On3 locomotive engine shops

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Model Railroading' started by Bill Nelson, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SMLA-1 C-21  pcsa2.jpg SMLA-1 C-21  pcsa1.jpg I was visiting an antique mall, and stopped to help one of the booth owners unload some stuff. In there he had a couple boxes of train stuff including some prewar Lionel cars, and some o gauge tinplate, as well as a lot of yard sale quality Ho stuff.

    I was pulling things out of the boxes, telling him what they were, and approximate values, when at the bottom of the box I came across an On3 Balboa C-21 that was missing it's tender. He had told me what he had paid for three boxes of train stuff, and I offered him more for the locomotive than he paid for the whole shebang. I told him he might be able to get more on the internet, but the missing tender would get into any value. I knew no one in town plays with on3.

    I posted on the Yahoo On3 list that I had the locomotive, and did any one have any ideas for the tender, and Lee, from Lee town models wrote me and said he had a brass shell for a On3 C-21 tender. I paid twice for the tender shell than I did for the locomotive, but this project is still very cheap for ON3 brass, as I have about $110. in it so far. the tender shell is PSC, and is very highly detailed

    The locomotive has a big Sagami motor, that will run very slow. I have added electrical pick up on the insulated wheels, which is so much easier in On3 than in HOn3, as there is so much more room down there, since everything is twice as long, twice as wide, and twice as tall, there is eight times more space to work with.

    The Balboa locomotives have somewhat sparse detailing and are not as high dollar as some of the other importers. The mechanism on this one is awesome, and it just crawls running on jumper cables; starting a about 7% throttle with just over 2rpm

    I have added electrical pick up on the insulated side, so it ought to run off the rails now without a tender. I have to order some suitable trucks for the tender, try to find a good scale drawing, to allow me not to mess up the tender frame too much when I build it.

    this thing is going to make me have build some Labelle woodworking company On3 coaches If I build two, I'd have more in the kits, couplers and trucks than I have in the locomotive. I have built some Labelle kits in HO and HOn3, and I have seen the on3 kits, and they are awesome.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  2. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    I actually have this monster running on the test track power, instead of jumper cables, and the tube connecting the motor shaft to the gear tower was slipping. . I did not have any replacement tubing that was usable, it was all slightly too big, so i put some construction adhesive on the shafts, and then put a piece of heat shrink on them, and heated them up with a torch to shrink them down on top of the adheasive, which will prevent them from slipping on the shaft. then I put the new tubing over the shaft with the heat shrink tubing, and now I had a tight fit.

    problem corrected.

  3. modelman55

    modelman55 New Member

    Keith Wiseman helped me out with a deck and underframe for a C19 tender, Brass, nice detail. He has a couple but may have sold out. Although the C21shell looksa bit longer.
  4. modelman55

    modelman55 New Member

    I also got a couple of built On3 Labelle coaches from Bill Davis, for about $90. He's always got interesting stuff.
  5. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Keith Weisman has a lot of interesting stuff, I was thinking of using one of his urethane kits for a C-16 shell before Lee, from Lee Town Models contacted me about the tender shell I now have. he included front and rear beam castings, so as soon as I can research the truck mounting locations , and locate a pair of close enough trucks, it would be easy to solder up a close enough frame out of brass structural pieces, and plank it with wood from my miniature table saw.

    I am working on an HOn3 Labelle woodworking Hon3 parlor car Alamossa. I have an Ho combine that Dr Tom saw at a train show we attended once, and pointed out to me . It was very well built, with interior detailing, painted brown and lettered for the Bonanza & Rawhide RR. I repainted it Green to match a coach I had built back in the mid 1970s. I eventually would like to add a postal car to have a four car train to go behind my very fine Blackstone C-19.

    I was getting pretty close to trying to do something small in ON3 on the side, but now I have some good running HOn3 locomotives, doing anything other than some messing with equipment in On3 is unlikely unless I stumble into more space and time.

    Bill Nelson
  6. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    a_nwsl_spartan_on34_4_0.jpg a_max_grey_4_4_0_a1b.jpg a_max_grey_4_4_0_a1a.jpg

    I sold my Balboa C-21. It was not directly in the area of my greatest interests. I like small locomotives; and the pluss of )n3 for me is those small locomotives with more detail. Sadly though, most of the On3 world is interested in the Late years of Colorado Narrow gauge, and power that is big , or relatively big for narrow gauge.

