Mods feel free to move this if I posted in the wrong forum.

I've been looking around the internet and stumbled upon Stevenson Preservation Lines. The sell some kits based on old Lobaugh kits. I found one based on a Southern Pacific Mikado I'm interested in: http://stevensonpreservationli...0&products_id=64

Now I know 3rd Rail produced a model of this locomotive several years ago and the cost to buy one is similar if not cheaper than the unassembled kit. I'm interested in the challenge of building the kit. I'd like to build the locomotive, paint it, and install PS3. Before I contemplate blowing $850 on a kit what skill sets do I need to possess to assemble something like this? What tools are required? I have a soldering iron and am decent with it and electronic repairs. Most of my mechanical experience comes from working on cars (I've done heavy engine repair and suspension work). As far as kits go I've built many plastic kits, but that's nothing like a brass steam locomotive. Plus there is the issue of converting the locomotive to 3 rail operation on tubular track. So thoughts? Am I crazy for contemplating building something like this?

Santa Fe, All the Way

Original Post

 

Lou, there’s so many avenues to explore to 3 rail something like that model......it’s a Mikado, so you might find a 3 rail chassis from one of the big dogs and try to mod that chassis to fit that brass boiler....another option is measuring driver diameter, axle diameter and all the other pertinent measurements and see if you can adapt 3 rail drivers to that chassis....then another option still is to have tires machined to those drivers already on the model....there’s more than one way to skin a cat....of course, using a lionel, or even an MTH chassis, you may surrender ALOT of the fine detail that chassis has to offer, but it’s to your tastes......me myself, I’m dyin to do a 2 rail brass to 3 rail, and I have a KTM Hudson I’m getting ready to sink my teeth into, but I want to approach it cost efficient......it’s not going to be easy by any stretch, but the rewards will be cool in the end.....hope that helps!......

BTW, Pete (Norton) was working on a Sunset K5 brass he’s trying to 3 rail, he might shed a little more light too....

Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

I have a Stevenson 0-6-0 kit I plan to do the same thing with. My plan is to get driver centers and machine three rail big flange tires for the centers. The only question mark at this point is if the frame ia narrow enough to accomodate the wider wheels?? Winter project.

If you don't have a lathe maybe you can get a set of wheels from an existing three rail egine and try and fit them to your engine.

Edit, you may find a three rail Mikdao that the Stevenson body will fit on. My Sunset NYC K5 Pacific would not fit on an MTH Pacific Frame but that doesn't mean yours won't fit on another Mikado frame.

 

Pete

Some thoughts:
If you want a PS-4 kit, they show up on ebay from time to time at less than $850.
If it were me (it isn't), I'd go for a USRA Heavy Mike. I presume the kit price would be less than the current price for the Lionel version.
The 2-rail flanges will be problematic unless you have a) t-rail track and b) reasonably large (>O-72) curves. A friend of mine has converted a Lobaugh Berk to 3-rail by machining new flanges. But then, he has considerable metal-working skill and associated tools.
Here is the OGR thread on his project:
https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...ugh-berkshire?page=1

So it sounds like the easiest option, since I don't have machine metal working tools, is to acquire a 3 rail Mikado mechanism and adapt it to the boiler from the kit. So I'd be looking at the kit + a 3 rail Mikado mechanism + PS3 upgrade.  But I'd need to get my hands on the kit first and see if the mechanism from a 3 rail Mikado would even fit. At that point buying a 3rd Rail SP MK5 Mikado and adding PS3 to it ends up being the cheaper route.  I'm getting a bit leery of this as I could end up with $1k in parts I can't use. My idea behind this was a nice project for this coming winter, when it's too cold outside to work on cars in the garage. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

rex desilets posted:

Some thoughts:
If you want a PS-4 kit, they show up on ebay from time to time at less than $850.
If it were me (it isn't), I'd go for a USRA Heavy Mike. I presume the kit price would be less than the current price for the Lionel version.
The 2-rail flanges will be problematic unless you have a) t-rail track and b) reasonably large (>O-72) curves. A friend of mine has converted a Lobaugh Berk to 3-rail by machining new flanges. But then, he has considerable metal-working skill and associated tools.
Here is the OGR thread on his project:
https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...ugh-berkshire?page=1

I have 072 curves, but tube track. I would ideally like the finished project to go around 054 curves without issue, with possibly 042 as a minimum, like most Mikados from Lionel and MTH. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

I have converted a couple of old All Nation Pacifics to three rail. Added a center rail pickup from a Lionel Diesel, converted the pilot truck with wheels/axles from AMT. Left the drivers and trailing truck wheels alone. Put modern three rail trucks on the tender.

