Showcase Miniatures Power Truck & Plymouth MDT

shortpainter Dec 29, 2020

  1. shortpainter

    shortpainter TrainBoard Member

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    powerTruck.jpg

    A while back I purchased the Showcase Miniatures Power Truck. I was very impressed with it's performance. The large gear at the back gives it slow speed high torque running characteristics. With only a quarter ounce weight added to it, the power truck could pull 10 to 15 cars. This little machine punches way above it's weight class.

    This, of course, got me thinking about making a shell to fit over it. One my favorite models when I was very young was the N scale Bachmann Plymouth MDT. It wasn't the best runner and it was massively over sized but I loved it. So I started designing an MDT shell for the power truck. It had to be scaled up to fit but it's still closer to z scale than the Bachmann version was to N scale version. I've ordered some test prints of the shell. I can't wait to try it out.

    MDT.jpg
    On the left is the Z scale version based on blue prints. The right one is scaled up to fit the Showcase Miniatures chassis. When mounted to the chassis, it will be about 3/4 the height of a MTL 40 foot boxcar. It's a tiny locomotive!

    showimage.php.jpg
     
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  2. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    Can’t wait to see this finished. I had a Bachman HO scale Plymouth switcher as a kid and there is fondness for it as well for me.
     
  3. tjdreams

    tjdreams TrainBoard Member

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  4. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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  5. shortpainter

    shortpainter TrainBoard Member

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    I started a second version that that is very similar to the Domino Sugar one. It has the exposed wheels like the prototype. I stopped working on it because the wheel base doesn't match the real one. The Showcase Miniatures' wheels are too close together and there is a screw that will be seen(see the screws in above image). I'll finish this up if there is demand for it. Let me know what you think.

    MDT-type2.jpg
     
  6. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
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  7. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    Chris what is the difference between the searails and showcase mechanisms? Is there a size difference? Performance difference? I’m curious.
     
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  8. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Yeah I was wondering that too. I know Tom Knapp and Jim at SeaRAILS made a mechanism, but as is always the case with Searails, after they sell 20-30 units, they loose interest and move on. I suspect that because Showcase went to all the trouble of producing Shay and kits to use the Searails drive, and finding that drive sold out just about the time the Showcase kits were released, that Showcase produced their own drive of compatible size. Possible even a clone or even a Tom Knapp design?
     
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  9. shortpainter

    shortpainter TrainBoard Member

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    I'd like to chime in on the differences. The searails motor is an older style 8mm wide 6 volt motor. It has a longer wheel base and uses metal gears. The Showcase truck is 7mm wide with a shorter wheel base, 6mm coreless motor and plastic gears. The Searails truck is a lot louder than the Showcase truck. I tested both of them with a .25 ounce of metal attached for weight. They both appear to have the same pulling power but it wasn't an accurate test. The Searails truck stutters more often than the Showcase does. I believe there is a lot more friction in the Seariails mechanism and motor. I don't know if the stuttering is related to the mechanism or the electrical pickup design. The Searails instructions say no more than 6 volts. The Showcase recommends 6 volts but it is safe for 12 volts. I've always run my Searails truck on a 9 volt layout and I have not run into any problems yet. The biggest difference is availability and price. The showcase product is available at their website and other retailers. The Searails PowerMax is sold out off and on at random times. I'm not even sure they make them anymore.
     
  10. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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  11. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I have one of the Zthek drives too. It looks tiny in its box but huge next to the Searails.
     
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  12. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Lajos Thek of ZoCal was a watchmaker by trade. He made the first of these (for Z). I think about a year (or bit more) Searails made theirs and pissed Lajos off (Lajos was retired, living the simple life). I tested a few of the Searails and found the the had some congestions running. The big give away as he wanted to DCC them or make them more compatible to ~10 volts. But when I got my oscilloscope out (I check a a lot of motors, after the MTL grinders).
    They motor had a terrible commutator/brush and loadiing, as current makes BIG BEMF volts. The Laos Thek had quite clean, much better than MTL. But the Searails had 100's of volts of what we call 'broadband' noise. This would be a true test of a decoder to have hard enough protection to not destroy it.

    I think I'll order a Showcase version to test. I think I still have a Searails unit. I do have a Lajos unit.
     
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  13. minzemaennchen

    minzemaennchen TrainBoard Member

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    Searails is now only including the Powermax in their product according the web page. I didn't know about the SCM one, might be useful for some projects....
     
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  14. shortpainter

    shortpainter TrainBoard Member

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    Test print arrived. I miscalculated the height of the Power Truck so the shell sits a bit higher than I thought it would. That gives me room to add some foot boards seen on some of the prototypes. One thing that is interesting about the Plymouth MDT is that every single photo I have found shows various configurations. Everything from the fuel tanks to grab irons to exhaust stacks are different for each one. It's also easy to confuse the ML8s with the MDTs and the WDTs. I can see why Bachmann made all the decisions they made for their N scale version. It kind of captures everything without being any one version. I followed their footsteps.

    Running this little engine is so much fun!

    IMG_2970.jpg IMG_2969.jpg
     
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  15. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    I just love your stuff! This one is almost a no brainer as i see the power trucks are in stock, but I will wait until this MDT shell is too to move forward. Also the Showcase Miniatures website is exciting, lots of cool stuff there! Anyone use this Bondic stuff yet? Also i did not know you made decals for some of your projects. This is a pretty big deal for me as i have several of your Shapeways projects but waiting to build them due to decal production.
     
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  16. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    That is a very nice looking little switcher Rudy.
     
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  17. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    That's the perfect little switcher for industries!

    Way cool!(y)
     
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  18. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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  19. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for sharing. Those are great photos. I am looking to see if the Domino Sugar Co. operated one in Boston when they were located here. So far no luck. Jim
     
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  20. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Rudy,
    Looks really good!
    Chris,
    Nice pictures!
    This was our first locomotive back in the late sixties. Ours was a Tyco HO product and it was silver and black.
    My dad got this so my brother and I wouldn't touch his brass HO locomotives!
    Scott
     
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