N Scale Dummy Engines

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by RH434, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. RH434

    RH434 New Member

    Hello all. I was wondering if anyone has a lead on purchasing "dummy" engines in N scale. Could be Atlas, Kato, LL, Athearn or whatever. I think my lashups would look better with 3-4 units at the front, but cannot justify purchasing a bunch more DCC diesel engines.

    I have made a couple of dummies by gutting poor running ebay buys and old Life-Like units.

    Another idea was to permanently wire together 2 units and put a sound decoder and speaker in the dummy.

    Any other ideas?
  2. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    I'm afraid your choices are pretty limited for dummies in N scale... dummy locos, that is. :D

    Bachmann has a few, PrecisionCraft has some that cost as much as a new loco, and ConCor has a couple as well - but that's about it.

    If you really want a dummy, your best bet is to get a train-show special (i.e. cheap), and pull the gears out of it. Otherwise you're looking at powered consists.
  3. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    The problem with dummy units in N-scale is that from what I've read from manufacturers like Atlas, it costs almost just as much to produce a dummy unit as it is a powered unit cause of the cost of the tooling/molds needed for the small scales.
  4. ScratchyAngel

    ScratchyAngel Member

    An alternative might be to find ones being sold for parts on eBay et al. There are usually a dozen or more and for $20 or so you can pick up a few locos, remove the motors, and have a new set of dummies. Just search N Scale with "for parts" in quotes, and check the box to include description in the search. I get over 20 loco listings doing that now.
  5. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    I can't add more than what's already been listed except you can get quite a few LifeLike and Bachmann engines for not too much money and strip the gearing out of them for dummy engines. I would add a word of caution though...I stripped everything out of a Bachmann GP50 that ran horribly and it was still too heavy for an Atlas to comfortably pull. So you might want to give consideration to removing some of the metal frame that makes up a Bachmann. I didn't have any problems like that modifying LifeLike engines. Most LHS carry a LifeLike two engine plus caboose pack where one engine is already a dummy...and in only a few minutes, you can turn the other into a dummy as well.
  6. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    I have one you can have. I know absolutely nothing about it, other than it is a diesel. Let me know if you're interested.


    Attached Files:

  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I've had 2 dummy units in N -- one was a Con Cor PA and the other was an Atlas calf. The calf wouldn't roll on its own and sapped all the cow's pulling power. The PA ran beautifully -- I added an engineer and used it as lead unit.
    (This was almost 30 years ago)
    Oh, I also have the Reader's Disgust unit in the previous post.
  8. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    The problem with using old, dead engines is that most look like crap, and the whole point of adding dummy engines is for aesthetics. Such a paradox.
  9. lucakiki

    lucakiki Member

    One thing is the dummy version of a regular engine, and one thing are some models that only came out as dummy, never motorized. Such as, in my country, the Del Prado series, available at newspapers shops only. Some of them quite good. Another solution is to buy distressed engines, and throw their guts.
    I have done the opposite many times: bought A units, and transfered the guts to a dummy B unit to motorize it.
  10. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I have three of those. It is a cheap renditions of a GP35. The details are really rough and clunky, especially the handrails. But they do fit on N scale track perfectly.
    I got one, as a free gift for subscribing to a magazine.(it was so long ago I forgot what one), the other two, my mother had gotten at a tag sale for 25 cents a piece..
    With a little reworking of the handrails, and maybe some heavy weathering, they would make good background locos(That was my plan, but switched to HO scale).

    Another way to use it is get a good body from a bargin box at a show, Throw out the body from the one in Lynn's pic, modify the chassis, so the new body will fit, and you have a decent dummy loco.
  11. alcuin

    alcuin Member

    I simply bite the bullet and gut the engines. I have four dummy locomotives, two Kato and two Atlas, and so they look just as good as the powered units. You can remove the motor and still keep the directional lighting, that way the dummy can run in front and still look like it's doing the pulling.
  12. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    I'm sorry, but I can't see the logic in this. If you've got a perfectly good Atlas or Kato loco, why destroy it to make a dummy? If it's the cost of a DCC decoder (which is about the only reason I could see you doing this), even that's just silly. Why trash a loco for the cost of a $25-$35 decoder? :cry:
  13. alcuin

    alcuin Member

    For one thing, I don't run DCC, I use block wiring. Second, I don't consider it "destroying" an engine. It's modifying them so I can put them to the sort of use I want them for. Rather than mixing and matching my locomotives, trying to find two that run "more or less" at the same speed (which they rarely do), I can pick two for a lashup that I really want, remove the motor from one, and not have to worry about burning the other one out. Furthermore, if I ever want to re-power the dummy, all I have to do is put the motor back in. It's not that difficult. So it all seems fairly logical to me.
  14. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    I'm gonna need...

    ...a Model Power FP7 (well, two actually) dummies for my READING pushpulls. I had test run a train for a few weeks but there's too much power and eventually the pushing from the rear is just too much. It's one time in life I'd prefer to be onna "drag" man.

    I just hope to find some on the net cheap so I can gut 'em and clean 'em.


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