I have just received 9 lovely little 34' highly decorated Overton passenger coaches by Roundhouse and would like to put them with an appropriate loco - I believe the coaches are from the mid 1800's. The issue I have is that the locos I have seen online (haven't seen any in the flesh here in Australia), seem to be of pretty low quality. I am wondering if there is a maker who produces a highly detailed loco from this period (RTR preferred). If possible I would like to get one of the more colourful offerings though am happy to paint one myself, so long as it is good enough.
If readers know of quality locos or even if you have something you feel might be suitable, I would love to hear back - if I haven't provided enough info, please let me know what you need - I will be happy to provide pics via email of what I like, but is not of the detail levels I seek etc.
My understanding is that the Roundhouse "Overton" cars are based on Sierra Railway coach #6 and combine #5. These cars were built in the late 1800's by Holman & Co. of San Francisco for that railway's sharply curved Angels Branch. (Most passenger cars from the mid-1800's were of arch roof construction. Clerestory roof designs came in the 1870's, initially of the "duck bill" style (raised clerestory in the middle of the car, tapering down to a plain arch roof over the end platforms), and more into the 1880's becoming the more typical clerestory coming to a curved end over the end vestibules.) Because of the curves and grades, the usual power for the Angels Branch train was Heisler #9 and Shay #10. The road's 1882 Baldwin
4-4-0 #4 was also infrequently used on the Angels line.
I am uncertain of the origin of the name "Overton" as applied to these cars. There is no mention of it in White's definitive "The American Railroad Passenger Car", nor is it mentioned in the 1879 Car Builder's Dictionary. Googling only seems to produce links to the Roundhouse models. There was a J.B. Overton loosely connected to the Virginia & Truckee RR in Nevada, but his primary role was with the Virginia & Gold Hill Water Co.
I have seen several references to the "Overton" cars having ties to the Virginia & Truckee RR. The V&T's cars were of earlier design and had "duck bill" style roofs. The V&T did build two 30' baggage cars ca. 1906 (#20 &
21) with conventional clerestory roofs that are very close to the Roundhouse models. Power on the V&T were those beautiful 4-4-0's that have survived into several RR museums, and the latter 4-6-0's.
You ask about more detailed model locomotives. Remember that locomotives of the 1880's were still of very "clean" appearance with sander lines hidden under the boiler jacket and no feedwater heaters with all their interesting plumbing. In this era, the most detailed boiler piping would be the water lines coming forward from lifting injectors in the cab to boiler check valves on the sides of the boiler, and the steam and air lines associated with a one lung air compressor.
All that said, I think the cars would be appropriate and look good behind one of the Rivarossi V&T 4-4-0's, a newer higher boilered 4-4-0, or a 4-6-0 such as the Bachmann model. Geezer
thanks very much for the info geezer - enlightening to say the least!
I understand that the various lines etc.on the old time locos were hidden and so forth - by more "highly detailed" I was meaning a more 'scale model' locomotive as opposed to what appear to be toys in many cases.
I have looked at a couple now and feel there were a lot of toys produced in the past that represent this era - there are a couple of brass locos around, but they're several hundred dollars, so out of the question at this stage..... I have Climaxes, Shays and a heisler on its way, though always associated them with logging/mining and not passenger trains.
I am off now to search for the locos you described
Actually, mid-19th century locomotives didn't have much detail: the appliances that clutter up a 20th century locomotive so satisfactorily weren't around. The only item routinely left off models of older 4-4-0s is the cord from the cab to the bell. (Yes, bells were hand-operated back then.) Many locos didn't even have an airpump, as continuous airbrakes were largely absent from freight trains, and rare on passenger trains. The laws and regulations mandating these and other safety devices were still being drafted and adopted.
IOW, the available locos from Bachmann and others are pretty accurate detailwise. What makes the mid-1800s locos interesting aren't the details so much as the paint jobs, which could be quite complex. Bachmann's Central Pacific Jupiter, for example, is a pretty good version of this loco, given the surprising dearth of information about it. By about 1850, railroads began to repaint and order new locos in plain black, by the way.
As Geezer points out, the Overton coaches are from the 1880s, by which time some larger locos would have feed-water heaters, and such, but the older 4-4-0s were still quite plain. I second his suggestions re: suitable locos.
In fact, the 4-4-0s that survived into the mid-1950s were very plain locos. The IHC 4-4-0 isn't far off: you wouldn't need much if any additional detail to duplicate or represent a specific loco of 1880-1900 with one of these, with the help of a couple of good photos.
Roundhouse has decorated the 34' cars for many roads that never had them, so you can do pretty much what you want with them. The similar cars on the V&T ran well into the 1930s, and were used in many Hollywood movies and TV shows well into the 1960s besides. The TV show "Petticoat Junction" used them (or else very good replicas.) The V&T's 4-4-0s were also rather plain. They were often gussied up with fancy smokestacks and such for their movie roles.
Your comments lead me to another query - any idea where I can get smoke stacks as an accessory part? I am hoping to select from a range of those tall splayed type - no idea what they're called, but they seem to start straight then go extremely wide in a conical shape then either terminate, or reduce in diameter before terminating.
..... still looking for websites that offer decent pics of the model locos.... and looking for 4-6-0 variants that might suit as well
Roundhouse old-timer kits used to come with a sprue of detail parts, with two diamond stacks, a straight stack, and a balloon stack included. I don't know if these will be included in the RTR offerings of the
4-4-0 based on this model that Horizon is about to release at inflated prices, for in their infinite wisdom they have decreed that kits are too difficult for us railroad modelers, O PRAISE THEM IN THE HEIGHTS. Thank heavens they didn't do something foolish like, say, actually try to promote the kits a little, or improve the distribution to hobby shops.
I've had good success using two or three individual copper strands from ordinary lamp cord and twisting them together. The combination is robust enough to avoid breaking, the copper can be formed into a drooping curve and will hold that shape, the end can be soldered to attach it to the lever on the whistle, and when painted, the twisted strands look very rope-like. Geezer
Those are stacks for wood burning locos; they have spark arrestors. Depending on shape, they are called diamond stacks or balloon stacks. Walthers lists one wood burning stack, by CalScale: part #190-326 $8.50. They also list Precision Scale Co's catalogs. The one for steam loco details is part #585-9740 at $18. BTW, by 1880, there were very few wood burners left, most of them running on lines built by lumber companies.
Most loco parts available these days are for diesel locos.
Bachmann's 4-4-0s Union Pacific # 119 and Central Pacific "Jupiter" are nicely done engines. Jupiter has a diamond stack, UP 119 has a shotgun (straight) stack. Both have colourful liveries, which presumably is what you want.
Their 4-6-0 in the Spectrum line is a very nice engine - I have one, and like it. It's a ca 1900 engine, so is too late for what you appear to have in mind.
They have also announced a new Spectrum 4-4-0, ca 1900. I haven't seen it, but a few rumours from the NMRA Convention indicate it will be one the best Bachmann locos ever. So you might want to wait for it. Backdating it with a diamond stack would imply you're operating a tourist train though.
IHC make a 4-4-0 and a 2-6-0 that share the same boiler and cab. It's based on an SP prototype IIRC, ca 1890-1900. A nice looking little engine, and a decent runner, it was originally produced by Pemco in the
1970s, and the first of the quality plastic steam locos. It was ahead of its time IMO.
Another person i know and i run them with a GE 44 Tonner. That's what MY railroad has so it's what we use. In other words use what you have... I'll be looking for more of those Roundhouse Overtons soon!