Menards Santa Fe O gauge locomotive

Menards Santa Fe O gauge locomotive

Menards O gauge Santa Fe F3 model ¾ view top and side
Menards has launched a check run of its O gauge Santa Fe F3.

Menards Santa Fe locomotive in a nutshell

Menards Santa Fe locomotive is a bold idea. Inquiring some 200 individuals to consider a probability on a new products is daring. To request they test the solution on their layouts and report what the maker bought suitable — and much more importantly, improper — is even bolder. It is something I’ve by no means listened to of in the realm of product railroading.

But that’s what Midwest-primarily based home-enhancement chain Menards has carried out, releasing an O gauge Santa Fe F3. The current market was undoubtedly intrigued: the whole operate, provided on the company’s web site, offered out in a few hrs.

I would rate this as the biggest toy train information tale of the calendar year, very easily beating out the re-distribution of the MTH Trains item line  and MTH continuing to create trains. The buzz on this product or service has been far more substantial than its confined release would recommend.

A disclaimer: This is not a critique. We are managing this design as a test shot with the assumption Menards is soliciting feed-back to make improvements to it for a foreseeable future production operate.

See the Menards F3 run on Bob’s Practice Box 72.

What is Menards locomotive?

This is a extremely excellent representation of an Electro Motive Division (EMD) cab unit. Menards marketplaces it as an F3, a satisfactory designation for most of the hobby. Just after all, it is a toy prepare, made available at a wallet-pleasant $146.06.

Rivet counters will recognize the gasoline and water tanks below the midsection and steam generator exhaust on the roof, potentially outing it as a passenger-hauling FP7 or -9. Whatever it is designated, it operates for me!

The model has seem and lights and is managed with a battery-powered hand-held distant. The operator must also have a normal variable A.C. transformer hooked to the monitor.

Utilize electrical power with the transformer and the product wakes up with a hearty diesel rumble. Flip on the controller and it syncs with the locomotive and responds to your commands. Simple and practical!

Whilst incompatible with Lionel or MTH controls, the Menards F3 could possibly be run independently with other command-outfitted energy on any line working with 18V for track energy.

Santa Fe locomotive entire body overview

The locomotive has the common EMD bulldog nose capped with a brilliant headlight. The sides of the taxi have excellent forged-in detailing for handrails, rivets, techniques, and a sand filler cap. I was notably pleased to see 3 neatly painted silver kick plates underneath the forged-in door, and a couple of chrome horns adorn the roof.

There is what seems like a mold seam managing up the nose driving the amount boards and the taxi windows, suggesting the shell was produced from two parts of tooling. I know I have viewed this on some other product someplace, but I checked all the cab models I very own and could not find a related case in point.

The leading of the shell is smooth, conserve for some traces that product removable upkeep accessibility panels. There are 4 forged-in cooling lovers and two solid exhaust stacks. On the rear you will uncover the earlier stated gear for the steam heating technique.

There’s a good deal of detail on the flanks, far too, together with simulated air consumption grills along the top rated, “glazed” portholes, a forged-in sand-filler hatch, rivet depth, and a fuel tank cap and sight glass outlined in purple paint. There is a next raised cap, which might be for filling the drinking water tank. Absent are louvers that run horizontally in between the home windows of the prototype serving to to establish the model.

I definitely preferred the rear doorway! The body is prolonged out from the human body, and it seems as while it is strong, not just mimicking a diaphragm. The doorway has a porthole for the powerful backup light, a forged-in cope with, and a cast in hinge hooked up to the body. There are what surface to be forged-in grab irons on both of those sides of the door operating upward.

Portray and decoration are good and the Santa Fe livery is well executed. The lines between the silver to black to yellow to crimson were being as sharp as it gets.

There’s a hole in the warbonnet paint where the louvers are, which some have pointed out as un-prototypical. On the other hand, images of Santa Fe locomotives exist exhibiting stripes painted more than the louvers and others with a hole. At any fee, it certainly would not halt me from shopping for this product.

