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

Monday, September 1, 2014

An OO scale Schorr “RSD-5” for the ATSF

One model that is seen in photos of the layout of Willam Johann is a Schorr RS-2 model that he modified with a low short hood and a drive built up from Athearn HO parts with six wheel EMD style trucks. It looked a bit unique but I believe it probably ran great for him.

That model gave me and idea for a project for the future, to approximate an Alco RSD-4 or RSD-5 using the Schorr body and a modified Athearn drive. This model is the result and was yet another summer project, just completed, seen here in several views on the layout.

First, let me say up front that under normal lighting the blue color is not nearly so “electric” looking and is much closer to the proper ATSF color. I painted the whole model yellow, masked off the yellow areas and then painted the blue. This was a new thing for me to try to do and it came out pretty well for an amateur, as my dad might have said. I used Testors paint and Microscale decals.

This particular Schorr model, a late 1950s import from Japan (my introduction to Schorr is here), came to me partially finished. It had been painted green and was set up with a drive but was not completed or operable. I stripped the paint, fixed some minor issues, and set into some minor modifications.

There are two big visual differences between this model and an actual RSD-4 or 5. I think the most obvious one is the lack of the battery boxes on the short end of the hood next to the cab, a remnant of this being based on a RS-2 body. I could have added that detail with great effort but decided against it. Another visual difference that is pretty visible is the exhaust stack should be oriented across the hood rather than lengthwise, which I do notice; I left that detail blue on purpose to not make it so obvious (it should be painted silver).

The other main, big difference are the trucks. They are not that obvious seeing the model operate on the layout (being black helps) but the trucks used on this model are from an Athearn U-33C drive (modified for OO gauge, as in this article), as is the motor. On this particular model the frame had been modified somewhat to begin with, and I cut it out a bit more to accommodate the end pieces of the original Athearn frame to support the trucks and also mount the motor directly on the frame. It all fits like a glove and the original motor if it were any bigger would not fit in the hood!

The last two photos show the drive in more detail. There was no room for a flywheel but the model still runs great as it is. Kadee “whisker” couplers were used to complete the model.

I picked the number 2135 out of the Microscale decal set used, and that number would pin this model down as an RSD-5 built in 1953. It is decorated as it would have appeared in the 1960s. (Prototype photos may be found here). The decals being HO scale are fractionally small but I really don’t think it is noticeable.

I am very happy with this model in terms of how it came out, I plan to run it a lot! I have not fully tested pulling power but it is pulling a train with five die-cast tank cars right now and has plenty of power to do the job.

But I would be remiss if I did not mention that this model runs backwards. Due to the pickup method I would have to reverse the motor on the frame to correct this situation, and to do that I would have to drill new holes for the motor, etc. There is more risk to damaging the finish than there is of “cornfield meets” with other engines on the layout, as I plan to run this in local freight service.

Painting this model I also painted a pair of Schorr F-3 models for the ATSF in similar, 1960s schemes. They are still in progress and will be completed soon to be sure but won’t run quite as good as this model I suspect.

1 comment:

crcsdiv said...

This is your best work yet!