SS9G Class Co-Co
The SS9G's are the latest in the Shaoshan electric locomotive series with a Co-Co wheel arrangement. The standard SS9 was an enlarged version of the Bo-Bo SS8's, with the SS9G (model in question) having a completely revised external appearance. They are used on most of the major electrified mainlines in China, particularly between Shenyang, Beijing, Fuzhou, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
The 173 SS9G's were designed and built by Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Works and are shaping up to be the final Shaoshan series of locomotives in China.
The SS9G's are Bachmann China's second electric mainline passenger in their push for modern models. The first production run was released with eight different road numbers, two each for the four major bureaus that operate the class. As the second production run was identical asides from the livery, the reviews for both are combined.
The SS9G's were sold in a high quality two-piece cardboard outer box with the model protected with a form fitting sleeved plastic clam shell.
The details on this locomotive is really very well done, asides from the windscreen wipers which look very thick. I love the roof details on these, which are a major improvement over the already very nice SS8's. The bogie details have a nice level of depth. There are many other nice little touches, for example the e.m.u. plugs on the cab ends and the fine scale air hoses on the pilots. Initially the major disappointment for me was the ultra high gloss finish of the paint work, although this is starting to grow on me. The lettering and paint edges are extremely sharp. The second series was released in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games featuring the Beijing Games' mascots.
These locomotives are super smooth, quiet and strong. While they do lack the weight from previous releases (a tiny bit less than a DF4B), the high speed motor makes up for it so hauling long passenger trains, at least on layouts with minimal gradients, should be no problems.
Shell removal is easy - 4 screws on the bottom of the chassis and coupler removal. There is an 8 pin plug for optional DCC decoder installation.
The main headlights are 12v filament bulbs, a short lived design with Bachmann China locomotives until LED's became all the rage. The lamps do give off quite a bit of heat, but they give a much nicer colour and are brighter compared to the LED's Bachmann equip their new models with. The circuit board has an 8 pin socket for a decoder, as well as a selector switch which controls whether the engine picks up electricity from the rails only (default setting) or the pantographs and rails.
The SS8's can take Kadee #5/#58/#158's for nice close coupling, although for those with layouts with very tight curves, I would recommend using #56/#156 long shank couplers to prevent derailments.