Athearn has released an improved version of the old MDC Old-Time 2-8-0. It is a vast improvement over the original kit locomotives. I never had a MDC ready-to-run version. The new one comes with DCC/DC Sound and without sound. The sound is from MRC and is typical MRC crap. Mine has since died in my 4-4-0's. If you want sound install a Soundtraxx Tsumani.
It is a model of a late nineteenth century Baldwin 2-8-0 and matches the Maryland and Pennsylvania Consolidations 23-25. The new boiler running boards don't have the air tank jump-up of the old kit which is a real bonus.
The detailing is adequate. The single generic air pump above the running board is really nice if you model an earlier era. It comes in two version square oil burning headlight and round electrical light.
The gears are new and more precise than the old kit and the locomotive runs really quiet. There is pickup on all wheels and won't stall over Atlas Code 100 dead frogs.
There are traction tires on the last set of drivers.
Cover the sound in the tender floor and the volume becomes bearable.
Don't buy the locomotive with the MRC sound. MRC makes crap sound decoders. Buy the soundless one and add a Tsunami. Eventually it will die.
If you want to have their sound here are some tips:
The first thing you notice is the sound is deafening, someone should tell Athearn that some of us can hear. The sound on DC is easier to adjust with the push bottom gizmo than DCC.
For DCC adjust the sound by changing CV56 to 0, this will make the sound only slightly lower. Adjust CV55 to 3, this is a lower less piercing chuff. Place a piece of tape over the holes in the tender floor. Now it will sound really good.
Even before tuning the CV's for performance the locomotive runs really well. Adjusting the performance CV's, momentum and starting voltage, the control is great. The locomotive has excellent low speed capablities.
This is the key locomotive needed to make late nineteenth/early twentieth century HO modeling possible. I am extremely happy to see it's reappearance.
How does it do going down grades? 4% downhill with a 1/2 pound of solder on the tender and no bucking.
(Click Images to Enlarge)
The new 2-8-0 has a lower boiler and the drivers are now 51 instead of 52. The lower boiler makes a big difference in appearance. Now the modeler won't have to do the boiler lowering.
Personally I would buy the locomotive without factory sound and add a mini-Tsunami.