So many nice things about this locomotive....the details, the running qualities (quiet, smooth, etc...) excellent use of white SMD LED's for the lights. Overall this thing just oozes quality. From what I understand, that's quite a difference for Mehano, who has historically had a reputation of lower quality product. Not in this case!
Removing the shell to install the decoder was a bit trickier than most locomotives. The cab ends need to be removed first, and then the rest of the shell can be pulled out of the slots that hold the engine cover shell onto the chassis. This was a very anxiety producing experience! The fragile handrails along the sides are also in the way of you getting a good grip on the shell to press in on the bottom of the shell where the slots are. May be a good thing to remove the handrails (which also hold the detailed walkway pieces on) before attempting to remove.
Once removed, the NEM 651 socket is very obviously right on top. Fortunately, one of the standard plugs without a harness can be used (I was a bit concerned that there wouldn't be enough room and would require a work-around, but no such problem). I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the decoder was able to be read right after installation. After so many annoying Minitrix NEM 651 decoder issues (that is, the poor contact the Minitrix sockets have with most NEM 651 decoders - requiring careful modification of the decoder or soldering), its nice to see a design that really is plug and play!
Again, the detail on this model is just superb. The close up below shows the diamond plate pattern on the walkway and the excellent printing of all the lettering.
And of course, a 'drama' shot.....