American Flyer Legacy Berkshire information - 2018

Hello all!

As promised, I'm starting this topic to discuss the details and features of the new A/F Legacy Berkshire announced in our 2018 catalog. The engine is being offered in Nickel Plate, Pere Marquette, C&O, Erie, American Railroads, and RF&P liveries. The goal of this thread is to show how this model differs from the FlyerChief version of the Berkshire.

I'll start with the loco:

There will be two different headlight variations depending on the prototype. One has the headlight mounted in the center of the smoke box door:

The other has the headlight mounted lower:

You can also see the design differences between the two pilots. Again, as per prototype. The scale dummy coupler is a separate piece that attaches with a single screw similar to the O Scale steam engines.

In the images above, the different colored parts indicate what is separate from the main boiler casting. Most of the pilot is separate, as well as the number boards and marker lights (all lit), detailing around the smoke stack, handrails, and other details on the sides of the boiler. Also, the smoke box door does swing open and latch closed with a magnet like in the high-end O scale engines.

Moving back, you can see more of the detailing on the engine:

There are lots of separate parts applied to the top and sides of the boiler. Many of the pipes are separately applied.

Onto the cab:

There are many separate grab irons in and around the cab. The cab itself does have seats for the figures and will have figures installed like previous A/F Legacy steam offerings. The back-head has some separate detailing as well. There is the firebox flicker in the cab as well as a cab light. An added bonus will be the ash-pan glow effect!

Now onto the tender:

The tender has many separately applied grab irons. There are also separate steps, ladder, and coupler cut bar. There's a working backup light. The hatches on the tender deck do not open; the volume pot will be accessible from the bottom. The bottom has the track IR and a few separate details. It will have mounting for a scale coupler. Lastly, it'll have a separate coal load like the O Scale steamers.

A few other notes:

  • This engine will not have Bluetooth. The A/F Legacy board (BEMC) cannot support it.
  • Tender has the 40mm speaker used in Legacy engines.
  • Wireless (IR) drawbar
  • Standard SGSU smoke unit for the stack

 

Please let me know if there are any other questions! Hope this helps. We've had fun with this engine and are excited about it. Sales performance on this engine will certainly dictate what fun things we can do in the Flyer world in the future!

Thanks!

Dave Olson

Director of Engineering

Lionel LLC

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Outstanding! I'm in!

A few questions/suggestions:

1. Will the smoke box area be painted the contrasting graphite color depending on the prototype modeled?

2. Would an extendable draw bar assembly like on the L-AF Y3 fit into the budget?

3. Looks like separately applied coal for the tender is planned and doable, yes?

4. Also, judging by the electrocouplers on the new GPs, there is apparently a need to further modify the couplers so as to permit them to dependably operate with a wider range of Gilbert and Gilbert-compatible knuckle couplers. Can this improvement be incorporated in the Berk and other future locos?

Thanks, Dave!

Bob

Hi Dave,

Thank you for the information. I'm pleasantly surprised at how many upgrades you have done detail wise. I'm very happy to see the front coupler setup which should permit the installation of a Kadee without too much modification as I have done on the TMCC Mikado and Pacific. 

Just so we have the answers in this thread:

1. Will the tender have a Kadee mounting pad?

2. Will the sound system have 4 chuffs per revolution?

3. Will the smoke unit be synchronized to the chuffing?

4. I know the answer, but is there any possibility of scale wheels being offered?

5. Lastly, if this model is a success will we see more Legacy steam models in the future?

Thanks.

-Jonathan

Dave,

Looked around and all the pictures I found show the available roadnames had centered headlights. Something for the future? Looks like a great product that satisfies just about everyone. I'm sure everyone thanks you for your listening and response.

Rich

 

Bob Bubeck posted:

 

1. Will the smoke box area be painted the contrasting graphite color depending on the prototype modeled? Yes

2. Would an extendable draw bar assembly like on the L-AF Y3 fit into the budget? No room for it

3. Looks like separately applied coal for the tender is planned and doable, yes? Yes - you can see in the tender image above there is no cast-in load.

4. Also, judging by the electrocouplers on the new GPs, there is apparently a need to further modify the couplers so as to permit them to dependably operate with a wider range of Gilbert and Gilbert-compatible knuckle couplers. Can this improvement be incorporated in the Berk and other future locos? We modified it to work with current A/F couplers. If you can suggest to me the other couplers in mind, I can take a look, but there's no guarantee that it'll work. Not easy to be compatible with everything.

