Athearn Blue Box F7A Super Weight

Discussion in 'Product Review Forum' started by YmeBP, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    This is my first real train engine. I bought it on reccomendations from other gauge members it cost me a whopping 28.50 :) brand new!!! I bought it from ToyTrainHeaven.com and aside from a little slipup in delivery time they are great :).

    SO ... i'm going to do my best to review this engine from a complete noob's prespective.

    Link to full sized images: http://www.skyersfamily.com/gallery/v/Trains/Depot/AthearnBBF7A/

    First Impressions:
    1) I like the box. I know it's shallow but the box is nice :).
    2) It's heavy! It is at least 50% heavier than the lifelike and tyco toy engines i have downstairs
    3) From the reccomentations i thought it was going to be bland... but compaired to the toy one (see picture) it looks stunning!!
    4) Shame on Athearn including plastic knickles. Charge me the 2$ more and send me Kadee's!!

    Running it:
    Haven't gotten there yet, bot oh boy am i gonna!! ;) I have to install some couplers on it (i have kadee) and get all the accessories installed. I'll post when i've run it around the track a couple times :).
    12/31/2006
    I've installed new Kadee #5 on my loco, and on a couple of cars, put it on the track and gave it a good run. q
    1) It is QUIET, i mean like whisper quiet compared to the other toy grade locos i have.
    2) It runs extremely smoothly even over a purposly unpowered section of track it just keeps on rolling.
    3) It is an incredible puller. I actually ran out of cars to put on it :) so i don't know how many it will pull but right now it is up to double +2 more (13) than the lifelike F7A toy grade loco it is replacing
    4) Did i mention quiet?
    5) Slow speed performance is great, i can pull more cars at a much lower speed than my lifelike toy grade.

    My take on this loco is that it is perfect for me. I dropped it (i know don't ask me how) from about 4 inches off my table and all was well, not even a scratch in the paint. The couplers were at the perfect hieght w/ no adjustments needed. I have only 2 complaints and both being minior. My first complaint is Athearn didn't include any instructions on how to install the optional accessories on my model. I don't even have an incling of a clue as to where to glue the pieces shown on the white lined paper. The second is there is a buzzing sound the engine makes when i am at super low speed (did it before i dropped it hahaha) seems like the motor needs just a little more juice to get going?

    All in all i LOVE this loco, did i mention how quiet it was? It looks great runs great and i'm looking forward to adding more models of this quality to my yard.
    See photo's above and check out the movie here: http://www.skyersfamily.com/gallery/v/Trains/Depot/AthearnBBF7A/?g2_page=2
    It is encoded in mp4 (psp i think) only thing i had on my system that actually allowed me to crunch the mpeg down. You can hear the difference between the f7a and the toy train in the back ground. It's faint but you can hear it. Check out the pictures above.
  2. COMBAT

    COMBAT Member

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    I thought blue box was no longer made?
  3. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    Combat:

    You can still get some at Toy Train Heaven. I've gotten stuff like the Athearn blue-box Amtrak AMD103 Genesis locos from there for $22.50 apiece. Other BB locos they got off the top of my head: BB Super Weight F7s, some hood units like undec GP60s, some decorated SD40-2s, and GP38-2s.

    Great place to buy BBs if you are into kitbashing! With cheap locos like that, you won't be afraid of hacking them up. :thumb:

    YmeBP:

    Remember, if you want to mount Kadees at the right coupler height, for the Super Weight F7s you need UNDERSET couplers like the Kadee #47. The standard #5 Kadees will sit too low. Check out my Kadee mount on my Super Weight F7: http://www.the-gauge.com/showpost.php?p=233935&postcount=5

    Hope this helps!
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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  5. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    If memory servces, LI Tom pointed me to toy train heaven when i was whining about something or another. I think it was ebay :).

    Ahhh crap... i just bought a bazzillion kadee's #5 off ebay they have them at 1.92 per bag of 2. Can i fudge it w/ some kit bashing?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=017&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&viewitem=&item=270072767887&rd=1&rd=1

    I need some small taps too so maybe i'll head down to the hobby shop tmrw and get some taps and a couple of the 47's.
  6. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    Don't worry, as you accumulate more rolling stock, I'm sure you will find use for all those #5's. :D

    Just order as many of the underset #47s as you need. Each pack has 4 couplers (enough for two engines or cars). :thumb:

    Glad you like your Super Weight! Athearns are a whole different world, for those long tortured with low-quality unreliable crap like Tycos. That Super Weight is built like a tank, and I think the mechanism epitomizes what a model diesel loco should be.
  7. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

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    Kitbashing isn't worth your time in this case, also it would be difficult to raise the coupler height anyway, just go order the #47's for $3.00 anyway! :)
  8. COMBAT

    COMBAT Member

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    Yeah, but can you DCC these engines or am I better off just going better out of the gate?
  9. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    Yep. You can convert BB locos to DCC easily enough.

    Digitrax makes decoders with clips that fits over the Athearn motors: DH123AT and DH163AT. Solderless installation, all you have to do is use a strip of electrician's tape to isolate the motor from the frame.

    Installing lighting like ditch lights etc. is more difficult, but that's true of most engines that don't come with those, DCC ready or not.

    Hope this helps!
  10. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    YmeBP:

    I was just looking at the photos you took of your Superweight, and I'm noticing that the coupler mount on yours looks different than the one on my Superweight F7. Your SuperW's mounting pad looks thinner than mine. A thinner pad means the coupler will sit higher. Maybe you don't need underset Kadees after all.

    I would try in those plastic knuckle couplers first. See if the trip pin hangs too low. If it does, then you want to use the underset #47s. If they don't, you can just use a Kadee #5. :thumb:

    Maybe Athearn retooled their SuperW F7s or something.. Cool. :cool:
  11. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    That is grat news as i plan to go dcc sometime very soon. And even better news is the coupler :).
  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Tom,As far as I know ALL RTR F7As are super powered and comes with cab glass.I am NOT sure if they come with the hex drive line.
  13. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    I took a snap of the schematics that came with it. It looks like it is hex output drive.

    http://www.skyersfamily.com/gallery/v/Trains/Depot/AthearnBBF7A/HPIM4897.JPG.html

    I have been having a heck of a time scaling my images down to fit w/in the guidelines of the gauge. Do you think it's a pain to click out to see photo's of the engine or should i go through the trouble of embedding the images?
  14. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Thank You! That is indeed the new hex drive line..Now I know..:D
  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    If you wish you can send me thhe pix and I will resize it and either return it to you for posting or I can post it for you.
    Its not a real problem and takes me about 30 seconds thanks to photoshop
  16. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    I didn't think about that, i guess i could setup somthing in one of the image programs i have. Any suggestions as to quality settings format etc?
  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    I use the standard 640x480 and then I optimize to a smaller KB size and I then host it though photo bucket.Saves a lot of hassles posting pictures on some forums.
  18. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Below are pix. Scroll down in threads to see links to full sized pix.

    Attached Files:

  19. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    More pix of my Athearn, :). Scroll down in threads for a link to full sized pix.

    Attached Files:

  20. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Lastly a toy model says Tyco big as day on the bottom :). Dunno how i managed to miss that hahaa.

    Attached Files: