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Ran it today for a while on my main layout and have a few things to add.

It runs fine on my DCS layout. Not that I thought it wouldn’t, but it’s nice to confirm.

Top speed seemed slow at 16 VAC on my test loop, but I ran it alongside an MTH loco on the main layout to check top speed and it was around 80 SMPH at 18 VAC.

I figured out the switch on the bottom. It just turns the prime mover sound on and off.

This loco must have a supercap. The sound continues for a few seconds after you turn off power.

Jack rabbit starts and stops are even more noticeable when you have a train behind it. But it does pull well.

Did I mention before that I hate the plated trucks, pilot, frame and couplers? In case I didn’t, I absolutely hate the chrome plated trucks, pilot, frame and couplers. I thought about painting them, but paint probably would not stick to the chrome without some laborious prep.
 

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Received today 7/19. Young engineer very happy. Fired up with old ZW with TVS and breaker protection. After some aluminum foil in the remote battery holder, she ran great. Yes it had two paint rubs on the centerline of the roof. Mike you have a winner.
 

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Pretty sure the plating is nickel judging by the color. It will take paint as well as steel. You can get metal etching primer if you are concerned but most model paints will stick to bare metal. I never used primer on my brass engines and a few of those were done well over 50 years ago.
Personally I like the look. It screams toy train. I enjoy toy trains every bit as much as scale models. They both have their place in my collection.
Pete
 

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Its been pointed out by some more knowledgable than me that this engine is actually an FP7 rather than a F3. Photos show FP7s didn’t have those vents. Those wanting a traditional F3 should just get a Williams.

Pete
 

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It is not a scale model. you can not expect to get everything on a non scale model.
Huh? Let’s back up a second here. This isn’t me saying the underframe bell is missing from the fuel tank (it is). This isn’t asking for individual grab irons or air hoses (they’re missing too). This isn’t asking for individual wiper blades over the windows or a working gyrolight in the nose (those are omitted as well).

This IS something that even Varney got right back in the 1950’s on their cast metal bodies. This IS something Lionel got right on their F-units dating back into the 1950’s or so. This IS something MTH got right on their Railking (non-scale mind you) F3’s.

So why, in this day and age, are we giving a free pass to something blatantly wrong and easily corrected? Menards IS a modern company, spent what appears, some design hours laying this design out. So why, oh why was it omitted?
 

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Its been pointed out by some more knowledgable than me that this engine is actually an FP7 rather than a F3. Photos show FP7s didn’t have those vents. Those wanting a traditional F3 should just get a Williams.

Pete
The FP7 had an exhaust fan there insteadof the grates.

563187


So if you want to call the Menards unit an FP7, then they still missed a blatantly obvious roof detail that other manufacturers in other (smaller ) scales HAVE included.
 

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So why, in this day and age, are we giving a free pass to something blatantly wrong and easily corrected? Menards IS a modern company, spent what appears, some design hours laying this design out. So why, oh why was it omitted?
I don’t think anyone is giving Menards a “free pass”. Menards sells toy trains. If I want a detailed scale model of a diesel loco, I’ll get an MTH premier for around $400 or a Lionel for whatever crazy price they are asking these days. If I want to buy a whole train and have a few bucks left in my pocket, I’ll look at Menards.

As for missing/omitted roof vents/bells, I suspect that the “F3” was made from existing tooling.
 

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I still want one!
Fix the control issues - it needs conventional mode as well, fix the missing roof details, and offer it in either NYC cigar band, B&O Capital, or Pennsy- either brunswick green or tuscan red. Hell, I'd even be willing to pay $200 for it.

But you cannot sit there and tell me that something model manufacturers got right 70 years ago is now suddenly incapable of being reproduced in this day and age. Tyco, Bachmann, Lionel (both HO & O), Varney, Cary, Athearn, Atlas, etc all figured this out YEARS ago and now its suddenly acceptable to omit a glaring detail? And these guys did it before the age of computers and cnc milling machines. Because its a toy???

I'd love for someone to put this next to a MTH Railking F3 and do a side by side comparison. I bet the dimensions are close at which point the roof detail omission becomes even more glaring.
 

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I don’t think anyone is giving Menards a “free pass”. Menards sells toy trains. If I want a detailed scale model of a diesel loco, I’ll get an MTH premier for around $400 or a Lionel for whatever crazy price they are asking these days. If I want to buy a whole train and have a few bucks left in my pocket, I’ll look at Menards.

As for missing/omitted roof vents/bells, I suspect that the “F3” was made from existing tooling.
Lionel sells toy trains. Williams sells toy trains. The list goes on across all scales.

By not calling out the glaring omission that's exactly what everyone is doing...giving Menards a pass. It is unspeakable that something we could accomplish 70 years ago is suddenly too difficult or expensive to do now. Have we really sunk that far that we are willing to accept that?
 

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By not calling out the glaring omission that's exactly what everyone is doing...giving Menards a pass. It is unspeakable that something we could accomplish 70 years ago is suddenly too difficult or expensive to do now. Have we really sunk that far that we are willing to accept that?
This is a beta. The 200 units are for test and evaluation. The OP said:

"Please email your thoughts and feedback to Ray at [email protected] "
 

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This is a beta. The 200 units are for test and evaluation. The OP said:

"Please email your thoughts and feedback to Ray at [email protected] "
And yet no one has said a peep here other than to say...

"it's a test"

"It's a beta"

"It's a toy"

All the wonderful excuses as to why its acceptable to skip over this detail but not ONE single solitary person to step up and say...you know what, that is a mistake that should be addressed.

I'm done here. Obviously this glaring omission is acceptable to everyone else, it isn't to me. See ya.

Feel free to delete my account admins as I'm not returning.
 

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As a FYI some FP7s did have a flat panel in that location with no fan. If the locomotive was ordered without dynamic brakes the panel was flat. So the Menards model is correct for a FP7 with no dynamic brakes. Here's a reading FP7 with a flat panel in that are as it lacks dynamic brakes:

Reading FP7 #902
 

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But you cannot sit there and tell me that something model manufacturers got right 70 years ago is now suddenly incapable of being reproduced in this day and age.
Seventy years ago there wasn't much thought to making an accurate scale model for most toy trains. Best example I can think of is the Lionel 44 tonner made extra long so it would fit on an existing frame.
563229
 

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If you put the Menards “F3” next to an actual F3 model, you would instantly see the difference….the Menard version would be longer, not even close to what an F3 should be, becuase its really a model of an FP7….
 
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