Author Topic: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale  (Read 1987 times)

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rgengineoiler

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USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« on: March 11, 2019, 09:29:23 AM »
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I used to own 2 of these manufactured by Rivaossi way way back in the day.  They had pizza cutter drivers and ran so so.  Detail was, well by today's standards, not all that great.  I would like to see BLI jump into this and forget that not all locomotives are Pennsey.  I of course am D&RGW and the Rio Grande had 10 of them. They were used hard for freight drags and pushers over Tenn. pass and other areas for many years up until 1956.  Virginian, Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Western Pacific, Norfolk & Western, Santa Fe, Clinchfield, Duluth Messabe and Iron Range, Chesapeake and Ohio to name most. 

My BLI 4-8-2 Mountains are great runners and a quality product.  My experience with Athearn is very bad because of my Challenger which is in repair again.  I do know that when Atlas purchased Life-Like,  the molds for the Mallet's and 2-8-0's were not their and not found, at least so far as I know.  Those Mallets, especially the second run in 2008 from Life-Like were real keepers according to the Spook which gave the second run an "A" I believe.  I would think that there would be good profit in diving into an excellent run of Mallets in all these Railroads mentioned above and some undec's too.  With all the tech now and great sound for our models this would be a knock out of the park for sure.  I can see a sell out right now.  So wake up manufactures and do something before it's to late for myself and others.  I finally decided to speak up and have been thinking about it for a long time.  So let's hear from others who run Steamers in N Scale... Doug  R.

mike_lawyer

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 10:18:21 AM »
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I was hoping when Atlas bought the Walthers tooling that the 2-8-8-2 would be produced, but Atlas says that tooling was lost somehow.  I am still hoping that the mallet could be reissued.  I don't own one, but have been told that the second run with traction tires is a great performer.


mmagliaro

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 11:23:44 AM »
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rengineoiler, When you said that Atlas didn't get the tooling for the "2-8-0", did you mean "0-8-0"?  I don't think Life-Like made a steam 2-8-0.

And yes, the 0-8-0 and 2-8-8-2 would have been really valuable gems.  I had a couple of 2-8-8-2's here to do some minor repairs for people and they ran superbly and looked beautiful.  (the repairs were minor stuff like breakage to exterior parts brought on by man-handling)

So... where is the tooling for the 0-8-0 and 2-8-8-2?  Walthers definitely used to have it because the were selling those engines under the Walthers name.  Does anyone know what happened to it?  Is this one of those mysterious arrangements with the manufacturer in China, where Walthers actually doesn't know where the tooling is?  Or did Atlas simply not want to buy those two engines?

Mark5

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 11:31:22 AM »
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The Rivarossi 2-8-8-2 is not a USRA 2-8-8-2 - it is a N&W Y6b.

Atlas imported a USRA 2-8-8-2 in the 1990s.

Lifelike, then Walthers imported a modified USRA 2-8-8-2 (in reality a N&W Y-3) in the first decade of this century.

I own examples except for the Atlas 2-8-8-2.

Mark

randgust

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 12:31:54 PM »
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Back in the late 70's I had a friend that had a pair of them - the Rivarossi's.    They had traction tires for sure.

And they sure could pull.   He had a basement-sized layout with 20" curves and a .75 percent ruling grade.   One of those could handle, and I personally saw it - 100 of the 34' MT twin-bay hopper cars.  Sure, those are small and light cars, but it rolled them.    You really had to watch it as his track wasn't that great, but it did work.  And it was working the locomotive hard, they would get warm.   But in terms of what it could do, yeah, I can attest to it.   

There's a lot of threads out there on what happened to the Rivarossi tooling, whether it got lost like some of the Roco did or had otherwise tragic results I can't remember, but other than finding one out on the auction sites I think you probably out of luck.   If you put a better motor in one I think it would be worth it.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 12:37:49 PM by randgust »

Mark5

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2019, 12:51:03 PM »
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@Atlas Paul

Did none of the Lifelike/Walthers Steam tooling come to Atlas?
  • Lima Berkshire 2-8-4 (NKP)
  • USRA 0-8-0
  • N&W Y-3 modified USRA 2-8-8-2 (sold by N&W to some other roads in the 1940s)

Mark

mmagliaro

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2019, 01:32:32 PM »
+1
By the way, the Rivarossi/Rowa/MRC 2-8-8-2 flanges could run on code 55 track, so they aren't exactly "pizza cutters".   
(unlike the 4-6-6-4, which happily buzzed away on the ties when testing on my c55 track).

Spookshow's review page quotes an MR review from 1970 that measured them at .026".  That's just a hair big, but .026" will usually run on Atlas code 55 without grazing the ties.  I've got stuff at .026" that works on Atlas c55.  It is the very biggest I will dare use, though.  At the very worst, you can run it on its back and graze just a couple of thousandths off the drivers with a file.  Trimming down flanges when they are THAT close to being "okay" is much easier tha having to grind down .005" or more.  This is a big deal when considering the viability of picking up old Rivarossi 2-8-8-2's and using them in the "modern" era.   

Another nice touch is that they have a big motor cavity and a jointed connection to worms that ride in their own carriers.  That makes swapping in a new motor a lot easier than on a model where you have to pull and swap the worm, and mount the motor precisely to mesh with existing tower gears.

