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These were part of the Williams Masterpiece Series, along with 2 NYC Hudsons, streamlined and unstreamlined (I have both); there was also an SP Cab-forward, I believe. This was,

unfortunately, Wms last gasp in the brass business, but it was a good one.


They are rare, but seem to go for moderate prices when they do show up, at least the last ones I noticed did. This was a few years ago. I'd grab one if I were you - I seem to recall

$795 asking....


They can certainly be upgraded to any system that you would like; essentially a model

locomotive is an empty shell, a motor and some gears, and the electronics used to run it can be of any type that can run (in this and most cases) a DC motor. I use ERR Cruise Commander/Railsounds.


There's nothing special about these things; anything can be upgraded to anything if

you remove the old "system".

$400 or so for something this nice; I have the Lionel TMCC version (so old it has no Odyssey), but if this Wms brass one comes up for $400 - $500...I'd be tempted.

Sell the Lionel (but then I'd have to put in ERR Cruise Control/RS...but that's only

$200 or less...) and keep the Wms. Probably better gearing.


Probably won't, but an idea.




Sam - don't know who the builder on these Wms Masterpiece Hudsons/Cab-Forwards/2-6-6-4's were, but the construction technique "fingerprints" often seem a lot like those on some 3rd Rail products that I have seen and/or have. They do seem to be better-built/more robust than 3rd Rail items, though. But, I do not have enough data to actually know that. Arrangements come and go, anyway. 

O.K. I got one! Really nice! I'll bring it to York (I'll be in White Hall just inside the door). I'd like to find someone who can give me an estimate on PSd 2 or 3 upgrade. Marty, I saw your notes on PSd 3 growing availability. Leave tomorrow morning for PA. When & where is the big MTH gathering on Wednesday(?)? I haven't read Clem's primer yet.



I'd like to find someone who can give me an estimate on PSd 2 or 3 upgrade.
Ask Wayne Renga of J and W Electronics. His table is near the middle of the Gold (Dealers') Hall.


D500 makes a good point: "There's nothing special about these things; anything can be upgraded to anything if you remove the old 'system.'"


Williams Trains are basic by today's standards. They are good candidates for upgrades. They sell for less. They have good motors and running gear. Their early electronics are easily removed, and that makes lots of room for modern systems.

One came through here about 15 years ago - factory 2-rail.  I was impressed.  The only minor flaw I saw at the time was the firebox - it was too narrow, and I could easily have fixed that.  I am pretty much finished buying stuff, but if one of these drops into my hot little hands it would get measured for scale, get a new firebox, and join my Williams 2-rail "J", also a pretty spectacular model.

Williams made quite a few brass locomotives. Samhongsa only made a few during the end. The class A,NYC J3a and Dreyfuss Hudsons I know for sure (I own the last two). Many were made by smaller Korean firms.I am not sure if the 1995 versions of the Big Boy and Challenger were made as I was out of trains then. Additional input welcome.


NYC Hudson, 1984 and 1995
NYC Dreyfuss Hudson, 1984 and 1995
B&O 4-6-2 Pacific, 1984
Pennsy K4 4-6-2, 1986-87
Modern K4 4-6-2 1989
USRA 4-6-2 1989 (seven road names)
Southern Ps-4 4-6-2, 1989
Camelback 4-6-0, 1990
Pennsy L1 2-8-2, 1987
USRA 2-8-2 1990 (five road names)
PRR B6 0-6-0, 1987
Pennsy 4-4-2, 1989
SP GS4 4-8-4, 1989
PRR 4-4-4-4, 1992 (several variations in paint)
N&W J-class 4-8-4, 1990
NYC 4-8-4, 1990
UP 4-6-6-4, 1987-88 and 1995
UP 4-8-8-4, 1989 and 1995
SP Cab-Forward 4-8-8-2, 1990
N&W 2-6-6-4, 1996
PRR S2 Turbine 1991(Project abandoned and taken over by Sunset)
Streamlined Pennsy K4 1995
Baldwin Shark diesel, 1985

Originally Posted by bob2:

 The only minor flaw I saw at the time was the firebox - it was too narrow,

I have heard this before, but, I never have measured mine so I don't know if it is too narrow or not.

However, there is one major flaw. That is the way the steam pipes are connected to the front cylinders. For whatever reason, being cheap skates is one, they used the same connection that was used on a UP Challenger or Big Boy. Totally wrong!

The Samshongsa Williams are just excellent candididates for detailing and upgrade to match almost anything. I gave $500.00 for a master piece Hudson and recently $350.00 for my cab forward. With parts not counting my own labor I'll have about $1,300 in the cab forward when it is finished.


I subsequently bought a new 3rd rail super Hudson for $1,300 and if 3rd rail had built an ac 12 cab forward for $2,000 I wouldn't be building my own.


The 3rd rail N&Ws are on the secondary market at very attractive prices currently and would make a better buy than almost anything else in my opinion.





There were 4 quite  different K4s locomotives made by Samhongsa in 2 and 3 rail O scale versions.  Around 1986 a pair of  K4's were simultaneously imported by Williams. I briefly was a local dealer for Jerry Williams and sold quite a few to DC area O scale 2 railers.  One version of the K4s was the  classic non-modernized pre-war front end, while the other was a model of circa 1940 streamlined K4s number 1120 (one of 4 similarly streamlined K4s) .  Note that this streamlining was totally different from  the circa 1935  Raymond Lowey styled  K4s 3768 (a.k.a. the "Torpedo").  In addition to K4s models, Williams imported Samhongsa models of PRR's  L1s, B6sb, and and E6s.  At some point in the 1990's Weaver supplanted Williams in importing Samhongsa built brass O scale 2 and 3 rail locomotives.  The first Weaver/Samhongsa brass steam locomotive was a PRR M1b, followed by quite a few other PRR prototypes including streamlined K4s 3768,(the Torpedo), a modernized K4s (1361??), A5s, H10s, G5, and T1.  As others have pointed out Samhongsa built Williams and Weaver brass models were solidly built and smooth running -  albeit with relatively austere details by today's standards.  Some dimensional compromises were made in (boiler/smoke box/pilot length) to enable the same chassis and boiler to be used for  2 and 3 rail versions.  The Williams B6sb and Weaver A5 however are spot on scale length and are excellent starting points for super detailing by rivet counting SPF's.


Ed Rappe 

Last edited by Keystoned Ed

I have always thought that Samhongsa (which also built many 2-rail O and I believe HO

brass models) built most of the Williams brass offerings, except the very early pieces 

(the too-maligned early Dreyfuss was one of them) and the late Masterpiece units.

Samhongsa had quit the model loco business before the Masterpiece items were built,

as I recall.


But I don't know that for sure, and Samhomgsa certainly did build a lot of Weaver items. Anyway, interesting. I wish someone would do a little definitive book on 3-rail brass loco/rolling stock production. It has been going on long enough to have a plot. 




When I stated way above that "there's nothing special about these things...", I actually

mean ALL model locomotives, of any brand. You strip all the electronics - simple or

complicated - out of a Lionel or MTH or 3rd Rail loco and you are left with a motor

and some gears, and a place to be filled as you wish.


Last edited by D500

There was a discussion about who made these a few months ago and if I remember correctly, someone said that Kohs (sp?) had produced the Lionel Smithsonian Dreyfuss and had some overage which they converted to 3 rail and sold to Williams. Supposedly they did the regular Hudson and the A Class as well.

Sounds improbable but who knows?

Last edited by c.sam

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