Bashed Mantua 4-4-0

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by Bill Stone, Sep 27, 2002.

  1. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    This old girl (the blue one) has been around for about 15 years, and as it's getting a little worn, and I'm not now happy with the detail level, she's about to go into the shop and get a rebuild. Thought I'd post a picture of her before that happens.

    This teakettle started life as a Mantua "General" 4-4-0 (The green one above is a stock "General" that I recently bought for parts --- I show it here for reference) and all I really did was pop a new boiler on it, change the pony truck wheels, and make the loco and tender a little more close-coupled. It's pretty amazing how so little work can make such a difference in the character of a loco.

    Bill S

    Attached Files:

  2. rich maiorano

    rich maiorano Member

    nice bill great work :eek: :rolleyes: :D rich
  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Looks great to me! :)
  4. t. alexander

    t. alexander Member

    Bill, looks good now, looking forward to seeing the after pic's.
    I've got two Rivarrossi 4-4-0's in route. One's a straight stack and the other's a balloon stack. Can't wait to tear into them.

  5. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Thanks gentlemen --- but the photo is probably just fuzzy enough to hide most of the flaws. And I had never gotten around to installing sand pipes, or even valve gear!

    T, I have several Rivarrossi/IHC/AHC 4-4-0's lying around. I've plans to do some bashing on them one of these days. The older ones have sheet metal frames, and the newer ones have plastic frames (or maybe it's the other way around....) both of which are a little harder to work on (in MHO) than the General, which is good, old fashioned pot metal with brass (bronze would be better) bearings. Although the Rivarrossi really is a handsome loco (in most of its iterations) there are a few things that bug me about it: All 12 truck wheels are way, way too small, and the headlight bracket being attached to the stack is really odd looking. I think correcting those faults won't be difficult (although I suspect that fat motor will have to be replaced to clear the tender wheels) and new wheels will really make these babies outstanding.

    I had always presumed that the Riv/IHC/AHC engines were all from the same tooling, but that is obviously not the case as there are significant detail differences between the various ones I've bought on eBay. I don't mean just pilots, stacks, paint and markings, but the aforementioned frame, plus things like injectors and other stuff molded or and/or assembed onto the boiler.

    Did you get new ones, or did you, like me, collect them off eBay?

    Bill S
  6. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    That's a great piece of work Bill!
    :cool: :cool: :cool:
  7. t. alexander

    t. alexander Member

    Bill, both engines are older, from ebay. One of them, by the discription of the seller is a work in progress and comes with a new "properly sized motor" (not sure what that means). The other engine is new (old) in the box.

    I noticed the headlight situation from the pics. It also appears in the photo's that the pilot's sit to high off the rails?

    I plan on removing all the molded on parts from the boiler and replacing them with the "real thing". I't looks like I'll be doing alot of scratchin and bashin on them. Anybody need some plastic wood loads?!

    Thanks for the info on what to look for with the Rivarrossi stuff. I havn't had them before so don't really know what to expect.
    Are they good runners?

    If they turn out as good as your 4-4-0 looks now I'll be pleased.
    Get ready to be bombarded by Questions.

  8. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Thanks, Charlie. Yell "hi" out the window. My sister and her husband are almost neighbors --- in La Grange. When they showed me the freight train sneaking through La Grange on a city street, I REALLY was ready to move there! But the child bride just didn't think that was a good enough reason to move across the country.

    T. I'll be happy to answer any questions, but I haven't done any real work on the IHC 4-4-0's. Just a lot of gazing at them and semi planning. Yeah, I'd forgotten that the pilots are too high off the rails. Don't know why some manufacturers always do that. I just pulled one out (it says Rivarrossi on the bottom) and a cursory look under the pilot makes me think that the pilot and the whole front deck, from the steam chest forward, could be cut off and lowered. One neat thing on the plastic boiler: The dome bases are part of the boiler, and the rest of the dome is turned brass, screwed on from underneath. That will make it a real snap to change domes without having to fit the new ones to the radius of the boiler.

    I've been told that these guys run pretty well. I'm ashamed to admit that since I was collecting them to bash, and intend to remotor them, I've never even put one on the test track. I suspect that the gearing is not as high a ratio as it should be but hopefully a can motor will make that okay.

    Has your layout dried out yet? We are drying up to dust out here, and other parts of the country are drowning..... Go figure.....