The only other big things to watch out for are the ever-present crumbling Zamac frames and the clods of caked-in, hardened white grease.  At this point, if the frame is solid, it's probably going to outlive all of us. 
As for the grease, some of those old Rivarossi engines have so much of it, and it is so rock-hard, that the whole drive train is jammed solid.  The only way to clean it is to take the whole thing apart down to the frames and wash it, wash it, wash it with mineral spirits or alcohol, and make sure there are no traces of it left, because once fresh oil hits traces of that grease, it will get carried around and then harden into a rock somewhere else (I know this from experience).

Detail may be lacking in those old bruisers, but as a daily runner, I think they are worth it.

Cajonpassfan

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2019, 02:31:52 PM »
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What a sad state of affairs if the Mallet and 0-8-0  tooling are truly "lost".
I keep hoping that they will somehow reappear...one can always hope, right?

I have one (and need another) of the LL first runs without traction tires, and it's an excellent runner as well as a looker. It can only pull about 12 cars up my 2.2% grades, but since I only use it in helper/pusher service, that's actually preferred; too much power on the rear end can cause derailments.

Other than weak motors, the original Roewa/MRC Y6b's were actually way ahead of their time as far as flanges and siderod details. I still have several, in pieces, that I acquired for someday "projects"...
Otto K.

mmagliaro

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2019, 03:06:47 PM »
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LL 2-8-8-2's show up on eBay and at train shows periodically, but they always fetch premium prices.  People know they are good engines.

I don't have a 2-8-8-2 here... Are the drivers cuttable for traction tires?  (I meant the first run ones).  If the outer metal rim part has enough thickness, they can be cut.  The Kato Mikado has a problem with that, in that their rims are too thin and if you try to cut even .005" into them, you are playing with fire and might cut right through the rim.   I tried it a few times and managed to get it, but it's hit-or-miss, and since replacement drivers for those are commonly available, it's not a big deal.

But for the 2-8-8-2, cutting traction tire grooves may be the only way to fix the pulling on those earlier ones.  If anyone has calipers and a good eye, post a guess at the rim thickness in here.  It would be good to know.

Mark5

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2019, 04:28:13 PM »
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I guess I got lucky, my Lifelike Y3 (1st run) will pull 30 MTL box cars on level track.

Max, while the Rowa Y6b may have smaller flanges, I'm pretty sure the Concor/Rivarossi versions come with a pizza menu (will check mine later today).

Mark

sizemore

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2019, 04:32:05 PM »
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Personally I want another Berk. With traction tires and DCC/Sound. ;P

The S.

mmagliaro

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2019, 05:12:26 PM »
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I guess I got lucky, my Lifelike Y3 (1st run) will pull 30 MTL box cars on level track.

Max, while the Rowa Y6b may have smaller flanges, I'm pretty sure the Concor/Rivarossi versions come with a pizza menu (will check mine later today).

Mark
Really?  They used different drivers?  That would be interesting to know.  I will wait in earnest for your report.

rgengineoiler

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2019, 05:40:24 PM »
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Yes, you are right.  0-8-0 is correct.  Just got to typing to fast I guess.  I sold my Rivarossi's about 2010 or so when starting another layout using C55 track.   Doug R

strummer

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2019, 05:46:58 PM »
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 ...The only other big things to watch out for are the ever-present crumbling Zamac frames and the clods of caked-in, hardened white grease.  At this point, if the frame is solid, it's probably going to outlive all of us. 
As for the grease, some of those old Rivarossi engines have so much of it, and it is so rock-hard, that the whole drive train is jammed solid.  The only way to clean it is to take the whole thing apart down to the frames and wash it, wash it, wash it with mineral spirits or alcohol, and make sure there are no traces of it left, because once fresh oil hits traces of that grease, it will get carried around and then harden into a rock somewhere else (I know this from experience).

Sounds very much like what's known in the Marklin Z Scale world as "HOS": "Hardened Oil Syndrome". Seems the older releases came lubed with a grease that contained some sort of "wax", so over time the stuff would harden and it would become impossible for the gears to turn. I guess many a motor were burned up by an unknowing user attempting to get their immoveable loco running by turning up the juice...

I personally have seen this; I have (4) Marklin Z scale locos. All were used when I got 'em, and all 4 needed a complete tear-down, cleaning and re-lube before they would run. (Fortunately I knew about "HOS" prior to getting any of them.)

Now they can sit for many months without turning a wheel, yet will all run smoothly and quietly now that that stuff has been removed.

Mark (still) in Oregon

CRL

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Re: USRA 2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive In N Scale
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2019, 06:00:57 PM »
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The Rivarossi 2-8-8-2 is not a USRA 2-8-8-2 - it is a N&W Y6b.

Atlas imported a USRA 2-8-8-2 in the 1990s.

Lifelike, then Walthers imported a modified USRA 2-8-8-2 (in reality a N&W Y-3) in the first decade of this century.

I own examples except for the Atlas 2-8-8-2.

Mark

You’re lucky. The Atlas 2-8-8-2 was a piece of ssssssssshhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttttttttttt!