Finally, the 4-8-4

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by jr switch, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. jr switch

    jr switch Member

    Well it took a little over two months, but I finally got the replacement Bachmann 4-8-4 and it works fine. No clicking noise from the engine on this one and hauls my four heavy weight pass. cars and seven freight cars around the track with no apparent strain at all. ---I have a gondola and a covered hopper that both have metal wheels and look and roll real well , but have the horn style couplers. The couplers don't look like they can be removed to change over to Kadee's due to the pivot pin looks like it is heated and flattened, no screw. Are these just real cheap cars that should be permanently parked on a siding or is there a way to install decent couplers on them? --------John R
  2. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    I think I can help with this.

    I had a couple lionell car with truck mounted couplers (which im assuming is what you are talking about) and yes, they are removable!

    Place a flat bladded screwdriver between the body of the car and the truck, the "Flattened peg" is not heat sank into the place, and will pry out easily (unless someone glued it in at one time)

    Now, as far as replacing the couplers, it can be done. There has been alot of talk of modifying the cars and making them body mounted couplers. Ive tried myself and to me it seemed like alot of work. From now on I simply buy body mounted couplers.

    However, there is hope for your freight cars. Go to your local hobby store and have them order you some kadee truck mounted couplers. That way all you have to do is replace the truck and not go drilling into the car.
  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    No car is too cheap to use...some just take a bit of creativity to add couplers to. Heres a Tyco modification I did some time back.>>> The only real rule is to try to body mount them with screws so that they can bear up to the stresses of pulling and being pulled. There are as many ways to do it as there are modelers and cars, just take your time and think it thru, you'll be doing them quite regularly in no time.
  4. jr switch

    jr switch Member

    Play-doh------Thanks for such a quick response. These are mounted on the trucks and the trucks are held on with what looks like a plastic cap. You say just pop off the trucks and replace the whole truck? Maybe take one of the old trucks with me to match as closely as possible? ----I just bought three two bin hoppers and a boxcar, all Athern, and a couple of the Kadee couplers have weak springs and keep releasing. What is the fix for this?----John R
  5. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Forgive me, im still a newbie so if if any of this is wrong (fellow gaugers) please correct me.

    I would recomend replacing the whole truck. Some (although very few) will have a peg inside the gear box to mount the Kadee on...although if I remember it is too narrow to keep the coupler in place. I know that some Kadees have the "Whiskers" on them that work better for these type of gear boxes.

    I ran into this problem myself and instead of messing too much with it, I took a razor and cut off the old gear box and glued the fully assembled Kadee draft gear box to the trucks. If you choose this route, be very carefull not to get any glue in the draft gear box.

    Now the downside, they never seemed to match up quite right with the coupler hight guage. So yes, my recomendation is to bring in the trucks and get the closest matching one you can. I know that some of them come fully assembled...they are little more money, but worth the stress you will avoid assembling them.

    Then simply re-attach the new trucks by inserting that plastic peg back into the car body.

    Hope this helps
  6. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    John, Kadee sells a package of springs for the coupler knuckles, but if you buy a pack of Kadee couplers, you also get a couple of spare springs in each pack. I've heard it said that parking a train with the cars bunched together weakens the springs, so be sure to stretch the slack out of your train before shutting down for the day. (With the train bunched together, the knuckle springs are partially compressed, and may be more apt to "take a set".)

    shaygetz said:
    "No car is too cheap to use...some just take a bit of creativity to add couplers to."

    Bob is right: there are lots of "diamonds in the rough" out there, if you look beyond some toy-like features or crappy paint jobs. Here are a few former "sows ears" that I've transformed into something at least a bit closer to "silk purses".

    LifeLike (Proto-no-thousand) reefer (Found on the junk table at the LHS for $ .98 - Replaced the over-size moulded-on details with wire parts, stripped off an unprototypical paint job and replaced the truck-mounted horn/hook couplers with body mounted Kadees and new trucks)

    Tyco reefer (the one on the left) - found at the same place for the same price, and with the same shortcomings :rolleyes:

    Tyco tender (found in a box of garage sale junk for $ .25) a few details, some body-mounted Kadees, and a new pair of (used) trucks and...a water car for my work train

    You can get some neat stuff for next to nuthin':thumb: , and it's also a cheap way to practise body-mounting Kadees, and changing trucks.:thumb: :thumb:

  7. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    ...isn't that last pic from your weed sprayer?
  8. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

  9. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Which 4-8-4 are you talking about, are there any pictures?
  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Geez, Miles, your memory is a lot better than mine!:oops: The water car is intended for general work train use: water for mixing cement, putting out grass fires along the line, or as an auxillary water supply for a wreck crane, but it did indeed appear in a thread showing this weed sprayer.:rolleyes: Man, I gotta take some new pictures!!:D

    Here's the weed sprayer, again:

