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I recently was able to acquire this vintage Walthers Heavy Mikado.  It has the Walthers Poly-Drive which I realize is a challenge to get to operate well, but after seeing a YouTube video of one on a 4-8-4 locomotive I figured I'd take the chance.  I'm not sure on the date, but it is a cast shell.  I'm guessing 1940's, but I'm sure there are many experts here who would know better than I would.  More photos when I have a chance to get it apart and inspect the drive system.

My plans are to strip it and detail it for an early CNJ Mikado.  The major changes will be putting a Hodges trailing truck on the rear and putting 4-wheel trucks on the tender.  The other details will mostly be brass castings.  Off course I want to get it running first, but I'm thrilled to add this bit of history to my collection.

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Thanks for sharing Jonathan!  Can't wait to see more of the drive system, operation, and how your build turns out.  To my eye this looks like a USRA Heavy.  Did the CNJ's Mikes (aka MacArthurs) have a "peaked" boiler like this model?  (Forgive me if I'm using the wrong terminology.  I'm referring to the pronounced slope of the boiler between the sand dome and the steam dome.)

@Ted S posted:

Thanks for sharing Jonathan!  Can't wait to see more of the drive system, operation, and how your build turns out.  To my eye this looks like a USRA Heavy.  Did the CNJ's Mikes (aka MacArthurs) have a "peaked" boiler like this model?  (Forgive me if I'm using the wrong terminology.  I'm referring to the pronounced slope of the boiler between the sand dome and the steam dome.)

The original 10 CNJ Mikados were by the USRA in 1918 as class M-1.  They were built by Alco.  CNJ would go on to add another 76 Mikados to the roster between 1920 and 1925 all based on the USRA design with some differences.  The additional 76 had the wide Wooten firebox and a feedwater heater not present on the USRA provided ones.  Even so, all 86 were eventually reclassified as class M-63. 

As a result, this will make a great candidate with a little work to turn into one of those M-1 class locomotives.  While these were all scrapped by 1949 with the exception of 4 that went to the Pittsburgh & West Virginia in 1947, I am always willing to bend the time frame of when these operated to fit my 2 rail modeling interests.  The last of the CNJ Mikados did not get scrapped until 1955, so at least the class fits into my roughly 1950-1960 timeframe.  Granted that is a huge gap based on the changes that occurred on both the CNJ and the PRR during those years!

As to the model, I enjoy these vintage locomotives when I can find them, and the price seems about right.  Dennis - I thought that you might be one of the people watching this! 

Before bidding I read on this forum some old posts on the Walthers Poly-Drive and how challenging it is to work on.  However, what ultimately sold me was that YouTube video of one running.

YouTube Video of Walthers Poly-Drive

I am finally getting around to working on this project.  First order of business was to get it running which is something my  81year old father enjoyed doing on my behalf.  He disassembled the locomotive and got it running.  Today, I am out on my back patio removing the many layers of paint this locomotive has received over the years.  It has been quite the task.  Paint remover and a toothbrush has been slow at best.  I am going to get some wire brushes as a little etching will allow it to take paint much better anyway.  Just working through the tender today.

In the meantime, some photos of the poly drive and just how complex this really is.  I can see why Walthers went away from this, but at the same time it is some solid engineering to have all axles powered.

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Last edited by GG1 4877

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