Author Topic: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives  (Read 3151 times)

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randgust

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2019, 10:27:07 AM »
+2
"back in the day" pretty much my entire fleet was Trix and Rapido - I think I had five F's, 8 U28's, one GP7 and one GP30 as prime power.

The Rapidos were just like you said; about the only reliable B-B road switcher out there, 8x8 drive and pickup, and with the cup gears, pretty good slow speed.    Noisy is an understatement, I slopped mine liberally with grease, played with gear tolerance, etc.  All truck gears were brass, and after they wore in for a bit, wouldn't be too terrible.   Out of the box..wow....

Their 'fatal flaw' was that the body shell held the trucks in alignment, you couldn't run the darn things without putting the body on it.   So tuning them was an exercise in frustration.   I went as far as literally strapping the motors on the chassis with .005 brass strip and screws to keep the motor and spur in perfect alignment with the cup gears.   The other major fatal flaw was that the wheel treads were so wide they'd short out on about anything with a plastic frog, I turned my wheeltreads narrower.

And they did, well, look like crap.   I went so far as to fill in the sill under the frames, close in the pilots and body mount couplers, put on brass wire handrails, repaint and use Microscale decals.  Until Atlas/Kato came out with the GP30 and Atlas GP7, they hung in there.   One of the rebuilt shells was later grafted onto an N Scale of Nevada Atlas GP chassis....   Yeah, the things you had to do then.   Now we are concerned if the air horn isn't the right one.

The Trix F's had a wonderful all-metal 8x8 chassis and the worst motor they made - 3-pole that cogged with testy brushes, prone to fire rings.  Getting an ABBA set to run together and reliably was, well, a challenge.   I still have one, but it was repowered with a Sagami five-pole motor and is 100% reliable.    Everything else was sold and traded over the years, but without those I would have given up N after about the second year.

Yeah, compared to the Rivarossi and Mehano stuff of the same era, this was the 'good stuff', if you were willing to improve the body shells.   The very first thing I ever attempted to repaint was a Trix U28 from the red and silver warbonnet to a yellow and blue warbonnet, and the photo of it was actually published in the NMRA Bulliten magazine.  This was even before Micro-Scale did decals, I HAND PAINTED the "Santa Fe'" on the side using the Trix paint as a guide....   

Yeah, this is the N scale version of "Walked five miles to school everyday - uphill both ways!" but those of us that have been in the scale for actual MODELING since the early 70's either learned to modify stuff or just quit.   Very little if anything came out of the box performing or looking as it should, and you honed your skills with varying degrees of pain and success.   I'd come from HO, all my friends were HO, and I was the ONLY N scale guy in my entire NMRA regional meetings.   

Those of you that have seen the Hickory Valley portable logging layout at Altoona - that was designed and built 1975-6 and is relatively unchanged ever since, still going....
« Last Edit: November 20, 2019, 10:46:11 AM by randgust »

Blazeman

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2019, 01:26:43 PM »
0
"
Yeah, this is the N scale version of "Walked five miles to school everyday - uphill both ways!" but those of us that have been in the scale for actual MODELING since the early 70's either learned to modify stuff or just quit.   Very little if anything came out of the box performing or looking as it should, and you honed your skills with varying degrees of pain and success.   I'd come from HO, all my friends were HO, and I was the ONLY N scale guy in my entire NMRA regional meetings.   

Those of you that have seen the Hickory Valley portable logging layout at Altoona - that was designed and built 1975-6 and is relatively unchanged ever since, still going....

N scale is lucky to have you  and David as  proponents. Sure you didn't "drop in" from the 30's and 40's when modelers made everything?

wm3798

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2019, 08:35:11 PM »
0
Frustrating as these old dogs were, I'm getting nothing but joy from them


There's the thrill of the hunt, the excitement of the gamble with each eBay purchase, and the unbridled excitement for both me and my dog as we walk to the mailbox to retrieve our quarry.
There's also the knowledge that over the decade or so that these were produced, there were likely thousands of them that were collected and never run.  So even today, one can drop a couple of quid and get something that's inaccurately modeled, clumsily designed, and primitive built... but enormously fun to play with!
Lee
Rockin' It Old School

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

Albert in N

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2019, 09:03:17 PM »
0




Peteski is correct that the Arnold Rapido GP-7 has plastic cup gears (one on each side of motor) and brass gears mating to the cups.  Somehow, I thought that they were metal cups.  Also, running this N locomotive does not sound like a coffee grinder.  Actually, it sounds like my battery nose hair trimmer!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2019, 09:05:22 PM by Albert in N »

peteski

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2019, 11:37:55 PM »
0


Peteski is correct that the Arnold Rapido GP-7 has plastic cup gears (one on each side of motor) and brass gears mating to the cups.  Somehow, I thought that they were metal cups.
That brings back  some memories!  I need to dig up my old Geep I painted for B&M again.  I think I even turned down its flanges.