It seems like a six coupled steam engine works fine with this conversion, even on tubular track. An eight coupled steam engine might be a different story, though. The wheelbase might be too long. Also, the All Nation drivers might have a larger/deeper flange on the drivers than more scale-like brands.

RoyBoy

Lou1985 posted:

So it sounds like the easiest option, since I don't have machine metal working tools, is to acquire a 3 rail Mikado mechanism and adapt it to the boiler from the kit. So I'd be looking at the kit + a 3 rail Mikado mechanism + PS3 upgrade.  But I'd need to get my hands on the kit first and see if the mechanism from a 3 rail Mikado would even fit. At that point buying a 3rd Rail SP MK5 Mikado and adding PS3 to it ends up being the cheaper route.  I'm getting a bit leery of this as I could end up with $1k in parts I can't use. My idea behind this was a nice project for this coming winter, when it's too cold outside to work on cars in the garage. 

Yes Lou, it’s easy to get a **** ton of money tied up in a project with out at least some sort of pre planning, or an incredible deal that allows some flexibility to purchase other major components.......for what I model, I gobble up 3 rail chassis, boiler castings, wheels, trucks, you name it....if I get them on the cheap, it makes swap jobs a whole lot more feasible......if building locomotives is fun for you, and your cup of tea, start by becoming a hunter gatherer .....squirrel away parts you can scoop up on the cheap, so when a project idea hits you, you’ll be ahead of the game....I can’t speak for everyone, but that’s how I keep projects at least on a sane budget......( doesn’t always work out that way, but I try like heck) ...........Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

 Spending $850 bucks and then who knows how much more to fix the drivers for 3 rail operation. This just to see if you can do it!  I believe if a person is very  determined they could probably do most anything.  

ANOTHER THOUGHT

How about picking up a Williams 3 rail mike and a Precision catalog. Strip the paint off the mike and re detail it to whatever R/R you want to model. You can hang a ton of brass castings from Precision and make that baby look super, you can put in a better can motor and add that PS3 your talking about. You'll get a lot of modeling time and plenty of experience.  Best of all you won't have to get the drivers machined and you won't spend the whole bank roll. And you'll have a few bucks left over for your next challenge. 

That's if its a challenge your looking for , Its not how much you spend but how much you do with your hands and mind.  I have seen some really well done rebuilds on Williams models.

Whatever you decide to do, have some fun!!

Franky-Ogee 

I should show you the 0-6-0 I did for OGR.  Myron did not like it - it stalled on his switches (one roller) and didn't have smoke or lights.

I don't normally do 3-rail, so did not realize what was really important.  The model remains 3-rail to this day, although I may have robbed the motor for some other project.

But if you want to hone your skills, do what the poster above suggests - start with a Williams!  Start small, and get a switcher - the B6sb is down to $150, and worth every penny.  The Mikados rarely bring $300, and they too are quite nice!

Thanks for the tips/suggestions. I may go the Williams Mikado route. It's cheaper to start with and already is set up for 3 rail operation. I'd just have to find a Southern Pacific style Vanderbilt tender and I can try to make a pretty convincing SP Mikado. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

Norton posted:

Stevenson sells the MK5 tender as a separate kit.

Pete

I did notice that. If I can put electronics inside the tender it seems like a solid option. 

So far from looking at picking up a Williams Mikado and then the SP smoke box front, headlight, pilot, air pumps, sand domes, and tender from Stevenson. I believe that I can create a pretty decent (if not exactly scale) 3 rail SP MK5 Mikado this way for decent money, probably less than the cost of the 3rd Rail model. Plus it would be a nice winter project. I'm thinking if I look around I can probably acquire everything but the PS3 electronics for $500 or less. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

Bill DeBrooke posted:

How much is scrap brass going for now?  I have done pretty much the same things you have and would not begin to attempt this as a first project.  However, it come be fun.

