Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Rapido SW1200RS - An Early Assesment

Don't expect a thoroughful review here since I guess this model has already been talked about over and over on social media and forums. However, I'd like to give a quick overview about how this model can be useful for modellers wanting to customize them. Be aware I'm writing about the undecorated version which could slightly differ from the RTR version.

Not so long ago, this used to be a typical CFC consist.

To replicate CFC iconic black and yellow SW1200RS, we acquired 3 of them. These locomotives were the backbone of Charlevoix Railway during the 90s and we needed good quality models. Their pulling capacity is surprisingly good for a short wheelbase model, mainly du to the use of an all metal frame (similar to Atlas Alco S2 and S4 locomotives). Their overall performance is very similar to Rapido previous GMD1 locomotive and I would venture to say they are a little bit better. Given the
GMD1 became our favourite locomotive for operation, I suspect these SW1200RS will quickly take the first spot in our heart.

For someone who wants to customize its model, this new locomotive offer many variation including 3 differents smoke stacks and cabs. This is particularly interesting for us since each CFQ SW1200RS was different in that regard. Also, the way parts are assembled will make it easy to paint and decal without requiring excessive masking. In our era of superdetailed RTR models, many manufacturers are starting to forget we have to open our locomotives for maintenance and customization. More about that when I'll talk about a pair of Athearn GP15.

Some issues with unglued and warped thread plate on running boards.

However, our Rapido SW1200RS have a few issues, including warped pilot and badly glued anti-skid thread plate on the running boards. These aren't big issues and should be easy to correct, but it is certainly sad to see such mistakes on pricey products. Another problem is one locomotive out of three didn't had the cab interior details. Let's face it, Rapido still need to improve their quality control. None of these issues are major flaws, but they nevertheless are irritating.

That said, I'm quite happy with this model which is far superior than the Athearn Blue Box SWs I bought exactly 20 years ago with the goal of modelling CFC locomotives. As a matter of fact, this is the level of quality I expect from Rapido with the usual glitches. As a layout operator, I'm more than pleased to have a sturdy model that meets my requirement.

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