Kato, Big Boy

Trains Nov 13, 2022

  1. 308GTSi

    308GTSi TrainBoard Member

    I worry that 2 motors will mean slightly less weight. Ever since the Rivarossi Y6 these N scale steam locos have been a bit prone to wheel slipping rather than pulling.
    Having 2 independent motors will mean the 2 engine unit can get in and out of synchronisation will look very prototypical. They'll need 2 DCC sound cards to keep the sound matching the driving wheels.
    I would have just gone for 1 motor, more weight and had slightly varied pitch on the worm gears so that engine units and therefore the connecting rods appeared to run independently. :)
    badlandnp, Hardcoaler and Carl Sowell like this.
  2. Carl Sowell

    Carl Sowell TrainBoard Supporter

    I purchased a brand new analog DC Athearn Big Boy in February of 2018. What a disappointment as it would not run well at all. I debated returning it to the vendor on the East Coast but decided that heck no, I can fix it. The factory soldering was so bad, I have pictures, that it took me a couple of months to fix the wiring in the tender as well as the boiler. Once completed plus an ESU LokSound decoder being added it runs very well, pulls stumps. Almost as good as a KATO steamer.

    Now the new KATO BB, if it materializes, scares me as I see an unproved design that came about by typical KATO "over engineering". It will, most likely, be a typical well running piece but long term is what scares me. Oh well, heck, I guess that's my age showing through. People purchase these mega size steamers and pay through the nose but for some reason they very seldom operate them. Are they afraid of causing premature wear & tear ? As someone above mentioned, I would rather see them putting this effort into a Cabforward.

    Be well !
    BNSF FAN and mtntrainman like this.
  3. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

    This engine sounds so impressive, but personally, I think Kato would have seen a much better return on investment by giving us simply Vanderbilt tenders on the 2-8-2 and a 4-6-2.
  4. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    For any other locomotive (besides the Big Boy, which in restored 1:1 form has recently recaptured the imagination of both rail fans and modelers, as well as more than a few newcomers), I would tend to agree with you.

    But Kato is simply striking while the iron is still hot for a particular model, and stands to make a good return on it if it is well executed (as is their SOP). And the profits from it will provide funding for other ventures, perhaps including Vanderbilt tenders.

    I'd never really thought of the issue (if one) of synchronizing front and rear wheelsets before. Makes me wonder how/if the compound loco's (e.g. Mallets) did it, or whether the sizeable transfer steam pipes were large enough to double as a steam accumulator between the engines.
  5. 308GTSi

    308GTSi TrainBoard Member

    This I can help you with !
    Our family has built a bit of live steam in 7.25" gauge ....... this is my video showing dad's C&O K4 and my cousins C&O H8 2-6-6-6. They were 100% built from scratch.

    No articulated had the 2 engine units synchronised in any way. They ran as 2 seperate steam locomotives under the one boiler. That one boiler had one throttle that supplied steam to the two engine units.

    There are two different types of articulateds ...... Articulated Compounds and Articulateds

    Articulated Coupounds have the steam from the throttle go to the rear engine unit only. When that steam exits the cylinders it does NOT go to the exhaust ..... it gets sent to the front engine unit to power those cylinders ........ then it goes to the exhaust. N&W Y6's are a good example of a compound loco. The front cylinders are much bigger than the rear cylinders because they are using recycled steam .... and therefore lower pressure.

    Articulateds have the steam from the throttle get divided evenly in the smokebox and sent equally to the front and rear engine units at the same time. Both engine units will then send used steam to the exhaust. An Articulated will sound like 2 steam locos ......... a compound will sound like a conventional non-articulated loco.

    SP called them Articulated Consolidations , AC's and AM's......... their compounds were MC (mallet compounds?) and MM's ....... I don't know what that stood for.

    Have we got off topic ???????
  6. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    Kato is no stranger to dual motors. Case in point their MyTram is dual motored.
    Calzephyr, Hardcoaler and DeaconKC like this.
  7. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    Taken from TRW.

  8. Bigfoot21075

    Bigfoot21075 TrainBoard Member

    Oh MY!! I sort of wish I had not seen this. I don't have a Big Boy yet.
    BNSF FAN, Calzephyr and Hardcoaler like this.
  9. muktown128

    muktown128 TrainBoard Member

    I expect the Kato Big Boy will sell well for 2 reasons:
    1. It's a Kato - Kato has good reputation and lots of fanboys
    2. It's a Big Boy - big steamers are popular
    Add in the fact that 4014 has been restored and is operational will only add more interest.

