The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Nason Gas-Electric

One recent project finished was this Nason gas-electric coach, a pre-war OO product I first see listed in their 1939 catalog.

They sold this model in three versions (as a “B. & O. Gas-Electric”); coach, coach-baggage, and coach-baggage-mail. In this first view we see the model at a similar view as seen in their catalog photos, but the opposite side showing the cast bronze radiator.

If I were choosing ideally I would have built the coach-baggage-mail version but this model came up on eBay of the coach. This particular one was completed to the point that it was ready for decals (with two tone paint) but had no drive. I suspect it was an unfinished project.

The place where the builder did a great job was on the roof. It is not obvious from the photo or catalog description but the first ¼ of the roof, at the cab end, is a bronze casting that is married to a wood rest of the roof. To get it all that smooth and solid took some body putty and real effort, and they did a very nice job.

Rather than risk damage to the model I painted over the original paint job to decorate it for the Orient, using the same paint scheme I used for a Scale-Craft gas electric that I rebuilt a few years ago. The final photo shows the two models together to see the comparison. On the S-C model I used a modified AHM drive unit (the type with a vertical shaft motor) and on the Nason one I used Athearn parts as a basis, as described in a prior post. Also on the rear truck I added Nason sideframes. They both run about the same speed but the Nason model performs better, it has a very smooth drive and 8 wheel pickup. It really puts a smile on my face to see it running around the layout so well. It also, with all that weight over the drive truck, has impressive pulling power and will pull with ease 6-8 freight cars, although that would not be a way it would be operated normally of course.

I plan to run it in general service with a RPO-baggage trailer [UPDATE: finished model here], something I have seen in prototype photos pulled by an all coach gas-electric such as this, and I have a model in the collection spotted to modify this summer for that job. For now it runs with a Nason PRR coach, seen in the first photo as well. The pair of models tuck into my short staging track very well, so when I run transition era sessions on the layout for sure this model will be racking up some miles.

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