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Thursday, April 26, 2012

ABA Schorr OO F-3s Arrive for the Orient

Here we have a set of three locomotives that was years in the making for my layout. It is a trio with a story.

These classic American OO models were produced domestically after WWII by Fred Schorr, with a later run of castings sold by Ultimate. A set of the rough Ultimate castings may be seen here; the model is sand cast bronze.

Fred Schorr as a very enthusiastic OO gauger, and not long ago I was able to post some photos of F-3 models on his personal layout. Those models, decorated for his Yorkville and Western, may be seen here and are worth a quick look in relation to the second photo below (click on either photo for a better view).

The second photo I took right around 1980 at my home layout of that time frame. I purchased these two models from Al Spice, who ran Ultimate Screw Machine and also dealt in some used OO. These were my first two OO diesels and came to me with a few quirks. First, the A unit motor was shot and there was a cracked gear on one of the axles. Oh, and the flexible shafts between the trucks were also shot. So on both models I worked out universals from Athearn parts and in the case of the A unit put in the big can motor.

Turning to that B-unit though, it clearly came to me with a drive in it that was not the one set up with the model originally. The first big clue is it had a working headlight, which seemed pretty redundant in the case of a B unit! The floor had been fit to go in an A unit. Also it ran a bit faster than the A unit that came with it, which was a problem when trying to run them together.

In any case, when I did the repainting way back then I did not know they were from the personal layout of Fred Schorr and also in a paint scheme that was not his standard paint scheme. I remember at the time thinking to myself why in the world would anyone put the decals on the “chicken wire” area? (And how about that engine number, 4567?). So I repainted away and did a nice job overall, with care to mask in the open areas in the chicken wire to match scale drawings. The original A-B pair and drive can be seen here in more detail. Today though, I would not have done that repaint job, the models themselves were in pretty sharp shape. But you can't go back in time.

Back to the top photo again, those two models built by Fred Schorr are the trailing models. I made a dummy frame for the B-unit a few years ago (with nice Schorr trucks off eBay) and very recently re-painted a lead A unit that completed the ABA set.

The second A unit when it came to me was decorated for the layout of another OOldtimer, David Sacks. In its case it had been stored in an unfavorable location for years (decals shot) and the drive (made from Hobbytown HO parts) was completely unusable. Repaint it? In this case I said yes as it really did not look very good at all and to make it look decent again would require a full repaint.

I was able with little modification to get the drive that came to me with the B unit in that A unit, and the trio runs nicely! Of course, to run the same speed is the best, but if they don’t match running the faster unit in the lead seems to not stress the drives too much. The Sacks model will be in the lead for many laps around the layout I expect.

Power wise the combination will pull more cars than I can run on my layout and I like how they came out. Someday perhaps a bigger layout will put them to the test. But for now the combination looks great and will be enjoyed.

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