New On The Layout – ScaleTrains ET44C GEVO

Unlike in previous years, I kept some funds in reserve for the expected Black Friday sales. I didn’t buy much, but the first purchase arrived the other day, my first ScaleTrains locomotive, an ET44C GEVO from their Rivet Counter line.

I’ve got to say, overall I’m really impressed. I’ve always heard good things about the stuff produced by ScaleTrains, especially their Rivet Counter line and there really is an impressive amount of attention to detail here.

I’ve got the ET44 alongside one of my FEC ES44C4s, I know that they’re not quite the same and that there are some prototype specific differences between the two, but from an overall detail comparison I think putting them side by side works. One thing of note, the ET44 is missing its snowplow. The plow came off after just a few inches of running and I elected not to put it back on. I’m fairly certain that most people won’t notice its absence.

Something worth mentioning in this view – like the Kato ES44C4, the ditch lights on the ET44 don’t flash. However unlike the Kato unit, on the ScaleTrains unit this appears to be prototype specific, because apparently the models for CSX and Norfolk Southern do feature flashing ditch lights. Plus the Norfolk Southern version has flashing ditch lights on the rear as well.

Sound and DCC comes from a LokSound 5 Micro with sugar cube speaker so it sounds… well, like a LokSound 5 Micro, so fairly decent. The engine has all wheel drive and pulls well, while there was minimal wheel slip up the East Side 2.5% grade with 7 Atlas Tropicana reefer cars, it did manage to make the climb unassisted with all 7 cars without too much trouble.

Once again, head to head I think Kato is behind when it comes to detail, but honestly, knowing that there are likely prototype differences at play here I don’t necessarily think the Kato is too bad. The details on the ScaleTrains ET44 definitely stand out more than those on the Kato ES44C4, but I think that some of that may be due to the paint scheme more than anything else. But then again, I think if you’re going to take on the title of Rivet Counter your details better be good and I think in that respect ScaleTrains hit the mark.