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"HONGZ" stands for HO scale, N scale, G scale, and Z scale.

Post your non-O scale stuff here!

I did a copy/paste on the original so let me know if this also worked:



NYC H-10B 2-8-2 decoder install.

Decided to install a decoder in this engine as it appeals to me with all it's detail, especially all the piping on the boiler.  This engine was painted by the previous owner and did a nice job on it.

Phase I:  disassembly, drilling and LED's installed.

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Love all that piping.  Originally, no lights on the engine.

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Engine number 73 of 250, made in 1980.

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Original can motor with an unusual open frame gear box, though it runs quiet. 

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Usual procedure for brass: engine has one screw up front and two in the back and tender has 4 screws securing base to tender top. 

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LED prep: #45 drill bit used for all LED's.  Bought online from home depot, package of 10. 

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Classification lights drilled out.  Sometimes the support is pretty weak so care has to be taken when drilling out the lights.  I put a popcicle stick under the light to support it.  I always use a new bit and add oil frequently: about 5 times on these to clean out debris and add oil. After sides are drilled out, then the front lens is drilled out.

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Classification light side view.

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The headlight drilled out plus two access holes drilled under the feed water heater to route LED wires. 

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Running board light access holes. Just over the valve gears.  Lead weight removed.

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Rectangular hole for 8 wires from tender to engine.

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Scalecoat loco black (dries dull) used to touch up all the exposed brass.  Inside of holes need painting too to insulate contact with any exposed wires on the LED's.  Paint jar always has a 'retainer' so I don't knock it over!

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The LED's (0402) are extremely small.  They measure about the size of a scale light bulb of 3-4 inches. 

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Green in the classification (marker) lights and white in the headlight.  Sealed with canopy glue and lighted to insure proper location.  I put green on all my classification lights as it looks cool (at least to me, it does).

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Cab light.

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Running board lights.

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Tender light. 

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Trailing truck is even sprung. 

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NYC H-10B 2-8-2 decoder install (cont)

Phase II:  

LED checks, wiring harness, decoder/speaker in tender, decoderpro.

LED checks;  Each LED was checked to see if lighting and properly positioned plus a check for any shorts between LED and brass housing.  A LED checker or a low voltage (3-4 volts) can be used by touching one of the LED wires to the brass to see if the light goes out. The two LED's in the marker lights were shorting: fortunately, since the canopy glue is soft, I was able to move the LED's with a tooth pick and remove the short and add some more canopy glue. The back of the wires leading out of the brass was secured with some carpenters glue.  Tender and cab light also checked.

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Schematic I use for all my steam engines.  The tender has which components get connected to the colored wires.  Eight wires go from the tender to the engine.   Four of the eight go to the boiler for LED's.

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Eight wire harness, tender side, complete.  Decoder kept separate until all soldering is completed to prevent any unwanted power surges.  Heat shrink used for each 4 wire set to look like water hoses between tender and engine plus protecting the wires.

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Tender side done.

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I use PFM speakers and they need two capacitors to work properly.  All other brand of speakers do not require this.  The green case is the keep alive.

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Tender light: blue wire to red and yellow to black wire. 

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Decoder black wire to tender ground.

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One rat's nest complete on the tender side!

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Connectors are very small: 8 wires in a 3/8" space.

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The engine side of the connector.  A very fine soldering tip and 1/16" heat shrink tubing used.

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Heat shrink, again, for protection and routing to either boiler or frame.  Boiler: blue: hot, green: marker lights, white: headlight and cab, pink: running board lights.   Frame: red: ground, fire box light, Red: fire box light, orange/gray: motor. 

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Fire box only 3MM size LED used; all other LED's are 0402.

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Frame side wires connected.  Boiler done, later. 

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Testing via decoderpro.

Engine and tender on test track.

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Decoderpro won't work without your DCC system active.

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Select Decoderpro.  Panelpro is for the LCC signalling system and dispatcher's panel schematic on the monitor.

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Engine roster appears.

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To load new decoder/engine select programming track in lower right hand corner...

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then select NEW LOCO in the upper left hand corner. 

