N scale brass locomotives are truly works of art. Injection molding has come so far in recent years, but still nothing matches the craftsmanship put into a brass locomotive done in n scale. While many mass produced n scale locomotives are designed to be a broad representation of the locomotive, many brass engines are built as specific units, with prototypical details for that road number. You can find anything in n scale brass from a huge Challenger, to smaller road switchers, some really stunning brass locomotive/passenger car sets and really unique pieces like Overland’s brass spreader, very hard to come by!
So do you want a painted brass n scale locomotive or unfinished? The correct answer is both! A brass locomotive in it’s raw unfinished form is a thing of beauty. Many are purchased and just displayed and maybe test run here and there to show it off. You can’t beat a factory paint job so if you want to run it and have it fit in, you may want a finished locomotive. If you check around though, will find some very good painters. I know for true realism, weathering an engine is the way to go. I just don’t think I can bring myself to weather an n scale brass locomotive though! Whatever you decide, you will have a true master piece that will hold it’s value and your attention. Funny story about weathering. In grade school my brother was asked to draw an automobile for art. He drew a nice car and then weathered it just like his father had done on his n scale freight cars. The teacher didn’t quite get it!
Many just think of brass locomotives in terms of steam locomotives but there are some great diesel, electric and traction pieces available. One of my favorites is the very pretty Overland Models Gas Turbine. In both real life and in brass, this engine is a piece to behold. I have always wanted to paint a fantasy scheme of the Gas Turbine for the DM&IR. What a cool counterpart to the giant Yellowstones that hauled or throughout Northern MN. By the way, there is a beautiful example of the DM&IR on display at the Duluth Depot!