    Bill S
  9. t. alexander

    t. alexander Member

    Bill, Yes the room dried out for the most part. As the "shop" was built below sea level, my next task is to raise the floor above the high water mark:D (4")

    Looking at your engine again is making me impaitent to get mine.
    I still hav'nt finished up the scratch built 4-4-0 though.

    'Been working on a diarama based on an engraving of the Berges cut excavation.

  10. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    I got curious this morning, and pulled my collection of European 4-4-0's out of the box to have a look. Figured out the differences. The older ones, with sheet metal frames, were made by Pocher, and the newer ones, with plastic frames are Rivarrossi. The very newest ones I have are in IHC boxes, and the locos don't have Pocher or Rivarrossi labels on them --- just "Made in Slovenia." They look identical to the Rivarrossis. Now I think of it, the Pocher-built ones must have been the ones marketed in the US by the old IHC. I don't know whether Rivarrossi copied Pocher, or the other way around. They are definately not from the same tooling, but are attempts to model the same locos.

    Yeah. 4" below sea level does not make for a real dry shop! If that's sea water that gets in there, I'd think you'd have some rusty tools too..... (But the salt should keep the termites and dry rot away.)

    Bill S
  11. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Bill, you made a great job of that conversion. It was 1961 when i was in Germany when I first saw the Mantua offering, hurried to by it but didn't!, it ran like a 3 legged camel with an attitude!:) .

    It did however make me fall in love with old time American stuff though and I've never looked back on European equipment. I have the IHC 4-4-0 it's a smooth runner and real dream to look at until, like you say you start to notice things that aren't quite right. I'll be looking out for your techniques on modifying them (coz I don't have the courage to carve up an otherwise delightful loco) :( :( .

    But hey, this is what The Gauge is for, right? :)

  12. t. alexander

    t. alexander Member

    Kettlestack, glad to hear they are smooth runner's.

    Bill, just got back from the hobby shop. The owner had both a 4-4-0 and 2-4-0. Both looked like they where in older boxes. But I did get to see what I'll be getting as far as the 4-4-0. Also Made me feel good, and guilty at the same time when I looked at what he had his priced for and what I got mine for.
    I guess I'll have to wait till they arrive to see whether they are Poucher, Rivarrossi, AHM or IHC.

  13. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Hi Errol,

    You must have looked at one with a wobbly driver. With "improved" driver bearings and a little tune up, I've always found the Generals ran rather well --- even better with can motor upgrades. I actually prefer the older ones. Since the early eighties or so, Mantua/Tyco ruined this model by putting traction tires on it (prototype locos from that era probably never pulled a train longer than 5 cars, at perhaps 30 or 35 MPH max, so who, besides the toy market, needs or wants traction tires.) And their other spoiling stroke was to cast the drivers with webbed spokes (can't see air between them.) That made them a whole lot cheaper to produce so mantua compensated by running the retail price up to about 200% of value. (And they're sitting around wondring why they went under.....)

    I think you and I were yakking about the IHC 28 foot work train box cars ("tool cars") a few months ago on another thread. I finally got around to shooting a picture of one with new doors, paint and lettering. Note that the car is sitting way too high on its trucks (the caboose and O&C box car couplers are at the correct height) so I'm going to have to shave the bolsters down to lower it. Otherwise it doesn't look too bad. But I think I'm going to take a shot at molding my own cars, and think I can do better than this.

    Bill S

    Attached Files:

  14. t. alexander

    t. alexander Member

    Bill, got my loco's. One is a Pocher the other does'nt have anything on it unless it was on the bottom of the tender. (The "project" engine's tender frame has been replaced with a scratched one.)
    The driveshaft is not on this one so I'm going to make one. The problem is it don't have the worm gear either.

    I have decided to scratch build all the replacement parts. Lamp's domes, pilot's etc.
    What size pilot truck and tender truck wheels would be right for for these loco's,

  15. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member


    My Pochers and Rivarrossis have the appropriate name molded under the pilot deck, and that's where the "Made in Slovenia" is also. If your one loco has the original pilot deck, but no markings under it, you must have yet another version of the loco that I'm not familiar with.

    Pony truck wheels varied of course, but generally from about 26" to 30", with the middle ground, 28", seeming to be the most common. One of the joys of the era was the variety. The truck wheels might be spoked, or solid, or even paper wheels (bug me about that if you're unfamiliar with paper wheels) and a few locos back then had outside frames on the front truck too.