 

jonnyspeed posted:

 

1. Will the tender have a Kadee mounting pad? Yes

2. Will the sound system have 4 chuffs per revolution? Yes

3. Will the smoke unit be synchronized to the chuffing? Yes

4. I know the answer, but is there any possibility of scale wheels being offered? No - historically the scale-wheel versions do not sell well enough to justify the effort.

5. Lastly, if this model is a success will we see more Legacy steam models in the future? That is the key. For us to consider significant investment in engines in the future, the sales of this engine need to be really good. This rings true for both steam and diesel. Tooling nowadays is a huge cost, and we need the Flyer community to show us that they're willing to buy enough to justify it.

richabr posted:

Looked around and all the pictures I found show the available roadnames had centered headlights. Something for the future? 

Dave Olson

Director of Engineering

Lionel LLC

Thanks, Dave.  This pretty much answers all of my unasked questions. 

You guys are going further on this than I expected with the added details.  It easily fits my "cut or two" above the F/C Berkshire statement.  Going "C&O" on the front end is a surprise.  I've also noticed some improvements on the boiler casting vs. the F/C boiler. This looks like it's "up there" with the Y3 from a couple of years ago.

Not a show-stopper, but no slat pilot for the NKP version?

2-8-4 765 Ohio

Rusty

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Thank you, Dave, not only for answering all the questions but also for the work that went into this model. The only question I have left is whether the Legacy electronics will respond to straight conventional DC as do the Y-3/SD70ACe/ES44AC? I run all those locomotives on Legacy, but I also run American Models locomotives on straight DC. When that happens, I have to be sure that the Challenger, U33C, and Mikado are on dead tracks. There is no concern for the newer Legacy locomotives, and it would be wonderful if the Berkshires were also compatible with DC just in case I'm less careful.

 

Also, if Lionel is doing the lower headlight  C&O "Berkshire," It should be numbered in the 2700 series. Also known as  Kanawhas as the C&O didn't use the term Berkshire.

The  2600s were Pere Marquette locomotives absorbed into the C&O and eventually relettered kept their centered headlight. 

Hopefully, it's not to late to put the correct number on the C&O version.

 

 

 

Quick Casey posted:

Ooh, C&O lower headlight. Must consider that one as well. 

Will the American Railroads version have a Mars light? I believe it had one during it's tour.4

I don't recall 759 not having it's Mars light in excursion service. 

Even 765 is sporting it's Mars light again:

2-8-4 NKP 765 JR

But, I expect a Mars light is not in the cards for this release.

Rusty

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Great Work Dave!

I just received my C & O Berk a few weeks ago, but am considering another. 

You gave the scale guys at least 95% of what they wanted and gave us Hi-rail people a real treat.

Keep up the great work and we'll all build S Scale into what it should be - the Premier go to gauge.

Francine posted:

 

You gave the scale guys at least 95% of what they wanted and gave us Hi-rail people a real treat.

 

With all due respect Francine, I don't think you understand the needs and desires of the "Scale Guys". The fact that the engine will not have scale wheels means that it will be of 0% interest to most scale modelers. It looks like a great model for Hi-Rail and AF modelers for sure, but scale modelers need scale wheels... Simple as that. Even if it means an aftermarket upgrade as with the Y3s.

Personally, I would prefer scale over Hi-Rail, but it has become painfully apparent that there will be precious little new scale product being made. Most of the scale modelers on the S scale Facebook group are saying that "S scale" is going back to its "scratch builder" roots. That doesn't particularly interest me.

Will people change from scale to Hi-Rail?  Not sure. I suppose it depends on the products that are made. It is a real chicken-or-the-egg scenario...

-Jonathan

jonnyspeed posted"

 

Most of the scale modelers on the S scale Facebook group are saying that "S scale" is going back to its "scratch builder" roots. That doesn't particularly interest me.

 

Of that we can agree on. 

While this is really the subject for another thread, the push by some of the scale guys to return to the "scratch builders scale" mantra is model railroading suicide in this day and age.  I would rather see 10 people get into S using Flyer or HiRail than wait for 1 scratchbuilder to enter the scale.

I would hope that someone comes up with a scale wheel conversion for these Berkshires, but if not: Them's the breaks.

If I ever tear down tear down and replace the Great Plywood Glacier, HiRail is a definite possibility.  I've got plenty of wheels in stock to convert most of my scale stuff.  It'd be nice to run my Flyer Mike's, Pacific's, Challenger and Y3 without slapping an oval of track on the floor.

Rusty

jonnyspeed posted:

<snip>

Personally, I would prefer scale over Hi-Rail, but it has become painfully apparent that there will be precious little new scale product being made. Most of the scale modelers on the S scale Facebook group are saying that "S scale" is going back to its "scratch builder" roots. That doesn't particularly interest me.

