MTH F3s and Kadees

I had been eyeing a couple of the new MTH Rio Grande F3s for a while (this one and this one, to be exact). After seeing the real thing again earlier this year at the Colorado Railroad Museum, I figured I really did need them! Unlike some of my previous engines, though, this time I decided to take the (mostly) easy way out and just order the 2-rail version with the fixed pilots.

I have to say, I think MTH really did a fantastic job with these things. For starters, the bodies and trucks are both very nicely detailed, and the paint job is sharp:

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The way the front pilots are implemented is slick. Here is one of them removed from the chassis, with the kadee installed:

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The coupler looks great installed, and just nicely clears all the detail parts on the pilot:

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Awesome so far. But, they wouldn't really be mine without a little tweaking, so...

The most important mod I wanted was kadees on the rear of the engines as well as the front. I want to be able to couple/uncouple the engines in real time, so I can run them individually, double headed, push pull, or whatever weird things strikes me. Props again to MTH for making this part a lot easier than on some engines - the mounting boss for the dummy coupler just unscrews from the truck:

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So this was trivial to do while I was swapping in the three rail wheelset.

At this point though, the easy part was over. Now they each needed a really nice 3d printed rear coupler mount:

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Due to the limited clearance between the truck and the end of the chassis, I designed this mount to use the 743, rather than the 740, to maximize the rotation of the truck. (The 740 actually fits as well, but the wheel flanges hit it, so the truck rotation is reduced.) Just for a change of pace, I used Shapeways new black nylon "professional plastic" material, which they bill as a good material for structural parts. It doesn't have the finish quality of the frosted acrylic, and it's a little more expensive, but it is pretty rugged. The only additional steps required were to tap the holes for the screws and bond it on.

Here's a pic of the two units back to back:

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Finally, I really like the new cab detail, which hides the motor from view through the windows. But... lime green? really?? lol.

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Anyway, I took care of that while I had the lids off, and painted the chairs and instrument panels as well.

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Nobody else will ever notice, but I know it's there. 

 

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Original Post

Good job.  I don’t know what radii you have on your layout.  If is is broad enough you may want to consider shorter shanks on the rear of the units to draw them closer together.

We don’t stop playing with trains
Because we grow old...

We grow old because we stop
Playing with trains!

excellent work. now you need to get rid of those stubby mu hoses and replace with some PSC sets with brass glad hands 

I only use 740's because the 743 shank is wider and limits turning radius through crossover movements, "S" curves (reverse curve), and tighter radius curves. If you run into that just use the 740 and modify the draft gear box. You can also open up the sides of the draft gear box to allow for even more turning radius  Just an FYI incase you have derailments due to close coupling.

 

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thor73 posted:

I had been eyeing a couple of the new MTH Rio Grande F3s for a while (this one and this one, to be exact). After seeing the real thing again earlier this year at the Colorado Railroad Museum, I figured I really did need them! Unlike some of my previous engines, though, this time I decided to take the (mostly) easy way out and just order the 2-rail version with the fixed pilots.

I have to say, I think MTH really did a fantastic job with these things. For starters, the bodies and trucks are both very nicely detailed, and the paint job is sharp:

IMG_7272

IMG_7273

 

IMG_7409

Nobody else will ever notice, but I know it's there. 

 

Those are nice, and you did some fine mods, but:

In the first paragraph you say you bought the "2 rail version"; yet these appear to be 3-rail, what with the center pick-up roller and all.

What am I missing here? I apologize in advance if this is a stupid question...   

Mark in Oregon

 

Acknowledging that this great hobby allows us to do whatever we darn well please with our equipment, I'm curious to know why you:

1. Felt that lime green was inappropriate?  ("But... lime green? really?? lol.")  EMD thought that lime green was pretty cool and painted all of F unit cabs that I've been in that color and I've been in a few.

F3Acab1

2. Replace the "scale wheels" that came with the locomotive?  Would your track not accommodate them?  Scale wheels sure look better.

3. Did not use the Kadee coupler adapter pockets provided?  Being the delighted owner of two brand new MTH CGW F3 As, I was able to use them and they provide good, close coupling plus they'll accommodate sharper curves since they're truck mounted.

These questions aside, you've done an elegant job and lack only Laidoffsick's detailed hoses.

GENERAL NOTICE - Safety is of the first importance in the discharge of duty.  Obedience to the rules is essential to safety.  To enter or remain in the service is an assurance of willingness to obey the rules.

