Author Topic: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives  (Read 3150 times)

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randgust

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #60 on: November 26, 2019, 08:31:17 PM »
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Atlas RSC2?   Well, of course, I got one - used no less!

Yes, it was one of the ultimate POS models!  But I actually got a SECOND one, spliced the frames so it had all-powered wheels, jammed in a Trix F-unit motor so I had a double-truck drive with no traction tires, and repainted it in ATSF Zebra Stripe with Micro-scale decals.....

And like the proverbial saying, I literally put lipstick on the pig.  It was still a pig, there was just no saving it.   One of my earliest failures at kitbashing and changing out mechanisms.  Unlike some of my other true vintage stuff, I actually threw it out.   And this was after my first Atlas GP40 Yugo suffered the infamous vegetable-oil lubricant engine room fire.   

Competition for the all-time POS in my roster may still be led by the Atlas FM (Rivarossi) with the front-truck only drive.  It had traction tires on the front wheels and pickup only on the rear 6-wheel truck, along with plunger sliders on the railhead.    Epic design turd, barely ran, stalled, and wouldn't hardly pull its own weight.  Favorite stunt was to get it to full slip and watch it literally derail itself standing by vibrating the drive truck vertically off the rails.  But, I still painted it in ATSF blue, and pieces of it are still in my Winslow shop today, and the zinc-pest cracked frame is still in the 'dead weight' drawer. 

Those two probably sealed my devotion to Trix and Rapido....


nkalanaga

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #61 on: November 27, 2019, 01:55:44 AM »
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I also had an RSC-2, and agree that it was junk.  Unlike the SD45, I never tried to "fix" it, but just gave up.  I tried to make the SD45 usable, as the BN had a lot of them.  Even jumper-wiring it to a MiniTrix B-unit didn't help.  That SD ran so poorly that, even with the motor powered, the MiniTrix was basically dragging it.  Taking the gears out didn't help, as it wouldn't roll, either.
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brokemoto

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #62 on: November 27, 2019, 10:56:30 AM »
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You can make a pretty good dummy out of the Atlas/Mehano RSC-2, couple it to a cheater box car and you have an OK yard switcher.  That is what I did with mine. 

Those FM five axles could not get out of their own way, yet a dummy(!) was also available.  I have a few dummy chassis, so I put some of the shells on them and put a cheater box car behind them.  What is funny is that Atlas sold them in all of these roads that never had the five axle and in none of the roads that actually DID have them.  I did have one that actually would pull one B-mann shorty passenger car, once I put the B-mann car on MT trucks.  I painted it black lightning stripes, which was incorrect, as they were grey.  It actually fetched twenty some bananas on FeePay.  I started it at something between five and seven dollars, I forget, now.

randgust

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #63 on: November 27, 2019, 01:57:56 PM »
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Yeah, to me, the worst part about transitioning from HO to N back in the '70's was how much stuff was truly BAD.   I mean, in HO, you had a lot of train set grade, mid-modeler grade, and brass.   And I really can't think of much of anything - other than maybe the Athearn rubber-band drive Hustler, that was really so poor it was virtually unrunnable.   All my Tyco stuff just worked, all the AHM stuff worked, all Bachmann worked although it looked pretty bad sometimes.    First HO borderline POS I saw was the train-set grade Tyco chrome-plated, single-truck drive high-nose C630's.

But when you got into N scale, it seemed like it was about 50/50, and it sure wasn't by brand... no sense of security there. Atlas was importing both Mehano and Rivarossi, and unlike the HO brands, it was difficult to catch on that these were just importers - not manufacturers, or even manufacturers under contract (Rivarossi/AHM).    Revell?  Aurora?     I still think that the lack of brand name reliability combined with the poor quality was one of the real stumbling blocks for N for about 20 years.   

My first job while in college (1974-6) was in a hobby shop, and I did all the N scale repairs.    Well, that was an education as I got hands-on with just about everything that could break, which was everything.   And I also got my fingers in just about all the HO of the era.   I remember when Atlas came out with their HO diesels...wow...    That was the same year the original Roco Atlas GP9's, switchers, F-units hit.   But I still remember my 'oh, WOW!' moment when I got my first Kato GP38, and it's still running today, despite the fact that it has possibly the most difficult to maintain and disassemble chassis I've ever seen.   This was SERIOUSLY a game-changer locomotive; I know a lot of people credit the RS3, but this was the first typical EMD GP in N that was truly an excellent performer.  http://www.spookshow.net/loco/katogp38.html
And at least in my testing, yes, it holds the record for tractive effort for a four-axle road switcher unit, which is why I still run it.   It has more than double the tractive effort of a current-run Atlas GP38.   But for the chassis and shell design, OMG is it a Platypus!
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 02:08:47 PM by randgust »

rrjim1

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #64 on: November 27, 2019, 04:14:40 PM »
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I wasn't happy with the Kato GP38s, I order 4 from the hobby shop in Warren PA. The gears ratio was to high and with the Kato  high speed motor they had a hard time pulling a train at very slow speeds. When the Kato GP50s came out they ran a little better. I found lower gears in them and ordered parts for my 4 GP38s. Kato USA sent the order back but after a call they finally decided to fill my order. When the Atlas scale speed motor came out all 4 were refitted with them and they are now some of the best running and pulling locos that I own.     

nkalanaga

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #65 on: November 28, 2019, 03:00:33 AM »
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My GP38s ran fine, although they didn't get much use, as they just didn't seem to fit my Montana line.  The Atlas-Kato RS3s, after being wired together in pairs, ran almost as well as the MiniTrix Fs, so became the common local power.  To be fair, the Fs were in a 4-unit set, so had twice as many wheels as the pair of RS3s. 

Oddly, I didn't find that the GP38s were that great a puller.  Good, yes, but my kitbashed Nn3 boxcab, on a MT Z F-unit chassis, could outpull one!  Maybe it's the smaller wheels, or different wheel material, but it certainly couldn't be the weight, as the GP definitely weighed more.  I tried it the old-fashioned way, put both on 3-rail track, wire a power pack to each single-gauge rail, with the common rail also common electrically, and run them in opposite directions.  To make sure the test was fair, I then switched packs, so each unit ran on both packs.
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cjm413

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Re: Retro 1970s & 1980s N locomotives
« Reply #66 on: November 28, 2019, 08:56:41 PM »
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My GP38s ran fine, although they didn't get much use, as they just didn't seem to fit my Montana line.  The Atlas-Kato RS3s, after being wired together in pairs, ran almost as well as the MiniTrix Fs, so became the common local power.  To be fair, the Fs were in a 4-unit set, so had twice as many wheels as the pair of RS3s. 

Oddly, I didn't find that the GP38s were that great a puller.  Good, yes, but my kitbashed Nn3 boxcab, on a MT Z F-unit chassis, could outpull one!  Maybe it's the smaller wheels, or different wheel material, but it certainly couldn't be the weight, as the GP definitely weighed more.  I tried it the old-fashioned way, put both on 3-rail track, wire a power pack to each single-gauge rail, with the common rail also common electrically, and run them in opposite directions.  To make sure the test was fair, I then switched packs, so each unit ran on both packs.

MT Z F7 is a decent puller