7mm US model dabblings

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Jordan, 8 April 2013.

  1. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Mick, it is not a loco I have any desire to posess but seeing your etches going together makes me think that I would like to build one. It was the same with your LNER locos. The GEVO looks like it will be a major advance in refinement in US loco building. I wonder if a kit would sell? Maybe not in any quantity, with the dreaded 3 rail toy train curse pervading the states.

    I was told recently by one of the local operators that their 4,500hp GE engines are costing $40,000 for engine lube oil a year compared with close to $0 for the same rated EMD powered locos. They are still very reliable but it is changing their favourable opinion of the GE locos. Not sure whether a similar situation exists in the US.
  2. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    That's an interesting side issue - I suspect it's as much an issue with the higher engine temperatures and pressures associated with Teir 4 or higher; something that EMD's 2-stroke designs can't achieve. So despite being older, I can understand why the EMD locos are needing fewer oil changes.

  3. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Cheers, I have to confess with each new project I normally have one eye, even just a cursory glance, on the commercial aspect and I've found recently that's been to my detriment, missing out on modelling or developing as the commercial aspect is marginal or a particular process, whilst acceptable for home grown stuff, would not fare well with the general masses.

    The GEVO was different, it's something I've always wanted, as well as few other US engines, but seeing them on Cajon was a catalyst for me. Although I'd seen plenty in Florida they tend to be taking a stroll with their load, Cajon is more down on their hands and knees lugging.

    I decided whilst overseas that I'd ignore the commercial aspect and just f....do it (JFDI), so far it's paid off, despite the few errors and project recovery program efforts I didn't feel the usual frustration when things went wrong, I think being a GEVO also helped :cool:

    Not sure on the oil issue, not heard anything over here, but then the GE contingent is rather small compared to the EMD stable and in the US they're still churning out GE's at an alarming rate over and above anything EMD can produce.

    The GE four stroke has always tended to carry oil over, witness the dozens of photos on the web of stack fires from turbos laden with carry over oil when the engine is loaded up after periods of coasting at idle.

    It'd also be interesting to see which engines are being compared with which, it may be an apples and pears thing, I know Rio Tinto has just ordered new GE (their radiator cabinet is just massive!) but think BHP ordered EMD recently.
  4. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    The cost isn't for routine oil changes, it is for replenishing the oil that has been burnt/lost. Both loco types are similar age at around 5 years. I am not sure but I think the engines are GE 7FDL16 EFI compared with EMD 16-710 G3C-ES2. Both are rated at 4,500hp in similar locos doing similar heavy coal train service. It seems hard to fathom how the GE can be meeting the emission targets if it is burning so much lubricating oil.
  5. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    No they won't be meeting targets, will they. They're both pre-Teir 4 engines so neither will be...

    I'm not going to drag this thread in the direction of machine reliability and lubrication regimes; although I'd find it interesting I suspect most won't. But I appreciate the snippet!

  6. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Steph, neither engine block as far as I know is Tier 4, the EMD 710 most certainly isn't, their new Tier 4 block is the 1010, the new SD70ACe's have them and as much as I like the traditional two stroke sound, their new four stokes sound equally impressive. In the hills and echos of Cajon it's not hard to think you've a GEVO coming up the hill at you.

    Not sure about the GE block, can't lay my hands on the recent spec (study full of Telford goodies) for the Tier 4 engines, but I think it may be a development of the FDL16, although I have a gut feeling it's actually the FDL12 in tier 4 units.

    I don't think oil waste, burnt or loss is a big factor in Tier regulations, it's diesel particulates and other noxious chemicals that's the main concern right now, whilst burnt oil 'looks' bad it's not as bad as the invisible gasses being given off.
  7. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Thanks for the confirmation, the new EMD locos are using Cat-derived 4-stroke engines now I would assume?

