Product Reviews

Enjoy our in-depth reviews of great new model railroading products in a variety of popular scales, presented by the Model Railroad News staff. Please contact Editor Tony Cook to have your product considered for review.

Marklin Great Northern F7 in HO

August 25, 2016

Marklin Great Northern F7 in HO

Marklin’s new EMD F7 in HO scale wears the colorful Great Northern paint scheme well. Separately applied metal grab irons and handrails add to the appearance of this Marklin set.

MRC Light Genie

August 4, 2016

MRC Light Genie

Who would believe that in a space of little more than two square inches, you could control 12 lighting outputs connected to grain-of-wheat bulbs or LEDs — and do so using Digital Command Control (DCC) or a 2.4 GHz hand-held remote control!

MRC Loco Genie

August 4, 2016

MRC Loco Genie

As technology advances, many in the hobby are frustrated with the idea of converting their DC-powered fleet to DCC. MRC’s Loco Genie provides an option for those wishing they had some of the sound and effects available with DCC, plus remote control operation.

Menards Ready-Built Structures in HO

July 21, 2016

Menards Ready-Built Structures in HO

For the seasoned modeler, these assembled structures provide a project well on its way to fitting into a location on one’s layout. There is little you would need to do for these releases to make them fit into a well-detailed model railroad. For the beginner, these eye-catching buildings have it all. Pick out your location, put them in place, and you have two great instant additions to your pike.

Piko SmartControl

April 25, 2016

Piko SmartControl

I had Piko’s SmartControl up and running in five minutes! This is an intriguing DCC system. I’ve only explained the very basics in this review. Because Piko’s system uses an Android app, updates and innovations are possible without outdating your SmartControl unit.

Chippewa Valley Farm Supply

April 4, 2016

Chippewa Valley Farm Supply

The chain of Menards home improvement stores continues to surprise and impress with its ever-expanding O gauge train line. Among recent releases comes Menards’ Chippewa Valley Farm Supply structure. Part of the company’s Gold Line Collection, this O gauge building arrives fully assembled and ready for placement on your layout.

Iowa Interstate GP38-2 in HO

February 10, 2016

Iowa Interstate GP38-2 in HO

Athearn has done a fine job of capturing the prototype fidelity of Iowa Interstate’s former Penn Central/Conrail Phase I GP38-2 locomotives. For the discerning prototype modeler, it would be an easy project to convert the locomotive into a 100 percent accurate model of No. 707.

Athearn Genesis GP9B in HO

January 5, 2016

Athearn Genesis GP9B in HO

Athearn touts that its Genesis product line of HO-scale steam and diesel locomotives and rolling stock “take model realism to the highest level.” Believe it. These latest entries into Athearn’s Geep family are fantastic models. So much so that it makes one stop and contemplate if ready-to-run 1:87-size locomotives have reached a plateau; can they really get any better than this?

Rapido MLW PA-4 in HO

December 15, 2015

Rapido MLW PA-4 in HO

Rapido Trains’ True North Locomotives has produced yet another excellent model that once again sets a new standard this time with its MLW FPA-4 and FPB-4. This is probably the most well-detailed and accurate Alco/ MLW carbody style HO-scale model — ever.