EMD GP8 Review and Test

The EMD GP8 comes in green or black from Tgauge.com. It’s built on the 35.5 mm motorized chassis with buckeye couplers. It has one long 7.5 mm coupler version which feels a bit fragile. The design is “solid” meaning that in this scale you may be afraid of breaking things but it’s not flimsy when you handle it. Still a bit worried about the long coupler. 

The dimensions are :
Length: 40mm
Width: 8.5mm
Height: 11.5mm
Weight: 2.48g

NOTE: 8.5mm wide is about 1-2 mm wider then most other rolling stock so take that into account when you design a layout. 

How prototypical is it? At 1:450 scale it’s really hard to get things truly prototypical and you have to exaggerate some details. Compromises like that is done in N and Z scale as well, it’s just more extreme in T Gauge. If you look at the TGauge.com ICE 3 train set it looks very prototypical but you don’t have cooling fans, hand rails, steps, panels etc to consider. 

The first thing to point out is that it’s an EMD GP8, not a GP7 or 9 which is what most modelers are used to. GP8 is the designation given to a rebuilt GP7 or 9 and the result is that you don’t have a consistent look, you have low nose and high nose versions and a mix of components. The most visible detail on the TGauge EMD GP8 is the two what I assume are 48” fans, which is something that later models of GP9 had. 

Long story short, it’s not that prototypical, the loco itself is a bit oversized, details are oversized but this is 1:450 scale and you have to be able to mass produce it. I would say you can pass it off as an EMD GP7, 8 or 9 if you are after “likeness”. To me it looks more as a late model EMD GP9 due to the two large fans.  

We are getting skewed when we look at pictures like I have in this blog post. These are taken with a macro lens and it means you will see details and imperfections that is never really visible with your eyes. 

If you are looking for more prototypical North American stock I would highly recommend CCE Models, Jesse Svoboda produces very detailed models with hair thin etched hand rails etc. 

How does it run? Very well would be the short answer. After I took it out the box I ran it for 10 min at a medium speed to “break it in”. I then began testing at low speed starting from stand still controlling it manually with the TGuage.com PWM Power box. It was surprisingly smooth and I was able to run it at low speed without any real issues. When I have tested the same thing with the 16m (35.5mm) motorized chassis I had it stall and being a bit jerky. I saw nothing of that really with the GP8. I think the slightly higher weight 2.48g gram vs the 16m chassis 2.08 gram contributes. You would think that 0.4 gram would make no difference but for T Gauge it does, and I would guess you have a lower point of gravity than the 16m kit bash chassis because of the width. 

For me personally I am not bothered about it not being very prototypical, its a great generic EMD GP-X Diesel Loco for your North American layout that runs really well. The Cascade Loop is a great example of a layout using the EMD GP8.

TGauge.com: EMD GP8 Black

Fine Track Test Run

I have been running circles (literally) with my Fine Track Set, and some ovals as well. Been testing how the 16m (35.5mm) chassis is running on the tracks and to understand the ins and outs of using the Fine Tracks. Previously I have only been running the DB ICE 3 set on the standard tracks with the raised bed and it worked perfectly. 

With the Fine Tracks it becomes more tricky because they don’t have a perfect fit. It illustrated to me how the smallest miss alignment or “bump” can cause an issue on this scale. My test runs have not been under ideal conditions in any way, the tracks were not flat, they flex as the engine drives around etc. I had some derailments and stalling but it was always an issue with a gap in the track joint, or some misaligned track. If I carefully reconnected and adjusted the tracks, did some “polishing” (abrasive paper) and/or temporarily fix the track I could make the operation smooth. 

It is impressive that despite the less than ideal set-up it worked fairly well, the magnetic wheels is a great “feature” in this case. The bottom line is that I am confident it will work but I need to be very meticulous when I lay the track and respect the size of the scale.