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@bob2 posted:

Don't get too hung up on what shows inside the cab.  These are primitive models, compared to the state of the art.  

Good advise, that. I should have listened!

Not to leave well enough alone, I purchased this field-wound motor to give it a try:


Unlike the DC motor (with a 1" stack that came with this engine), this motor is only 5/8" and I thought it might "disappear" into the cab, so away I went.

The hardest thing to do was to remove the big brass coupling from the worm shaft: it's held in place with some kind of spring steel pins, and they were a real bear to pull out. Eventually I got it free and used a length of aquarium(?) tubing as a new coupling (you can see this in the photo.)

The mechanism came together nicely, checked out well on the bench; but when the time came to reassemble everything, the field coil was too far forward and too tall; it interfered with the boiler/cab. You can see in the picture where I trimmed a little of the bakelite(?) insulators, but it was a no-go after all.  

Strangely enough, when I put everything back the way had been, it seems to run better now; I think that the brass coupling now has the tiniest bit of "play" in it, so it's not as rigid as before and is a smoother fit. Is this even possible?  

Anyway, there you have it. I'm not going to re-finish/re-paint this model, as I really like the original patina, and it's in pretty good condition anyway.  

This has been a very enjoyable project; I wasn't sure if this would ever be anything more than a display piece, but thanks to all of you I have learned a lot about the mechanics of old O scale, and now have even more fondness for these old models...

Mark in Oregon



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My final(?) post on the subject...until something else breaks and I need help again. 

As I mentioned, I'm not going to re-paint this; I like the original finish and it's in fairly decent shape...


It seems to be in need of a lot of tweaking, but is running very of this moment. 

Thanks again for all the help.

Mark in Oregon

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@bob2 posted:

I looked your home city up - just north of Astoria?  What a beautiful place to live.

Don't give up - how about some photos of your other O Scale?

Actually, where I live is the Central Coast; Astoria is well north; the last place before the Columbia River and Washington. And yes, it's very beautiful; I feel fortunate to be able to live here.

Certainly not "giving up"; just wrapping up this project. It's currently running really well. Which reminds me of a question I have been meaning to ask: when you guys run your older models, what sort of power source do you use? 

Mark in Oregon 

I use a 120-24 volt step-down fed by a Variac.  Output goes through a $2 Radio Shack bridge rectifier and a DPDT switch.

I have circuit breakers on the 120 volt input and the DC output.  A red light tells me I left it on (had to do that on my soldering iron, too), and an ammeter and voltmeter round it all out.

I also have a giant electrolytic capacitor across the output of the rectifier - probably not necessary.

While not locomotives, I have some kit built O scale models that are about as old as I am or more. 

These two are older than I am. The Scale Model Railways C&O box car from 1937 is numbered for similar type AAR boxcars C&O used for post WW-II auto parts shipments. They were fitted with special racks to haul engines, rear axle assemblies or automatic transmissions to assembly plants.  A friend sent me five aluminum castings (two ends, two sides and a roof) which made the body in 2000. I scratch made a floor and put on full underbody detail.

The Lehigh Valley hopper is  a rebuild of a Scale Craft kit OF-134 from 1936, found on E-bay in 1999. I didn't get to work on it until 2017.  It is also made up of several cast aluminum parts.  Today, epoxy makes building (and rebuilding) these old models a lot easier than it was in the 1930's. Back then, you drilled and tapped the parts for screws, whose heads had to be countersunk and hidden with putty before painting, or drill holes to drive in brass pins. An Intermountain coal load made for their plastic USRA hoppers fit this 84 YO piece perfectly.

In the 1930's, cast aluminum was widely used in making model train kits for freight and passenger cars. Some could turn out quite heavy, especially Mi Loco cast aluminum Pullman cars.  Hauling trains with those cars in them required a big motor which could also quite a juice hog. 

Also added are two more kit built cast aluminum cars: a 40' Scale Craft stock car from 1939 that well models a T&P car of that time. Also Walthers' 12 wheel cast aluminum, depressed center flatcar from 1940.  With wide-spread rural electrification programs being done during the 1930's, cars like these shipped hydro-power generators and transformers from eastern factories to where generating plants and power distribution networks were being built. 

S. Islander


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  • 127: Scale Model Railways cast aluminum boxcar from 1937. Some of these were run on the American Railroads layout at the 1939/40 New York World's Fair.
  • 188b: Scale Craft cast aluminum kit OF-134 of 1936, modeling a USRA two bay hopper.
  • 163XBC: Scale Craft aluminum kit of 1939
  • 187 S: Walthers aluminum kit from 1940. Was still available in the 1960's.

Very nice; thanks for showing those.

This is pretty much all the "older" stuff I have at this time:


...just some Athearn cars, that brass hopper (which you all identified as US Hobbies), the Walthers N5 caboose (no, it's a "cabin car!") and scratch-built caboose. It's not "vintage" (only 25 years old), but it does have vintage Lobaugh trucks...does that count?  

Mark in Oregon


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