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

Friday, December 21, 2018

A first look at the Shapeways OO GP20

Another model that caught my eye recently on Shapeways was this GP20, which may be seen here. I decided to buy one and see what it was like.

I suspect it was designed as an N scale model and scaled up to 1/76. It is not a high detail model, but it has the proportions of course. The material is a nylon plastic that has “a matte finish and slight grainy feel.” My other models are also this material, so I knew what to expect. What I’m hoping to do with this model and also the FA1 recently purchased (here) is work up a better surface and paint job. I’ll report later how that goes. I liked though that this model has no handrails, I will be adding those and some other details.

I had worked up fuel tanks for this model a while ago, inadvertently really, as I spliced together TYCO GP20 fuel tanks to use on my U23B model. That model has been updated now with a new frame (more at the end of this article), freeing up the tanks for this model.

The question was how to work out a drive for this model, or do I build it as a dummy? I had two power trucks that someone had put a lot of effort into building up. They have sideframes from a TYCO engine, but the rest of it is I think NWSL and small screws and brass pieces.

The next question being, how to power these trucks? It occurred to me finally that the original idea must have been to use a central gear tower to drive the trucks with sets of universals to each truck. And I finally found one (I thought I had one), seen in the last photo.

What I’ve done is mock up a frame. Plastic won’t work for the finished model, but I will cut the same frame pattern out of some heavy brass stock now that I have the shape established. There should be plenty of room inside for a motor and flywheel and weights.

It will still be a low detail model, but one I look forward to running with my 1970s/80s era equipment. And I like that it won’t be too hard to finish, you need some of those to keep things going forward.

UPDATE: And a size comparison with the Tyco HO version.

The Shapeways model is bigger in every dimension. The only part of the Tyco version that are OO scale size are the truck sideframes.

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