Micro Trains Line Z Scale GP-35 Review


At the 2nd Annual BAZ BBQ we were treated to a special surprise by Loren Snyder. He had brought down a pre-production sample of the MTL GP-35, and we gave it a workout.


This model was painted gold, and as we discovered, the road names that will be released are still a closely guarded secret. The shell is very nicely done, with crisp edges, finely molded details, nice lacy handrails, and lighted dual headlights and number boards. The windows and number boards are glazed with this second Z Scale release from MTL.

The walkways had very fine diamond tread around them, and the handrails even have a sagging chain molded in the middle of the ends at the front and back. The grills and vents are nicely molded too. 

The locomotive has truck mounted couplers which will allow the model to run on tight radius track work, but when I get mine, I plan on cutting off the front coupler and building a snowplow and pilot mounted coupler for appearance. I will leave the rear truck mounted coupler for functionality.

The fuel tank looks good, and sits very low. The trucks were molded crisp and sharp, and we were told the trucks have a wheel wiper built in for better electrical pickup. So we can see that it looks really nice but how does it run?

We started with a small 10 car hopper train, removing my NP Mikado , and putting the GP to work. First we ran around the track a couple times to get a feel for the throttle, and much to our satisfaction, it is a slow, smooth, and quiet runner. Setting the locomotive down to approximately 1 volt setting, the locomotive crawled. We let it run at this speed, and the locomotive went around a 4 foot test loop in about 15 minutes. No stalling, just creeping along.

We ran the locomotive with 20 car trains for a few hours, letting everyone get a turn at the throttle, then checked the locomotive for dirty wheels and to see if it was hot, and remarkably, it was running cool, and the wheels were still clean. Well we decided to kick it up a notch and see what this baby could really do. We put 40 cars on and throttled up this workhorse to see what would happen. We were pleasantly surprised to see that she could pull all these cars by herself.

We added cars till we reached the limit this locomotive could pull without wheel slipping on this layout, which was 47 cars. It should be noted that this track work is all hand laid code 55, and had been sitting in the sun warping all day long, and the turns are 11" radius super elevated a scale 4"on the outside rails, with a balloon curve.

I did not take photo's of this, but we did test the MU capabilities with the MTL F7, and the F7 runs a bit faster, but with the GP-35 behind the F7 as the lead unit, the pair ran quite well together.

The locomotive ran admirably in our opinions, and will be a welcome addition to any Z Scale layout.