    Small On3 Locomotives, like these 4-4-0s are rare. The NWSL Spartain in the top photo was introduced as a low cost On3 locomotive in the 1970's. These 4-4-0s were used by many railroads, with lots of variations. the folks at NWSL decided that were it built to a specific prototype, at a specific time; many folks would alter it to change the details to fit another railroad, time period, or both, so to save money they produced the locomotive stripped down; so that the buyer could detail it as they pleased. I had vever seen one for sale, but one came up on the Yahoo On3 list, and I was able to purchase it, and about 58 brass castings to detail it with. I need to find a woodburning stack and a box oil headlamp, as I want to backdate it to the 1880's look. The cost was high for the locomotive, but very reasonable with the brass details that would be both expensive, and hard to track down

    A couple months later on the same Yahoo On3 list someone had a pair of Max Gray 4-4-0s for sale. these were imported in the 60's I think, and I had never seen one for sale, much less two. One sold, and the unit without an original box, and with some damge came down in price to a level I could not resist, and I made another purchase. The Max gray unit has a hulking square open frame motor which I have running prety well , but will probably want to replace with a can motor so it could get a Tsunami light steam decoder someday. The NWSL unit came from the factory with a can motor, and should be easy to convert to DCC. The Max Gay unit has working Stevenson valve gear, which is hard to see tucked into the frame as it is. I will need to make a U-tube video next time I have it running on the workbench. I made a you tube vidieo of the C-21's mechanism, which I think helped me sell it at a cost well above what I paid for it, helping ofset the cost of the NWSL unit. The Max Gray unit put a hole in my train budget which wilkl hurt my efforts rebuilding my Ho and Hon3 layout ( see the logging minning and industrial section). I will want to backdate the Max Gray unit, and convert it to a woodburner as well. in one photo it is shown with an Ho standard gauge Mantua General to give an idea of how big these critters are!

    I doubt I will be working on these soon, as I am rebuilding my HO empire for better operability; and when I do likely they will be mantle queens, but I couldn't resist, as another oportunity to get one may never occur. Only one other On3 4-4-0 was imported And very few were brought in. they were imported by PSC, had awesome detail (including working stevenson valve gear) They cost well over $1,000 new; I have never seen one for sale, and it is highly unlikely I ever will see one available at a cost I'b be willing to pay.

    Besides these two 4-4-0s I have a Bachman On30 Climax with Tsunami sound I want to spread the gauge on to On3. I also have a Weisman Model services CN 60 Shay, which I may some day add Tsunami sound to
  7. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    a_on30_bachman_climax_a1a.jpg a_on3_cn_64_shay_a1.jpg

    In the top photo I have
    an as of yet unmodified Bachman On30 Climax. it has factory Tsunami sound, and lads of detail. a brass on3 Climax would be a little more robust, but would have less detail, and cost over $1,ooo, and would come without sound! I had always wanted one, but could not justify the expense. I picked up the Bachman unit on sale for just over $200. a few years back. Climax sold some 30 inch gauge locomotives, but it was an odball gauge, and Climax did not build a truck specifically for 30 inch gauge. what they would do is to take a 3 foot gauge truck, and push the wheels farther in on the axle to get the gauge right for 30 inch gauge. Bachman scaled the truck appropriately; and as a result there is room to move the wheels out on the axle to gauge it properly for ON3. One can re gauge most of Bachmans on30 locos, but one must get conversion axles from Grant Line for most of them. (I am thinking Southwest Narrow Gauge does conversions for the faint hearted.) with the climax you just have to remove each axle, use a NWSL gear/wheel puller to move the wheels out ward the right amount (taking care to keep them equidistant from the center of the axle, so the truck doesn't sit catywompus, and dog track, possibly causing derailments. Other than that one just has to adjust the wheel wipers. whern I get around to modifying mine I will document it here.

    The second photo shows my Wiseman's model Services CN 60 Shay. all I have done to it was paint the body.,( when I cot it it had factory paint, shiny black like parts of the boiler remain) and modify some On3 KDs to fit the link and pin pockets. one of them has been broken, or lost, so I need to repeat the process. Foothill models now makes kits to modify On3 KDs, both to fit link and pin pockets, and to add extended knuckles , to help with coupler height differences, and or outrageous vertical curves. The combine with the shay is cut down from the Bachman On30 combine and put on a pair of On3 trucks.

