Athearn Sd70mac, a first impression

  • Thread starter TexasWestern70Mac
  • Start date



just got my two new athearn bnsf h2 sd70mac's from my hobby store the otehr day and got them right on the layout. very detailed and accurate models, except on the BNSF h2 model, the radiator fans are completely the wrong color! they should be bnsf green, not silver. that is an easy fix, but athearn should have done thier homework with that.

other than that, the engines looks wise are great. i have shot many of these beasts myself and they are right on the money.... paint and lettering is sharp and crisp. still have to add wipers and a prototypically accurate plow i got from details west, as well as MU cables, but that is an hour's worth or work at best per engine :) the functioning dicthlights and directional headlight are led's, and are brighter at a much lower voltage than traditional microbulbs, which is much more prototypical and i like that! see through radiator fans and dyno grilles are great too.

as far as performance, it is a little better than an athearn bluebox, are far as drawbar pull goes; but they probably should've had more weight added to it. the thing that suprised me the most was the ability for it to negotiate my 18 radius curves with no problems whatsoever! the way they made the gearbox on the genesis drives for the big mac's made it so they can handle 18 radius curves easily. even where there is "not so perfect track" the trucks go through them with ease. they perform much better than my dash 9's which are 6 years old. and better than my kcs sd40-2 blueboxes which are about 4... they are also as quiet as proto 200 engines, which is real nice..... sure beats the heck out of those earlier noise athearns i have.

as far as the directions that came with it, overall i give an F. was sorely dissapointed here. the exploded drawing was small, and there was NO assembly instructions about windshield wiper placement on the front of the engine, or how to fix teathing problems or anything of that sort. luckily i have prototype photos to reference as far as wiper placement goes. the maintenence thing would have been better also if they told you how to take apart the shell! athearn used to have this on thier website. but it has been updated, and athearn's website now is a shell of what it used to be. not it;s just a order catalog....... horizon really killed the overall of the athearn website... i was extremely dissapointed in that, but that's a story for another time.

overall final grade for the SD70Mac from athearn A-. still great but the crappy instructions could have been better, as well the proper color radiator fan assemblies, other than these two minor things, i am very impressed with athearn's genesis line. i will post pics of the engines soon :)
That's why I never got the Stupid things in the first place.
I think ill stick with the kato's instead!
I can't wait until I get in my Kato BN Cream&Green SD70MAC's
I have a pair of Genesis SD70s. I'd have to say that it's really a bunch of baloney to pay that kind of money for a new loco and have to get Details West parts, like a plow and MU cables. Also, I thought it was unacceptable to have to locate and drill holes for installation of the wipers. They could easily have put indentations or added the wipers themselves. Mine wipers are slightly goofed up since they are so hard to locate properly. I think they need to pay attention to what Kato is doing, althought Kato has some shortcomings too.

well as far as the wipers go, they left it that way because there are both 4 and 6 wiper versions of the sd70mac. early BN ones had 4, bnsf and late BN have 6. it is similar with thier sd70m's, because if they pre drilled holes for 6, they would be accurate for cn and bnsf and sf, but would be wrong for newer verions. so i can see thier reasoning for not drilling wiper holes on the front, for prototype accuracy reasons.....

as far as details west stuff, 6 bucks for detail parts isn't anything to 70 you would have to plunk in on a bluebox athearn engine :)