Mark, I saw a BLI Heavy Mike. It ran beautifully and to me at the sound was great too. The one I saw was for the Fort Worth & Denver. It was a very good looking model but did have quite a bit of molded on detail. Bruce
The BLI model is, of course, a USRA engine. I also happen to have the M-63a CNJ Mike in brass by OMI. Believe me, there is no way you could even begin to convert the former to the latter realistically! To me, even the barrell on the BLI's smokebox seems decidedly too small for a "heavy", especially when one compares the model with CNJ prototype photos. It would probably be easier to start from scratch. Initially I had somewhat the same thought about adding a Wooten firebox and details but after purchasing the engine and comparing it directly with the OMI and photos I quickly passed on that idea. I simply run it as one of CNJ's USRA Mikes.
Interesting post, John. I didn't realise the CNJ had straight USRA Mikes as well, all the photos I had seen were of the Wooten firebox versions. Like you, I think the boiler/smokebox of the BLI model is a bit undersized, but I would rather deal with that than attempt to improve the old Rivarossi USRA heavy. I have one of these kicking around in my box of projects that have gone off the boil. There is so much that needs to be changed on this model that I have pretty well given up on it. I'm hoping that the BLI model is a better place to start.
CNJ Class M-1s were standard WWI USRA Mikes, #850-859
Class M-2as were post-war and had Wooten fireboxes, #860-895
Class M-3as, #896-915, had Wooten's too but came with brow-mounted Elescos and vast amounts of piping. They were the CNJ's great, hulking, giants that often appear in photos. When paired with one of the huge long-haul tenders, they were some of the most impressive, non-articulated, locomotives ever.
email@example.com (JBortle) wrote in news: firstname.lastname@example.org:
BLI has two lines, the Powerhouse series and the Paragon series. The heavy Mike is in the Powerhouse series that has a lower level of detail and a lower price. Think of it as a starter item. The Paragon series is the higher level set of products with better detail. AFIK, the level of detail is the only difference between the two lines, the electronic and mechanical quality is the same. IIRC, the light Mike that is due out is in the Paragon series and will have much better detail than the heavy did. Of course, I like my heavy Frisco and have my name in the pot for an undecorated light Mike so that I can decal and number it for the Frisco.
Mark, I'n not sure if you are familiar with the old Oriental Power Series of locos. These models had cast bodies with cast and individual detail parts although the overall detail was somewhat limited. They also had an excellent chassis/ drivetrain assembly that was standard brass quality, Samhongsa I think or at least mine were. The BLI heavy mike shows similar leanings in this direction which is what I suspected seeing that the owner of Oriental is also the owner of BLI. This does not detract from the excellent running qualities of the BLI mike. In fact I think it makes it a rebuilders dream as the model does lend it's self to fairly easy modification with the addition of a few brass parts from the likes of Bowser, Cal Scale, Overland and the like you can easily create a loco to suit your particular taste. In may case a C&O K-1 mike.
I was looking through an old MR, June 2002, the other day and noticed an add for Oriental in the product news section.It was for an Oriental Limited brass UP Big Boy that came with a sound system that would operate on dc as well as DCC. I was wondering if the present QSI sound system was fitted to this model as it was probably one of Oriental's last releases. In the same magazine is a full page ad for the BLI "A" class.
I have two of the 'Powerhouse' light 2-8-2s, they don't pull much better than the Athearn and the tender truck attachment system is 'unique' to be kind, trash to be honest (no bolster and a 'funky' truck design.
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I've seen ads for them in MR and the like, but I've never seen an actual model.
This is why I wanted to hear from folks who own them, or had seen these models first-hand. The consensus seems to be that they are good performers, which is my most important criteria when buying locos. Thanks to all that have commented, I'll be buying a pair of these locos next payday. :-)
Even better. Detailing and modifying a loco to represent a specific prototype is what I most enjoy doing. Even though the current selection of plastic r-t-r steam locos are all accurate and well-detailed models, they tend to represent locos in their as-delivered condition. There is plenty of scope for individualising them to represent specific locomotives later in their life, with all of the modifications that were made by the railroad.
Charles, out of curiosity, can I ask why you chose a K-1? I was under the impression that the K-2/K-3s were much closer in dimensions and layout to the USRA heavy 2-8-2s.
I'll answer on Charles behalf here, as he is mate who is PC-less at the moment and may be for some time - hint: never, ever, flexirent and expect quick repairs.
And the answer is I have no answer - I like the C&O but Charles is the guy. I'm diving in to let you know that he won't be ignoring your question, it just may be that there will be sometime before he can reply.
the impression that the K-2/K-3s were much closer in dimensions and
I had the same question. I know that BWL is lettering the heavy Mike for C&O, but the C&OHS is not selling it. I would think that the USRA heavy would be closer to the K2 or K3. I'll have to look at them and see what I think. Hope Charles gets his compute back up soon. Gene ABV61-1043.001.HCB
The C&O K-1 is not close to the USRA 2-8-2 Heavy. It had a larger boiler and smaller drivers. The K-2 is probably the closest C&O loco to the USRA heavy
2-8-2. There are a lot of differences, but most, at least from the modelers perspective, are cosmetic.
You could make a pretty decent K-2 by changing the trailing truck, adding an Elesco FWH and associated piping. The real challenge would be changing the cab and substitting the tender. If Bachmann ever starts selling parts (keep breathing normally while you wait) you might be able to modify the Bachmann J-2 cab into a reasonabler C&O cab for a K-2. Similarly, the C&O 16VC tender from the J-2 wouldn't look bad behind the K-2, in fact it would look darn good.
Many moons ago I modified a Penn Line 2-8-2 with a Cary USRA light boiler and a Rivarossi Vanderbilt tender into a K-2. I won the RMC Dremel tool award. Many moons ago..............
John, I should have watched as I typed as the keyboard made a mistake by subsituting a 1 for a 2. So Mark as to your previous question I will do a C&O K-2 mike out of the BLI loco. I think Precision Scale do a long arm version of the trailing truck as well as a decent Elesco feedwater heater. Pipework can be had from Bowser though it will take a bit of searching to find the right parts. As for the cab, well I think I'll have to do a cut and shut job on it to get close to the C&O cab although the cab off the IHC mike might be close. I'll have to have a look at that when I get back down south.
These would presumably be from the former Cary range. Another option would be to make the pipework yourself using various gauges of wire, and castunions, elbow, etc. There is plenty of reference material available
- do you have the PFM monograph on the K-2/3s by Dixon & Hundmann?
It looks to me as if the C&O cab has a similiar gambrel roof profile to the USRA cab, so you should be able to bash one from the other. Let us know how you progress, it should be an interesting project. These locos are very "butch" looking, they ought to make very impressive models.