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

Monday, August 19, 2013

Progress Report: 4-6-4T

The Scale-Craft 4-6-4T is a model that is not often seen. The main article on this model is here, and essentially the story is the model was designed by a Scale-Craft employee and added to the line in 1938. I also like how this type of engine is described in my copy of the Model Railroader Cyclopedia (1944): "Considered good as a prototype for a model because of its neat appearance."

At some point a few years ago I was able to purchase the tank end for one of these on eBay. It sat in the parts supply, but then a locomotive came in that when I looked at it I realized the drive would work out great for this model. In a back issue of The OO Road then editor Bill Johann described how he had extended this S-C 4-6-0 into a 4-6-2. Part of that involved adding a section to the boiler (using a pill bottle!) and part of it was modifying the drive to use a Pittman motor, which extended back from the cab on a frame extension. He never completed the model; the modified boiler really did not look very good but the drive had a lot of potential. What I did was modify the frame extension to accept the vintage tank ("tender") that I had and convert it into a 4-6-4T. Oh, and it needed a replacement motor, the brush hanger was now broken on the one Johann had used.

This past weekend I got the model running and I thought the "in progress" photos might be of interest to readers. I used a boiler from the parts supply and visually it is pretty much all there now with the exception of needing to add smoke box extensions below the cab and fill in the big hole above the frame. The trailing truck I used was the S-C truck that most closely matched the trucks seen on comparable prototype engines, their post-war only plain bearing passenger truck. This truck has upgrade wheels as it needs to pick up power, and it needs a LOT of room to swing below the tender area as it extends out so far from the drivers. The truck has to be mounted on an arm that swings under the tender. Other upgrades included better wheelsets on the front truck and universals between the motor and the drivebox.

I have not yet put couplers on it but the rear coupler will for sure need a great deal of swing to allow it to pull cars on my curves. It runs well but I am a bit worried if it will run reliably with other equipment. Still, I look forward to finishing it up, it does as the Cyclopedia noted have a "neat appearance."

UPDATE: I found this photo of the frame of this model that was sent to me in a letter by Bill Johann in 1998! I had to modify it a bit more for this model, as described above. Not mentioned above was I also added Athearn universals to the connection between the new motor and gearbox in my upgrade. Glad to be able to put it to use to complete a classic model.

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