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I like the look of the wild west 4-4-0 engines with their bright colors and polished trim. However, I don't like the appearance of the Lionel postwar "General" engines because I think they look squat and stubby and the wagon top boiler looks odd. I know SMS made some really detailed 4-4-0 engines about a decade ago but were very expensive and they are long gone now.

Does any company make a 1800s "scale" 4-4-0 American that runs on three-rail track? I am not looking for a mogul, or a ten-wheeler, or a modern era (1900s) 4-4-0. I want a "wild west" 4-4-0.

Thanks.

(PS: this is not an offer to buy your engine... I don't want this moved to the want ads).

Last edited by BenLMaggi
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The most 'scale' 19th century period 4-4-0 American locomotives that are ready-to-run would likely be Lionel's brass-hybrid models from the 2019 Volume 2 catalog. They don't come up often on the secondary market, but I don't think they command terribly premium prices, at least not much more than the catalog price at $1100 each.

@BenLMaggi posted:

Does any company make a 1800s "scale" 4-4-0 American that runs on three-rail track? I am not looking for a mogul, or a ten-wheeler, or a modern era (1900s) 4-4-0. I want a "wild west" 4-4-0.

Not really.  Only "wild west" 4-4-0 locomotives were the 2 AHM/Rivarossi O scale ones that were not 3 rail, so you're faced with scale flanges and a need to add a center rail pick up, if you can find any in good shape.  There was of course the PSC golden spike pair where you are again confronted by those being 2 rail and running $2500K-$3500K if you are lucky to find them.  SMR made several 4-4-0 locomotives but none were really "wild west" at all; Civil War era and mainly east coast prototypes. And, SMR while long gone now is quite pricey in any configuration.

Lionel also did a scale Lincoln Funeral Train, also a brass hybrid if I am remembering correctly, a number of years back.

I will add that the SMR models are the best, I have their General, Texas, and Yonah.  SMR did quite a few different road names, but they were done in very small production runs, so they rarely show up on the secondary market.  Your best bet is probably in hunting down one of the more recent Lionel brass hybrids.

Andy

@BenLMaggi posted:

It seems that the market is ripe for a company to introduce a lower-end SCALE Wild West 4-4-0.

That would be a dream come true for me, as the early 4-4-0's are my favorite locomotive type.  I just wonder how "lower-end" they could go, as scale 4-4-0's are tiny, and I'm sure the colorful paint schemes add significant complexity, and they would have to sacrifice a lot of the little details.  Still, there were such a wide variety of roadnames that could be done, if they could figure it out, they could get years and years of production runs.  Heck, they can always sell a ton of "Generals" and perhaps even multiple versions -- original and as it looks now (after its last restoration) -- I know I'd be in for more.

And speaking of the original "General", I was surprised when I saw the art that SMR commissioned to help finance production -- the "General" looked very different during Andrews Raid than it does now (I'm not even sure how much of the "General" today is even original, since it was rebuilt several times over its working life) .  Here are a couple of pix of my "General" (note the outside frame it originally sported) and "Texas" that I had handy:

g1g2

Andy

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A couple of notes for this thread:

First, Lionel’s and MTH’s models of the General were grossly oversized. I did a measurement about 20 years ago and determined the MTH model (which seemed to be based on the correctly scaled, classic Mantua HO General) was approximately 1:36 scale. Lionel’s version is similarly sized but impossible to scale, given that it isn’t truly a model of the General.

The SMS brass model is a 1:48 representation of the General, but it was based on earlier versions of the historic 4-4-0. (The General was rebuilt several times. Mantua modeled their version on the locomotive as it exists today in the Southern Museum in Kennesaw, Georgia, and as it was in the 1950s, when it was still under steam.)

Finally, the moderators are the only ones who could have moved your post, which clearly belongs here. If you want more information on what belongs in the 3-Rail Scale Forum, contact them.

@MELGAR posted:

I would also buy 3-rail O gauge scale models of 1880's steam engines - 0-4-0, 0-6-0, 4-4-0, 4-4-2, 4-6-0, 2-6-0, 2-6-2, 2-8-0...

MELGAR

Me too!  I have a few of the MTH Premier 4-4-0 and 2-8-0's and Railking Generals, but that's about it.

I also have the Lionel Heritage series of very early locos (John Bull, Best Friend of Charleston, Stourbridge Lion), but those really are just for display.