    Since you're in the mood for scratching some parts, one other thing I'm not crazy about on these locos is the relatively complicated lashup for the springing, etc of the pony truck. I suppose it works okay, but it makes for a whole lot of stuff hanging down there where there should only be air. That in addition to the fact that the frame itself, between the drivers and the steam chest where it shows, is solid, and awfully thick. The old 4-4-0'swere really quite spindly, and I think the Riv/AHC/IHC locos will look a lot better with more prototypical "see through" frames. I remove a heck of a lot of material from my General frames, and the appearance is really enhanced by it. (The model frame isn't really adding much in the way of strength --- most of that comes from the boiler.)

    Another item to add is a bottom --- almost down to the rails --- on the fire box. If you make it out of solid metal, this also adds weight down low, and between the drivers, which is ideal. This is a real easy, "bolt on" modification.

    Have fun. You've got me itching to tear into one of these locos --- but I've too many irons in the fire now, so it'll have to wait. Please keep me posted on your progress,

    Bill S
  16. t. alexander

    t. alexander Member

    Bill, The one engine that has no markings does have a number under the pilot deck. It also has a shorter pilot and sits the right distance from the rail top also there is a coupler pocket. (The Pocher loco's pilot looks like the only thing it might catch is birds). but the engine is definitly from the same manufacture(s).

    I had thought about "fixing" the pilot truck situation and prolly will.

    I had'nt even noticed the frame issue yet.

    The one thats running is smooth though.

    Since these will be running on a turn of the century, 1890's (oop's back dating a little more) :D I'll be coal firing these. Are there obvious changes that should be added or taken away?
    I'll probably add compresser's but am sticking with the oil lamps.

  17. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    To go with the compressor, you may want to add brake shoes between the drivers. Usually, prior to air brakes, the only brakes were the hand-crankers on the tender, which required a brake wheel sticking up from the tender deck --- which isn't usually modeled for some reason. I'm not sure whether the brake wheel went away with the addition of air brakes on the loco drivers.
    By the way, in my junk box I have a set or two of brake cylinders and shoes that fit old locos. Don't know where they came from, but my road doesn't have air brakes, so I'll never use them. They're lost wax brass --- possibly from Kemtron or somebody. If you want them, they're yours.
    Regarding visable differences between wood and coal burners --- beyond the stack of course --- there did seem to be some difference in the bottom of the fire boxes. I don't know exactly why. I'll try to dig up some pictures to scan so I can show you.
    Also, the fancy, decorative scrolls between the driver fenders were probably mostly a thing of the past by 1900. But if you're thinking 1890, they were probably still there on locos built earlier. The super-fancy stuff, like ornate bells, complex paint jobs, and (sometimes) lacey scrolls on or under the running boards started to be omitted on new locos around the 1870s, but some builders kept adding them through the '80s.
    Bill S
  18. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Okay --- I just dug out a reprint I have of the Baldwin catalog from the late 80's. The differnce in the firebox is because of anthracite coal --- the fire box looks much larger, and has a very different bottom shape. The catalog shows locos that burn bituminous coal with exactly the same fire boxes as wood burners.

    (I'm a westerner --- I don't know beans about coal.)

    Bill S
  19. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Bituminous coal is more bitter tasting than anthracite coal. Or maybe bituminous coal is soft and anthracite coal is hard. I didn't know beans about coal, or coal about beans for that matter, until I Googled Bituminous Coal, which is said to come from Kentucky and Illinois. I assume that also means Indiana, since everyone knows anything you can get in KY and IL is also available in IN, esp. the accent :D :D :D
  20. t. alexander

    t. alexander Member

    Thanks Bill for the info. I appreciate it.

    Oh, and uh..Yours too jon :D :D KY is just across the river but seems like another country.

    I think anthracite was supposed to burn cleaner. There are some vintage ads that emplied ladies who traveled the roads of anthracite would arrive at thier destination fresh as when they left. Or something along those lines.

    I will gladly take those cylinders and brakes Bill, thanks. :cool:

    I'll email you tommorrow.

    I was searching for some pics of early loco's and came across the Central Pacific's history site. It has lots of good period photo's.
    I thing the address is http//


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