Author Topic: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?  (Read 684 times)

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tehachapifan

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Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« on: November 04, 2019, 09:09:31 PM »
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I picked one of these up a while back to monkey around with, even after I got a couple Atlas units. Wide hood and somewhat clunky shell details aside (compared to the Atlas units), this thing runs incredibly well (on DC). Maybe my best running N scale switcher as far as smoothness and quietness goes. Funny thing is, looking at the frame and the thickness of the motor, it seems like it didn't have to have a wider frame and shell. Anyway, I've never really known what to do with it, especially since I moved to DCC and mostly sound. Sort of a shame since it runs so dang nice. As the Spookshow site says, this thing might've made a pretty big splash if it wasn't for the Atlas offering. Anyone else have one?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 03:28:49 PM by GaryHinshaw »
Russ

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2019, 02:25:28 AM »
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The shell came first. It was tooled decades ago as a follow on to the CC/Kato SW1200. I believe it was supposed to feature a stretched SW chassis and Kato GP trucks like those on the Atlas/Kato GP7/9. I remember Charlie Vik mentioned the project was killed off multiple times before it finally lumbered over the finish line.

If I was a betting man, I would put money on Roco/Austria as the shell tooler. It features clip on side handrails and a removable cab roof that was present in other CC/Roco projects like the SD40-2 and the SD50. Mehano also had a similar construction style, but I think their tooling would be too primitive for the shell.

As far as what to do with it... That's a tough one. The truck spacing is in that weird area where it is too long for a switcher and too short for a road switcher. Some early box cabs had similar spacing.
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ncbqguy

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 12:47:06 PM »
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I am not sure that Mehano or Roco tooled the SW1500 body.   
Jim Conway had contacts in a number of countries and the source of many of his projects is not clear.
Some of them were composites of parts from multiple vendors, some of which may have been subcontractors to the “known” manufacturers.
It would be interesting to document some of the behind the scenes early days of N Scale.....but since much of this happened before many N Scalers were born, is there any interest in the background of long-gone products?
Charlie Vlk

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2019, 02:35:52 PM »
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Charlie,

I don’t know what the market would be for your “tell all” behind the scenes history, but I would buy it!
Modeling the C&O in Kentucky.

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peteski

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2019, 03:33:59 PM »
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Charlie,

I don’t know what the market would be for your “tell all” behind the scenes history, but I would buy it!

Me too - I find this stuff fascinating.

I recently bought the Kato 50th anniversary book (in Japanese, with separate English translation), and I found it extremely interesting (especially when they get into the details of producing the molds and perfecting them).
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daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2019, 03:42:58 PM »
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I am not sure that Mehano or Roco tooled the SW1500 body.   
Jim Conway had contacts in a number of countries and the source of many of his projects is not clear.
Some of them were composites of parts from multiple vendors, some of which may have been subcontractors to the “known” manufacturers.
It would be interesting to document some of the behind the scenes early days of N Scale.....but since much of this happened before many N Scalers were born, is there any interest in the background of long-gone products?
Charlie Vlk

I really wish there was some in depth book on the birth of N scale. Sadly many of the parts have already been lost to time (what a wonder it would be to see the original pre-Kadee Micro Trains kits).

There are certainly parts of N scale I think are worthy of story - Kadee/MTL, Atlas, CC, Kato, Minitrix, Roco, Fleischmann, Arnold and Lone Star.

If I was to write it? I would have a text heavy book with a coffee table folio that contained vintage photos of original equipment, artwork, vintage layouts and advertisements.
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peteski

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2019, 03:48:40 PM »
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I really wish there was some in depth book on the birth of N scale. Sadly many of the parts have already been lost to time (what a wonder it would be to see the original pre-Kadee Micro Trains kits).

There are certainly parts of N scale I think are worthy of story - Kadee/MTL, Atlas, CC, Kato, Minitrix, Roco, Fleischmann, Arnold and Lone Star.

If I was to write it? I would have a text heavy book with a coffee table folio that contained vintage photos of original equipment, artwork, vintage layouts and advertisements.

While not a book, and maybe not super-comprehensive, have you looked at our own DKS' web pages?  It is exactly what you seem to pine for (at least covering the early days you say were lost to time).
http://davidksmith.com/birth-of-n/index.htm and http://davidksmith.com/postage-stamp-trains/index.htm

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Kentuckian

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2019, 05:07:05 PM »
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DKS’s site is great but I would like to hear the behind the scenes stories. You know, Frank Sinatra acting out at a Kadee new release party; smuggling molds through the Brandenburg Gate, things like that.
Modeling the C&O in Kentucky.

“Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. ... Everything science has taught me-and continues to teach me-strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death. Nothing disappears without a trace.” Wernher von Braun

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2019, 05:28:42 PM »
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While not a book, and maybe not super-comprehensive, have you looked at our own DKS' web pages?  It is exactly what you seem to pine for (at least covering the early days you say were lost to time).
http://davidksmith.com/birth-of-n/index.htm and http://davidksmith.com/postage-stamp-trains/index.htm

I have, and that's one of the reasons why I think such a book could be so good. Imagine if we had interviews with Sony or Marklin about their aborted N scale projects. Maybe behind the scenes photos of what they designed but never sold. DKS has done great detective work, but it's an informative website and doesn't reflect the human story behind many of the facts. It's certainly not something I fault Dave for. It would be near impossible to get those stories and interviews without the cache of book writing behind you.
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peteski

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2019, 06:44:41 PM »
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I agree that some of the "inside info" and "behind the scenes" info would be great, but I suspect that some of the people involved in the early N scale development are no longer with us,
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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johnb

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2019, 07:55:03 PM »
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I picked one of these up a while back to monkey around with, even after I got a couple Atlas units. Wide hood and somewhat clunky shell details aside (compared to the Atlas units), this thing runs incredibly well (on DC). Maybe my best running N scale switcher as far as smoothness and quietness goes. Funny thing is, looking at the frame and the thickness of the motor, it seems like it didn't have to have a wider frame and shell. Anyway, I've never really known what to do with it, especially since I moved to DCC and mostly sound. Sort of a shame since it runs so dang nice. As the Spookshow site says, this thing might've made a pretty big splash if it wasn't for the Atlas offering. Anyone else have one?
I thought about buying some when Con Cor was blowing them out for $30 a pop....wish that I got 2

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2019, 06:42:15 PM »
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Will the Atlas shell fit on them?

tehachapifan

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2019, 06:45:22 PM »
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Will the Atlas shell fit on them?

No, I've checked. They don't seem to miss a lot, but enough. The atlas shell walls are already pretty thin, so I don't think anything else can be removed from them. I've pondered trying to mill/ground/file down the frame so it was thinner for the entire length of the hood, but that really seems like a lot of work. Plus, I'm not entirely sure I have the motor mounting system figured out on these units and if any grinding might affect it. Additionally, doing this would only result in a not-very-DCC-ready loco anyway.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2019, 06:53:21 PM by tehachapifan »
Russ

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2019, 02:14:31 PM »
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I have contacted Jim Conway and he is about to leave for a hobby show on the west coast so he didn't have time to respond to my questions on this and other historical topics.   He will get back to me when he is back in Tucson.
I gave a presentation on The History of N Scale at the NSE Indianapolis Convention several years ago; it is probably time to update it and present it at NSE 2020 here in Nashville.   
Yes, there are many stories (some still being written!!!) that bear repeating, some that are pretty interesting.
You wouldn't think dealing with toy trains would evoke much drama but sometimes it does. (death threats, Mafia warnings, treachery and smuggling to name a few!!)
Due to the cost of publication I don't think a "coffee table book" would be financially viable but perhaps an online version the Powerpoint can be posted after the NSE and will satisfy some of the interest in the subject for those that can't attend the convention.
A new thread will be started to continue the History issue when something comes up;  I will post anything I find out about the Con-Cor SW1500 here to complete that part of this thread.
Charlie Vlk

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Re: Concor MP15DC...Diamond in the Rough?
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2019, 05:26:54 PM »
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Due to the cost of publication I don't think a "coffee table book" would be financially viable but perhaps an online version the Powerpoint can be posted after the NSE and will satisfy some of the interest in the subject for those that can't attend the convention.
A new thread will be started to continue the History issue when something comes up;  I will post anything I find out about the Con-Cor SW1500 here to complete that part of this thread.
Charlie Vlk

There are many publishing options available nowadays. For example @tom mann published his weathering book using one of those on-demand publishers. Maybe he could offer some input  on publishing a low-volume book. His book was produced by https://www.lulu.com/
--- Peteski de Snarkski

-"Look at me, I'm satirical!!!"
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-"Look at me, I have OCD!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm a curmudgeon!!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm not negative, just blunt and honest!!!"