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August 3, 2006

Superb MTH HO K4 4-6-2

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MRC System Software Upgrade for MTH Loco
Programming MTH K-4 Loco

MTH's debut into the HO DCC sound loco market will make the competition nervous!

MTH HO Scale K4 Pacific 4-6-2

After months of waiting for the MTH K4 it is finally available. Immediately after putting this gorgeous Pacific on the track it became clear that the wait may have been worth it.

The detailing is absolutely impressive (the one we received was the pre-war version with a slightly heavier boiler), the striping on the tender compliments the driver spoke accents perfectly. The sound is bold, clear, and incredible, with user controllable functions that range from basic whistle and horn functions to smart, programmed station arrival and departure announcements. There is even a simulated wreck sound!

One of the K4's most noticeable features is the smoke unit, which thanks to a patented bellows fan assembly delivers perfectly timed four puffs of smoke per wheel revolution. When you come to a stop the smoke pours out unrestricted, just like the real thing! The chuff response is also a very accurate 4/revolution.

The K4's sound decoder will operate on DCC, DC and MTH's DCS, their own digital command control system.

There are some compromises with respect to operating on all three technologies:

1) DC ops requires a voltage between 12-18 V DC to get the complete speed range.
2) DCC programming is limited to ops mode only, "on the mainline".
3) Functions greater than F-12 are not supported by any DCC sytems yet.

It is unfortunate or at least poor planning by MTH that they selected the K4 for their debut. While there are many Pensy fans, the K4 market has been saturated by Bachmann Spectrum (for 12 years) and recently by Broadway Ltd. There is no news from MTH about their next release, we hope that they choose a more universal prototype so many more model railroaders will have the opportunity to own such a fine loco.

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