Oh the Joys of Modeling Southern Pacific Steam...

bremner Nov 17, 2019

  1. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    5,155
    2,762
    89
    Over the summer I inherited a trio of Rivarossi steamers, a heavy 4-6-2, a light 4-6-2, and a light 2-8-2. All three have oil Vanderbilt tenders, the Pacifics have rare Dimi-Trains tenders and the Mikado has a Bachmann tender. These tenders are correct for Southern Pacific steam.

    Fast forward to last night....I decided that I am not one for stewardship of someone else's freelanced railroad. I decided that I need to make these locos look and feel more So-Cal, and I started to do some research....now here is some truth, the SP never had any USRA locos. NEVER.

    I was reading the list of Southern Pacific 2-8-2's, and some came from the purchase of the El Paso and South Western in 1924....hmmm.....started to read the list of original owners of the USRA Heavy Mike's...the EP&SW is on the list! Do I have a prototype to model? Is this a simple shell swap? Time for more research....ugh....the Great Northern bought all five of them in 1920.

    Back to the drawing board.
     
    Kurt Moose and BNSF FAN like this.
  2. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

    1,413
    162
    30
    SP was unusual for a large railroad in that it never had any USRA power. USRA locomotives burned coal. Except for a secondary in Arizona, SP did not have much use for coal burners. It converted he coal burners that it bought used or moved to California from SSW to oil quickly.. USRA was going to assign it several light 2-8-2s and 0-8-0s, but SP built enough 2-6-0s and 2-8-0s from spare parts that were lying around the various shops to duck the USRA shibboleth.

    There are brass Mk, Mt and P classes out there. You know the deal on brass. You are, of course, aware of the GS classes sold by Kato and C-C.

    The MP 2-6-0 has a boiler and domes that appear to be based on SP M-classes. Two critical items are missing.: the half loop handrail under the center mounted headlight on the smoke box cover AND the SP style cab.

    The MP eight wheeler looks SP enough, but, again, you must add the handrail on the smokebox cover and do something about the cab. MP sold those with box oil tenders, after several SP modellers complained that the E classes had box tenders. Harre DeMoro has a book of photographs of SP SF Bay Area steam. That book has two photographs of two different E classes with Vanderbilts. If you are modelling 1940s or later, I do not know how much the eight wheelers and moguls ran in Southern California. They lasted until the end of steam on the SF Peninsula.

    The B-mann ten wheeler looks nothing like any SP T Class.

    If you change the domes, cab and tender on the B-mann consolidated, you can come up with a passable C-class. Many people tried to add the MP Vanderbilt (which is based on what SP used on its C/T classes and smaller) to the B-mann without making it all wheels live. The results were predictable.

    .............but, you are correct, small to average sized SP steam in N can be enough to make a minister swear.
     
    bremner and SP-Wolf like this.
  3. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    1,684
    451
    31
    As Brokemoto already said you won't find a SP prototypes for any of your locomotives...BUT that being said and since you already have Vandy tenders for them, you can make them appear to be SP locomotives and most people will not even notice. Main things they usually need are to have the feedwater heater (if it has it) mounted in front of the smoke stack or on the smoke box front removed and repossitioned to the side of the locomotive. They need Vandy tenders (which you already have) but can also have whaleback tenders or rectangular oil tenders (depending on prototype). The Bachmann is probably more common than the Dimi (at least on the 2-8-2 and 4-6-2s). Stretched Model Power Vandy tenders are probably the most 'popular' (but hard to find and harder to find two to make one longer tender). Add number boards (detail associates), move the bell to the top of the boiler, open the cab windows up and paint the window frames red, and paint the smoke box front silver and the smoke box graphite. I have several models built from the USRA locomotives (including a pacific with a skyline casing from a Concor 4-8-4) and nobody questions them. Get the 'look' right and you'll be fine. The harder part is turning down the pizza cutter wheels and getting the engine to run well.

    This looks like a 2-8-2 with a Dimi style tender: http://espee.railfan.net/nonindex/steam-02/3216_sp-steam-mk04-byron_bostwick.jpg

    I'll try to remember to look through my library at home and see if I can't come up with some more examples.
     
    SP-Wolf and bremner like this.
  4. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    5,155
    2,762
    89
    Well, I think that I am going to go with the Dimi Trains Vandy...

    [​IMG]

    Unless anyone has other suggestions, I plan to remove the bell from the smoke box and put it on the boiler, remove the windows from the cab, and put a grimy paint job on it. I will be lettering it with post 1946 lettering and I am pondering how to turn down the pizza cutter flanges….DCC is also in the mix….3208 had 3 axle trucks
     
    SP-Wolf and Kurt Moose like this.
  5. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    1,684
    451
    31
    Couldn't find my copy of SP in LA last night so I went to my SP Pictorial Photo Album Series of books by Duane Karam Jr and Jeff Ainsworth. First off, I need to say that whenever the SP brought in an engine for a major overhaul, they would remove the tender. Once the shopping was done, they attached whatever tender was closest to the needed size. That means that a locomotive probably had several different tenders during its life and if you want to be absolutely accurate (which is already tough since we are starting out with creating a stand in model from the USRA locomotives) you need to model from a photo that is dated for your time period.

