Saturday, January 19, 2008

MTH Blue 390E

The 390E Blue Comet engine has been coveted for years, predominantly because of its' unusual color scheme and because it came before the 400E to support one of the most recognized and popular passenger sets of all time.

The new MTH 390E is a solid reproduction of its' prewar counterpart. Really, the review for this engine isn't a whole lot different than the other 3 390E's I have already looked at. Here's a few observations:

1) This engine comes with Central Jersey plates. That does in fact make it easier to pair it up with the 300 series cars MTH shipped with the 384E set as well as the Blue Comet freights MTH shipped. When you see these together you'll immediately get it (I'll try and take some shots later on).

2) The flanging on the wheels is correct. I know this sounds insane but I've had a problem with some recent acquisitions. The flanging on the wheels is incorrect and the engine sways from side to side. These engines all seem to have the wheel flanging right. You'll know it when you see it. It makes a huge difference in how the trains run.

3) Since I do not have an original Lionel 390E Blue Comet the best I could do was compare the paint to the many pictures I have in my archive and with several flavors of Blue Comet I have (both MTH and original Lionel). The paint is almost spot on. I say almost because the prewar counterpart changes color with age. The newer Comets from Lionel and MTH are spot on. It's the same color. MTH did a great job with the paint for this. I have to say, one very positive thing I can say about all of the MTH engines I have looked at is that they seem to have put a process in place for continuous quality improvement. The soldering is solid in all of the right places and the paint application and application of exterior items like grab rails has been grown much better over time. When I pull this engine out of the box, everything is exactly as it should on the exterior of the engine.

4) The batteries are coming charged from the factory. This makes it much easier to get up and running immediately.

Enjoy the pics for now, more coming later!


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