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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review: NWSL [Oso Railworks] 20” On3 Wheelsets

The past seven weeks I had to put OO projects on hold with commitments away from home, but before I left I ordered two packs of NWSL (now Oso Railworks) 20” On3 wheelsets for trial.

When I was briefly home in the middle of those weeks I found the wheelsets had arrived. These are their 7801-4 wheelsets, made of nickel plated brass with their 110 tread. As noted in a prior article on wheelsets for use in American OO, in OO these scale out to 31.7" wheelsets, just a bit under the 33" standard for freight.

They look fantastic! They are exactly on standards for American OO gauge (On3 and American OO have the same track standards) and these will work great in reproduction Lionel Amercian OO trucks as in the photo and in other applications. They would be especially good used in tender trucks where you need electrical pickup.

With that out of the way, I was expecting to write a quick review of how great they were to point them out to readers of American OO Today and that would be it. Then, while writing this review, I got back on the Oso Railworks website and was going to bite the bullet and order several more packages, but I was astounded to find that the price had, with the passing of only a few weeks, more than doubled! My invoice of July 7 confirms that I purchased two packages of these at $8.95 for a package of four, but now the price is $17.95 for a package of four. [But see UPDATE! There are two different On3 20" wheelsets available, the other is actually still $8.95].

I am all for companies charging what they need to, profits must be made, but basically they have priced me out of their market. As I can modify most any HO 36” wheelset and get what I need for freight trucks, I will use alternate wheelsets except for perhaps a few special applications. But other than the negative of the price going up a lot this summer, they remain a great product, one to keep in mind for some specific instances, especially for tender trucks.

UPDATE. It is possible, too, that I was just confused by their website! As John S. pointed out to me actually NWSL sells two different models of On3 20" wheelsets. This one sells for $8.95 a package of four at present (link here) and is exactly what I had purchased earlier in the summer.

It really is a great product, and wheelsets are a topic that it seems is almost always on my mind. This past week for example I was working my way through the usable wheelsets box to free up more Ultimate wheelsets (the best ever sold in OO!) to use in reproduction Lionel trucks. What that translates into is I finished converting all the S-C trucks that had been upgraded either by me or by others to Ultimate wheelsets back to running on S-C (or actually sometimes I am sure Graceline) wheelsets (plus also fixing up some other trucks).

The wheelset question is a great big puzzle at times for the modern OO gauger, and I am very glad to have the NWSL wheelsets back on the table as an option. I will be purchasing more soon.

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