Athearn makes a mighty fine Challenger. The detail rivals MTH, BLI, Lionel, etc. I'm just not a fan of Tsunami sound. To MY ear, the heavy steam whistle sounds like an elephant with a chest cold and the bell ring is too slow. I have no interest in swapping decoders once I have purchased a loco. I know the CV's can be adjusted to fine tune sounds, but I'm not much interested in bits and bytes either. Rivarossi Challengers lack the detail offered by other brands, running lights, cab lights, etc. Release dates are not deadlines, per se, and, in this hobby, mean little anyway. MTH is not alone in blowing release dates. Manufacturers of just about anything, particularly anything electronic, are struggling with inventory due to production problems overseas. Things are coming around, though. The next release from MTH is rather irrelevant to me anyway as 3985 won't be included in the mix. I am not minding the wait too much. My MTH Big Boys are awesome! Plus, I was fortunate enough to see 3985 in person last weekend during Depot Days in Cheyenne. U.P. was gracious enough to open the facility to the public... roundhouse, yards, steam shop! 3985 and 844 were in the steam shop and ate up a LOT of memory on my camera! Thanks for the replies, fellas. The hunt continues! Jason.
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