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I just got word (email) that my very limited production Big Boy (20-3807-1) has shipped from Trainworld! Can't wait to run my new Big Boy, now I have to sell my other Big Boy 20-3714-1 from 2017.


When it does arrive, could you be so kind to post a video review and what your first impressions are vs. the one you currently own?   

I imagine that others like myself would like to know how different the two models are from one another in terms of detail, sound and running capability.


Sure! It is coming ground, so will take a few days. From what I can tell you right now is that my older Big Boy from 2017 was the second run that had the smoking whistle (20-3575-1 was the first run with smoking whistle). The new Big Boy is produced at only 150 units (I think this may have changed due to extreme interest in additional orders). It comes with a signed letter of authenticity on production numbers, has glossy black paint to resemble the real one and also comes with work lights on the drivers. I will do a full a review when I get it.

Well, I wrote that based on where your profile says you live. The Jack Benny radio and TV show line by the station announcer about the train now leaving for Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga. Voiced by Mel Blanc.

A few examples of it in that video - first at about 4:20, then about 5:45, and a later callback - and Sheldon Leonard makes an appearance.


Last edited by NKP Muncie

The key wording in the title to this thread is “LAST Mike Wolf”.  I feel confident we will see more production of MTH design Big Boys.  If profit can be made from limited special production runs then there is even greater profit from larger runs.  It seems the delay may stem from transactional hurdles associated with sale and transfer of ownership of business assets.  MTH produced quality products and there is unmet demand for more of that production which market forces will attempt to fill.  Not everyone has to have a preserved locomotive for their collection - I prefer to memorialize those no longer with us by purchasing locomotive  cab numbers that did not survive scrapping.

Last edited by The Portland Rose
@CurtisH posted:

No where near all of it just a couple that's it and not the big boy!

True, Lionel or any other company interested in MTH tooling, would only be in the market for models not currently in there inventory.  Lionel doesn't need Big Boy tooling as they have there own.

As far as Mike is concerned, he would have sold everything if he got the right offer.

Arrived today. Awesome looking engine. The glossy paint job looks like it is not die cast. Hard to explain.  Following are a couple of videos;

1.  the tender does not like going through my Ross 092-072 curve. It will not go into it from the points direction where it will ride up the points and derail.

2. I do have min 072 curves on my upper loop. The Big Boy overhangs about 2 1/4 inches around those curves - give it 2 1/2 to be safe - measured from the outside rail.

3. I had to move my crossing light and "mountain" to allow passage through the curve. I am about a 1/2 too much thickness to accommodate the overhang in the curve.

4. While I am not much on reading instructions, there is a shipping bar across the steps at the front of the tender. It needs to be removed to attach the wireless tether. Ask me how I found out. 

5 rather odd? the Imperial Big Boy had a larger overhang at the cab end. The Premier is at the lead boiler.

Good thing there is a new layout planned in the next house. Going to need 092 curves maybe bigger where he is in prime viewing. Smokes you out of the room.

Video of the overhang - pretty extreme to my eye.

At the end of the video you can see the tender jump as it clears the curve. At speed it seems less of an issue.

For those of you familiar with TwinPines RR, I had to pull the mountain scenery to provide clearance. Also pulled the cross buck back as it did not like being swiped by the boiler.


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Dear @ScoutingDad,

Thanks for posting those video's!  I agree the overhang is really extreme.

It would be interesting to see a comparison of the two different models side by side on a piece of 072 inch track to see the overhang differences.     

Could you post some still photos of the models side by side for a detail comparison?

Is the detailing appreciably different from what you could tell?

How did you like the new sound system vs. the previous version?

Last edited by Allegheny

I have 3 MTH Premier Big Boy's (first run 20-2031-1 cab#4012, DAP 20-80001 cab#4018 and 20-3575) and the overhang seems normal on your new Big Boy. These are huge engines and require allot of space. Once I get my new limited edition Big Boy (I live on West Coast, so it will arrive in a few more days) I plan on selling the 20-3575. The reason I opted to buy this new Big Boy as I figured it would be the last Big Boy under the old company, plus I meet Mike Wolf a few times and he's a very friendly guy. The last time I saw Mike was in San Diego running on my friends public layout on the Old Town San Diego Model Railroad Depot. We had lots of fun running that day and though it would be a great tribute to have one last engine from him (old company). I told him he was the modern day Joshua Lionel Cowen and he smiled at me and laughed.

Here's a YouTube video of my Big Boy 20-3575-1 running on my clubs layout in San Diego, the San Diego 3-Railers. If you look carefully, you can see allot of overhang and we use 80+ radius curves as a minimum.

Richard - nice videos of the SD Club.  I see what you mean by the overhang even with 80+ curves.

@RJT  wow, would not expect a tender derailment to do that much damage. Glad I tried it going through that section - would not have expected a problem there - especially with a tender.

@jhl1963  The certificate is signed by Mike.  Looks exactly like an EKG but more compressed and erratic.


Here is the Imperial Big Boy - I sold it last year. Also a nice engine for something scaled down.

BigBoy Imperial

And then Mike's - a panoramic photo since its too big to get a decent close up.

