HXD3B Class Co-Co
The HXD3B is to date the most powerful single unit locomotive in the world with a thumping power output of 9600kw. These are huge locomotives and are used primarily in freight service. 500 were built, 350 at Dalian and 150 at Bombardier in Europe.
The is MTC's first serious attempt at a locomotive model and is worlds apart from the old SS3's they made way back when. The Mao version was released first with a faux leather box (as well as a bunch of paint/detail issues), quickly followed by 6 standard variants.
The packaging for the HXD3B's comprises of a large two-piece cardboard box. The model is held inside a plastic clam shell with a protective sleeve and some polystyrene pieces for padding. The decorated version of this locomotive was released with a more ornate box.
The HXD3B I received is a monster of a machine. It's almost 2 inches larger than the similar looking HXD3C (by N27). This one will look much better on larger layouts for this reason alone. Details are very nice on the standard version, with a good amount of brass and plastic details around the pilot area. Many of the models had a major defect with the disc brakes which simply fell out of the wheels leading to all sorts of adventures. Indeed, one of my samples has developed the same fault and will be a bit of a job to fix.
A friend of mine who bought the Mao version reports that the paint work is very sloppy and the details are very poorly applied. I'm unsure that this is an isolated problem (I'm not sure I want to commit to one of them just to make sure!) and would like to hear from another owner to confirm or dispell that this is a more widespread problem.
Despite the issue with the brakes, they perform very well. The motor is OK, maybe marginally buzzy which should go away with some running in, but it doesn't appear to be overly strong despite its hefty weight.
Power can be switched to run off the pantographs via a switch under the white roof panel. The headlights are a bit of a concern, enough to warrant a conversion job. DCC information not yet available, however I presume provision for a plug in decoder exists.
(In DC mode at least) there is a cab light which when running, is oddly turned on in both cabs. The main headlight is extremely weak, to the point where I thought it wasn't working and some of the cab light was leaking through. When running in reverse, some of the cab light does appear to do this, and is marginally stronger when running forward. The color isn't too bad, but this is definitely one that I will have to do some customized lighting work with.
The model comes with metal knuckle couplers which appear to be copies of #5 Kadee's. These are quite complicated to remove and replace. Most modellers may want to replace with scale heads, in which case you would need 56/156's.