Spectrum's Baldwin 4-6-0

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by tmak, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. tmak

    tmak New Member

    Anybody want to give me a review of their Spectrun's Baldwin 4-6-0s?
    It would be great to hear from individuals who have personal experience running them.


    Tom Makofski
    NorthEastern Wisconsin Free-Mo
    Total Membership of 2 and Growing!
  2. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Hi Tom, and welcome to the Gauge.:wave: I have two of the Spectrum Ten-Wheelers, but haven't run them very much, as I can't make up my mind as to what roadname I should modify them to. They're both very smooth runners, but don't pull an awful lot, due to their small size and comparitively light weight. Like all Spectrum steamers, current pick-up is both through the loco and the tender, so they seem to be trouble-free through turnouts and over less than perfect track. There's not much room to add weight, either, as the boiler and cab are both metal castings. If you don't have any grades, and if your curves aren't too tight, one of these locos should be able to handle...wow! I hadn't run these locos too much, so I just went and got one of them out of the box for a test run. Using free-rolling cars, mostly on Proto2000 trucks, the little loco that tried actually moved seven cars around the layout, without too much trouble. Most of the curves are 34" radius or larger, but two of them are on a 2.5% grade: there was some wheelslip going upgrade, but not excessive. On level track, one of these locos should be able to handle even more cars. Most of my rolling stock is not quite so free-rolling though, so my plan is to doublehead them on fairly short trains. Most of my passing sidings will only hold a 12 car train, so short trains are the rule anyways.

  3. tmak

    tmak New Member

    Good Morning Wayne!

    Thanks for your reply, it is very useful. I like the looks of those engines, they are just the right era for me. Once I get building my modules I will use #7 turnouts and 42 inch minimuim curves except perhaps some tighter industrial sidings. I like small trains so 7-12 cars will not concern me. I just have to make sure DCC can be installed like "they" claim it can.

  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    While I run on straight DC, these locos should be a snap to convert to DCC. I've been tempted to replace those difficult-to-disconnect plugs with an easier-to-use type, although that would likely make it difficult to sell the locos, should the need ever arise. I require only a pair of wires from the tender to power the loco, as I remove the working lights from all of my steamers, also probably not good for resale value.:rolleyes:

  5. tmak

    tmak New Member

    So why do you remove the lights and what do you replace them with?

  6. hminky

    hminky Member

    If you remove the locking lugs on the plugs they will just slide together.


    Just a thought
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I actually started removing the lights from older steamers (Tyco/Mantua, Bowser, and MDC) because I found it annoying to have to deal with the wire that permanently connected the boiler/cab superstructure to the running gear. Miniature plugs weren't very common in those days. Newer locos, such as Bachmann's Spectrums, Athearn steamers and Proto Heritage steamers have eliminated that pesky wire connection, but have replaced it with a space-eating circuit board that I prefer to replace with extra weight, so that my steamers have better pulling power. I managed to almost double the pulling power of the Proto USRA 0-8-0 using this method, although I did also remove that tiny flywheel, which wasn't really big enough to have much effect anyways. The loco still runs smoothly. I took this a little farther with my Athearn Mikados, smooth running locos, but notoriously poor pullers. You can check it out at:

    Boosted output from an amplified Mike...

    I replace the working lights with lenses from MV Products, available at most hobby shops. If you like working lights, these lenses can also be modified to accept illumination. Night operations don't really interest me, so I don't add lights to my structures either, although at one time I did. I'm also not too interested in sound, as almost 40 years in a steel mill have left me with a real appreciation for silence. I do admit that recent advances in both sound and light are impressive: they're just not for me.

  8. tmak

    tmak New Member

    I really have to take my hat of to you guys would are not afraid to tear into those engines! I once tried to install some rubber tires on my Hudson and it's still not put back together!

  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Thanks Harold, that's something I never even thought of, although I'm not at all surprised that you'd come up with such a simple but effective solution. Thanks!:thumb: I recently had one of my Spectrum Consolidations take a dive to the concrete floor. The only damage was a snapped-off post for the loco-end of the drawbar connection, and some wires broken off inside of one of the plugs. Removal of those locking lugs might have prevented the latter problem. I had a spare plug, and the loco was soon back in service - I didn't even need to touch up the paint.


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