Mikes Big Boy

There really is no fair comparison.  The Premier Steamers unlike the Diesels are so much bigger than the RailKing Versions. I have previously posted side by sides with the SP Daylight for the best example. I sold off my Daylight and N&W J class because to my eye they were not up to par. However If I could only run RK steamers I may have kept them. Can't say anything about the sound as yet. Kind of thinking about selling this one. Maybe if I get an offer I can't refuse.  Jeff


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  • Mikes Big Boy


Thanks for your response and for posting a few pictures.  Enjoy your new acquisition - but be careful going through those switches.   I imagine there has to be a fix for the problem - eventually solved by one of our forum members.

I see you are involved in the Scouting program - as am I.  My son eagled and then aged out back in 2018.   I'm still going strong as an ASM and as a Unit Commissioner for the local district.   

But I do enjoy very much watching the kids grow up and turning into very fine, well behaved, responsible young American young men with strong leadership skills.  Such an amazing transformation honestly.   The only thing I don't do anymore is camping in the dead of winter.  I let the dad's enjoy that experience with their sons!

I don’t have one of these but do have an older FEF, Challenger, and Big Boy with similar tenders. Take a look at the 5 axle fixed truck. The leading and trailing axles have shouldered axle bushings. The three middle axles should have bushings without shoulders to allow more side to side play. I have found at least one of these tenders to have shoulders on all the bushing and had to machine them off.

No idea if this is the issue here but worth a look.


@Norton posted:

I don’t have one of these but do have an older FEF, Challenger, and Big Boy with similar tenders. Take a look at the 5 axle fixed truck. The leading and trailing axles have shouldered axle bushings. The three middle axles should have bushings without shoulders to allow more side to side play. I have found at least one of these tenders to have shoulders on all the bushing and had to machine them off.

No idea if this is the issue here but worth a look.


Like Pete said check the centipede truck and make sure the center 3 wheels/axles have side to side play. I have a Premier UP FEF and a Premier DM&IR Yellowstone which use the same tender chassis, and neither have any issues through 072 curves or Ross 072 switches in forward reverse at any speed.

Pete and Lou -as I have time I'll take a close look at the tender wheel sets. Its acting very similar to scale wheel sets trying to make a turn, they just ride up the rails.

@Allegheny My scouting days have long passed, but a few of us old guys still manage to do some wilderness camping from time to time.  I rather enjoyed the winter camping, forest sounds are completely different and I was not in a bunk cabin with a bunch of "odiferous" scouts. Agreed on watching the boys grow up. The program done right helps build fine young men. I suppose we'll have to add fine young women as well but that happened after I "retired" from the "only 1 hour a week" scout leader program.

I was able to look at a Mike Wolf Big Boy and compare the centipede tender truck to the one on my DM&IR Yellowstone, which uses the exact same truck assembly. Both have the same wheel gauge (measured with calipers), with bushings to limit side to side movement on axles 1&5, with the middle three axles having no bushings, to allow them to shift as the truck goes around curves. The wheels on axles 1&5 on the Yellowstone tender have more side to side movement than the same axles on the Big Boy tender. Using a feeler gauge I could get a 2.5mm one between the wheel and bushing the Yellowstone tender, but barely got a 1mm gauge between the wheel and bushing on the Big Boy tender.

Here's the gap between the wheel and bushing on the DM&IR Yellowstone.


Here it is on the Mike Wolf Big Boy.


This could be causing the issue, especially if the 072 curves the Big Boy runs on aren't exactly perfect.


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@jini5 posted:

Does anyone know about the switch on the bottom of the tender labeled  AUX / COAL ? I am wondering if there is a harness inside the tender that hooks to MTH's yellow flag AUX tender. Would opening up the tender to look void the warranty?

That's exactly what it’s for, and the harness is in the tender. I doubt opening the tender to extend the harness will void the warranty.

BigBoy Update -  got a chance to run the Oil Version Big Boy for the first time in 3 weeks or so with my grandson. Unless a friendly gremlin showed up, the tender is not jumping the curved 096/072 Ross switch like it did earlier. I think its related to run time to allow everything to loosen up. Tender still binds in the switch at low speeds, but a little light oiling of the wheel bearing and additional run time should be all it needs.  Engine runs through no problem.  Its running through the 072 section not the 096 section.

Also connected it through my DCS. Found out accidentally I had to turn on whistle smoke through the app. That is a pretty neat feature,  as well as the quilling. 

On another note, I'm happy with my purchase of the 20-3801-1 from Trainworld. But am a bit disappointed that we were all told this was a very limited run as Mike Wolf was retiring and only 150 units would be produced in 3 rail and 50 units in 2 rail. Also, this run would come with a certificate of authenticity. Well when we received these engines no official number produced (no number "X" of 150 produced) there has been speculation that those production numbers were increased as the orders were increased from dealers. That's okay, but the cert should say something like number 56 of "XXX" produced. Now we hear that Mike Wolf has NOT retired (a good thing) and MTH has taken a different marketing approach on train manufacturing which is okay too. So this will probably NOT be the last Big Boy made under Mike Wolf, like we were lead to believe.

My two cents....

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