotive due to lack of layout, however I have bench tested it and it is a very strong little critter and very heavy, which should equal excellent performance. It is very smooth and responsive. Initially the motor was buzzy, but after some running in, this has come down to acceptable levels.
I have not tested DCC on this locomotive as of yet, however there is a large area suitable for a speaker so I think it's safe to assume it will be an easy install. To remove the shell, remove the couplers and gently pry away the sides of the body shell away from the frame and lift.
An important note to those who are considering buying a green BJ, specifically ZY12-02; This model has some serious lighting issues! All the other models have a blue coloured LED for headlights and interior (a bit too bright and a bit too blue, but nothing too serious) and a red light for the reverser. Unfortunately the individual who installed the lights on the green variant has some serious mental health issues and fitted the headlights with what can only be described as radioactive green LED's for the headlights - and purple (yes, purple) reverse lights! I would like to hear from anyone who has also discovered this to confirm this is widespread or if I'm the sole recipient of a practical joke. I attempted to take photographs of this but even my camera burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter and was unable to complete the task satisfactorily.
The BJ's have a plastic body shell on a heavy alloy frame. Many of the detail parts are brass or wire.
To remove the shell from the frame, remove the couplers using a small Phillips head screwdriver and the body will lift right off. There is enough room to install a DCC decoder as well as a space for a large speaker for those going after sound.
These models are fitted with metal Kadee style knuckle couplers (equivalent to #5's). I will replace these shortly with Kadee scale head 'whisker' couplers (medium shank).