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Can then select which decoder you have on the next screen.  Then click 'read type from decoder'

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Screen to the right pops up and then select 'open comprehensive programmer' to get detailed screen...

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located in lower right hand corner.

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Fill in details on screen.  I input the 'ID', road number, manufacturer and then click 'save to roster'.  DCC address will be inputted on following screen.  Will get 'OK' at bottom of screen and then click on 'basic' (upper left hand corner)....

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'save to roster'

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The 'basic' screen.  Click on 'long' and input engine address and then click on 'write full sheet'.  Engine decoder will be updated and bottom of screen will say OK if all went well.

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'write full sheet'

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Bottom of screen will say OK.

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Click on X to get back to roster screen which will now show new engine. 

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The engine is then taken to the layout and tested to make sure the decoder is working, address correct and motor direction is correct.   Bypassing using decoderpro and going directly to this step may destroy your decoder if you made a mistake on connecting the wires.  

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Last edited by samparfitt

NYC H-10B 2-8-2 decoder install (cont)

Phase III:  Re-numbered, boiler light wires installed, weight added, assembly, roster.

Re-numbered.  The previous owner had the wrong number for this class engine so...

A little of this (my 50 year old bottle, getting low so I bought another bottle)......

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applied to the numbers....

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using a Q-tip and some 'elbow grease' removes the lettering while leaving the paint on the surface.

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My microscale decal set indicates the number range. 

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I took 2361 because that set of numbers was on the decal sheet.

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A nice soft brush to apply the Solvaset. The solvent is strong so apply the liquid and leave it alone until it dries and then add some more. 

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The brush is a Liner brush LR-100.

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In the last 65 years I've accumulated a few sets of decal sheets!

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Boiler lights install:

Four wire connector made that goes to the boiler lights (female side done).

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Need to get all those wires into the boiler!  Only need one resister per common set of LED's: ie, running board lights, marker lights, etc.

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Running board lights were first.  1/16" diameter heat shrink tubing used to protect wires. 

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Headlight and marker lights next.  Some short pieces of heat shrink tubing to allow removal/placement of boiler front to engine. 

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Original lead weight added and there was about 1 1/4" of room from the front of the lead weight to the boiler front so I made an additional lead weight 3/4" long to fill that space. 


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Marker light wires and headlight/cab light wires routed last and connected to male side of 4 wire connector. 


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Assembly:  A little tight getting the wires and motor to occupy the same space but there was room around the curved side of the motor for the wires. 


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All pretty!


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NYC roster: right to left: H-10B 2-8-2, Niagara 4-8-4, Mohawk L-3B 4-8-2, Mohawk  L-3A 4-8-2, Hudson 4-6-4.


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NYC mike versus GN mike.  GN O-8 mikes were the largest mikes in the country.  They could pull heavy freight and do it fast. 

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GN O-8 2-8-2 at Harlem, Mont, 1948

Video: NYC steam in Ohio:

Present NYC steam in Ohio





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  • GN O-8 2-8-2 at Harlem, Mont, 1948
Last edited by samparfitt

Art, thanks for the compliments but nothing I do is really hard.  After 65 years, one is bound to learn how to do things.  Mistakes are made but we learn from them.  I'm still making them.  On the NYC H-10B the headlight and cab light must have had one of the wires touching the brass boiler and blew them out: had to rewire them.  Just have to 'keep on trunking'.

NYC H-10B 2-8-2 'road test'

Camera lens still needed some cleaning: used some alcohol and a Q-tip seems to have, finally, removed blemishes.

Started with a 16 car train and the engine barely got out of the yard so reduced to 10 cars and caboose and just made the 0.5% grade.  Pretty pathetic.  Not used to running such short trains but, at least, I didn't have to worry about derailments; with a train that short there was no stress on the lead cars. 

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Skykomish: The NYC cabeese needs repainting.

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Chumstick Canyon trestle. 

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Basin tunnel exit.

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East of Waverly.

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Last edited by samparfitt

Installation of a 4th UR92 duplex radio transceiver/IR receiver.

