Hello all, longtime lurker because I’m mainly an N and HO modeler. I do have a bit of O gauge which sees the light of day during the holiday season and being a Wabash fan I am very happy to own the MTH Hudson and freight car set they released several years ago. What I am looking to do is get a steam loco and a few cars for my in laws who miss having a train at Christmas. Being that this is a one month or so out of the year setup, you can imagine that I am not ready to jump at a loco that is $500 let alone above! But I realize technology has advanced from what we had in the 80s and 90s, and most engines are not going to be around $200. I occasionally find myself drooling over O gauge reviews on YouTube (usually ericstrains who as you all know does the best reviews out there IMO). I also attend the 2 or 3 annual shows here in central Ohio where I get to see some of the latest and greatest O gauge in action. I appreciate all of the detail and “plusses” that are available on locos today, like whistle steam and firebox glow. But these are things that we don’t really need for this project.

 

Since they are from Pure Michigan (as Tim Allen would say ), and lived near Ann Arbor, it would be special to them to have a train that represents that area. I realize AA diesels have been released, but I am wanting to do an AA steamer, AA caboose and 3 or 4 freight cars representing lines of that area like DT&I, NYC, Wabash etc. I am a stickler for detail, thanks to my career in the art field, plus I have experience running live steam so all this has me taking on the challenge to find the closest model to something the Annie actually had. Below are a few photos of locos I’ve narrowed it down to -  a 2-8-0, a couple 2-8-2s and a couple 4-4-2s. A close match to any of those would be great, though I REALLY like the mikes, and especially the heavy mikes that the Wabash and Annie both had. #187 pictured looks like it would make a really nice looking model as it appears to have multiple grays or colors. But I am aware of the price of Lionel’s release! I’m finding that no AA steamers were ever made in O (or were there?) so I expect to be painting and re-lettering whatever I get my hands on.

 

I know both Lionel and MTH have released models that would be a good start. With any of these, I’ve already discovered that there will be some obvious differences, as models seem to have the bell in the wrong place, or have the wrong style of tender. Ones that do have the right looking tender have 2 or 3 things very wrong up front, vice versa. But I realize that there are only so many models that have been made, and I’m calling on you experts to let me know what is out there. Some of you will probably even point out things like firebox designs which I’ll take into account but again would not probably steer things one way or another. I also realize MTH has their budget conscious, less detailed “Rail King” line but most of the $200-$300 range locos I see on ebay are usually Pennsys etc and these all have a very strange tender (which would bother me to death!) or have several inaccuracies on the loco. If it comes down to one or two minor differences that’s fine, but I cannot be using a Pennsy with the headlight sitting that high or any of the odd tenders they had. I’ve started scouring ebay too as I am not opposed to a used engine as long as it runs well. I also know older models will be tied to specific control systems, but as long as something can run conventionally we should be fine. I do like the LionChief Plus since you have the option of a remote or conventional operation. But even those are up there (to me) as far as price. I just hate to put $400 into something I have to possibly paint.

 

I am also not above taking the engine apart enough so I can relocate the bell, move the headlight up, etc but I expect that there are enough gadgets in today’s engines I do not want to disturb so I am not even sure if I would be able to modify one easily. If it “feels” like one of those pictured, I’ve done my job. Again, I don’t have the budget for a $1000 literally “all the bells and whistles” loco that will be used once a year.  Also, table width is 42” if that matters. Thanks in advance for any input.

Work or play, go the Wabash way!

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John23 posted:

Not sure about the others but Weaver made a 2-8-0 that looks close to the one pictured.  A plus is that you can find one at a reasonable price, and you can modify the exterior to your hearts content.

I agree - plus, that more modern 4-4-2 (I just like Atlantics) might be well-emulated by a Lionel 4-4-2 that was produced many years ago. I have one. Only 1 chuff, I think (yuk). The Lionel loco is already a compromise - Lionel used a nice SP superstructure on a nice PRR E6 chassis with a low PRR box tender. A scale piece.