    Burning oil is actually potentially worse than poor fuel combustion; the residual contains a lot of nasty stuff in terms of additives to reduce thermal degradation. Oil carry-over can also foul exhaust particulate management systems (filters, catalytic-type convertors, etc) so they can be a bit of a double-whammy in terms of environmental controls.

  8. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Steph, not quite as far as I know, the 1010 is a derivative of the poorly performing 765 of 6000HP fame.

    However, I suspect the merging with Caterpillar has allowed their expertise in four stroke engines to move EMD development along rather more rapidly than it would if EMD we still sole owners.

    I've also seen fragments of text and the such like on the web about SD70ACes with Cat engines, whether this relates to the actual engine block or the buy out I've not delved deeper, it's an interest that doesn't particularly interest me at this moment, but it will when I get to the SD70 project :thumbs:
  9. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Having three months overseas to ponder things, it soon became clear that some things that I really wanted to do were not happening due to a half hearted loyalty to.....well goodness knows what really. The decision was simple, more 'me' time and the GEVO etch project was the start of that journey as are a few other things I should of stopped hand wringing over long before now.

    Anyway, whilst at Telford my eye was aimed more at shores overseas and whilst browsing around with Steph looking at a nice German Pacific and comparing it to another we'd just seen (both with eye watering price tags :cool:) next to some very nice brass SD45's (equally eye watering price tags) I spotted a 3rd Rail Sunset box tucked away on a stand. a quick chit chat with my (quickly becoming) favourite store holder saw the box opened and inside a UP Challenger, an early one to boot...and this is important to me. A price was worked out and whilst steep wasn't overly so and a fair price to be honest, anyway back the box went and I ambled off to think about it. It wasn't long before I was passing by again and noted some one else looking at said same box and that was all the incentive I needed....having missed one at Kettering earlier in the year (late model). I do feel sorry for the other guy as I just walked up with card in hand and said I was here to pay for the model, though to be fair I think he was just looking.

    So off I walked with a huge box into which was a UP Challenger.

    On first impressions it's....well big!


    Very big!



    Now I know a little about these engines and had been researching models whilst overseas so I wasn't expecting Kohs or Korean brass quality, but even then, some of those have areas of compromise for model trains.

    The first thing to decide what to do with it, it's second hand and whilst in good overall condition, it's not perfect and would fetch a good price back on the market, or, use it to scale off and along with the drawings from the UP historical society work up my own brass model. Another option is to make this a keeper and 'tart' it up, I've seen some nice ones that have simply been cleverly weathered so it has potential.

    However if it's going to be detailed a little then a few areas are a must, one is the valve gear, new etched gear is a must. Small sand box up front limits this to early service model, later in their lives the front sandbox was more than doubled in size.

    A new bogie and thickening of the frames to try and close the gap to the base of the boiler might be a good start as well, all simple stuff that will give the model a little more mass. At the rear end a new ash pan and under cab gubbins as well as any pipework that's missing will help. A new Delta truck is a must and there's a big slot in the front of the firebox that needs filling, I suspect this is from older models with their angled drive shafts.


    The tender, and this is the difference between early and late models as well as the single/double chimney, is the biggest area of improvement.


    My eye tells me, though I've not measured yet, that the wheels are too small, probably to compensate for the bulky model bolsters, either way the whole under frame needs beefing up and ideally new Buckeye trucks, fairly sure PSC do a set for a respectable price.

    One other idea I bounced around was to convert to P48, but upending the engine shows rather large blocks underneath and a new chassis isn't worth the overall effort I feel.


    Keeping the chassis blocks shows there's limited clearance to reduce the gauge.


    In doing so all lateral play will be virtually removed, not that I wish to go around 18" curves ......


    ......like some, but a little side play might be handy if the engine gets invited to Laramie.

    The tender as noted above.....well it just needs some help, fairly sure those Buckeye frames are way too wide.


    So that's the Challenger and it's sitting in the box waiting for some care in the future whilst I gather a bit more info.

    The other goodie procured at Telford was an MTH GEVO. It was on the bring and buy, know idea how long it was there but it wasn't there many minutes after I first spotted it!

