Locomotive Roster: Hobbytrain H2654 SNCF G2000

Greetings again fellow N Gaugers (and other scales and hobbies of course)!  Today we review something that was quite an enigma to me.  Announced last year by Hobbytrain was a release of the G2000 locomotive in several different liveries.  Upon first seeing this announcement by Hobbytrain, like many people I wondered if this was the same model previously marketed by Mehano?  Mehano, like several other manufacturers in the past several years, has going through some financial difficulties, so it seemed possible that to raise some cash Mehano would let someone else take over marketing of one of their finer locomotives.
I already had one G2000, of course, in the black MRCE livery.  I've enjoyed this locomotive so much that getting a second one was always an option, and having seen that Hobbytrain was releasing this in the SNCF Fret Benelux livery, it was definitely on the list!  So last Christmas, this locomotive arrived with several other items!
One of the first questions I had (although my this time my suspicions that this Hobbytrain model was basically the same as the previous Mehano version) was to see how it compared to the MRCE G2000.  Other than some basic details (the livery, of course, as well as the Hobbytrain stamp on the bottom of the fuel tank instead of a Mehano mark) its the same model.  Which is good news as the Mehano model was excellent!
So I won't go into too much detail on this model as I've covered this in both the video and in the previous G2000 review, although I will talk more about one of the challenges with this locomotive (removing the chassis for the decoder install).

I will mention one thing.  The green color of the cabs was a question of some debate on the forums, and (notwithstanding my own challenges with 'white balance' in my own photographs!) I think the green color looks correct when compared to the prototype photos I've seen on the web compared to this model.  Of course, that's my opinion and I could be way off! It does seem to be a shade of green that is very susceptible to the ambient light conditions so it can be sort of distorted based on the lighting, camera settings, etc...
Removing the Chassis from the Mehano / Hobbytrain G2000:
I briefly explain this process in my video review, but I think a post is much easier to follow.

Something else of interest is that I removed the chassis (for what should be the same model!) in a completely different manner than I did the first time for the black MRCE version!  With the MRCE version, I was somehow able to remove the cab sections on both end, which allowed me to remove the 'center' shell section.  This time the cabs seemed to be on much tighter than I remembered, so I looked for other ideas on how to remove on the web and discovered this approach.

What I discovered with this approach is that you need to remove three parts on each side before you can remove the chasses to get to the decoder: the side facade, the walkway, and then (and only then) the handrails.

Step 1:  Gently pry off the facade section below the walkway.
Using a very fine tip point, this covering piece snaps out of little connections that hold it to the side of the locomotive.  The first photo below shows the start of this process.
Once these side pieces are removed, you then have access to the diamond plate walkway section.
Step 2: Gently pry up the walkway section.
This step is actually quite tricky as the walkway (at least on my model) was inserted very firmly and some firm - yet gentle - pressure was needed to lift the walkway out of the plugs that hold it down.  Unfortunately during this process some of the 'plugs' snapped.
In the below photo, you can see that the walkway has been removed, but also notice the two small white bumps on the left side.  These are two of the connecting plugs from the walkway that snapped during removal as I mentioned above.  So be careful! Not really sure how this happened (and it did not seem to adversely affect my re-installation of the walkway later, so no apparent harm done).

Step 3: Remove the metal handrails:
Somehow I thought that the handrails could be removed without taking out the walkway first.  As it turns out, this is impossible.  And my efforts to try and remove the handrails WITH the walkway in place led to some unnecessary distortion of the fragile (but very nicely done) metal railings.  So lesson learned...handrails come off AFTER the diamond-plate walkway!  And they come of very easily (just by lifting up, as its the same walkway plugs that hold the handrail sections on).
Step 4: Gently pry shell up at the little tabs holding the shell to the chassis.  As I recall, this was a really easy step.  The only thing that slowed me down here was stopping to take a photo!
Once the shell is off, of course, you can remove the 'dummy' plug from the NEM651 socket, and add in the NEM 651 six pin decoder of your choice!
And thus, we close on yet another review!  Coming soon is a review of another new train set I received at Christmas - but this one is from Japan!  As always, thanks for visiting Quinntopia!


  1. Hi Jerry, thanks for this review.
    This locomotive has an interesting form-factor, the black version you have in the background is plain beautiful !

    I remember reading that Hobbytrain took over Mehano sales in western Europe; no wonder this locomotive is nearly exactly the same.
    In fact, as a relatively small manufacturer themselves, they seem to focus equally on importing other brands
    ( http://www.lemkecollection.de/index.php/ueber-uns - in German, but google translate would help).

  2. Hi Jerry,
    Thanks for this review and all the work you do to provide info to us.

    I've been eyeing hobbytrain but didn't buy before I knew they had Kato behind them. Kato are my favorite maker, given how well their locos run. Do you feel the hobbytrain locos run as well, or even better, are using Kato's internals?


  3. Hi Jerry,
    Thanks for this review and all the work you do to provide info to us.

    I've been eyeing hobbytrain but didn't buy before I knew they had Kato behind them. Kato are my favorite maker, given how well their locos run. Do you feel the hobbytrain locos run as well, or even better, are using Kato's internals?


  4. Hi AdamV!

    Thanks for the kind words! Well, in the case of this loco, even though I had the same association between Hobbytrain and Kato, this loco is made by Mehano, but I think you already knew that and were asking a more general question? The only other Hobbytrain model I have is the HLE 18 which is good, but not perfect (check out my review) but it does run very well (there are some 'detail' concerns)! My other Hobbytrain/Kato locomotive is a Class 66 which is excellent!