  8. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    here is a link to a video I made of the Max Gray 4-4-0's mechanism with the working Stevenson Valve gear. I have been off work this week due to snow days (I'm loving working for the school system). I finally got around to calling Weisman model services and ordering Niesmith wood burning stacks and box headlights for these creatures. Keith Weisman told me it is very easy to convert the Bachman Climax to ON3 . He said all you have to do is remove each axle (ONE by one, paying attention to the gear orientation), and push each wheel outward on the axle with a pair of pliers he said it takes less than 5 minutes per axle .

    in this video you can see how nicely this very old locomotive runs. from what I understand these were imported in the 1950's and 60's.

    I'm looking around to see if I can re motor this locomotive with a modern motor that would play nice with a Tsunami sound decoder, but I'm not doing anything that is irreversible to this awe inspiring machine's mechanism. Cosmetically, it is going to go into the way way back machine back to the 1880's I'd love to to all the fancy Baldwin eastlake inspired fancy striping, but that will likely be beyond my technical ability. not sure on the paint, part of me would like to go with the Baldwin Lake (deep red) color, or attempt some kind of paint representation of a Russian Iron Boiler. Lots of disagreements on that as the technology to produce that actual finish is long gone. Folks think it was like a reflective gun metal. it is represented as gray, but with various levels of blue reflective tints. THE thinking is the blue tint described came from the reflection of the sky. the bottom line, no one alive really knows.
  9. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    A On3 smokestack a1.JPG

    A neismith stack from Wiesman Model services, I bought two so I have one for each of the Americans.
  10. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    A Americans with  stacks!!.JPG
    I finally got the stacks properly tightened down, which took a lot of work, I had to tap the post on the bottom of the center insert, and then epoxy the center insert to the outer casting. I tried to assemble them without the two parts of the stack glued together, but it was impossible to tighten a screw into the stack, as there was no way to keep the center casting from spinning in side the stack when attempting to tighten the screw. the screws also had to be shortened to allow them to tighten fully; so that was a lot of work.

    I have some 12 v grain of rice bulbs on order. when I get those I will begin drilling out the brass box headlight castings, and planning the wire routing to have working headlights. I made an order from Walther's, and am getting a lot of super fin, flexible wire to do some additional wiring work on these locomotive. the NWSL unit only picks up electricity off the drivers, so I will want to add electrical pick up from each side of the tender. The Max Gray unit is more traditional, and picks up from one side of the drivers, and the other side of the tender. I will want to add pickups to the insulated drivers, and the insulated side of the tender trucks, to double the electrical pick up.

    I don't think I will proceed immediately to put Tsunamis in these, but when I wire these up, I'll do so in such a way that going to DCC at a later time will be simplified. with the order I made from walther's I back ordered some of San Juan car Co.'s code 100 ON3 flex track. the stuff looks awesome. with some flex track I can plot out some curves and see what the minimum radius for these beasts is. whatever it is, it is likely to be too durn big!!

    Echo Mountain Model Products has some cool crew figures, including an engineer with a top hat. they also have photo etched brass Baldwin builders plates, and number plates for the smoke box fronts. I'll share the photos when the goodies get here. I'm having a lot of fun with these; even if they turn into mantel queens, I'll need to build an old time passenger and freight train for them.

  11. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    I have not had much time to mess with the ON3 stuff. I am in the middle of a massive. Rebuild of my HO logging outfit. {see the. Logging mining. And. Industrial section.}. In top of that, the wife found a deal on a cabin@ Kentucky Lake, about. An hour and ten minutes from the farm, And I. Have been spending at least some of most most weekends out at the lake. I have been. Packing up small projects, mostly for the. HO. Layout, But this week I'm off for fall. Break, and I took an. ON30 Bachman observation carto cut down. To match the tiny combine I. Cut down and converted to ON3. i have some small Carter Brother's On3 passenger trucks that will be a good fit. i also found an out fit that. Makes old school. Short On3 wooden kits, and I plan to get a couple ventilated box car kits, and maybe some flats. I have a flatcar and gondola in resin kits from Foothill Model Works. These. Are their old kits, their new stuff is cast. Plastic, and seems to be very high quality. I'll post. Photos later, when I'm back to the computer. With. The editing software I use.
  12. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator

    A page full of amazing photos. Very interesting indeed. Excellent craftsmanship on your part, your Hallmark! :)

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