Yes - start with something more modest - like a Williams brass upgrade (suggested above). If you are asking what skills you need for a 2RO to 3RO conversion, you don't have them (yet). Most of us don't. But - it has been done.

=======

One little thing (didn't see it above, but maybe I missed it) relative to a steamer conversion: I have seen a few guys wrestle with putting roller pickups on the loco frame. Don't. Put 3RO trucks with pickups on the tender. Most likely you will have the electronics in the tender anyway, and also will be using a tether to the motor in the boiler. So - feed the engine/motor from the tender. This is actually the only fairly easy major part of a 2RO/3RO conversion.

Lou1985 posted:
Norton posted:

Stevenson sells the MK5 tender as a separate kit.

Pete

I did notice that. If I can put electronics inside the tender it seems like a solid option. 

So far from looking at picking up a Williams Mikado and then the SP smoke box front, headlight, pilot, air pumps, sand domes, and tender from Stevenson. I believe that I can create a pretty decent (if not exactly scale) 3 rail SP MK5 Mikado this way for decent money, probably less than the cost of the 3rd Rail model. Plus it would be a nice winter project. I'm thinking if I look around I can probably acquire everything but the PS3 electronics for $500 or less. 

Realize there is a conventional 3rd Rail SP MK-5 on the bay for 600 bucks out the door, almost new.

If it was me I would be trying to build something not already done in 3 Rail.

Pete

Norton posted:
Lou1985 posted:
Norton posted:

Stevenson sells the MK5 tender as a separate kit.

Pete

I did notice that. If I can put electronics inside the tender it seems like a solid option. 

So far from looking at picking up a Williams Mikado and then the SP smoke box front, headlight, pilot, air pumps, sand domes, and tender from Stevenson. I believe that I can create a pretty decent (if not exactly scale) 3 rail SP MK5 Mikado this way for decent money, probably less than the cost of the 3rd Rail model. Plus it would be a nice winter project. I'm thinking if I look around I can probably acquire everything but the PS3 electronics for $500 or less. 

Realize there is a conventional 3rd Rail SP MK-5 on the bay for 600 bucks out the door, almost new.

If it was me I would be trying to build something not already done in 3 Rail.

Pete

I've seen that. They problem is I don't have the $600 to drop on it right now, and I won't for several months (some house work/out of town trips are eating up my disposable income for pretty much the rest of the summer) so it will be gone before I have the money. This is why I was trying to figure out the feasibility of converting the 2 rail locomotive or, now in this case, converting a Williams locomotive to something pretty close. Plus it would give me a nice project that I can slowly work on over the winter. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

For comparison purposes I'm posting 2 pictures of the Stevenson Preservation Line SP MK5 Mikado and the Williams Mikado. It doesn't seem like it would take much to effort to "Espee" the Williams Mikado with some detail parts and a Vanderbilt tender.

2-8-2%20Left%20side2-8-2%20right%20sidewilliams-5103-brass-8-mikado-union_1_839b9b2c62ebd74e2b5968360ffbd1bewilliams-5103-brass-8-mikado

Santa Fe, All the Way

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I wonder how close that Vandy tender is to the diecast NYC Vandy behind the 763? .....I have a spare from a recent build Lou.....you can get that from me for descent price, or horse trade if it’ll work out for you on a budget build.........Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

harmonyards posted:

I wonder how close that Vandy tender is to the diecast NYC Vandy behind the 763? .....I have a spare from a recent build Lou.....you can get that from me for descent price, or horse trade if it’ll work out for you on a budget build.........Pat

Minus the coal load it's actually pretty close.

763 vandy tendersp vandy tender

I'm assuming it wouldn't be hard to cut out the coal load, flatten the coal bunker, and put an oil fill on the top.