Andy:  Given that we've had O gauge Best Friends and John Bulls produced I don't think an O gauge 4-4-0 would be that difficult.  The bigger challenge would be convincing manufacturers that there is a market out there for 19th century steam.  There isn't much enthusiasm among manufacturers for early 20th century small steam either, and much of that actually made it into the 1940s.

One mid 19th century loco produced in O gauge that often gets overlooked is Factory Direct Train's Winan's camel.  While not appropriate for western roads they were used by the B&O, Pennsy and Northern Central into the 1880s.  They also did the pot hoppers that B&O used.  Not sure if they are still in business but BTS did kits for Civil War and some post Civil War cars in O, along with other scales.

@Bill N posted:

Andy:  Given that we've had O gauge Best Friends and John Bulls produced I don't think an O gauge 4-4-0 would be that difficult.

It is not that it would be difficult, but the challenge would be getting the cost down to a point where the investment in tooling for a lower-end scale (non-brass, non-hybrid) locomotive would be worthwhile, otherwise we will have to be content with $1000+ brass hybrids (probably much higher now).

@Bill N posted:

One mid 19th century loco produced in O gauge that often gets overlooked is Factory Direct Train's Winan's camel.

An interesting bit of trivia -- the FDT Winan's Camel and hoppers was originally an SMR Trains project, but the production sample of the Camel was not up to SMR's standards (that were agreed upon in the contract), and was not going to be brought up to the agreed standards, so SMR cancelled the project.  If I am remembering correctly, the factory had already started production without the go-ahead from SMR and decided to sell them anyway, either dba Factory Direct Trains or through them.  It has been a while, so details are fuzzy, but I got the whole story direct from Dave S. (SMR) at York.

Andy

Last edited by Andy Hummell

Just as a note here, the Rivarossi/AHM 4-4-0s are really nice engines if a bit underpowered but then again probably pretty true to what the real engines could pull. They are out there (I've collected 15+ both R-T-R and in kit form) and I've paid less than $200 for a good running R-T-R example. There are differences between the Reno and the Genoa, one represents the engines in their earlier guise with no air brakes/compressor or generator and as a wood burner and the later engine has generator, compressor, oil bunker tender etc.

They are built to European O Scale 1/43 and the wheel flanges are oversized compared to good 2 rail scale wheels so they should run ok on Atlas 3 rail track and I would think GarGraves and Ross, not sure how they would do on traditional tubular track. I've seen examples people have converted to 3 rail using Lionel P/U rollers and bridge rectifiers. They look 1,000+ times better to me than the Lionel General or the MTH version as they are an actual scale model albeit in 1/43 scale.

BTS does indeed make a nice selection of O Scale 19th century freight car kits and they are adding more all the time, everything from 1860s cars to 1870s/80s cars. BTS is also working on 19th century wood beam trucks as well. I got lucky and bought a bunch from SMR before they closed up shop.

The Lionel Hybrid 4-4-0 models are beautiful but pricey and I wish they had made proper 2 rail versions. You could also get really lucky and score an old Great Western Models 4-4-0 but I think they were all scale 2 rail as well. 

I did not see the MTH Premier NYC&HR Empire State Express Buchanan-designed 4-4-0 mentioned above. It's tiny. And a good model. The early ones had over-sized tenders due to electronics considerations - it still looked good - but the later ones had more accurately-sized tenders.

Late 1800's and a New York Central loco, so I don't know how "wild west" it is to you. MTH offered both versions of the loco as I recall: the original 86.5" driver speed-record version, and the later 70" driver version.



An interesting bit of trivia -- the FDT Winan's Camel and hoppers was originally an SMR Trains project, but the production sample of the Camel was not up to SMR's standards (that were agreed upon in the contract), and was not going to be brought up to the agreed standards, so SMR cancelled the project.  If I am remembering correctly, the factory had already started production without the go-ahead from SMR and decided to sell them anyway, either dba Factory Direct Trains or through them.  It has been a while, so details are fuzzy, but I got the whole story direct from Dave S. (SMR) at York.

Andy

I remember that too.  I also remember SMR being setup in the Orange Hall at York.  I would drool over the models that they were showing.  If only my pockets were a little bit deeper.  I had seen one of their models come up for auction several years ago and it went for quite a bit. 

It would be nice for someone to get the molds and start making them again (this time with DCS or TMCC )!


It would be nice for someone to get the molds and start making them again (this time with DCS or TMCC )!

