Mystery Brass Tenshodo 0-8-0

Lewis M. Phelps Jan 14, 2020

  1. Lewis M. Phelps

    Lewis M. Phelps New Member

    I recently picked up a nice Tenshodo 0-8-0 on eBay at a good price. There are several aspects of the model that puzzle me, and I'm looking for help.

    The (unpainted) locomotive model looks to be a pretty standard USRA 0-8-0, except that some of the details are in odd positions. (See accompanying photos, please). The bell hangs off the front of the firebox, for one thing, rather than somewhere atop the boiler. The headlight is mounted on top of the firebox, at the front, rather than the more typical mounting in the center or at the top of the front plate of the firebox. The headlight seems awfully "crowded" against the stack. Are these OEM details?

    The tender is even more of a puzzler. It has no markings on it, so I am unsure whether it's even a Tenshodo.

    locomotive1.jpg locomotive3.jpg tender1.jpg tender2.jpg
    It's a Vanderbilt, with a coal bunker rather than oil. At first I thought it might be a kit bash modification of what was originally an oil fuel tender, but then I realized there are specific details on the top of the coal bunker that match details on the main part of the body. This would seem hard to replicate, and suggests that this is not a kit bash.

    The only Vanderbilt tenders that I have seen on any Tenshodo locomotives are oil fuel tenders. Further, they have three-axle trucks, whereas my model has two-axle trucks. The Tenshodo 0-8-0 models I have seen online all have Bettendorf or similar trucks, whereas my model has two axle Commonwealth style trucks.

    So, my questions are:
    1. Is the locomotive based on a specific prototype? If so, what? Or was the Tenshodo configuration modified by a previous owner? (I know he did some mods, because the model came with an old, now-obsolete NWSL 16 x 30 mm round can motor.)
    2. Does the tender even "belong" to this locomotive? It certainly isn't typical of 0-8-0 switchers I have seen, either in models or prototypes. Even if the tender is "OEM", are the trucks correct?

    Thanks for whatever light you can shed on this.

    Lew Phelps
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    It certainly looks as though someone was making a few modifications. Usually folks do so, trying to simulate a specific prototype. The headlight looks vaguely similar to what I saw on some NP 0-6-0 types.

    The only western companies I can think of right now, using Vanderbilt tenders were GN and SP. Not sure about operators back east. It has been too many years since I was a boy, to remember the GN examples, but am not recalling any with such tenders.

    Maybe I should dig out a book or two.
  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I'm no expert whatsoever, but to my eyes, the tender looks a bit strange because the sides on the front of Vanderbilt tenders usually rise up above the tank to form the sides of a tall coal bunker. In the case of the model, we instead see low tender sides and a peculiar small bunker within with its own containment sides.

    Perhaps it was originally an oil tender that a previous owner tried to modify into a coal tender? Even the details look a little weird, with a useless grab iron running the length of the sides on the coal bunker and an oddly placed marker lamp on its side.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  4. fordy744

    fordy744 TrainBoard Member

    It certainly looks like someone has been modifying a stock loco, married it to another tender from something else.

    I would presume they were trying to model a very specific prototype, as it is a lot of work to just start randomly moving bits about. What that prototype is I don't know.

    Coal vandys are quite common in the east, B&O & C&O both had them, but not on switchers. So I can rule both B&O & C&O out as not having the prototype for your model. On that note I can rule N&W & VGN out too!

    So I think you have a quest on your hands!

    Good Luck!
  5. Lewis M. Phelps

    Lewis M. Phelps New Member

    Thanks for the input, folks. I am now quite sure that the tender is not what came originally with the 0-8-0 switcher. It's too big to be a yard tender, and it doesn't have any Tenshodo markings on it. Every Tenshodo I've seen for sale on or eBay had a Tenshodo logo on the bottom of the tender. Nothing here; no markings on the tender. So, this will be a good exercise in building my brass scratch making skills to make a suitable tender.

    My quest for info has been assisted by having gotten a Locomotive Cylopedia (1960 edition) through eBay. A great resource.
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  6. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

    Someone was trying to make an Erie switcher I'd say. Certainly looks the part. Wanna sell it?

    fordy744, Hardcoaler and BoxcabE50 like this.
  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I was hoping that you'd come upon this thread WM183. (y) You have a good eye.
    WM183 likes this.

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