    I spoke with a rep from another manufacturer of the Big Boy at Trainfest this weekend and he was surprised by the demand - significantly more by a wide margin than any other steamer they have done.
  10. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    Nice video! And railroad!!!
    308GTSi, badlandnp and Calzephyr like this.
  11. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

    MC is Mallet-Consolidation
    for 2-8-8-2 mallet compounds.

    MM is Mallet-Mogul
    for 2-6-6-2 mallet compounds.
    bremner, badlandnp, JMaurer1 and 2 others like this.
  12. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

    I didn't want to put a "like" on this thread considering the trouble you had with the Athearn Big Boy as delivered to you. I didn't remember Athearn having a 2018 release of them.

    But... great to read that you were able retrofit the model with a quality DCC/Sound set up and you are satisfied with it.

    Edit update:
    I looked at the Spookshow site because I know I did not get any Big Boys in 2018. It turns out that in 2017 Athearn offered DCC ready versions so the modelers could upgrade as desired or just run in DC without sound. Obviously not something I would have been interested in.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2022
    badlandnp likes this.
  13. SP&S #750

    SP&S #750 TrainBoard Member

    I'd love it if we could get more Northerns, I'll take #700 and her sisters.
    badlandnp, Calzephyr and Allen H like this.
  14. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

    I'm wondering why the only Hudson Class created in the past twenty years is the Bachmann non-streamlined NYC J class.
    Why not the Dreyfuss streamlined J3?
    How about a Milwaukee Road F7 Class Baltic?
    badlandnp likes this.
  15. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    From Kato's Facebook page:

    Big News! We will be officially announcing the N scale 4-8-8-4 "Big Boy" next month, and we showed off a very early pre-production sample at Trainfest this past weekend.

    You can see a few pictures of this early sample attached to this post - please note that this is a very early unfinished sample, with many parts not finished and some being 3D printed test parts.

    While we are not yet taking orders for these engines, here are some features you can look forward to:

    - Twin Coreless motor drive for unprecedented pulling power and operational smoothness
    - Available as an Analog engine, unique among Big Boys produced on the market, as well as with factory installed DCC and DCC & Sound.
    - 11" (282mm) minimum operation radius
    - Modern real-world paint appearance

    If you haven't yet, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking the appropriate link on our website to be informed when the Big Boy is announced and we will begin accepting reservations!

    Link with official pictures:

  16. muktown128

    muktown128 TrainBoard Member

    Good question. A new Dreyfuss streamlined J3 would be nice. I wouldn't be surprised if Bachmann does one within the new few years since they have the mechanism and just released streamlined PRR K4 a few years after the original K4. I bet some people would buy a Dreyfuss streamlined J3 to pull their Kato 20th Century Ltd set, even if the eras don't line up. I think it would still look pretty good. Even as a PRR fan, I'll admit that NYC's 20th Century Ltd and 2 tone grey scheme looks pretty sharp.
    Calzephyr, badlandnp and DeaconKC like this.
  17. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

    This is the beauty of Kato. They know what they're doing, so we don't have to! I'll buy one day one. I don't model UP. I don't model modern day excursion. But, none of that matters. I want one!
  18. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

    Hardcoaler, Calzephyr and BNSF FAN like this.
  19. jwaldo

    jwaldo TrainBoard Member

    The two-motor drive will be interesting. I don't think I've ever seen an N scale loco whose pulling power was limited by motor torque instead of weight. Usually the wheels slip long before the motor stalls.

    Maybe Kato's snuck some depleted uranium into their Big Boy frame to really maximize the weight :p
  20. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    I suspect the friction from both sets of drivers, connecting rods, etc. would sap much of the torque from a single motor.

    Also the second motor adds additional weight, for more traction. And it reinforces the prototype's behavior with two unsyncrhonized sets of drivers. I wonder if it will be set up for two sound decoders (with separately synchronizable chuffs.)

    I wonder if anyone makes a single decoder with two sets of motor drivers, and an extra sound channel for the extra chuffs?

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