So, here’s my Williams die-cast Hudson with its new pilot wheels. They are turned steel, 17mm dia, coarse Scale flanges, on 3/16” axles, from Walsall Model Industries - a specialist supplier here in U.K. (For U.K. readers, they are “Lowmac” pattern). There don’t seem to be any clearance issues and they track nicely on O42 track, they are still slightly undersize (32” ) but the flanges are near-enough the same overall dia. 



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Why? Appearance. That loco is for club nights; it will mostly run on Fastrack, O60 or O72. The original 14mm ones looked mismatched, and I didn’t need the clearance. 



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Nice work ROCKERSHOVEL .....I guess you guys have to add lib for parts across the pond?....I’d have to tend to believe to order scale wheels from the US would cost a pretty penny?........Pat

Ad lib, yes! Good description.

Wheels are fairly easy, there’s a small but busy 2-rail O Scale scene over here. Motors are motors. The main problem is electronics, because reversers etc have to be imported, there’s nothing like them here. 

The loco actually came with what appears to be a Lionel pilot truck in the box. I’ve read elsewhere on the forum that they just drop in, but that’s not what I found; it wouldn’t fit at all. I could have swapped the wheels, but I decided to go for the steel ones and keep it intact. 

I had to drill the axle holes, because the new wheels have 3/16” axles - the ends are threaded, so you just spin the wheels on up to the shoulder and back-to-back is set. 

More ad lib! 

Just spent some time fettling the front pilot link and mounting screws, if that’s the correct term. The loco now traverses O36 curves nicely, although it definitely appreciates the O72 easement that I start the curve with when space allows. 

You can mount the scale front wheels from a lionel scale hudson by swapping a  few parts, links, and springs.

I have several of these Williams Hudson's and all have lionel scale pilots mounted.

Been a while but I think all you need is a screwdriver. 

This loco actually came with what appears to be a Lionel front pilot in the box, presumably bought as a conversion by the PO. 

It doesn’t fit, being about 6mm longer. I did think of swapping the wheels, but decided against breaking the complete assembly and opted for the ones you see. 

I did try the front pilot from a semi-scale K Line one; it fit, and looked better, but I need it for the original loco...

I do notice that the front pilot truck on my brass Williams 4-6-2 is longer and would probably accept the Lionel part, but the wheels are rather nice looking and I don’t intend to change it.


Last edited by Rockershovel

Your new truck really looks nice; the stock "tiny ballet dancer" wheels on these things are just painful to see, though I understand why they are needed for the tight-curves guys.

Here is my Williams Hudson using a more-scale-wheeled Lionel pony truck (eBay); drops right in, just for future reference for anyone considering the conversion. (I detailed/weathered/command-controlled the loco - and faked a bit of the missing valve gear. The pilot is still too high....)




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As there is various discussion of fitting Lionel scale pilots, I thought I’d show the achievable clearances, and a direct comparison with the unit that came with my loco.

First, clearance achieved on O36 track 


Here’s the pilot that came in the box. Looking at some other pictures, I could probably have got it in at the expense of reduced front clearance


Here’s a view of the overhangs on O36 track... I definitely think this loco belongs on O42 or bigger!


So, it’s a definite improvement and IMHO, a reasonable compromise on possible curves. I’ve got a stock of O42 and O54 track now, and some O42 radius switches; I’ve just bought a folding ping pong table on eBay so room for a simple layout using those sizes. 


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If I had the space, I would do the same. 

Pics of other locos remind me that the next job on this loco, is to fit a scale front coupler to replace the original lobster claw (now removed)

If I remember back when lionel reissued the Hudson in 1990 it came with two pilots...small wheels for small radius curves...scale wheels for large radius curves. 

I think the scale wheels are intended for o72 minimum curves...

When I run my 'scale' Hudsons its always on the larger radius for that reason and I never have problems. 

The 'semi-scale', scale, and 'whatever scale' terms are overlapping and at times misleading...referring to everything from foot-to-inch the level of detail on a casting or added hand-applied least from everything I've seen.

The Williams ENGINE you have is 'scale' in terms of 'size'...but if it has a smallish tender (I think a 2426) it is referred to as semi-scale...which is true for the TENDER but not the engine. The intent was to be a reproduction of the lionel 773...a less detailed version of the original lionel scale icon engine (700e) that most collectors consider the holy grail.

Williams also produced a numbered version (5207 or similar) which came with a scale size tender. Same engine, numbered as NYC, with large tender...and is considered scale.

See how it gets

And then...there is true semi scale...small engines with very selectively compressed detail...which came with, generally, the same size tender (small 2426) that came with the large scale engine you have.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder tho...I like them all and have all kinds...but am moving generally toward lionmaster/lionchief/mth railking because of space requirements. 

My scale stuff is surely destined to be shelf queens because I just don't have enough room and they look silly running on small curves.

The point tho, as you enjoy what you enjoy!



The loco I have is numbered #5205 and has a six wheel tender significantly longer than the six-wheel tender fitted to my K Line and Lionel semi-Scale Hudsons. So, it seems consistent with your description.

I did struggle with the whole scale/semi-scale thing, to begin with. 

So.. my K Line loco has compressed dimensions (length) and good detail, and a short tender, so it’s semi-Scale. The MPC era Lionel one is the same size, with MPC era detail, so it’s semi-Scale. 

The Williams loco is scale length, with a scale length tender. It originally came with small front wheels. Its drivers are visibly larger than either of the other locos. It has detail best described as “Post War Level”. So I’m going with “scale length” for that one. On that basis, I went with the 17mm wheels in the original pilot frame, so as to improve the appearance without unduly compromising the minimum radius. 

I’ve been tinkering with various combinations while life is quiet... this loco will negotiate O42 but it definitely isn’t preferred. It’s happy enough on O48 (I tried it on a combination of fastrack O48 with O72 transitions and it seemed happy enough).

It doesn’t care for O42, although it would be ok over switches or in off-scene staging yards, but a combination of O27 size, O42 with O54 transitions seems to work well enough. 

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