HO Scale - Broadway Limited Imports J1e NYC Hudson 4-6-4

Discussion in 'Product Review Forum' started by LongIslandTom, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Apr 9, 2006
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    Thought I repost it here in the product reviews forum for the benefit of anyone looking for info on this engine when making a purchasing decision. I originally posted it in the HO forum and realized it's really a product mini-review. :thumb:

    I want to began by giving a shout-out to fellow posters Jim Krause, Ed Acosta, pgandw, and steamhead on heling me choose a locomotive on my past threads asking about the performance of various HO steam locomotives. Thanks for your advice guys-- You rock!

    I'm a modern-era modeler and my locomotive fleet has been all diesels up to now, with stuff like GP38-2s and B40-8's. My first foray into steam started when my 5-year-old nephew asked me, "how come you don't have any old-fashioned engines with all the moving things on the wheels like my Thomas Tank engine?" [​IMG]

    Good question! He got me thinking, it'd be kind of neat to have a steam engine or two for variety. So off to researching I went-- I decided I wanted something that will work on sharp curves so I can run it on my little nephew's circle of 18"-radius track whenever I visit him (he loves his HO-scale Thomas, but it's plain to see he gets bored with just that one train). It has to be heavy so it can pull lots of cars-- My nephew complains that his Thomas couldn't pull more than 3 or 4 cars before it starts getting wheelslip. And it has to be relatively inexpensive-- I just had a binge buy in my other thread so I'm trying to keep costs to about $100.

    I narrowed it down to the Spectrum K4, the BLI K4 and the BLI Hudson. Tripped down to Trainland this afternoon and asked them to test-run those for me and made my decision. I ended up with the $129 BLI J1e NYC Hudson. I heard that for $129 is a heckuva deal too, since it has sound and DCC on-board.

    Took it over to my sister's place to show off my new acquisition to her son. I think he was mighty impressed, when I hooked on 15 cars to the engine on his loop of 18"-radius car and started the train going. My little nephew was also impressed with the sound, since Thomas the Tank Engine had no sound at all. [​IMG]

    My impression on the BLI J1e Hudson:

    It's a heavy, nice-running engine with good throttle response on analog DC (0 to 12 volts)-- I'll take it to my local MRR club and run it on their DCC layout later. It does have a built-in delay where the sound effects start, then the drivers start moving at around 2 volts or so. It had no problems pulling 20 cars on level track with no wheelslip-- quite powerful. And at full throttle at 12V, it goes quite fast-- I'd say around a scale 70-80mph or so hauling 20 cars. Not a bad performer at all.

    The manual is very detailed on how to program the on-board decoder for DCC, which should come in handy for me in the future when I convert my layout to DCC.

    There are little annoyances though... The running gear requires lubrication-- I can hear them squeak on every revolution. Also, it's sensitive to uneven track-- All the weight is carried by the six driver wheels while the leading and trailing trucks are just there for show and contributes nothing to the suspension, so I do see a bit of bobbing and weaving when going over rough track. Under heavy load it will also waddle a bit (which most model steam locos tend to do), though it's not as pronounced as some of the cheaper steam locos I've seen. Also, the manual does not explain how to detach the electrical harness to separate the tender and loco. [​IMG] It looks delicate, and I'll have to be careful to mess with it later on.

    Overall I'm pleased with the BLI J1e Hudson for my first foray into steam-- For $129 it's quite a nice deal.

    Oh, before I forget... Photo of the J1e running on my nephew's 18" loop (yes I know, it's a passenger engine and it looks funny hauling a string of modern freight cars, LOL):
    View attachment 30802