Since the SMR locos were brass, there are no molds.  I'm sure Dave S. (the man behind SMR) still has the CAD files and design specs if he is still around, and they might be of use to someone wanting to create tooling/molds to try and do a big production run or multiple/ongoing production runs.  He put a lot of effort and research into all of his locomotives (he is an Adjunct Professor of History at Lake Sumter State College in Florida, last I heard), and I always enjoyed talking history of all types and eras with him at York.

His models were all "command-control-and sound-ready" in that they were designed to be easy to add TMCC or DCS and sound, although at the time, the boards, speakers and hardware had to be installed in a trailing boxcar as there was no room in the locos or tenders.  I don't think that is a problem now.

Andy

While SMR's web site is gone, snapshots of it can be viewed at the Internet Archive "Wayback Machine" -- here is the gallery of some of the various models he did over the short lifespan of the company.  Looks like he did a total of at least 9 locomotives.  I had totally forgotten that he also did a couple of 2-6-0's, including the V&T "Tahoe" that currently resides at the PRR Museum in Strasburg (wish now that I had the funds to buy one back in the day).  The site is missing pix of the W&ARR passenger cars that they did -- he managed to find, after a long search, an actual period photo of a W&ARR coach that he used to make to models correctly (he wasn't going to do it if he couldn't do it correctly).  Many of his production runs were 25 pcs or less in 3 rail (and less in 2 rail), which is why they are rare and pricey.  The "General" had the biggest run with a little over 150 in 3-rail (don't remember how many in 2 rail, but was less).

Andy

Last edited by Andy Hummell

Just curious, forgotten, how much crinkly green paper ($) did they cost new, and have gone for today?

When I bought my General, it was around $1275 (a little more than what I paid for my Legacy PM Berkshire around the same time), and by the time I bought my third locomotive (Yonah), the 4-4-0's were up to around $1500.  If I am remembering correctly, the 2-6-0's were a little more expensive by maybe around $100.  I haven't paid too much attention to the secondary market on these, but I do remember one of the Generals going for over $2k, but it is possible it was a 2-rail version.  At York, I got to see every one of SMR's models over the years he was there, and they were all museum-quality works of art.

Andy

270E6545-E1DF-4AC6-A57F-EA9987B02F5D34CFD491-3B68-4BDD-9C2C-B105303EED6A746AEFE0-470C-4909-B2A9-0231865E19068CB96AC6-85DC-4659-83A7-983440123350Want to know just how oversized the Lionel General is, here is one next to a 1/4 Scale plan of the General.  Funny  thing is the passenger cars scale out just about perfect against original plans though a little shorter. I’m going to use some beater Lionel cars to kitbash some scale cars to go with my Rivarossi 4-4-0s.

The plans shown here are from Ed Alexander’s fantastic book on Civil War railroads which is packed with O scale plans for locos, cars, structures etc.

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@BenLMaggi posted:

I like the look of the wild west 4-4-0 engines with their bright colors and polished trim. However, I don't like the appearance of the Lionel postwar "General" engines because I think they look squat and stubby and the wagon top boiler looks odd. I know SMS made some really detailed 4-4-0 engines about a decade ago but were very expensive and they are long gone now.

Does any company make a 1800s "scale" 4-4-0 American that runs on three-rail track? I am not looking for a mogul, or a ten-wheeler, or a modern era (1900s) 4-4-0. I want a "wild west" 4-4-0.

Thanks.

(PS: this is not an offer to buy your engine... I don't want this moved to the want ads).

Ben can I ask what brand/type of 3 rail track are you running? I pulled out a Lionel General, Thomas Industries Shawnee 4-4-0, and a Rivarossi 4-4-0 to do a compare and contrast of the three.

@StudeDude posted:

270E6545-E1DF-4AC6-A57F-EA9987B02F5D34CFD491-3B68-4BDD-9C2C-B105303EED6A746AEFE0-470C-4909-B2A9-0231865E19068CB96AC6-85DC-4659-83A7-983440123350Want to know just how oversized the Lionel General is, here is one next to a 1/4 Scale plan of the General.  Funny  thing is the passenger cars scale out just about perfect against original plans though a little shorter. I’m going to use some beater Lionel cars to kitbash some scale cars to go with my Rivarossi 4-4-0s.

The plans shown here are from Ed Alexander’s fantastic book on Civil War railroads which is packed with O scale plans for locos, cars, structures etc.

Good job! Yep, these images offer an excellent perspective.

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