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Hello all ...Lobaugh introduced the UP Challenger in 1939 ... run at the Treasure Island Fair in SF , on the UP layout ..a big hit .   1940   Lobaugh changes from open gearing to enclosed gear box ( not the post war clam shell). 

Here is a Challenger from 1940-2 ...fresh from the west coast living in the mid-west .  

The engine suffered some damage in shipping  so did some cleaning and putting back together ..oil etc ...ran quite as a lamb upside down on the bench for 20 minutes naturally once on the rails  it growls ..back to the bench before next steaming . 

Not a bad ole gal for 80 ....

Cheers Carey


 0926201846_HDR~20926201847~20926201847a1939 Dec MR ad


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  • 1939 Dec MR ad
Last edited by Carey Williams
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WOW Carey!  Heavy Metal Quality, Made in the U.S.A. 

My late best buddy, Robert E. Taff (RIP) of Tampa, Florida, would LOVE your layout.  His untimely passing on April 22, 2006, still leaves me missing the very best friend I ever had since God gave me this life on earth! 

Hope to see more of your layout. 

Joseph Toth Jr.

U.S. Army Transportation Corps Vet

49th Transportation Group, Germany 1964-1967

Served with Pride

Last edited by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer

Hello all ..thank you for your kind words .... quite happy with the Challenger ...  which is driven on all drivers ....

Dave  here is a link to see my GMC   Articulated circa 1950 in motion ..only rear set of drivers ..driven ...

Layout is a 1939 Multiplex  "modular" ... simply put the sections of track  together .... Multiplex did sell generic sections of track .... but this was a planned layout ...won 2nd place in the MC layout contest 1942 


I was oh so lucky to be able to purchase the layout ... unfortunately 4 sections were missing I did some cheating make it work again ...still need lots of scenery  and fine tuning 

Cheers Carey

 MC 1941layout April 20181939 MR Feb ad my layout


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  • MC 1941
  • layout  April 2018
  • 1939 MR Feb ad my layout

But it works!  That is far better than most of us - I disconnected my test loops to facilitate new skylight installations September a year ago - still haven't re-connected.  But all of my Challengers ran well at some point in ancient history.

Rocker - 2-rail articulated models are always connected just like the real thing - one engine is rigidly connected to boiler and firebox, the other to a tongue and slider arrangement.

And generally, a Mallet will have larger cylinders on the articulating engine.  The UP Challengers are "Simple Articulated."

I will, of course, inundate you with Challenger photos in a minute.  These are copyrighted photos, and you may use them with my permission anywhere but in this thread.

There are a couple of thread participants who know the history better than I - but here are the few things I know.  The Fetters, or "baby" Challengers were modeled by Lobaugh only prior to WWII.  They were not produced after the war.  The 1950s version was the larger "Jabelmann" Challenger.

These early models came in several flavors - major difference was in the way the geared axle got inserted into the frame.  All of the frames I have messed with get modified so that all axles drop out the bottom, just like the real thing.  I am not familiar with prewar gearbox variances, but can tell you that Raoul's NWSL Mod O.6 non-tower gearboxes are the cure for all Challenger gear problems.  The huge open frame AC-DC motors can be replaced with Pittmans easily, although about half my Challengers have original gears and motors.  They do just fine, at six amps.

Lobaugh also produced a D&H Challenger and an NP Challenger, all based on the Fetters parts.  My D&H is an original, but it came with damage, and USH gearboxes.  New frames, some body work, and a little attention to detail and I had at least an original locomotive.  The Lobaugh tender is not accurate, so I junked it and started over, using only trucks and underframe.

D&H Challenger


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  • D&H Challenger

For some reason I've always liked that prewar version better.  Not sure why, may because it's less common.  Someday I hope to end up with one lol 

So question, are the boilers on the challengers straight tube? and if so what diameter?  And what is the diameter of the FEF boiler and is it straight as well?  I think it is but just want to clarify/make sure.


And are those two particular Lobaugh considered to be 17/64ths versus 1/4"?