    Now just four days before I'd finished my etch test build so it would be good to cross reference some basic sizes and shapes, one presumes MTH had access to better data than me....though that comment is strongly contended later as we go along.

    Again first impressions are it's big and black, very black in fact.




    Now the sharp eyed here will note quite quickly it's not BNSF or UP or that NKP ever had GEVO's, however it is a NS engine and they have painted a few, quite a few actually, in heritage schemes and 8100 is NKP, personally I prefer 8102 PRR or 8025 Monongahela but am not adverse to the default NS prancing stallion. Either way NKP is going.

    A quick overall look rang a few alarm bells, first off the nose door on the LH (conductor) side with no window is a little odd, not unknown but quite rare and certainly limits the number of 1:1 GEVO models to choose from, then there's no hole in the nose for the headlights, all GEVOs have a hole for the headlights and only NS opts to leave it empty and add brow lights.


    The cab is the more modern Mk II affair so that's right but the steps are woefully wrong, in fact this style of step cut out went of production way back with the Dash 9's and early AC44CW models, you can see the vertical notch for the hand rail, later models are smoothed over as per my etch.

    It also has six steps which is the more modern set up, notched footwells had five steps, except a few models retrofitted with six step set ups later in their lives, CN for example. In addition the front deck is now the wrong shape for the cut out and does not have the extended anti climber, extended anti climbers have the handrails coming out of the deck, not attached to the front, actually they're in the same place just that the decking has been extended.

    Looking at the first photo we can see three dynamic brake openings behind the cab, flush too, correct for all NS ES44AC so that area is good, however, moving back to the radiator compartment there's an extra large grill back there, not a ES44AC feature, it's more common on DC versions, both NS and BNSF sport this feature, though in fairness, a large batch of UP AC's do but they all sport Mk I cabs, as do the NS and BNSF AC versions.

    The windowless cab door on the LH also matches the UP engines and some BNSF, but they both have nose holes for headlights and no brow lights and Mk I cabs.

    I haven't checked all my photos, or all of the possible grill permutations but it's not looking good for the authenticity market and I don't think there's actually a genuine engine out there like this.

    8100 it most certainly isn't, triple flush dynamic brake openings and brow headlights are pure NS, steps...no idea!

    Basically, like the Polish alphabet where they just throw all the letters in the pot and pick them out at random to spell, MTH have done the same with a GE parts bin.

    The question now is what to do with it, it'll be handy to check over some basic shapes and dimensions but for the purest it's a rolling disaster, on the plus side it has sound and I've not tried that yet, that might be the clincher between keeping it or moving it on.

    The one area that cannot be changed is the radiator and engine room door layouts without a lot of messy hacking around, so that'll be the driving force in finding a prototype, the dynamic brake area can have grills added or blanked like the real thing so that's no real concern, the cab would need a window in the nose door (etch overlay), nose light opening and brow lights sealed up.

    The step well openings will need rebuilding to modern standards what ever happens and on reflection it might be easier to pull the whole cab and front end off and etch up a replacement, that way you have full control over the details.

    It's certainly a challenge that's for sure :thumbs:

  10. Big Train James

    Big Train James Western Thunderer

    The issue isn't whether or not MTH has access to better data. It's the almost certain fact that they can't be trusted to use it properly that's the problem. By properly, I of course mean from our perspective. I'm sure MTH is quite satisfied with the results and the corresponding sales to mostly 3-rail modelers.

    The model is bound to be full of compromises, from the paint scheme onward. I personally wouldn't be able to trust it to pull dimensions from or to use it as a reference. I guarantee that you can do better, and you'll be more satisfied with the results. The effort you would spend to correct issues large and small would be better spent doing your own work.

