KHIAC 44 Up & Running

The KHIAC NSWR 44 class that I wrote about the other day is now back together and running on Queens Wharf. It took me about 10 hours to install a LokSound 3.5XL DCC decoder and a new motor. I find the loco makes a bit of a growling noise when in normal, slow running mode, but this is not noticeable when the sound is turned on. Not exactly silent, but it is smooth through my points.

After I managed to work out the wiring problem I mentioned in my previous posting, I spent a couple of hours installing some figures in the cabs and reattaching the fuel tank. The tank is empty and could be used to house a speaker, but I already had the double speaker housing you can see in the earlier photos on hand and it was crying out to be used. I purchased these speakers from the Aus7 Modellers Group Vice President, and my advisor on all things electrical, John Parker. To place a speaker in the fuel tank you would probably need to drill some holes in its bottom side to let the sound out. This would ruin the makers label on the bottom of the tank, a small consideration I’ll admit, but some people may want to avoid this.

One of my pet quibbles about the lights supplied with the r-t-r stock I’ve purchased in O is the brightness of the LED’s. As you will see in the photo I’ll post in conjunction with this text, the headlights are very bright. I have an LED tester which I could have used to knock this brightness down, but for this project I’m working to a deadline and I didn’t have time to do this testing. Quite possibly this will mean that the lights in my 44 will remain bright for a long time into the future, I can live with this for the time being. Swapping standard 1K resistors for ones of higher resistance is not something you can just guess at. I would estimate that something like a 100K resistor will be needed before the brightness of the lights will be knocked down to an acceptable level. The marker lights are probably also a little bright but this is less of an issue because the light travels through a length of fribre optic.

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about this model: questions about my impressions about leading end’s angles, the running, whether it’s value for money and what I think about the motor and other internal features. I’m not prepared to get involved in the conversations swirling around this loco and its release. I’ve made some comments about the loco in my posts and I’ll let these stand, but I will say two things about the way the loco looks on the track:

– This locomotive seems to have been built to a price point and potential purchasers should probably be aware that there may be some realtively minor details that aren’t quite “perfect”. However if you need to spend hours poring over photos and plans to discover and throw up minor problems with the overall look of the loco, then this is probably a pretty good indication that, while it may not be perfect, it’s still pretty close. Individuals must judge for themselves what they consider “value for money”.

– I want my models to be as accurate as the next person, however I think it might be worth occasionally having a bit of a reality check about our developing “standards”. I used to work in HO and I well remember the Lima 44, or what purported to be a 44. Ok, you could pick a Lima 44 up for almost nothing but in those far off days, after I’d done all the work to upgrade the body, install a new motor and flywheels, replace the bogies and repainted it, it still didn’t look right. Locos on the market today are simply in a different ball park in terms of detail and realism compared to what was available even a few short years ago. It’s also probably worth remembering how pleased I was when I watched my HO Lima 44 run down the track for the first time.

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