Bowser steam engines

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by bigsteel, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    hey everyone,i was cruisin the net for cheap steam engines and found I've heard great things from Stewart (which I'm guessing is owned by bowser :confused:) and was wondering if they bowser engines are really a great deal? if i reading correctly a whole kit with super detail parts is only 170 bucks for a mikado :eek:.I've never seen deals this good (yet again,if I'm reading correctly) i was wondering if anyone else has had experience with them or there other engines.if i find alot of good responses I'm definitely buying one (or more :mrgreen:).i do have a Stewart FT A-B unit that runs GREAT and as wondering if their new steam was as good.thanks for any help.--josh
  2. radar

    radar Member

    the bowser steam engins are a kit every-thing including side rods and the vavle train!! had a challenger kit about 10 yrs ago never could get the side rods to run right.
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Bowser steam locomotive kits are updated versions of Varney, Bowser, and Penn Line die cast locomotive kits from the '60s. Newer motors and gearing are provided, and wheels all have RP25 flanges. Bowser kits require a little effort to make them run well, with riveting of the valve train being the most difficult part. Newer versions have the boilers pre-drilled for the detail parts included with the kit, which saves a lot of time. With the super-detail kit, they rival most BLI and the like for detail. With the cast boilers for weight, they will outpull anything plastic or brass. The ultimate reward of building a kit locomotive is to be able to say, "I built that!", not "I bought that!"

    I believe most of the line is also available RTR for those who have a fear of trying. Bowser is manufactured in the U.S., and parts are readily available.
  4. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Providing that you've built some steam locomotive kits previously (Mantua, etc.), then you might not have too much trouble tackling the Bowser. However, these are far from fall-together projects finished in just a couple of evenings. I guess what I'm saying is that they are not good projects for the beginning hobbyist.

    Incidentally, I do not believe that Bowser offers RTR examples of their locomotives any more.

  5. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I've been eyeing them forever. They're actually down to $135 (according to their price list) for the deluxe mikado kit.

    They also own the old Arbor model line...whom offered a C&O 2-6-6-6...but to my knowledge they've never offered any of Arbor's old kits. Some of the parts are available but not in their catalog.
  6. Sarge_7

    Sarge_7 Member

    I have been thinking if picking up a few of the Bowser someday. But I would love to get the old Arbour modles of the C&O Kanawa, Texas and Alleghany. Fell in love those when I was a kid and couldn't afford it, know I can and can't find them.:mrgreen:
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Bowser was offering their steam line-up before Stewart was even around. I don't know the details, but Bowser eventually bought the Stewart line-up. While they're all owned by Bowser, the diesels' mechanisms have no connection to the Bowser steam locos' mechanisms. The Stewart diesels that I'm familiar with are great runners and great pullers. The only Bowser steamer that I've built is this modified NYC K-11 Pacific.

    This one runs great, although I remotored and regeared it as I built it, so I can't say how well it runs when built "stock". These are easy-to-assemble kits, though perhaps not best suited to beginners. If you read the instructions and take your time, you should be able to do a good job of it if you have some previous modelling experience.

  8. I have a one day buy three (yes three) Bowser Big Boy kits and use them to create...THIS!


    Image created by, and courtesy of, Berlinerwerkes.

    Wish me luck ppl...XD
  9. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    wow,that was alot of responses! thanks guys do the bowser kits take a machinist to build? how exactly do you rivet the valve train into place? i have never built an all metal kit before.everythign but the side rods seems simple enough.--josh

    P.S SOC tht bigger boy looks awesome! id like to see the prototype for that one sign1
  10. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Well, I have been building a Bowser A5s for months. Actually, If I had the time to work on it I would be done by now. It really hasn't gone too bad. I think the hold up for me right now is the valve gear, I'm afraid of it. The kit comes with a tool to rivet the valve gear with, and a tiny wrench for the crankpin screws.

    If I had any advice on the Bowser kit it would be to give it a try, but take your time. The kits are pretty complete except for couplers. I also had to buy the super-detail kit seperately. Don't expect a completed lokie in couple days, it'll definitely take you a minute to get 'er done.

    If I ever make any progress on my A5s I'll throw up a couple pics.
    EDIT: Here's one.

  11. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Yeah, but will it take an 18" radius? :p:-D

  12. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    dave,that A5 looks great,i really want to test my skills at one of these engines! they look great for such a good price :thumb:.for the valve gear ill probably have my dad do it since hes an experienced machinist and i REALLY dont want to mess this up ill attempt,it'll be on my christmas list this year :mrgreen:.--josh
  13. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    I bought a Bowser 2-10-0 about thirty years ago and was surprised at the weight of it and its pulling power. I presently have the whole thing apart in order to repaint it and I am detailing the long-haul tender with the correct eight wheel trucks. It was running very smoothly at all speeds, although a bit noisy by today's standards since it had an open electric motor. I was disappointed with one design problem and that is that all of the center drivers are blind and none of them touch the rails! That was a distraction I found difficult to ignore. I effectively had a 2-4-0 on the rails. (Yes, Doctor Wayne, it negotiates 18" radius!) I never considered owning another Bowser loco for that reason alone. I would like to know if anyone owns their current models and how they would rate them. One thing to consider:if anyone wants to own a low cost metal loco, well Bowser is your only choice these days.
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Dave (puddlejumper): does the valve gear tool have a point in the middle and a rim around it, as if they took a donut out of it? PennLine used to make a "Rivetool" for their locos, and I wonder if it's still available.
  15. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Yardbird Trains offers a whole line of customizing items for the Bowser, Mantua line. They even sell the riveting tool mentioned above, as well as a bunch of other items to do a super job on your locos....
    As far as the valve gear is concerned...FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS and it'll come together quite easily...
  16. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    A further note on the VG...Remember you need a right AND a left side....Don't ask me how I know....wall1
  17. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Actually Ed, that isn't Bowser's fault...iirc...that's the Pennsy's. The I-1s had 3 pairs of blind drivers :eek:
  18. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    The pictures of the prototype I-1 in the Bowser catalogue look like the second and fourth driver sets are blind, but the main appears to be flanged.

    You could always order a couple extra flanged driver sets. They're Part No.18000 @ $5.00 a set in my 1994 catalogue, :rolleyes: or the same, but with bearings, Part No.18001 @ $5.50 a set. They should be a drop-in fit for sets two and four, leaving only the main drivers blind.

  19. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

  20. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    Dr Wayne,
    Thank you for the info. I may as well replace the drivers while I have the loco apart to paint. My problem was not necessarily the blind drivers as much as the drivers that don't touch the railhead. Well, anyway, I should fix that now.

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