One corner of the layout, when facing the corner, was getting poor reception from the hand held throttle so another UR92 was installed in the ceiling in that corner.  Got a 50' extension from Home Depot for only 12 bucks; only 16 gauge but surprised at how cheap it was. 

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You guys are too kind.  I consider myself an average modeler.  When you have been in this hobby as long as I have, you're bound to learn something!  Like I say: An expert modeler has made that mistake,  a master modeler has made that same mistake twice!  Good judgement come from experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.


Neighborhood kids stopped by, yesterday.

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C&O H-8 Allegheny 2-6-6-6.

This model is by Key and I painted it back in March of 2016.  It was made in 1981 and the original owner never ran it as it still had all it's original wrappings.   At the time I used incandescent bulbs for the headlight in the engine and tender.  Those were removed.  

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Some of the parts when painting an engine:

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Don't drop that box!

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Articulated's have a few more screws for disassembly.  There is at least one and usually two screws in front of the back steam cylinders. 

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Best to remove the pilot as, usually, the engine won't disassemble with it attached to the front engine assembly.  A lot of articulated engines have movable steam pipes from boiler to front engine and they either are removed with screws or just slide into each other.  This engine is unusual in that there is only one sliding pipe.

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This engine was a little unusual in that the cab hand rails were inserted in holes in the back engine frame assembly so the hand rails were pulled out of the holes.  This cab was removable so I was able to paint the interior. 

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The hand rails on all four corners of the tender also was in holes in the bottom frame. 

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It came with a huge can motor. 

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The tender has 5 screws holding the frame to the shell. 

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Tried something different: used canopy glue...

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and dipped all the 0402 LED's in the canopy glue, hoping it will cover any bare wires which can short against bare brass. 

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With a mounting plate immediately behind the front of the tender, no room for a dremel cutoff disk to make an access to the 8 connector wires so a series of holes was drilled and snipped the remaining brass and bent it along the top to remove it and then file it all smooth. 

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A rarity in that the boiler front does not come off but is soldered in place.  After drilling out the marker lights and putting holes at their base plus holes for the four running board lights, the LED wires were pushed into the boiler and the above wire hook in the picture was used to snag the wires and pull them to the back of the boiler.  This went easier than I thought it would.  I soldered the black and red wires together to give the hook something to grab. It was a slow process though since, after pulling one LED through the hole, I had to glue it and leave it until the glue dried for fear of the LED getting pulled into the boiler if I tried to do more than one at a time.  It took the bulk of the day as 7 LED's are in the boiler. 

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This engine has the marker lights sitting very high above the boiler, reminds me of an insect.

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Tender was easy.

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Eight wire connector from tender to boiler done and all wires for the decoder installed in tender.  Wires to motor and engine box glow completed but not the four wires going to the boiler plus two more for the low mounted headlight that is located on the pilot. 

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Decoderpro said all's 'good'.

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As usual I had the two wires to the motor backwards but sound and tender light working. 

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Next is routing all the boiler LED wires. 

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While glue was drying I removed some old catenary 'wire' from the layout: in the tunnels I just used inverted rail connected to some thin wood stock. Wood gone but salvaged the rail.  Over the years (decades) the catenary went into disrepair but, with DCC, don't need it.   Most of the visible catenary is left is place for 'looks'. 

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Last edited by samparfitt

NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 yellowstone, decoder install.

Purchased this from a friend 5 years ago.  It was already painted but I think I did the gray boiler and installed a can motor and installed the back head detail. The engine is by Fujiyama and was made in 1969. The usual TCS 1517 decoder will be used.  

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The front pivoting steam pipes were screwed to the boiler so easy to remove. 

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A little unusual in that the front engine riding plate retainer is screwed to the boiler. 

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Pilot removed to remove front engine.   Two tiny screws secured the headlight and pilot to the front engine frame. 

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Hadn't noticed that the hand rails on the pilot was 'scrunched'. 

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Easy fix.  Some touch up paint to cover scratches. 

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Universal from rear gear box to front gear box had to be removed to remove back engine retaining screw. 

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Disassembly complete.  Incandescent pilot headlight removed along with all PFM sound parts. 

