Athearn Genesis SD70ACes?

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Littlefoot14

Active Member
Im considering buying one of these, but id like some first hand reviews of them. Ive also got some questions.

How fussy are they on track?

How do they run?

Will they tow alot of cars?

Ive heard the details are incredible, but how flimsy are they?

I know theres been some problems with Athearns quality control lately, can anyone comment on their customer service, especially if i buy a preowned piece?

Do they come already assembled, or are they like other Genesis diesels were you have to put on things like the truck details, grab irons, ect.

Im sure ill have more questions, but thats it for now. Thanks for any and all help.
 

bigB

Active Member
Im considering buying one of these, but id like some first hand reviews of them. Ive also got some questions.
How fussy are they on track?

How do they run?

Will they tow alot of cars?

Ive heard the details are incredible, but how flimsy are they?

I know theres been some problems with Athearns quality control lately, can anyone comment on their customer service, especially if i buy a preowned piece?

Do they come already assembled, or are they like other Genesis diesels were you have to put on things like the truck details, grab irons, ect.

Im sure ill have more questions, but thats it for now. Thanks for any and all help.

I originally bought 2 of these on pre-order, only test ran 1. I wasnt that impressed with its running abilities. The sound was low, particularly the horn volume. Its been shown that they came with a whole in the speaker enclosure that req the owner to seal in order to get good bass out of them. See Ulrich Models.com for a solution and there's also a critique on TonysTrainExchange. They are lighter than MTH, Proto, and BLI, and it didnt seem to pull all that well. You may have issues running on less than 22" curves. The details are very nice, but flimsy IMO, particularly the handrails, numberboards, and ditch lights. Athearn CS has been good in my experience. I would see if you could get the original receipt from the original owner if your concerned about 1 year warrranty issues. I believe the only part you need to install is the in-cab event recorder, and thats optional to install.

I wasnt that impressed and promptly sold them both. As with any loco, some will have great experiences and others very bad. Mine was just kind of bland, and for that price point, I wasnt willing to hold onto them. I eventually went with the DCC ready MTH SD70aces (I dont want to turn this into a MTH vs Athearn bashfest thread). I fried a decoder on my MTH but I think in hindsight it was my fault as I allowed the decoder and lightboard to contact each other. Other than that, they are nice and I think will be better locos for me. But that's just my opinion.
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
They are highly detailed, but if you have to open it up for any reason, break out the glue! The detail parts will fall off!

They're lighter than other brands, but not lighter than their RTR engines.

The speaker issue ultimately needs to be fixed, but other than that, it sounds good if you adjust the EQ.
 

Littlefoot14

Active Member
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I should note im not looking for a DCC&Sound version, DC only.

Diburning- Are they comparable to other Genesis diesels in terms of weight?

BigB- Thanks for your help.
 

KCSRailfan

KCS Railfan,and Modeler.
I own 2 of the Athearn ACes. The detail parts wont fall of,when i got my 2 they both where in tact and ran great out the box. One of my is DCC and Sound the other is DC with a decoder installed. The weight is the same as the other Genesis units if ya ask me.
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
They use the same frame as the SD70 series (spartan cab, M, MAC etc) so they weigh about the same as one of those, and they may use a similar frame to the SD45-2 so the weight is about the same.
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
Nothing has changed about Athearn's handrails or the weight of the locomotives. People only starting noticing it after they had something (MTH's SD70ACes) to compare it to.
 

KCSRailfan

KCS Railfan,and Modeler.
Hey Little foot I got the KCS and BNSF versions so I can show you a pic of em.
Today015-7.jpg
 

NYSW F45

Active Member
nice looking units. Im thinking about calling up my local shop to see what they have the ace's for and if I could reserve the Katy unit and WP unit.
 

Littlefoot14

Active Member
Well, thanks to all the people who have helped me, i paid for BNSF 9131 today. If id had enough though, i wouldve bought a KCS one too, talk about sharp looking! Cant wait to get this locomotive.
 

Mouse

Member
Well, thanks to all the people who have helped me, i paid for BNSF 9131 today. If id had enough though, i wouldve bought a KCS one too, talk about sharp looking! Cant wait to get this locomotive.

Your gonna love them Littlefoot! I have two of the BNSF units with sound and i seriously now feel like my other engines are neglected. :D

IMG_20110218_170436.png


*coinsidently, i have 9131 also (2nd engine). what there running around is just a small circle i set up and take down every now and then at work*
 

NYSW F45

Active Member
uh, with that size garage i hope you plan on making something a little bigger then an oval/circle? LOL
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
I've got one, and I love it. Though I hope someone in Athearn's engineering department would figure out how to get their Genesis 3 axle trucks to track better. My ACe has a lone axle that rides high derailing in one direction. Same issue I have with older Genesis SD70M & SD70MAC models. Never have that issue with any other 6 axle units, Athearn RTR & Blue box included.
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
Josh, the SD70ACe uses the same trucks. Quality control has disappeared over time. I remember when I bought my first Athearn car about 5 years ago. It was a 50' box car. They painted everything except the sides of the ribs! :eek: From what I've observed (the majority of my stuff is Athearn) the quality control has disappeared. Atlas is starting to show the same "symptoms."
 
I dont know which one to get I heard good things and bad thing about the athearn sd70ace but nothing realy bad about the MTH sd70ace maybe I should work on getting both:)
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top