    I had looked at both the MTH and Lionel sd70Ace models as I'm fond of the prototype, but I knew almost right away that they wouldn't work for me. I don't need one that badly. It's easy for me to say, but my advice would be to let it go and move on.
  11. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    And that's 1:48 scale!
  12. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    James, I cannot doubt or question your logic or dialogue :thumbs: But it's a GEVO and for all its faults, does deserve a little more study before sending it out to the wide world to bid on :cool:

    Regarding scaling, yes you're correct, in fact scaling off any model is circumspect at best, I do have some older Athern GE's an AC4400CW and I think a Dash 9.....not that a AC4400CW isn't a Dash 9, it is, just with a few more tricks under the hood. Either way they scale out quite well for old models...at least 20 years old and I have been eyeing up the most recent 4mm ones as well.....totally forgotten who makes them :rolleyes:.

    The problem with modern models us that finding accurate details is hard, you can get the general dimensions (length, height, width etc) and in some cases sub dimensions like length of radiator section and engine hood, but sizes for doors, window rubbers vent openings is not generally available.

    So working on that principle I'm happy to accept close enough, on the grounds that I know no better...and this is what I alluded to some time back about missing out. It's very easy to park a project because you don't know the exact size of say the toilet door handle or some other useless detail, which is silly, because the only person who loses out is yourself.

    Having said that, if toilet door handle details (or what ever) are that important in your life, then pick prototypes where that sort of information is available to appease those gods :D

    So, accepting some compromises (personally subjective) I've had a quick look at what can, or needs to be done to get it a little closer to a 1:1 prototype.

    As noted the radiator grills cannot be changed without drastic cutting and changes, so that limits you to basically two batches of ES44 engines.

    UP 5248-5553, you can also do 7600-7677 with some different dynamic brake intakes.
    BNSF 5717-6139, you can also do 6140-6238 with some different dynamic brake intakes.

    Both versions need the steps modified and front anti climber/hand rails, an overlay, couple of strips of brass and some Plasticard will resolve that. Same for the nose headlight opening and removal of brow headlights and sealing up the cavity.

    The UP version needs the cab back dated to Mk I, a little cut and shut with some Plasticard will resolve that around the side windows.

    The BNSF version needs a window in the nose door, it's already a Mk II cab.

    Both require a change to the dynamic brake openings, fortunately the brake openings and covers appear to be addons; which are easily popped out and replaced with etch blanking plates to cover the openings, much like the real thing.

    A quick look through my collection to see if I've bagged any of these and I've one or two candidates to choose from.

    BNSF 6050.jpg

    BNSF 6213.jpg


    UP 5377.jpg

    UP 5377b.jpg

    My instinct is to go with UP, simply because the paint job is easier and I like the retro Mk I cab on the modern GEVO frame, though I think the crews might perceive that differently :D

    For both I think I'll add my layered cab door, it's much thicker like the real thing, the model is a bit weedy, it'll also add the gutter around it and give it more of a correct profile.

    One thing I have noticed looking back through my photos, I never took enough detail shots, though most would be overhead from Winslow or West Colton and how much I miss being there track side. Next years visit cannot come quick enough and this time it'll be four weeks out there :thumbs:

    Big Train James likes this.
  13. JasonD

    JasonD Western Thunderer

    Hi Mick, great posts, oh and good to see you at Telford. Now ... how can I say this without sounding like a nagger. If you start nibbling away at that MTH loco it will eventually drive you mad. Most O-scalers would be happy just to get a favourite paint job. When they're rolling the Protosound 3 will sound fine on DCC and the 2ft rule - well 3ft rule, will come in. Not sure? Well look at the handrail stanchions. They should be square-U channels mounted individually, not wavy profile stanchions on a long stamping. There. Now what were you saying about 5 or 6 steps? Concentrate on that n-s concoction!!
  14. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Jason, cheers, I have the stand over scale to fall back onto mind, 'stand over' there and it will look fine ;)

    The Nickel Silver concoction will not be usurped by the MTH pig in a hole :p

    Either way, it's sat in it's box, I've done my exploratory what if scenarios and have the results, whether I choose to go down that road or just punt it back for sale will wait for another day.
    Big Train James and JasonD like this.
  15. Big Train James

    Big Train James Western Thunderer

    I vote for UP :thumbs::thumbs::cool:.

