What do I have here? (Tinkerer wanted, apply within)

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by CCT70, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Hey gang,

    I recently purchased a few HO steam locomotives from a fellow museum member at Railroad Days this year for $10 a piece. Since I was robbing the trains as a fundraiser for the museum during the festivities, I really felt like I had literally robbed the guy afterward when I got them home and saw what this little guy was considering that as I was perusing his "for sale" table, I had a Colt .45 on each hip and Alicia was holding my shot gun while I shopped. I originially bought this engine as an after thought after I paid for the rest of my "loot", but as I turned to walk away, this little guy caught my eye and I couldn't resist. It was cute and I thought would make a great addition to the set of Central Pacific 34' overtons I bought from a vendor there last year. The size and era were perfect for what I had been hoping to accomplish for my little "logging commuter train" for my logging branch of the layout. I didn't realize at the time that the thing was brass.

    Guys, what the heck *did* I buy? It's kinda funky, in that the bottom of this little 2-8-0 is stamped "Mantua" and upon seperating the boiler from the frame, I confirmed that indeed it does have the guts familiar to us Tyco/Mantua collectors. The firebox is the typical plastic Tyco piece like my other Tyco steamers have. Other than that, it is a very delicate brass construction in that the boiler and walkways as well as the pilot. The tender is a heavily modified Rivarossi tender that has been converted to burn pil instead of the former coal load. The problem is that it has absolutely NO provisions for power pickup. What I need is for someone knowledgeable about repowering and restoring these old steamers to add electrical pickup. The motor works fine, I just need to get power to it by rail, rather than by hooking up transformer leads to the motor. I imagine tender pickups would be best, but being steam, I am afraid to even try and don't know where to start. If it was a diesel, it'd already be roaming the rails, as that is where my experience and expertise lies. With steam, I'm lost. I won't even begin to get into what I did to the Rivarossi 2-8-8-2 that I tried to clean. I took it apart to clean it up and restore it and it's now in pieces in an Athearn box. I have no idea how to put it all back together. I don't want this to happen with this little 2-8-0 trying to install power pickup shoes in it. Anyone interested in tackling the power pickup problem? Photos are attached.

    BTW: What is this thing? I mean, who manufactured it? Was it a scratch built engine? Norm (the guy I got it from) doesn't know as it is very old and he had had it for many years. Any ideas?



  2. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    I'm jelous of you so much CCT70! Not only did you get a really cool loco for a good price, but you also can hang a shotgun on display, too! :D All jesting aside, I don't know who made that cool loco of yours. Kinda sounds like the delema I faced when I got my then- junk Hustler.
  3. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    How about Mantua? That's what it says and that is what it is. It's an old Mantua loco made when Mantua/Tyco was in business.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Could be a modified Mantua - I am guessing the chassis and drive train is original, with some modifications and "superdetailing" done to the rest of it.

    Adding pick-ups to the tender should not be a problem. Open it up and see what's going on in there. Most tenders are no more complicated than a boxcar, and if you're comfortable with operating on diesels, the tender should not be too much of a challenge. If it is already wired for a reverse light, you should be able to modify those to provide power to the motor too. If not, then insulated wheel sets and brass axel or wheel wipers are not overly complicated.

    You might want to check out John Pryke's book on steam engines from Kalmbach. I have not had a chance to read it yet, but his articles on steam in MR are always good.

  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    The superstructure of your loco appears to be old, and Mantua could be a good possibility :rolleyes:, although, appearance-wise, I would've guessed Bowser. It also has some similarities to a Varney loco, although the twin sand domes throw a wrench into both suppositions. I'll bet that Ray Marinaccio can identify it. :)
    The running gear does not appear to be that old, however, as older locos didn't have plated drivers. I at first thought it odd that both centre sets of drivers are "blind", but this is a characteristic of both the Bowser Pennsy H-9 and the Bowser (formerly Varney) "Old Lady" Consolidations. I think that your loco is the superstructure of a Tyco/Mantua 0-8-0 switcher, while the chassis is a recent offering, as noted above, from Bowser.
    It's a relatively simple job to modify that tender for power pick-up, with the easiest choice being a pair of suitably-styled tender trucks, with wipers, from Bachmann. You may have to modify the floor of the tender, or, alternately, you can purchase most of Bachmann's tenders complete, sans circuit board, separately, at a reasonable cost.

  6. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Whatever it is, only the chassis is by Mantua. Mantua never made a boiler that looked like the one in your photos. So....the model is some sort of one-off, hy-breed, which probably explains its lack of power pick-up. Probably someone's never completed project.

  7. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Looking into the matter a bit further (by checking Mantua, Bowser, Varney, AHM and Rivarossi catalogs), I believe the closest match for that boiler is a vintage AHM 0-6-0 switcher. That boiler/superstructure had a fairly large overhang on the original model and might well fit tightly over a Mantua ALCO 0-8-0 mechanism.

  8. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Speaking of tinkerer wanted CCT70...what happened to that roundhouse I was going to build for you!!? The Korber one..I;ve been waiting for it for awhile, did you ever fine it? :)

    PM me with details.

    Also, I'm good friends with a professional model locomotive re-builder. He's rebuilding 2, 4-4-2's for me, and recently rebuilt a brass 2-8-0 from a pile of parts into a sound equipped locomotive!

    Why don't you PM me, and perhaps we can arrange that as well.

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