Quote
Also, running this N locomotive does not sound like a coffee grinder.  Actually, it sounds like my battery nose hair trimmer!

TMI!   :)

--- Peteski de Snarkski

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Angus Shops

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2019, 01:17:08 AM »
0
Those Rapido FP 9's were beasts, and among the more reliable power in the day. I also had the "FP 9b", which of course was the completely non-proto b unit variation which featured a stretched b unit body over the a unit mechanism.

The Rapido units lived on until quite recently on my layout. In my quest for a 'quality' FP7 in years before any commercial model was available I learned how to stretch a Kato F unit chassis and used heavily redetailed Rapido shells for for the bodies for two in the fleet. They actually looked pretty reasonable and ran as well as any other Kato unit. They've been retired from active duty now, but may live on as 'scenery' in the background of the Field BC engine terminal.
Geoff

Doug G.

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2019, 01:19:06 AM »
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Here's my Arnold B&O GP30, one of several Arnold GP's I have:



Doug
Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

Doug G.

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2019, 01:29:41 AM »
+1
And here are almost all my Treble-O-Lectric locomotives in the middle of my Treble-O-Lectric layout.



In front are almost all my Arnold GP's strung together. The MRC Tech III 9500 easily runs them all.

Doug
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 10:44:20 PM by Doug G. »
Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

Teditor

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2019, 08:02:17 AM »
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That brings back  some memories!  I need to dig up my old Geep I painted for B&M again.  I think I even turned down its flanges.



TMI!   :)

Which one is the model?
Ted (Teditor) Freeman

MK

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2019, 08:13:10 AM »
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And here are almost all my Treble-O-Lectric locomotives in the middle of my Treble-O-Lectric layout.



I front are almost all my Arnold GP's strung together. The MRC Tech III 9500 easily runs them all.

Doug

Looks like you have more locos than rolling stock!   :o

Blazeman

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2019, 09:39:57 AM »
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Question for the group:  Do you think HO people retain their Tyco/Lionel/rubber band Athearn/AHM inventory like we are seeing "back in the day" stuff displayed here?

dem34

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2019, 11:05:58 AM »
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Question for the group:  Do you think HO people retain their Tyco/Lionel/rubber band Athearn/AHM inventory like we are seeing "back in the day" stuff displayed here?

Definitely, some even deliberately buy that stuff. There's a kid on YouTube named Scrumptious Model Trains that raids bargain bins and trys to get that old stuff to run on his layout.
-Al

randgust

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2019, 11:25:45 AM »
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I still have my Tyco pacific 4-6-2 in operational condition as well as my very first car kit - a Walthers "Piker", and one Rivarossi combine that I painted up by hand as Valley Flyer.   The 4-6-2 was a kit build that drove me nuts as about a 10-year-old, I never did put on the valve gear.  But it still runs!

Our company has a downtown location in an ex-furniture store with glass display windows that go below knee level.    There's a 5x9 operating HO layout in there with an external pushbutton to run it.  It's all populated with 'retro' HO stuff, right now there's a Tyco F-7 with a couple Athearn shorty streamline cars on the one loop, and a Mantua GP with a string of old Athearn blue box and Tyco cars on the top loop.   The kids love it, particularly around Christmas.

The most outstanding retro HO layout I've ever seen - seriously - is one I was invited to see in Amish country.   That's right, an Amish model railroader.   MRC throttlepacks with the 110V side taken out, running off a bank of car batteries charged with an external windmill on the roof.    Best benchwork I've ever seen, and about everthing dating back to the 60's - cars, locomotives, buildings.   And it all worked.    No scenery, but the benchwork looked like fine furniture as that was what he was - a professional woodworker - and had powered his entire woodworking shop off the grid with a natural gas generator system to an overhead belt drive shop.   Brilliant guy.

CRL

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2019, 12:47:02 PM »
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If he added scenery, it wouldn’t be “plain”, and thus in violation of Amish rules.

peteski

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2019, 01:38:41 PM »
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Which one is the model?
Ted (Teditor) Freeman

The one with the shiny brass bell.  :D
--- Peteski de Snarkski

-"Look at me, I'm satirical!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm anal retentive!!!"
-"Look at me, I have the most posts evahhhh!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm snarky!!!!"
-"Look at me, I have OCD!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm a curmudgeon!!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm not negative, just blunt and honest!!!"