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

Monday, January 21, 2013

Two Baldwin Diesel Switchers that are Overscale for HO

Up today are two models that have long been known among OO enthusiasts to be overscale for HO, the Baldwin diesel switcher models produced by Fleischmann and by Garco. Both of the overscale models are based on the Baldwin VO 1000 model, of which over 1,000 prototype examples were produced between 1939 and 1946. For clarity, four small comparison photos are below (the HO model is an Athearn S-12, dimensionally the same—as always click on the photos for a better view), with further comments to follow.

Both of the vintage models, although marketed as HO, were and are overscale. The Garco model dates to 1947 is described further in this article. My conclusion there is that this model is clearly larger than HO in every dimension and is probably around 1/80 scale. Visually it looks good with OO scale models.

Then we get to the Fleischman model, seen here with the S-12. The Fleischman body is metal and the number 1340 is cast into the side of the cab. The hood height and width (cross section) is HO but the overall length is actually correct for OO so the model seems visually elongated. The front end shape is rather round and that step in front of the cab is a big problem, it is well oversize compared to the prototype. I am guessing that this was done to accommodate the mechanism. The cab itself is about the same size as the Garco cab, somewhere around 1/80 scale. Maybe you could call this model 1/80 scale as sort of an average of what is there, but in reality it is a mixture scales or perhaps better described as semi-scale.

The Fleischmann Alco FA conversions I recently finished up look great on the layout operating as OO models, but their Baldwin switcher I am not so sure about compared to the Garco model. At the same time, I can see how the Fleischmann model would be collectible as is, it is visually very unique and some of the factory paint schemes are rare. Also the model has sort of an artistic quality not seen in current production models. Mint-in-box these switchers can command very good money today, although this particular paint scheme I am told is the most commonly seen of those sold in the USA. And this particular model is missing a few parts and shows some rust and other damage, so it would not command a high collector price.

Of the two models here I think the Garco engine will be finished fairly soon and the Fleischmann model I will ponder and enjoy as it is. I hope to follow up with a more definitive article on the Fleishcmann Baldwin soon as well, but until then both models are well worth keeping your eyes peeled for.

UPDATE: I did convert one of the Fleischmann models to operation in American OO, as seen in this article. 

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