HXD3 Class Co-Co
The HXD3 was another of the Harmony series of electric locomotives built to replace the aging China Rail fleet of ShaoShan locomotives. These are domestically built at Dalian, Datong, Toshiba & Beijing 27th locomotive works with techincal wizadry from Toshiba. Compared to most of the other HXd series, these ones sport a more streamlined body, similar to the SS7E or SS9G, and while designed to pull 5000 ton freight trains, are commonly seen on passenger services. They are fairly widespread throughout China with high concentrations in Beijing, Xian & Lanzhou.
N27 have done a fairly nice job on these models and are becoming good competition for the other manufacturers. Various colour schemes exist - the standard blue/grey and prototype colour schemes in solid blue and green/grey.
The packaging for the HXD3's comprises of a simple, two piece cardboard box. The model is held inside a plastic clam shell with a protective sleeve and some polystyrene pieces for padding. The locomotives have a thin plastic sheet to prevent paint rubbing on the clam shell.
The models have lots of details. Bogies are very nice with fantastic looking disc brakes and the roof electrical componentry is also very nicely done. Pantographs look good and work well. Sadly, many of the smaller details aren't particularly well applied - one of my samples arrived with many of these details separated from the model and an apparent botched repair job (most likely from the factory) of the sanding pipes. A number of the parts have a lot of flash (the excess plastic from the casting process).
The paint work, while nicely applied, appears to be slightly incorrect with the large grey side walls appearing to be more white rather than grey. Apparently a number of the solid blue type (SL1 0017) had unacceptably poor paint jobs resulting in a second run by the factory - rendering the limited edition production of 80 units somewhat erroneous! The same version was originally a limited edition with 80 produced, but since the second run - who knows. There appears to be no distinction between either version.
The HXD3's run very well. both of mine run very smoothly and quietly, with plenty of power to pull an 8 car passenger train. Time will tell whether the motors last over time.
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.
The model comes with metal knuckle couplers which appear to be copies of #5 Kadee's. They can be substituted for scale heads (#58/158) or long shank scale heads for extra clearance (#56/156). A very pain-free exercise.