John and D500 both have great suggestions, ......I’ve been staring at the photo of the Brooks built Mikes, there’s always a plethora of Mikados on the market....looking at your photos (they’re hard to blow up..when you post up pics, click the little box that says insert full size) the only drawback I can see from the pictures at what’s available on the market is the boiler taper, looks like, and correct me if I’m wrong, the Brooks has a straight boiler, where as most of the models have a tapered boiler....Lionel’s 6-18079 mike seems to not to have as much taper...but they look like they’re holding their value on the bay........sometimes Williams brass Mikados pop up for relatively good deals.....but again, you’d have to be the judge on what bothers you and what don’t....I’m not real up on Brooks locomotives..........Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

harmonyards posted:

John and D500 both have great suggestions, ......I’ve been staring at the photo of the Brooks built Mikes, there’s always a plethora of Mikados on the market....looking at your photos (they’re hard to blow up..when you post up pics, click the little box that says insert full size) the only drawback I can see from the pictures at what’s available on the market is the boiler taper, looks like, and correct me if I’m wrong, the Brooks has a straight boiler, where as most of the models have a tapered boiler....Lionel’s 6-18079 mike seems to not to have as much taper...but they look like they’re holding their value on the bay........sometimes Williams brass Mikados pop up for relatively good deals.....but again, you’d have to be the judge on what bothers you and what don’t....I’m not real up on Brooks locomotives..........Pat

Thanks everyone! As for the image, I can see it full size by right clicking and opening in new window. I will try to attach it again here and see if I can get it a bit larger. I work in graphic design so I have all kinds of tricks.  

And I do appreciate the suggestions so far. That Weaver model is really close! But I'll wait for awhile and see if anyone else has ideas. I definitely feel better about this project now.AA steam

Work or play, go the Wabash way!

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K-Line did a semi scale 2-8-2 that is pretty close. I think its the basis for the Lionel Lion Chief Mikado. It came with TMCC and without. The one without TMCC can be had well within your price range. They are well built and run smooth. Here is one example.

Pete

Norton posted:

K-Line did a semi scale 2-8-2 that is pretty close. I think its the basis for the Lionel Lion Chief Mikado. It came with TMCC and without. The one without TMCC can be had well within your price range. They are well built and run smooth. Here is one example.

Pete

Sharp!  - Thanks for that suggestion. And you're right about the price on used non-CC engines. Only issue is the tender. Both the body and trucks are very different, but I did some digging thinking other roads might come with different tenders - sure enough their NYC K3670-1849W (with basic Signal Sounds) is perfect! It really is a superb match for the Annie's mikes in the photos - I'd need minimal work on details. So I am now in the hunt for one of those which I believe were released early 2000's. I also ran across your thread from a couple years ago showing some detail upgrades you made to your engines - nice work! 

Anyways, this does get me wondering about control systems. I would be running this engine conventionally so this version (not the CC version which unfortunately is all I see on ebay right now), would still have a simple bell and whistle which is great. But what transformer would I need to activate those? I currently use one of the basic MTH (I think a Z500 or similar) -  would that work?

Work or play, go the Wabash way!

Your MTH transformer should activate the bell and whistle. I think the only K-Line products that needed the special whistle controller were the 3000X models that used the Marx 3/16" 333 Pacific boiler tooling.

BTW if you find a K-Line TMCC model, it will still run conventionally and use the same bell/whistle buttons on your MTH transformer. All TMCC models will operate conventionally as long as there is no command base hooked up.

RoyBoy

RoyBoy posted:

Your MTH transformer should activate the bell and whistle. I think the only K-Line products that needed the special whistle controller were the 3000X models that used the Marx 3/16" 333 Pacific boiler tooling.

BTW if you find a K-Line TMCC model, it will still run conventionally and use the same bell/whistle buttons on your MTH transformer. All TMCC models will operate conventionally as long as there is no command base hooked up.

Thanks a million! I will certainly post an update or two once I get an engine and do some customizing. Thanks again everyone.

Work or play, go the Wabash way!

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