Well, River Raisin addresses the S scale part of the market. They offered a beautiful (albeit expensive) brass RTR model of the Lima Berkshire a few years ago. If I were a 'scaler' I would have jumped at the chance to purchase one. The new Lionel AF offering is a shot at 'it' for us hi-railers.

Respectfully,

Bob

Bob Bubeck posted:
jonnyspeed posted:

<snip>

Personally, I would prefer scale over Hi-Rail, but it has become painfully apparent that there will be precious little new scale product being made. Most of the scale modelers on the S scale Facebook group are saying that "S scale" is going back to its "scratch builder" roots. That doesn't particularly interest me.

Well, River Raisin addresses the S scale part of the market. They offered a beautiful (albeit expensive) brass RTR model of the Lima Berkshire a few years ago. If I were a 'scaler' I would have jumped at the chance to purchase one. The new Lionel AF offering is a shot at 'it' for us hi-railers.

Respectfully,

Bob

To be fair Bob, Dan has done one new project in the last 5 years and he hasn't been able to get support for a few that he wanted to make. How much longer do you think he will be in the game? Does he have 2 more projects in him before he decides to retire? I don't know. Is there anyone else that is ready to fill his shoes if he does? I have no idea.

This is getting off topic, but this is the mentality of S scale... if it has been done before it doesn't need to be done again. Every other scale continues to refine, improve,  and re-release products on the other hand.

I would love to see an aftermarket company offer scale wheel upgrades for these Legacy Berks, but S Scale Loco & Supply who did the Y3 upgrades is no longer in business. Will anyone fill that void? I kind of doubt it... But as Rusty said, Them's the breaks.

-Jonathan

Before we get too far off into the weeds, let's try and steer this back to the Legacy Berk.

I know I've said in the past that I had no interest in a Legacy Berkshire, but it turns out I can't resist a pretty face.  Especially since the "Barney Google" classification lights of the F/C Berk are gone:

So, it looks like I'll be ordering one, I just haven't decided which one yet.

BTW: I forwarded this thread to the NASG Webmaster so he can spread the word.

Rusty

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Bob Bubeck posted:
jonnyspeed posted:

<snip>

Personally, I would prefer scale over Hi-Rail, but it has become painfully apparent that there will be precious little new scale product being made. Most of the scale modelers on the S scale Facebook group are saying that "S scale" is going back to its "scratch builder" roots. That doesn't particularly interest me.

Well, River Raisin addresses the S scale part of the market. They offered a beautiful (albeit expensive) brass RTR model of the Lima Berkshire a few years ago. If I were a 'scaler' I would have jumped at the chance to purchase one. The new Lionel AF offering is a shot at 'it' for us hi-railers.

Respectfully,

Bob

Bob, Just so you know, River Raisin took orders for and sold some models with the option of ordering scale or hi-rail wheels, however, I don't think the Berk they did was one of them.

Dave, thanks for your comprehensive review and for answering questions about the new Berk!

jonnyspeed posted:
Bob Bubeck posted:
jonnyspeed posted:

<snip>

Personally, I would prefer scale over Hi-Rail, but it has become painfully apparent that there will be precious little new scale product being made. Most of the scale modelers on the S scale Facebook group are saying that "S scale" is going back to its "scratch builder" roots. That doesn't particularly interest me.

Well, River Raisin addresses the S scale part of the market. They offered a beautiful (albeit expensive) brass RTR model of the Lima Berkshire a few years ago. If I were a 'scaler' I would have jumped at the chance to purchase one. The new Lionel AF offering is a shot at 'it' for us hi-railers.

Respectfully,

Bob

To be fair Bob, Dan has done one new project in the last 5 years and he hasn't been able to get support for a few that he wanted to make. How much longer do you think he will be in the game? <snip>

Well, what does this indicate about Lionel's viable business options?

The folks who prize 'S scale' should have purchased the River Raisin model. If they didn't support Dan at the time with a purchase, then complaining here, regrettably, isn't going to rectify the situation.

Sorry.

Bob

Bob Bubeck posted:
jonnyspeed posted:
Bob Bubeck posted:
jonnyspeed posted:

<snip>

Personally, I would prefer scale over Hi-Rail, but it has become painfully apparent that there will be precious little new scale product being made. Most of the scale modelers on the S scale Facebook group are saying that "S scale" is going back to its "scratch builder" roots. That doesn't particularly interest me.

