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This A class Hiawatha Atlantic was too hard to resist.  It's an Overland model that probably spent more time on the shelf than actual running.  Close investigation reveals an amateur paint job hiding some of the intense detail.  Of course, the missing orange paint on the loco and tender sides sure makes this speed demon look subdued.

The poor paint was only outdone by the poorly applied

Rather than suffer the extra dry, lumpy finish, I chose to strip the shell in preparation for a new splash job at some future date..........and so...

A previous owner made the rear wall of the cab removable.  Otherwise, a lot of neat detail might go unnoticed.


The opening fire box door plus a wealth of backhead goodies is topped off with a miniature oil can.  I painted this to show off the detail better. 

The running gear still sports it's "as is" paint work, which fortunately will only require a touch up.

The ancient Sagami and equally aged transmission were coaxed to life, but serious reworking will be needed here if it is to be a good runner.

The sprung cab doors detach with the back panel.  Once the paint was removed, the sliding side windows began sliding again.

The shrouded smoke box detail could be accessed if you chose to cut the stylized wings between the hinges.  Even with the wings removed it became obvious that the clam shell doors were soldered close.

All the access hatches have accompanying handles ...there must be a hundred of them.  Even the running board hand rail has a ribbed pattern ( barely visible ) and is the only steel item on the loco shell.

Get rid of the paint and both pilot doors now open, revealing the folded coupler and above that the bell.

A parting shot with the tender.  Definitely no high water pants on this rendition.





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The paint helped preserve the brass from tarnishing but there was a slight bit of it covering the shell stampings.  Cast brass pieces, as typical, retained a nice bright yellow, which saved a lot of time consuming detail polishing.  I use Mothers metal polish, sometimes applied with a custom cut short bristle paint brush for scrubbing in hard to reach areas.

I always have a gallon of lacquer thinners handy just for such projects.  This paint job peeled away from the shell in sheets after a 15 minute soak.   Another short bristle brush was used to dig out trapped paint in corners and seams.  I even restripped the backhead, so that all is shiny brass except for the chassis and running gear.  The tender shell went swimming this afternoon while retaining the paint on the trucks.  I added restricting chains to the tender trucks.  Attachment points were already provided by Overland but the chains left off to facilitate truck removal.

Tonight's plan is to prepare the emblems to be temporarily reattached.   Then I can take a breather from this diversion.  For now, it displays nicely, but will need all my skill, and then some, to do a complete paint job.  Five tone splash jobs require a monumental amount of masking.



Big Jim posted:

The "Speedliners" are some of my favorite locos. This is a nicely detailed model once the paint was removed! I hope it will get the proper paint job it deserves and not something out of a rattle-can!

Big Jim,

Ever since my first 2 rail O gauge engine ( cast boiler All Nation door stop ) I've had a thing for the wheel configuration.  A good example of an A was always on my radar.  The goal now is a full set of 4. 

It may seem odd that Milwaukee chose a use the outdated 4-4-2 wheel arrangement, but for their purpose, they were almost perfect, and as such lived relatively long lives.  I have a British publication on the A's and F-7's that has in-depth statistics on both engines.  Everything seemed overbuilt, oversized and under priced on the A's.  It claims an entire Hiawatha train ensemble price, that's cars and engine, was a whopping $279,847. ea.



Last edited by brwebster

In the 1980's a friend of mine gave me a book by Brian Hollingsworth titled 'The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World's Steam Passenger Locomotives".  It has a page and a half of information on the A and F-7 Milwaukee 4-4-2 and 4-6-4 Hiawatha locomotives.  In addition, there is a fold out illustration of the Atlantic that must be nearly 1/2 inch to the foot scale with smaller full color renditions of the Hiawatha passenger cars.

It is amazing to think that these Atlantics were pounding the rails between Milwaukee and Chicago 80 years ago at speeds over 100MPH on a daily basis.   

There is a book, long out of print.  it's another thing on the radar.

I buttoned up the engine tonight and shot a few pics.

the most work was straightening all the kinks out of the

Lots of detail up top

The ten wheel tender was apparently designed to eliminate the harmonic vibrations set up at high speeds on tenders with matching trucks.   Only a 1" slot the length of the tender is cut out of the bottom, covered here by the central beam.  Really tough to add electronics back here

There's lots of operating hatches up top

Now that the decals are toast, I attached brass numbers to the cab.   Although they're a bit larger than original, at least the font is correct. 





Perhaps an oft told tale, but when the Hiawathas were introduced in the mid-1930's, literally 1000's of regular folks would be trackside to see the new streamliners flash past. My Dad (DOB 1920) and his two brothers went to the Edgebrook (Chicago) Station to see them!  One can well imagine what a departure from the drab trains of that era these represented and how they must have provided a boost to the spirits in the darkest depths of the Depression.

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