Key Imports Brass

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Kanawha, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    I'm looking at a Key Imports Brass 4-8-4. Can anyone vouch for their quality? The one I'm looking at is a slightly older model. I'm not sure when it was produced. If anyone here has a Key loco, how do you like it? Is it smooth running and a good puller?

  2. CRed

    CRed Member

    I don't know much about brass quality,but the one thing I do know is you want one with a can motor.The old open frame motors aren't very good for the most part.

  3. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    All of the ones I have seen run like an old Tyco. They look great, but require a re-motor to even think about DCC or to run good.
  4. CRed

    CRed Member

    If you get a newer model with the can motor it should run well and DCC should be doable.

    I personally wouldn't buy brass,plastic models by companies such as PCM and BLI are just as detailed for a lot less money,unlesss of course you're willing to drop 1K-2K on an engine then you get better detail.I would consider it if the model I wanted was only made in brass,I've always wanted an DM&IR "Yellowstone",but I just can't afford 2K+ for one.

  5. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    I agree, I definitely prefer plastic locomotives from BLI and Proto over brass. But in the cases of some models, such as the J3a Greenbrier, there aren't any available. Not yet anyway. I'm hoping the best plastic loco companies introduce a lot of new models this year.
  6. hd8091

    hd8091 Member

    I have a Key NP 2626 4-8-4 which I bought new in 1980 or so and it runs like a watch. Also a USRA 4-8-2 and a couple DRGW # 583 2-8-0s all run smooth and slow. If you have to remotor it is not difficult, I may end up doing the 583s one of these days.I always eep an eye open for these. The soldering is good and the details very good.
    Good Luck,
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Actually, a properly built Tyco Pacific or Mikado can be a very smooth running loco and will outpull many recent plastic steamers. Of course, even these will benefit from a can motor, but there are brass models out there, with open-frame motors, that might astound you with their capabilities. One that springs to mind is the CNR Northern (the exact class escapes me) by Toby, with excellent low-speed control and great pulling power. Conversely, the CNR K-5-a, imported, I believe, by PFM, was a great looking loco with a good-quality can motor, but had all of the running characteristics of a one-legged antelope.
    I have a Key USRA Light Mikado in my shop now, for fresh paint, which is equipped with a "factory" can motor. It's a smooth runner and pulls well, and I believe it was built in the mid-70s.
    If you like the loco, and it's of an otherwise unavailable model, I suggest that you buy it. Almost any locomotive can be made to run well, although some may require the outlay of some serious cash. Others merely require the attentions of someone willing to "tinker" with the mechanism. The K-5-a mentioned above underwent extensive "tinkering", and now runs extremely well.
    Here's one of those Tyco Mikes (sorry, but I don't have a photo available of the other locos mentioned):

  8. nhguy

    nhguy Member

    I have an old New Haven Key 2-8-2. It runs like a watch. Better than the Custom Brass engines out of the box. You really can't go wrong. You can always change the motor if you need to. The nice thin about my Mike is that it comes with a cam. It's in the paint shop now and soon to get a Tsunami decoder to take advantage of it.

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