Santa Fe, All the Way

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The coal load is a separately applied detail Lou, looks like you could fab a tank top from a sheet of brass (and patience) ....I’d reckon you’d want SP specific trucks, I stole the the trucks form this tender anyways.....Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

Lou1985 posted:
harmonyards posted:

I wonder how close that Vandy tender is to the diecast NYC Vandy behind the 763? .....I have a spare from a recent build Lou.....you can get that from me for descent price, or horse trade if it’ll work out for you on a budget build.........Pat

Minus the coal load it's actually pretty close.

763 vandy tendersp vandy tender

I'm assuming it wouldn't be hard to cut out the coal load, flatten the coal bunker, and put an oil fill on the top.

There’s some difference in the panels on the side of the tank, where it drops down over the drum. The cat walks appear to be all different, and some other fine details......but it looks like you could make a convincing SP tender out of the NYC model.....it can happen..........Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

Lou1985 posted:

For comparison purposes I'm posting 2 pictures of the Stevenson Preservation Line SP MK5 Mikado and the Williams Mikado. It doesn't seem like it would take much to effort to "Espee" the Williams Mikado with some detail parts and a Vanderbilt tender.

The steam and sand domes are a very different shape.  Would you have to take the Williams down to bare brass and unsolder them?  I've never assembled a brass model, so I don't have a good feel for how difficult this would be.

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

Ted S posted:
Lou1985 posted:

For comparison purposes I'm posting 2 pictures of the Stevenson Preservation Line SP MK5 Mikado and the Williams Mikado. It doesn't seem like it would take much to effort to "Espee" the Williams Mikado with some detail parts and a Vanderbilt tender.

The steam and sand domes are a very different shape.  Would you have to take the Williams down to bare brass and unsolder them?  I've never assembled a brass model, so I don't have a good feel for how difficult this would be.

Add to that the stack and the cab. The sport cab (slanted front) is one of the identifying features of many SP engines. 

Pete

Norton posted:
Ted S posted:
Lou1985 posted:

For comparison purposes I'm posting 2 pictures of the Stevenson Preservation Line SP MK5 Mikado and the Williams Mikado. It doesn't seem like it would take much to effort to "Espee" the Williams Mikado with some detail parts and a Vanderbilt tender.

The steam and sand domes are a very different shape.  Would you have to take the Williams down to bare brass and unsolder them?  I've never assembled a brass model, so I don't have a good feel for how difficult this would be.

Add to that the stack and the cab. The sport cab (slanted front) is one of the identifying features of many SP engines. 

Pete

Pete, is it just me, or does the SP have a straight boiler, where the Williams model has a tapered boiler.....I know the Williams is tapered, as I have a few of those........Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

Oh boy...with all the oil fired Vanderbilts l have seen in O scale shows, would  not think would need to modify a hard to find coal fired one, when l want those in three lengths.  I have a couple of oil fired ones l need to convert to coal, a job l would like to avoid.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

harmonyards posted:
Norton posted:
Ted S posted:
Lou1985 posted:

For comparison purposes I'm posting 2 pictures of the Stevenson Preservation Line SP MK5 Mikado and the Williams Mikado. It doesn't seem like it would take much to effort to "Espee" the Williams Mikado with some detail parts and a Vanderbilt tender.

The steam and sand domes are a very different shape.  Would you have to take the Williams down to bare brass and unsolder them?  I've never assembled a brass model, so I don't have a good feel for how difficult this would be.

Add to that the stack and the cab. The sport cab (slanted front) is one of the identifying features of many SP engines. 

Pete

Pete, is it just me, or does the SP have a straight boiler, where the Williams model has a tapered boiler.....I know the Williams is tapered, as I have a few of those........Pat

I think it is straighter. I have an HO MK-5 buried somewhere I will have to dig out. In the meantime it looks like this T&NO MK5 had a straight cab. Might be easier to find another class thats closer to the Williams model than do an MK-5.

Pete

Now you are getting very specific.  If you are happy with a USRA Mikado in Southern Pacific, then the Williams is the way to go.  If you want a Harriman Mikado - an MK-class like the MK-5, then right now the Stevenson Mike is the only option, other than a scratch-build.  Occasionally you will see a pre-WWII Lobaugh Mike offered for sale - they are a bargain at $500, and reasonably rare.  It would be close to blasphemy to 3-rail one, unless you just add rollers.