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Rapid Transit Holmes posted:

Acknowledging that this great hobby allows us to do whatever we darn well please with our equipment, I'm curious to know why you:

1. Felt that lime green was inappropriate?  ("But... lime green? really?? lol.")  EMD thought that lime green was pretty cool and painted all of F unit cabs that I've been in that color and I've been in a few.

The reason that EMD used two different colors for cab & engine room interiors was; that's what the railroads were using for steam locomotive cab interiors. There were generally two "colors of choice", either Jade Green, or Sued Gray, for steam locomotive cab interiors, which thus carried over to the interior paint on EMC/EMD diesels, ninth mid to late 1930s.

F3Acab1

 

 

Laidoffsick posted:

excellent work. now you need to get rid of those stubby mu hoses and replace with some PSC sets with brass glad hands 

I only use 740's because the 743 shank is wider and limits turning radius through crossover movements, "S" curves (reverse curve), and tighter radius curves. If you run into that just use the 740 and modify the draft gear box. You can also open up the sides of the draft gear box to allow for even more turning radius  Just an FYI incase you have derailments due to close coupling.

Good points. As I mentioned, the 740s will fit, with some increase in minimum radius due to reduced rotation of the truck. If the engines will still go around 063, which is my minimum, I will likely do that.

Not familiar with the MU hoses you mention, but I will check them out. I like that the new ones are rubber at least, so they don't go flying in the event of a minor...  incident. 

Rapid Transit Holmes posted:

Acknowledging that this great hobby allows us to do whatever we darn well please with our equipment, I'm curious to know why you:

1. Felt that lime green was inappropriate?  ("But... lime green? really?? lol.")  EMD thought that lime green was pretty cool and painted all of F unit cabs that I've been in that color and I've been in a few.

I guess they just looked really bright to me, not so much like what's in the pics you posted.

3. Did not use the Kadee coupler adapter pockets provided?  Being the delighted owner of two brand new MTH CGW F3 As, I was able to use them and they provide good, close coupling plus they'll accommodate sharper curves since they're truck mounted.

Well, I did use the provided kadee mounts on the fronts of the units, which worked really well (although these are fixed pilots). There are no such mounts on the rear of the units, however, hence the 3d printed coupler mount. Are you saying your units had kadee mounting provisions on the rear of the units as well?

thor73 posted:
Rapid Transit Holmes posted:

Acknowledging that this great hobby allows us to do whatever we darn well please with our equipment, I'm curious to know why you:

1. Felt that lime green was inappropriate?  ("But... lime green? really?? lol.")  EMD thought that lime green was pretty cool and painted all of F unit cabs that I've been in that color and I've been in a few.

I guess they just looked really bright to me, not so much like what's in the pics you posted.

3. Did not use the Kadee coupler adapter pockets provided?  Being the delighted owner of two brand new MTH CGW F3 As, I was able to use them and they provide good, close coupling plus they'll accommodate sharper curves since they're truck mounted.

Well, I did use the provided kadee mounts on the fronts of the units, which worked really well (although these are fixed pilots). There are no such mounts on the rear of the units, however, hence the 3d printed coupler mount. Are you saying your units had kadee mounting provisions on the rear of the units as well?

Yes, they are provided.

-Jonathan

I just used a 2-56 machine screw, nut and washer to bolt a 743 to the casting to which the MTH fixed coupler had been attached.  I used the "gear box" for the 743 as a shim, up-side-down, and I was good to go.  The fact that the coupler is attached to and swings with the truck is a plus.

IMG_7428

You can see by the length of the MTH coupler shank that the Kadee 743 mounted where the Phillips head screw attaches to the casting will give an much, much closer coupling.  However, as stated earlier, you've done an elegant job of body mounting the 743.

GENERAL NOTICE - Safety is of the first importance in the discharge of duty.  Obedience to the rules is essential to safety.  To enter or remain in the service is an assurance of willingness to obey the rules.

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harley rider posted:

I just ordered a MTH Southern Pacific F-3A 3 rail dummy I hope to turn into a 2 rail powered unit.  Your Rio Grande F3s look so much better with Kadees.

Yes, these are fabulous looking engines to begin with, and they look even better with kadees. The options MTH provides with the 2 and 3 rail versions are really slick. And of course there is the benefit of having real couplers on both ends, so you can make/break consists on the fly, run them singly or paired up, or whatever.

You might also be interested in this thread. Mine had a tendency to pop wheelies, probably due to the combination of traction tires and no lobster claws. With that fix in place, they are smooth, solid runners, and already among my favorites.

Please post details of your conversion from dummy to powered unit when you get around to it. If I can ever find one, I want to do a powered B unit of the Rio Grandes, so I'd be really interested in how that turns out for you.

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