At home on a newly-built layout owned by Perry Pearson in Little Rock, AR, a newly-released O gauge Rock Island E8 ABA diesel set in "full Rocket" livery owned by RITS member Mike Mottler rests at a siding alongside another RI product by the same trainmaker: Mike's Train House (MTH): an F3 in the black and red "Rocket freight" paint scheme. It's available as an ABA set with sound.
The leading A unit contains all the electronics and a digital sound system. A "pig tail" connects this unit to its B unit and the trailing A unit for electrical continuity throughout the set. The trailing A unit has two motors but no "e-unit;" it is controlled by the leading A unit through the pig tails -- rather like MU operation in 1:1 scale railroading.
In this side view, the RI art deco paint job is shown to full advantage. Silver color isn't "aluminum white" of the prototype, but it's a spectacular sight. Although the Santa Fe "warbonnet" paint job is widely regarded as the flashiest paint scheme, the "full Rocket" imagery is a great classic design in its own right.
The ABA set is impressive! With two motors in each A unit, there's plenty of power to pull a full consist of matching passenger cars. MTH is producing five RI "Golden Rocket" passenger cars in red and silver; plus a matching two-car add-on set (diner and sleeper), but as of this writing, they are not on dealer's shelves yet. The ABA and its seven cars will measure at least 12 feet long. This is not a train for a small layout! 042 diameter curves are recommended as minumum curvature.
This model includes diesel smoke units in both A units. As shown here, it can smoke up the train room! This on-curve shot shows a disadvantage of compromised O gauge design ... the front pilot is attached to the truck frame (not the car body), so it is "offset" from the carbody when rounding a curve. Mike is exploring the feasibility of modifying the pilot of the leading A unit for more realistic operation -- remove the coupler, install coupler doors in the void space, trim the sides of the pilot, and re-attach it to the carbody.