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Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby John Coker » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:58 pm

The Southern Pacific narrow gauge had an interesting 80-year history and was the last common-carrier narrow gauge in the Far West (except WP&Y). It was also the last steam anywhere on the mighty SP system. Being a native Californian the SP narrow gauge was my first love. I took a 4 decade detour into the Colorado narrow gauge. About 10 years ago I started to buy HOn3 SP models. I had a #1 (2-8-0), 9, and 18. I was looking hard for the elusive #8 (my favorite), when PBL released the three 4-6-0s in Sn3. The HOn3 didn't run all that great, and there was no support models (rolling stock,structures) released in 45 years, the last were some Balboa kits and a Gloorcraft Laws depot.

After I bought the PBL 4-6-0s I sold the HOn3- which sold quickly! Since then PBL has produced two different box car kits, two excellent brass cabooses, two different delrin SP trucks and special air brake line castings. Rio Grande Models makes several different SP trucks, as well as the F&CC/SP box. PVC released a kit that can make a "close enough" kits that would make a gondola (more on that later). Thinfilm makes decals. Between the different manufacturers there is enough in Sn3 to scratchbuild most if not all of the cars. For me, the scratchbuilding and kitbashing is where the fun is. Colorado narrow gauge modeling is vastly overbuilt, and a little too ready-made.

Railmaster has changed hands and though it is concentrating more on sound speakers, etc, they still offer a line of SPng engines as kits. You can order all of the 4-6-0s. My experience with Railmaster is they take a little work to make them look right, but generally have good mechanisms, and the hard stuff like making frames is done for you. They also offer SP#1 ,the GE diesel. I think you have to buy a mechanism separately from Kato or someone else.

Though there are no structure kits available, Sn3 presently offers the best options for modeling in any scale.

Other scales?
HOn3. As I said, there is four steam models that were produced, by PFM and Westside, and maybe another obscure builder. The best was the PFM/United #9-still a very nice model after 47 years! It was tender drive, but could be upgraded, and United was famous for its sturdy, clean construction, strong soldering and good operating characteristics.. I think someone made the GE diesel #1. Westside made a model of the old C&C caboose-combine. Though no HOn3 support models had been made in decades, some are now available from Trout Creek Engineering, including Laws depot.

On3...I know Max Gray made a #9. They may have made a #8 and #18. About 15 years ago Sunset made the SP#1 2-8-0; they also made a NCNG #9 version. I own one at it runs GREAT! Some company made a GE#1 very recently.

1: 20 scale... There is a #8 and #9 currently available from Accucraft, both electric and live steam. GE #1 diesel is also currently available.

Don't forget the SPH&TS is offering an excellent roster book on the C&C/SPng. Many plans for cars, that happen to be Sn3.
Last edited by John Coker on Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby Andrew Brandon » Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:18 pm

John,

As an HO/O modeler, I can add to that list a little.

The GE #1 model is produced by Rich Yoder Models. It is such a gem I was severely tempted to buy one at O Scale West last month. Maybe in the future. ;)

MacLeod Western makes the correct types of hardware for On3 equipment. Doug's castings are works of art.

Trout Creek Engineering sells the former Valley Model Works kits for a number of freight cars.

Keith Wiseman is currently producing the old V&T Shops Kits. Among these are the On3/Sn3 Caboose #400 kit.

In HOn3, Railway Engineering makes an injection molded kit for a 28' Carter Bros ventilated boxcar.

Rio Grande Models makes a AC&F boxcar (ex-F&CC) boxcar kit.

Trout Creek Engineering also sells HOn3 scale versions of their kits.

I am sure I am forgetting a few obscure kits from this list, but it's a good start.
Does anyone happen to remember the name of the manufacturer for the Sn3 La Mothe boxcar kit? I see them on ebay from time to time but never in kit form.
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Re: Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby John Coker » Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:43 pm

I really regret selling the HOn3 models. Money is always tight, and it was a sacrifice necessary to buying the three PBL 4-6-0s. I wish I kept #9 ...Oh well. The #1 I had was a basket case, but pieced it back together, got it running. The Westside SP #18 was a total POS-never got it to run, and I am moderately good at that. It might have had a crooked frame or out of quarter drivers.

It is possible to model Sn3 on the cheap. A railmaster 4-6-0 is $500, and they are not hard to assemble, just ACC it together. SP/GE #1 is $130, less mechanism. I need to ask them where to get the mechanism, as I would like to make one. Two plastic boxcar kits are out there. The SP ran mostly boxcar trains Tomalco water cars are still around. Lots of scratchbuilding material around, plus some stuff like structures and water tanks can be kitbashed from Colorado models. No, never heard about the La Mothe boxcar kit.

Great list, thank you.
Last edited by John Coker on Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby John Coker » Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:40 am

Andrew, you made an important correction. Trout Creek Engineering offers SPng cars in all three scales. It also offers the elusive NCNG 24' boxcar in On3.
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Re: Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby Ron Grau » Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:13 pm

John,

I can add two models in 1:20.3 that have been missed:
Bachmann makes a F & CC boxcar, lettered for the SPng. I believe 15 of these cars eventually migrated to the SPng. The
lettering has some minor flaws, which are easily corrected.

Bronson-Tate sells a kit for SPC caboose #47, which can be converted to SPng 1/400.

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Re: Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby John Coker » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:54 pm

By all means if anyone has additions to the list of SPng models they should add them.
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Re: Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby Daniel Maxwell » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:20 pm

Slim Princess in the 60s did a model of SP water car #59 and a Coke car, both HOn3.

Datin Models did at least one HOn3 stock car. (160 I believe).

There was also a SP boxcar done in HOn3 in the early 60s, cannot remember the maker but I used to have an unbuilt one. It was a very early HOn3 kit. Had a large box.
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Re: Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby GregMaxwell » Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:40 pm

Back in the late 60s or early 70s, I bought some built up HOn3, SPng wood cars from a company called Pacific Traction. As I recall they made both SPng box cars and stock cars.

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Re: Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby John Coker » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:00 pm

I saw some new products at the Seattle NGC... Trout Creek Engineering recently acquired Trout Creek engineering. They offer a variety of structures, including a HO laws depot kit as well as a SPng engine house. Check out the listing at the UR:L that Andrew posted above for
Trout Creek.
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Re: Modeling the SP narrow gauge-a roundup

Postby John Coker » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:01 pm

I saw some new products at the Seattle NGC... Trout Creek Engineering recently acquired Classic Miniatures. They offer a variety of structures, including a HO Laws depot kit as well as a SPng engine house. Check out the listing at the URL that Andrew posted above for Trout Creek.
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