    Flipping through the books, there are more than a few engines that had tenders similar to the Dimi Vandy tender. Actually, the tender is more than likely a Rivarossi or Concor tender since both companies released locomotives with this tender and you already said that the engines are Rivarossi. Part of the problem is the actual Dimi/Rivarossi/Concor tender is really a B&O prototype used on the S class 2-10-2's and EL class 2-8-8-0's. Of course, they were coal burners and you already stated that they are oil tenders (a variation offered for the tender so they could release it in other roads). The closest SP tender to these is probably the 120-C-8 (12,000 gal water, cylindrical tank construction, and is the 8th class of such specifications) but they are really too long to be this tender. They did had the 6 wheel trucks that comes with the tender. These tenders were common behind the 'heavy' pacifics, 2-10-2s, and MT (4-8-2) classes of engines.

    The Bachmann tender can be either of three tenders. One that looks similar to the Dimi/Rivarossi/Concor with the 6 wheels trucks that came with the heavy Mountain (closest to the 120-C-8), one with the same tender but with 4 wheel trucks and came with the 2-6-6-2s (closest to the 120-C-7), or the heavier one that came with the old Bachmann 2-8-2 (closest to the 160-C-1/2).

    The first two tenders can be seen in this thread. The difference between the two tenders is the top one has the 6 wheel trucks and the bottom has the 4 wheel trucks. Other than that, they appear to be the same tender but both are too long to be 'correct' for the SP (although with a stand in, most people won't even notice). The 2-8-2 tender can be seen here and is fairly close to the 160-C-1/2 but I don't even remember if they have power strips to pick up power from the tender. The other problem with the 160-C-1/2 tender is that they were used behind the large SP steam - AC-4, -5, and -6 and the 4-10-2, 2-10-2, GS-1 (4-8-4), Mt (4-8-2), but WERE used on a few of the T&NO's large Pacifics.

    Most important point is as long as the engine has the flavor of the SP (numberboards, etc), most won't know the difference. As I said, I have bashed several SP engines out of these and they look just fine (and there's not really any other way to get SP 4-6-2s or 2-8-2s without going brass). Good luck and go for it!
     
    SP-Wolf and bremner like this.
  6. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    1,684
    451
    31
    ...and while I was typing this you posted a picture. It already looks on it's way with the number boards! Now, I don't think 3 is the correct SP number...
     
  7. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    5,155
    2,762
    89
    You're right about the number...here is the Bachmann tender
    [​IMG]
     
  8. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    1,684
    451
    31
    That is the 160-C-1/2 tender. It's a pretty good copy (if you replace the handrails) of a SP tender, but it was mostly used on the big steam.
     
  9. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    5,155
    2,762
    89
    so...which tender would you recommend?
     
  10. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    1,684
    451
    31
    The other tenders you have would work but ideally, the MP vandy tender, especially if you are able to get two and stretch one of them. I was VERY LUCKY and able to order some shells from MP back in the day and was able to do this. The MP vandy is also an SP prototype but as time went on, the locomotives needed more water to run further so the SP cut the tenders in two, welded and bolted in another round of metal, and put them back into service. In short, SP kitbashed their own tenders just in 1to1 scale.
     
  11. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    5,155
    2,762
    89
    I know very little about Rivarossi steamers, any tips on improving them?
     
  12. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    18,142
    13,892
    232
    I have spent a lot of time SP izing USRA steam locomotives. I try to do enough to alter their appearance with the least amount of effort.
    Arnold heavy Pacific with a Bachmann tender.
    [​IMG]
    Minitrix Pacific with an Atlas USRA shell turned into a 10 Wheeler. The tender is from Model Power.
    [​IMG]
    Kato Mikado. Kit bashed tender.
    [​IMG]
    Another Trix mechanism with Kato valve gear/cross head/rods and an Atlas USRA shell, only this time a Pacific in the end. Model Power tender.
    [​IMG]
    And then this old Rivarossi USRA Mikado got the treatment. Western Railcraft cast resin tender.
    [​IMG]
     
    BNSF FAN, badlandnp, MK and 2 others like this.
  13. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    18,142
    13,892
    232
    All wheel electrical pickup on the tenders does wonders for them. I usually replace the motors too.
     
    badlandnp likes this.
  14. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    5,155
    2,762
    89
    hey Russ, funny thing about your list of tenders....
    [​IMG]
    I have all of the remaining Western Railcraft seconds...
     
    SP-Wolf and r_i_straw like this.
  15. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    18,142
    13,892
    232
    They can be quite crude but with a little work can clean up nicely. Once you add some details, you hardly notice any "unfixable" flaws. I believe I replaced the steps and hand rails on the Whale Back above.
     
  16. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    5,155
    2,762
    89
    these are VERY rough. I could have sworn that I had another mini Vandy...I was thinking that it would look nice behind a kitbashed Bachmann 0-6-0
     
    JMaurer1 likes this.
  17. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    1,684
    451
    31
    I have one of the Railrcraft whaleback tenders and for my 2-8-2...I scratchbuilt the tender. Less work and easier to do.
     

Share This Page