I recently purchased the Roundhouse 2-8-0 Consolidation kit along with the Northwest Shore Line regear kit and gear puller. I plan to start contruction spring 2004. Are there anything problems or issues concerning this kit that I should know about before I begin construction? I've read the other reviews about problems with Roundhouse Shay kits, and it would be helpful to know about problems before I run into them. I've been modeling HO scale for 30 years and went to HOn3 for space issues. I'm pretty good at most model railroading items, but building locomotive kits was never one of my strong points. Thanks. Mike in PA (Sue is my wife). P.S. My R-T-R HOn3 Roundhouse 2-truck Shay is being returned to Roundhouse for repairs after only ~2 hours of run time. I lubricated it according to directions, but the drive mechanism still failed. Thought I'd let people know.
The MDC HOn3 2-8-0 is a fairly straight forward kit and should build up fine as is. Since you have the re-gear kit you have already addressed the main problem.
The two issues HOn3 modelers have with the MDC kits is that they do not represent any exact prototype and that they need new gears to really run well. With a few additions / modifications and the NWSL re-gear kit you can end up with a very nice model that if not exact in every way will have the look and character of real thing. The inside frame can represent a D&RGW C19 fairly well and the outside frame is similar to a D&RGW C-25
Some details are absent and the superstructure sits high on these models. Adding detail and lowering the boiler is not too difficult and improves the look tremendously. Even if no extra detail is added lowering the boiler improves the visual quality by 90%. That hunkered down look is a big part of the narrow gauge charm. One wonders why MDC did not design the kits that way to begin with.
There was an article published in either the Gazette or MR back in the early
80's that showed how to lower the boilers and add detail to both the inside and outside frame versions. These little locos caused quite a stir in the HOn3 community and a number of articles were written about them form the time they were introduced in 1979 to the mid 80s. There was even one that was about modifying an outside frame version in to a K-27. Things still pop up about them from time to time.
You might do a search of the Magazine Index at the MR site to find building and modification articles on these kits. After you get a list of articles you should be able to find most of the back issue magazines of interest for sale at
Just thinking about those little 3 footers gives me narrow gauge withdraw. I'm modeling the Texas Midland about 1920 in HO right now. Still short and funky but in standard gauge.
Just the usual. Keep the driver in quarter when you re-assemble it with the new gear.(make a mark across the axle end while the driver is still in it that you can line back up) or use a quarterer. And check for binds. But this is a simple mechanism (unlike the Shay). Too bad there isn't more cheap or even R-T-R HOn3 to be had. There IS the new Con-Cor Goose, though.
Dear Mike in PA, I would try assembling the engine first with its stock gears. I have one of the standard gauge MDC 2-6-0 engines, and its gears were perfectly good. Inspect them before you install them and remove any flash or burrs on their teeth with a sharp knife.
Just go slowly and be careful. Before you install the motor, make sure the chassis with all its rods will coast freely when you put it on a tilted track. Then you can be sure the finished engine will run well. Mine is 100% stock and runs like a watch.