  11. jr switch

    jr switch Member

    Miles, the 4-8-4 is a Bachmann, not a Spectrum, and is supposed to represent one of ten purchased by Santa Fe for long haul passenger service.-----I'm going to try and get some pics soon because I'm wanting Doctor Waynes opinion and some suggestions on weathering---Wayne, why can't you put together a "how to" book, based on your lay out. You know, how to weather, how to do ballast, modeling water, etc. with plenty of color photos and your easy to understand instructions? I'll buy a copy today------John R
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, John, but there are already lots of books out there on those and many other model railroading topics. Check out some of Model Railroader's "how-to" books at your LHS, or their pdf's available at: Trains, Model Trains, Model Railroading, Toy Trains,
    Most of what you see in my photographs is the result of ideas gleaned from magazines over the years, coupled with a willingness to "just do it". There's lots of good info available here on the Gauge, too. Check out The Academy or Tips & Tricksand of course, there are lots of other places around this forum with useful information.
    I think that one of our problems as modellers is that we often over-analyze simple topics, until we get to a point that we become afraid to try out a technique. We have the information, but not the will to use it. That's one of the reasons you see so many el cheapo models in my photos: it keeps the cost of "experimenting" within my budget.:D It's also the reason that you see quite a few mistakes on my layout, too.:oops: Check out the high bridges in the photos of unfinished areas of my layout: Check it out!!! to see some not very prototypical bridge footings and a very poorly thought-out way of building them. (right on the scenery, which had no provision included in the benchwork for a bridge site):rolleyes:
    Other experiments turn out pretty well. I'm quite pleased with my first attempts at making "water", and ballasting was quick and easy, using tips found here and elsewhere. Lots of my freightcars have been painted and repainted, as I tried new detailing techniques or just became dissatisfied with how they looked. This gave me not only a lot of modelling enjoyment, but also an opportunity to try new things without a big outlay of cash.:thumb:
    The other thing to keep in mind is that there's only one audience that you have to please, and that's yourself. I'm sure that there are lots of folks out there who aren't the least bit impressed with my modelling (and nice enough to not make too big a deal out if it :thumb: ), and, as I mentioned, there are a few things that I'm not nuts about. I hope, though, that most of my stuff that you find on the Gauge is useful in showing you how to-do or how not-to-do something that I've had experience with, then it's up to you to try it. (or improve upon it):) And don't be afraid to ask questions: there are lots of knowledgeable modellers here on the Gauge and you'll not find a friendlier environment in which to learn.:thumb:

  13. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    For those who want a pic of that 4-8-4 Bachmann loco, I think this one is it... Though the one jrswitch got had anodized (blackened) wheel rims and he wants to polish it off to give it bling :D :

    Attached Files:

  14. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Shows you how observant I am!:rolleyes: :oops: I have a version of that same loco, bought shortly after Bachmann released it. It was the only affordable 4-8-4 that I was aware of at the time, but since I don't model Santa Fe, I made a few modifications to mine. I revised the front end with detail parts from Cal Scale, and scratchbuilt an all-weather cab over the existing one. The biggest change was rebuilding that giant tender into a centipede-type, using a passenger car truck and part of a Tyco covered covered hopper, along with some scratchbuilt parts.

    The grey paint job is a tie-in with my diesel paint scheme,

    but if I ran this loco much, I would probably repaint it more like this:

    As you can see, less weathering in the last photo, but painted wheel rims and running gear in all cases. If shiny wheels and rods are your preference, there are prototypes, so go for it. One of my favourites are the Dreyfuss-designed J-3 "Super Hudsons" of the New York Central, which, in their prime, were kept pretty clean.

  15. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    I whole-heartedly WOULD buy a copy of doctorwayne's new book, as long as you don't price it too high for us gaugers! ;)
  16. jr switch

    jr switch Member

    Wayne,---I'm actually a pretty decent modeler, but up until now, it has been scale RC boats. Not the racers, no gas, just electric, steam and sail. Very heavy on the detail and weathering. 24 to 35" models of western pacific salmon fishing boats and mahogany speed boats. Never had to model a realistic hillside of trees on a boat. The "ballast" was down in the bottom of the hull, couldn't be seen. I didn't have to make the water look like real water, it was real water! Sorry, got carried away there----I'm not trying to sound mystical or anything like that, but I'll bet many of the members will agree, your layout has a "look" a "feel' or something that sets your work apart from what I have seen in the "how-to" articles. I seen a fair amount of very well done layouts, in magazines and in person, they didn't look like yours. Nuff said, I'm going to go weather a train car-----John R
  17. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Thanks, Miles, but there's not likely to be any book: I know a few things, but not enough to stop me from going ahead and trying something anyway.:rolleyes: :D :D Probably 90% of what you see in my photos here on the Gauge is a result of just "wingin' it", and I'm often just as surprised by the results as I am pleased. :thumb:

  18. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    I just got through rebuilding 1 of the older pancake drive northerns, used a newer spectrum drive, trimmed the shell in a few places, still gotta adapt the bar correctly for the tender. The newer spectrum drives are alot stronger, and heavier than the old drivetrain. Pulls great!
  19. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    THAT my friend, is the most GORGEOUS steam locomotive of all the thousands I have seen. I think I'm in love. sign1

    If you EVER decide to part with that beauty, CONTACT ME!

    Otherwise, can you post more detailed shots of her (of you have them)? I'd love to see how you built that tender, I am VERY cuious where the Tyco body fits into all this.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Tom :wave:
  20. jr switch

    jr switch Member

    Hey Long Island Tom------where did you get that picture of the 4-8-4 that you posted with the polished wheels? Who makes that version? Expensive? I have a great steam train DVD that shows those wheels on the real thing, polished wheel rims and drive rods. Also have a question for Wayne. When you converted the 4-8-4 that you have, you converted from an oil burner to a coal burner? Cut out an opening in the top front section of the tender for coal? Would there have been a coal tender with 8-wheel trucks? I like the idea, but if it never existed, I'll leave it as an oil fired unit-----John R

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