Well, River Raisin addresses the S scale part of the market. They offered a beautiful (albeit expensive) brass RTR model of the Lima Berkshire a few years ago. If I were a 'scaler' I would have jumped at the chance to purchase one. The new Lionel AF offering is a shot at 'it' for us hi-railers.

Respectfully,

Bob

To be fair Bob, Dan has done one new project in the last 5 years and he hasn't been able to get support for a few that he wanted to make. How much longer do you think he will be in the game? <snip>

Well, what does this indicate about Lionel's viable business options?

The folks who prize 'S scale' should have purchased the River Raisin model. If they didn't support Dan at the time with a purchase, then complaining here, regrettably, isn't going to rectify the situation.

Sorry.

Bob

Bob, Can we please stop talking about a model that was introduced seventeen years ago and what s scalers should have or have not done in 2001?  This is about the Legacy Berk.

Mikeaa posted:
Bob Bubeck posted:
jonnyspeed posted:
Bob Bubeck posted:
jonnyspeed posted:

<snip>

Personally, I would prefer scale over Hi-Rail, but it has become painfully apparent that there will be precious little new scale product being made. Most of the scale modelers on the S scale Facebook group are saying that "S scale" is going back to its "scratch builder" roots. That doesn't particularly interest me.

Well, River Raisin addresses the S scale part of the market. They offered a beautiful (albeit expensive) brass RTR model of the Lima Berkshire a few years ago. If I were a 'scaler' I would have jumped at the chance to purchase one. The new Lionel AF offering is a shot at 'it' for us hi-railers.

Respectfully,

Bob

To be fair Bob, Dan has done one new project in the last 5 years and he hasn't been able to get support for a few that he wanted to make. How much longer do you think he will be in the game? <snip>

Well, what does this indicate about Lionel's viable business options?

The folks who prize 'S scale' should have purchased the River Raisin model. If they didn't support Dan at the time with a purchase, then complaining here, regrettably, isn't going to rectify the situation.

Sorry.

Bob

Bob, Can we please stop talking about a model that was introduced seventeen years ago and what s scalers should have or have not done in 2001?  This is about the Legacy Berk.

Well, there's always the new B&A, B&M, AT&SF, SP and IC Berks from RR currently in production. 

Of course, you can buy 4.5 Flyer Legacy Berks for the same price...  Still, even the Legacy Berks vs. River Raisin are apples and oranges by comparison.

As primarily a scale guy, I don't have a problem with the new Legacy Berk or even the F/C Berk.  However, after physically holding an F/C Berk in my hands, I can tell it's not for me.  It's just as well my pre-order was shorted a couple of years ago.

The Legacy Berk is different.  Given what Dave has shown us, it looks to surpass the AM Northern detail wise (and I'm quite happy with my two) and even though it's not offered with scale wheels, I plan to get one.  If someone decides to offer a scale conversion in the future, I'll have it converted.

We can chew on the scale guys (myself included) if we want to, but that's really a subject for a different thread.

After all this tread drift, I hope Dave Olsen can find the time to answer the couple of questions that popped up after his initial post.

Rusty

Dave,

Great job.  I will be ordering more than 1 of these as it looks like a standout product.  I'm surprised Lionel didn't offer this for the Polar Express as well.  Then again there is always volume II.  It's a shame you did not have room in the catalog to include all that you shared here as I think it could turn some people who are on the fence.

Again thank you so much for taking the time to share.

 

--Rocco--

I'm really, REALLY impressed with what Lionel has done to their Berk. WAY TO GO LIONEL. It should sound and look great starting off slowly with a good sized train... and the synchronized chuffs will be frosting on the cake!

Johnnyspeed:

The Hi-rail thing is hindsight on my part. Since liquidating and starting over, I came to be more exposed to to the results of those like Brooks Stover and Carl Tuevson(sp?), along with others, are getting with the Hi-rail approach. Plus, I believe there is a new track mfg'er that is making larger numbered switches and overall good looking track. (I can't recall their name.) 

Smallest rail profile the larger flanges will handle, Kadee couplers... and then simply build the rest of the layout like it was a scale layout: Bingo. S scale nirvana.

Rusty:

Though it may fly in the face of the scale purists, exposure to convincing, well done, Hi-rail in layouts in S may save the scale.

Again: Had this Hi-rail truth dawned on me before I was committed to my reverting back to HO, I would have SERIOUSLY considered Hi-rail.

As it is, I've settled on a theme that S scale (even Hi-rail) just can't do without huge amounts of scratch-building or heavy scratch-bashing, so going back to S is simply out of the question now.

