Never one to miss a chance to showcase my shutterbug skills, I offer these pix of my Lionel New York Central J1d Hudson. Of course, they come with a story.
The Mexican-built 783 Hudson from the late General Mills/MPC era was the first example of a "scale" 4-6-4 Hudson that Lionel had produced since the 1964 edition of the 773, some 20 years earlier. I couldn't wait to get one, but when it was delivered I found it to be both cosmetically and mechanically disappointing. Since it was a direct descendant of the fabled 1937 700E, I figured I should put some effort into making lemonade from a lemon. Here's where I started -
Using many original Lionel parts including a set of spoked 763E drivers, several homemade details and grab irons, and a Madison Hardware motor and tender, I came up with a good running model that is perhaps better detailed than a 700E -
The various Lionel Hudsons in the 700 series all were modeled after NYC J1e 5344, the twice streamlined "most famous" Hudson of all. Given the additions and changes I had made, I didn't want to wind up with "just another" J1e. There weren't a lot of visual differences between a J1e and a J1d, so I decided to back date it. Also, as another O gauge modeler once noted, I like my passenger engines "all gussied up." He was right, so I did this one in a striping scheme that was sometimes applied to J1d Hudsons in the late 1920s and early '30s.
Having styled it as a J1d, I needed to give it some justifying detail. If you look closely at the picture below, you'll see that the finished model has an tubular Elesco feedwater heater mounted through the top of the boiler just behind the class lights. No doubt the NYC experts here will know better, but I think this was the main visual difference between the J1d and J1e.
Incidentally, the engine in the background is an original 700E with refreshed lettering. I found some old Letraset Railroad Roman lettering sets in an art supply house that matched the original font and size almost perfectly.
You can apply your eyes drops now. I won't mind. Really.