The Sunset version is slightly inaccurate - the boiler is straight!  Easy mistake; I made the same one on my first SP Mike.  As you can see from the stunningly good photo above, you have sand dome choices.  If I were to buy a Sunset, I would have to replace the boiler, the sand dome, the tail beam, and the trailing truck.  Stevenson has all those parts, I believe, for sale individually.  There were 75 boilers made for the 1950s Lobaugh "Lost Wax" Mike, and I believe Bob Stevenson inherited them all.

The tender - that Eastern coal thing above is about as close to an SP Vanderbilt as the Williams USRA is to the Harriman Mike.  So, you need to evaluate what sort of inaccuracies you are willing to put up with.

I note that the Stevenson Mike above is one of the best looking kit built SP Mikes I have yet seen!  I am sending a link to Bob Stevenson right after I finish boring you with all this, and (AWK!) my SP Mike collection.

What the heck - I have an hour and a half before I have to pull the Stearman out of the hangar for today's serious entertainment - so here they come!  Well, some of them . . .

Here is #1 SP Mike - a scratchbuilt MK-2 with incorrect straight boiler.  It is the third locomotive I ever made, so I think I get some leeway.  Following that is the Austin Steam Train Mike, with parts measured off of the real thing.  It has many of the parts that Stevenson offers, so it is close to a real Lobaugh "Lost Wax" Mike.  More on that later.

3206786 a

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At this point I'm not going for perfectly authentic, just close enough, as I'm starting with an imperfect model and modifying it. After all it's going to run on 3 rail track, so there will be some compromises. The plan right now is to use a Williams USRA Mikado as a base with the above Vanderbilt tender, so I'm going for scaleish size and close enough, because this is going to be a fun project for me. I plan on adding the following parts to the Williams USRA Mikado to make it close to the SP prototype:

http://stevensonpreservationli...5&products_id=47

http://stevensonpreservationli...&products_id=223

http://stevensonpreservationli...&products_id=231

http://stevensonpreservationli....php?products_id=263

http://stevensonpreservationli...&products_id=252

http://stevensonpreservationli....php?products_id=240

http://stevensonpreservationli...&products_id=293

http://stevensonpreservationli...&products_id=334

http://stevensonpreservationli...9&products_id=76

http://stevensonpreservationli...&products_id=327

The above items should get me "close enough" for 3 rail Hi-Rail. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

bob2 posted:

Here is #1 SP Mike - a scratchbuilt MK-2 with incorrect straight boiler.  It is the third locomotive I ever made, so I think I get some leeway.  Following that is the Austin Steam Train Mike, with parts measured off of the real thing.  It has many of the parts that Stevenson offers, so it is close to a real Lobaugh "Lost Wax" Mike.  More on that later.

3206786 a

Those are both nice, the bottom one especially.

Both are waaaay beyond my skill set.

Santa Fe, All the Way

thanks.  The skill set required here is the same as building a Stevenson kit.  The difference is you do not have to cut so much, and you never have to press rivets.  Here are a few more - pre-war Lobaugh and scratch:

Top is my first Lobaugh model - built by Harold Peterson, and adjusted and new tailbeam by me.  Second is one built by an unknown modeler, full of lead.  Cost me $400  back when $400 was a lot of money.  I have since built three more - one from a kit, and two from scraps around the shop.  

 

3236 b3216 b

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Those both look great. I wish I had the skills to build something like that. I'll just settle for converting an already existing model as a start.

When you assemble the models you've made do you use a torch or iron to solder them together?

Santa Fe, All the Way

Depends.  I use an iron for boiler bands, a torch for washouts and lag clamps, and a combination for running boards.

On sheet metal (cabs, tenders, etc) I use an 80 Watt iron, shiny, with good flux.  Never do a seam on sheet metal with a torch.  I do use a torch to attach handrails on tender and cab bodies, but the heat never gets close to the wire.

bob2 posted:

Here are the last of my photos - two scratchbuilt, one Lobaugh.  I have one more started, but no photos yet.2018 SP MikeDSC02515DSC02577

Those all look great as well. Nice job. 

What motor do you use to power them, just out of curiosity?

Santa Fe, All the Way

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