    I'm in the same boat to a degree with my switcher project. The Atlas products are pretty well done, I think better generally than the MTH. But there are still comprises as you are well aware from your mp15dc diversion. I've discovered along the way that I probably would have been better off starting from scratch, by the time I'm done there won't be much of the original left it seems. But it seems a shame to scrap what's been done already, so I will continue on. I'm certain I'll be happy enough with the results when I get it done.
  16. JasonD

    JasonD Western Thunderer

    Over the years(!) a few magazine articles have shown the purchase of a good model has encouraged a bit of cutting and a lot of whittling and produced an excellent model. The inspiration that comes with the initial purchase is free, but without that good model it might not have happened! Way back I converted a LaBelle Menasha Woodware 50ft wood boxcar into a Ma & Pa RPO-baggage. Wish I hadn't sold it when I focussed on the D&H.

    Atlas has forced MTH and, to a lesser extent Lionel, to raise its standards - in its scale products.
  17. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Finally got round to scanning in some of the large format photos I procured off a certain retail site late one evening in China ;)

    I should really try and finish off this years trip photos from way out west, mind the previous two trips to Florida still haven't all been processed yet.

    Nice tender shot of an oil fitted Vanderbuilt barrel tender, not sure which loco it's fitted to yet, there's no info on the back of the photo. As far as I know the barrel tenders were not pressurised.

    Of interest is the riveted construction and the round sheets are lapped every two rows of rivets, which would make an interesting model feature.

    Nice AC-1, Ex MC-2 class, these were originally compound Mallets, the low pressure cylinders were very large and up on the leading (trailing in SP) engine.

    SP 4003.jpg

    4003 was built by Baldwin in 1909, converted to simple in 1930 and struck off in 1948, there is no date or location given for the photo. Tender is a whale back oil tender, these were pressurised to get the fuel to the burners way up front, they were also heated as bunker c oil is quite thick.

    Not sure when the front (rear in this case) weather boards were cut back (sloped to clear stay bolts for easier inspection) but that would help narrowing down the date.

    Another AC-1
    SP 4015.jpg

    Pretty much the same details as the engine above, though I expect that given the general disrepair of the number boards then this photo could be on the scrap line. Though having said that, the rest of the engine looks in good repair.

    These were all bought from a large collection, author unknown, but the photos are stamped on the back with J R Quinn Railroad Photography from Worcester NY. Not sure if they took the original images, acquired them or just printed these copies.

  18. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    They were fitted to several classes and without the full number it's difficult to tell. Chances are it's a C21/22/23 2-8-0 consolidation (leading 3 on the cab). The SP had a habit of swapping tenders around though. And yes, they were not pressurised.

    This is just a standard Vandy tender - a barrel tender is a barrel or 'sausage' tender - and generally do not have the square oil bunker. Barrel tenders were usually attached to S class 0-6-0 switchers for greater all round visibility.

    The number boards were originally used for the train reporting numbers so it could be waiting for it's next turn of duty.
  19. JasonD

    JasonD Western Thunderer

    OK, it's competition time: Vanderbilt tender, no large trailing truck visible so -0 or -2? So ... F1 2-10-2? No, wrong tender trucks ... aaarrgghh grandson Rory's just arrived!!!
  20. allegheny1600

    allegheny1600 Western Thunderer

    Hello Mick,
    Not quite the same as your AC-1/MC-2 was my Sunset model here;
    [​IMG]P1150862 by Allegheny1633, on Flickr

    This was an AM-2 and was a beast of a model! I never even got it properly run in.
    Your 'Vandy' tender looks similar to the one fitted to my little SP Mogul;
    [​IMG]P1150941 by Allegheny1633, on Flickr

    This was another Sunset model of an M-6 loco that was a lovely runner.