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Marker lights drilled out along with wire routing holes.  Two drill bits used to finish all drilling.  One would think a steel bit wouldn't wear out against soft brass but heat, even with oil, and drilling wears them out quickly.  Once I have to apply a lot of pressure I know the bit needs replacing. 

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Tender has marker lights along with the tender light.  Before 'touch up' with paint.

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Multiple holes drilled and filed out in tender to make room for 8 pin connector.   The large hole needed so can push most of the connector into the front of the tender to hide it from view. 

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I go through 0402 LED's like 'popcorn' so I buy bulk in 50-100 (each color) at a time. 

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This engine requires 11 LED's (plus 3mm fire box glow); they were dipped in canopy glue to protect the bare wires. 

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My low voltage signal checker used to check LED's location and insure no wires are touching the brass structure.  Since the marker lights are mounted on the front boiler cover, holes were drilled in the front to route the LED wires. 

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Tender LED's done.  Canopy glue still wet on securing them in the light housings. 

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Canopy glue used as glass on front of headlight.

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Two of four running board lights installed.

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Cab light. Additional lead added.

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Last edited by samparfitt

Thanks, Art.


NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 yellowstone (cont):

Routing wires and final assembly:

Some 1/16" diameter heat shrink tubing to protect the wires. 

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All boiler lights 'check out'.

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Eventually, they wear out!

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All wire connectors made.

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Decoderpro says "all's good".

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All functions 'good'.

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Assembly done.

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Nice valve gear detail.  This lubricator arm moves with the valve gear. 

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Road test; departing Seattle.

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After the GN, the NP is my next largest roster: NP A, A-2, A-4, A-5 (all 4-8-4's), Z-5 (2-8-8-4) and Z-8 (4-6-6-4).

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My other hobby is, actually, RC airplanes:


I do have a minor in Physics but that was back in 1968 and all those brain cells are dead, by now!


More testing:

NP Z-5 2-8-8-4: She was running a little slow so I tested several motors I had to see if any turned at a higher RPM and the Kato was faster.  No screw holes in the front of the motor so I had to use some GE clear caulk to secure it to the motor mount. 

NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 43NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 44NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 45NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 46NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 47

C&O H-8 Allegheny 2-6-6-6.  Not pulling very well so I painted the insulated driver side to help traction.

C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 51C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 52C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 53C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 54C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 55C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 56C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 57

Got the SF Alco PA's A-B-B-A set by Walthers 'on the road' just for fun.

SF PA,PB both powered DCC 23SF PA,PB both powered DCC 24SF PA,PB both powered DCC 25SF PA,PB both powered DCC 26SF PA,PB both powered DCC 27



Images (18)
  • P47robart740
  • NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 43
  • NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 44
  • NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 45
  • NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 46
  • NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 47
  • C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 51
  • C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 52
  • C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 53
  • C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 54
  • C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 55
  • C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 56
  • C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 key 57
  • SF PA,PB both powered DCC 23
  • SF PA,PB both powered DCC 24
  • SF PA,PB both powered DCC 25
  • SF PA,PB both powered DCC 26
  • SF PA,PB both powered DCC 27

Spot on: P-47,


Train show in Greenville, Ohio (Darke county fairgrounds).  One day only.  Didn't buy anything but, at least, I got out of the house for awhile!

greenville train show 01greenville train show 02greenville train show 03greenville train show 04

I thought I got these BLI SP articulated passenger cars at 40 bucks was cheap but these  were $25.

greenville train show 05greenville train show 06

Don't see many of these!

greenville train show 07

Eaton has a freight station and caboose. 

greenville train show 08greenville train show 09greenville train show 10


Images (10)
  • greenville train show 01
  • greenville train show 02
  • greenville train show 03
  • greenville train show 04
  • greenville train show 05
  • greenville train show 06
  • greenville train show 07
  • greenville train show 08
  • greenville train show 09
  • greenville train show 10


NP Z-5 2-8-8-4 pulling vintage freight cars. Testing new decoder and 'higher RPM' can motor.


SF Alco PA's A-B-B-A: just running trains for fun:

Tumwater Canyon trestle:




Last edited by samparfitt

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