There are solid-in seize irons about the rear vans and at the location for the hostler controls. There are stirrups for crewmen to accessibility the two places, on the body and on the rear truck. The two are sturdy metallic.

Down underneath, the trucks are fantastic renderings of the Blomberg units that ended up conventional on EMD’s F-collection. They are die-solid metallic with independent crew accessibility stirrups attached. Both sets have thumbtack-fashion working couplers. These functioned very well and held pleasant and safe! The entrance- and rearmost sets of wheels are geared up with traction tires.

The locomotive frame is metal.

Menards locomotive’s radio command

The remote takes 3 AAA batteries and fits comfortably in adult- or boy or girl-sized arms. The entrance has the Santa Fe oval, the locomotive amount, and a stylized “MRR” for Menards Railroad. The battery doorway has a image of Jack the German shepherd.

A doable glitch: Some buyers have claimed obtaining to tweak the steel strips to make great make contact with with the batteries. This is easily accomplished with a pair of needle-nose pliers or a flat-blade screwdriver ahead of inserting the batteries.

A rotary knob controls ahead and reverse movement as very well as velocity. There are buttons for activating the horn, crew speak, and the locomotive’s bell. The diesel engine audio is usually on. Nevertheless, its level, as nicely as the rest of the seems, can be controlled by a quantity wheel on the facet, all the way down to very little.

In the oval’s heart is a crimson LED. It is pink when energy is on, and flashes when the controller is on, but the locomotive is not powered up. Feel of it as a reminder to both convert off the controller, or to power up the monitor!

In sensible conditions, all the controls are effortless to see and use and the locomotive is incredibly responsive to instructions. The remote seemed reputable in excess of about a 25 x 30-foot place (I did not see a have to have to exam it from the washing device, in the far facet of my basement!).

Throttle jockeying

You ought to apply monitor electricity just before anything at all occurs, just like other manufacturers’ handle programs. Considering the fact that there are no instructions with the product, I to start with cranked it up to 18V and got the locomotive rolling. Just after screening various electrical power options, I uncovered the F3 wants at the very least 8V to run smoothly.

Although the locomotive runs well, commencing and stopping are abrupt. That may be attributable to the absence of flywheels on the can-style motors mounted on every truck.

The very low-velocity I captured was 16.6 scale miles for every hour and the superior velocity was 46.4. I went again and checked the figures for a conventional Lionel Santa Fe F3 in the December 1991 concern of Classic Toy Trains. The Lionel model’s reduced speed was 18.7 and the higher pace was a curve leaping 172 scale miles for each!

I ran the Menards F3 with both two-bulb heavyweight passenger cars and trucks and 24 generally modern era freight autos. With the similar velocity environment the momentum looked rather constant to my eyes. If you want Duck Dodgers from the 24½ Century speeds, this could not be the engine for you. It runs at, shall we say, a more reasonable pace.

Drawbar pull? As opposed to the 1991 LTI F3’s 15 ounces, the Menards locomotive registered a stable 1 pound, 7 ounces. Fairly excellent for a examination sample!

A tip to shield the engine from the grandkids: Set your transformer velocity lessen than 18 volts. It sets a “max” velocity the kiddies cannot exceed with the hand-held unit.

Hats off to Menards

Competitors is great, and Menards has demonstrated it is a feisty player in the environment of design railroading. The organization has been making a stable buyer foundation while justifiably cautious about having into the locomotive video game.

The enterprise receives superior marks for generally indicating, “test the heck out of these and inform us what you assume.” But be reminded there is no assurance this job will go forward. Furthermore, if it does the creation styles could be at a various cost point.

Only following the person responses is in, and an evaluation is created of what, if any, adjustments can or must be made, will the ball get in motion. At ideal, in today’s wacky entire world, we may possibly see anything in 12 months. But from my hands-on practical experience, it will surely be worth the hold out!