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Kato N scale Southern Pacific class GS-4 steam locomotive

Read this review from Model Railroader
Kato N scale Southern Pacific class GS-4 steam locomotive
Kato N scale Southern Pacific class GS-4 steam locomotive
Price: $198

Kato USA Inc.
100 Remington Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173

Era: 1941-1948
Comments: During World War II, Southern Pacific painted its class GS-4 4-8-4 Northern locomotives, motive power for its iconic Daylight passenger streamliners, black to reduce their visibility to enemy bombers. Kato USA is now offering its N scale SP GS-4 models painted in wartime black, a scheme some locomotives wore until several years after World War II’s end.

We reviewed the locomotive in its distinctive red-orange-and-black Daylight colors in our July 2008 issue. It’s still available in that paint scheme, as well as preserved no. 4449’s American Freedom Train livery. The many separately applied details, finely molded body shells, accurate dimensions, and smooth, powerful motor mentioned in that review still apply to this new model.

One problem we noted in the 2008 version has been fixed in the new release. The electrical system had a defect that caused it to short out if a user installed a Digital Command Control decoder. That problem was quickly found and rectified with an aftermarket refit kit; the locomotives on store shelves now should all work fine with aftermarket decoders. Kato offers its EM13 Motor Function Decoder for $22.

The model’s black body and silver smokebox were smoothly painted. The silver “Southern Pacific Lines” lettering on the tender was crisp and straight. The tiniest lettering under the cab number was legible under extreme magnification. All the wheels were in gauge, and the knuckle couplers were mounted at the correct height, though Kato leaves it to the modeler to install the trip pins.

The motive power for SP’s most famous train may be more recognizable in its vivid Daylight livery, but Kato’s latest version is perfect for those modeling the train’s wartime years.

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