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

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Fleischmann Baldwin Switcher, Modified for American OO

Back a couple years ago I posted an article on two different “HO” Baldwin Diesel switchers that were oversized for HO, one by Garco and one by Fleischmann. In that article (here) I noted that the Garco engine was probably around 1/80 scale and the Fleischmann was even bigger but a mixture of scales really.

In that article is seen one of the Fleishcmann models decorated in the “C&NW” scheme. Actually, these models as shipped have no lettering other than the number cast into the side of the cab, 1340. I have two of these, the other Fleischmann was somewhat modified and had the black version of the paint scheme. A prior owner had removed the silver stripe that would have originally been on the frame and had added basic ATSF decals (but no zebra stripes) and Kadee couplers.

Those modifications gave me an idea. Sitting it on the layout periodically, it did “work” as a 1/76 model, the length and width are pretty much on, the model is just short in height. In the fall I ordered the Microscale decals and over the holiday break I went forward and completed the conversion for operation in OO.

My first step was to disassemble the model and soak it in water until the decals a prior owner had added lifted off. Then I went to work on a drive. The drive uses the powered truck and motor from an Athearn geep, combined with the unpowered truck and truck sideframes off an AHM SW-1. This model is also over scale for HO (more here), and for this Baldwin provided nice switcher trucks that are the correct length for OO.

The drive took a lot of cutting and fitting but I got it all in and running; the only negative being that the wheel diameter is a bit under. So then I turned to applying the decals, which took quite a while. My goal was not to repaint the model at all but just use the decals -- and to use them to draw your eye away from the main visual problem of this model, which is that huge step in front of the cab. In the actual ATSF scheme sometimes there were zebra stripes on that box, but not always, and I left them off. I also purposefully left off the stripes above that box. The result is that under normal lighting, operating on the layout, the box nearly disappears from view! (As in the first photo).

It really is a fun model to run around, it pulls 5 free rolling cars around with ease, and I would note it has a headlight as well. Two minor negatives to note. First, the number 1340 is not correct for an ATSF Baldwin, and the font of the number is not correct either, but keeping the number seemed the best option. The other negative is it runs backwards, and there is no easy way to correct that so I will have to just live with it. This was is a function of using part of the original Athearn frame, which also left me with a fuel tank that is not the correct shape and off center. Which I can live with.

I have decals to do at least one more zebra stripe scheme too. I don’t plan to modify another of these, so next up will either be a Schorr RS-2 or a Kemtron GP-7. But not for a while, lots of projects underway and the coming months will be busy ones.

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