Andre

I would guess that the past few years of flyer Chief and PE berk sales have payed off when it comes to off setting the cost of the Legacy Berk.  I mean, really, a 500 dollar Legacy Locomotive?!?!   

I wonder what other locomotives could be done following this flyer Chief than Legacy model? 

Could a GP40-2 go the same route? 

Ben

NASG&CASG
Rusty Traque posted:
Well, there's always the new B&A, B&M, AT&SF, SP and IC Berks from RR currently in production....

Rusty

Rusty,

I'm aware of the current RR offerings, but my reference was to the NKP Berk that was introduced in 2001 and is no longer in production.  As you pointed out, RR is not currently producing the NKP version in the current run.

OK here's a question about this new Legacy Berk. We all know that tooling costs are very expensive and it's unlikely (based on zero information to the contrary) a new tool was cut for this Legacy Berkshire shell. So I'm guessing the original mold was somehow "altered" based on more zero information. I would guess it would be possible to "fill-in" those areas of the original Berkshire mold that formed the "hand rails" that were molded in on the originals.  If so, I'm also guessing that maybe from now on all of the Berkshire shells will require separate handrails? I hope so. 

That's a lot of what-ifs and maybe so's. If Lionel decides to run more FlyerChief  version Berkshires in the future perhaps they too will have separate handrails like this new beautiful Legacy specimen.

Again, I hope so. That would really give some fence sitters a chance to have a better detailed loco at a more modest price.

Just some stray thoughts spillin' out. 

Mark

 

Dave,

The additional questions that Rusty referred to and was hoping you would answer are:

  • Will this Legacy Berkshire also be compatible with DC as were the Y-3, SD70ACe, and ES44AC locomotives?
  • Will the Nickel Plate version have the slat pilot as seen in Rusty's post above?
  • Will the American Railroads version have a Mars light in addition to the headlight?
  • Can the C&O version be numbered in the 2700 series as were the "Kanawhas" with the lower headlight?

In order to keep things straight for myself, I made a chart of the differences between the new Legacy Berkshire and the Flyer Chief version. I was not planning on purchasing a Berkshire, but it is too attractive to pass up. The extra money for the Legacy version certainly appears to be worth the investment. Congratulations!

Legacyt vs Flyer Chief ComparisonLegacy vs Flyer Chief Comparison

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TOKELLY posted:

Dave,

The additional questions that Rusty referred to and was hoping you would answer are:

  • Will this Legacy Berkshire also be compatible with DC as were the Y-3, SD70ACe, and ES44AC locomotives?
  • Will the Nickel Plate version have the slat pilot as seen in Rusty's post above?
  • Will the American Railroads version have a Mars light in addition to the headlight?
  • Can the C&O version be numbered in the 2700 series as were the "Kanawhas" with the lower headlight?

 

The electronics are the same as those locos, so yes. Has DC, DCC, Legacy.

We'll look at the designs for the slat pilot and Mars. Cannot promise Mars though.

Cannot change the road number at this point.

Dave Olson

Director of Engineering

Lionel LLC

I just found a webpage where you can get a better view of the new AF Legacy Berkshires.

It's found online at the Lionelstore.com. Here's a page showing the C&O 2697. When you scroll over the image it will be enlarged to a size that's about 150% of the image on the 2018 catalog page even when it is enlarged. The clarity is great. I know these aren't actual images of built models but you can see the detail better. All the Legacy Berks can be found by entering their item numbers in the search bar. It'll be this big:

Mark

EDIT:

It's evident that these images are not the real model as the RF&P #572 Berkshire (that was a real RF&P number from an order from Lima in February 1943 at a cost of $159,432 ) shows an incorrect number on the engine...752:

 

 

DAVE OLSON PLEASE TAKE NOTE. THE CORRECT ENGINE NUMBER SHOULD BE 572!

THE 2018 CATALOG HAS IT INCORRECTLY SHOWN AS #752:

THE LIONEL STORE HAS THE DESCRIPTION CORRECT AS #572 BUT THE INCORRECT PICTURE:

 

 

 

 

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richabr posted:

Dave

Looked around and all the pictures I found show the available roadnames had centered headlights. Something for the future? 

So far I've found pics of Virginian and P&LE with low headlamps. Should I keep looking?

Rich

How about this one?

or this one?

 

Mark

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Dave O,

Your assurance that the RF&P Berk will be correctly numbered 572, not incorrectly as 752 as depicted in the catalog would be greatly appreciated.  Per Banjoflyer's notes above.  Thanks. 

Dave

David Horn

Longtime S-gauger

Selling collection

Contact for list

Keep on rollin'... 

 

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