Last edited by Dennis Holler

Just about to head to the airport.  That is where the Fetters Challengers are at the moment.  Will get you some dimensions.  I think the taper is fairly simple, as in one long taper to the firebox.  The Lobaugh boilers were "spun", which means that they could do some pretty complex forming as long as it was symmetrical - the modern Challenger boiler kind of "swells" behind the smokebox, then tapers gradually.  Let me get a photo that shows how easy this is to duplicate:

Challenger Boiler 006

I think you can see it there - the boiler is a tube, but slit down the bottom.  The width of the taper is indicative of how much taper you will need - but this is a Jabelmann boiler, and you want Fetters.  I will write myself a note.


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  • Challenger Boiler 006

I don't want to leave you with such an ugly photograph; I have completed that model, and maybe three others, and they all turned out well.  Here's one:

3966 b

This one is stock Lobaugh, except for cab and tender sides, which were embossed here while watching some political show or another.  The ugly boiler above made a model almost indistinguishable from this, except it is still in grey primer.  I have the "greyhound" decals, but haven't invested in new Scale Coat.


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Cool, thanks Bob, I will do some playing around in the shop. and I can see there is a slope back on the fire box end too.  That helps a lot.  Some times the angles of photos make it really hard to judge the relative angles and slopes of that stuff.  I'll get a photo these junk parts I have and you can tell me if they might be Lobaugh or not.  

Thanks again for the help.

These are for the Fetters, or early, Challenger:

Smokebox - 2 7/8" long by 2.089" dia.

barrel - 1 7/8" long by 2.145 at smokebox; 2.170 at throat sheet (front of firebox)

Firebox - throat to cab front - 4 1/8",  mud ring is 5" long.

Shape of firebox is hard to describe - mud rings are parallel, but the top tapers down and slightly in as you move aft.

Plan 117  in the MMR Cyclopedia will help.  Dimensions above are from a prewar Lobaugh boiler.  I think the whole thing can be done with 2" dia bar rail and .020 sheet.

I counted them up - three early UP Challengers, plus one each D&H and NP.  Four Jabelmann Challengers, not counting a display boiler/frame/tender setup so folks can see where they start.  And best of all, I guess, a Big Boy made exclusively of Lobaugh parts (well, the firebox and sand domes are different, and those neat coolers are PSC):


On this one, even the tender sides are Lobaugh.  See those ripples?  In the 1950s, Al Ellis thought that anything that needed bending should be annealed.  So these gorgeous photo-etched sides are dead soft, and can be dented by picking the thing off the tracks.  I usually make my own out of half-hard brass.


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I don't have any fragments of early Challengers, but this should give you some idea of what came in the postwar kit:

New Challengers 003

The tender is now on the DRG 3800, and is, I assume, a genuine Lobaugh embossed-rivet tender.  The front has both engine castings, although one is missing in the photo, and I keep the whole thing mounted on a display board.  Who knows, if a handful of drivers falls into my hands, maybe I shall have a fifth Jabelmann Challenger!


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Apparently, unless Carey does it you won't get videos.  My test loop is down, and I have never really tried to post Youtube stuff.  But just to keep this thread on life support, here is the Lobaugh/scratch NP Challenger:

Lobaugh NP Chall 2This one has my should-have-been- patented twin spool design, inspired by the triple spool Rolls Royce engines I was flying at the time.  Front driveshaft goes through the middle of the rear driveshaft, with two Pittman motors in that giant firebox.  The Achilles heel of the setup was the Delrin chain step-downs - they were noisy and inefficient.  The cure will be the tooth belt - some day.

This differs from the Fetters challenger only superficially, so Lobaugh used many of the same components.  As I recall, the sand domes are genuine, but the firebox, cab, rear truck, and valve gear had to be made here.  The tender drawings I have show a shortened tender, so mine is a wood block, full length, from Cyclopedia drawings.

I have never seen an actual Lobaugh version of this model, but a nice guy on the East Coast - same name as a famous drummer - sent me photos.  Any of these things are now 80+ years old, and unless restored are pretty well beat-up.

But yeah - would love to see more from Carey or any of the rest of you.  Even an MTH or Lionel version would be welcome, I am sure.  They are now better scale models than these old things.  Third Rail did really, really nice Challengers!  At least hit us with photos?


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  • Lobaugh NP Chall 2

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