Page Originated 07/1999
Page Updated 09/2001
Page Updated 10/2002
Page Updated 05/2004
Page Updated 01/2011 - added Chateau Martin car photos
Page Updated 02/2015 - added PSC caboose repair job
Note: The following is a small sample of what I have accomplished. From time
to time I update it when an interesting job is completed, but by no means
is it comprehensive. If your job isn't like any of those in this list, and
you want to discuss it please contact me.
There are several sections to this page. You can jump to them and back
if you wish using the following links:
Table of Contents
If additional work was performed it is described.
- Weaver SP GS-2 4-8-4
- Two of these locomotives were customized. Tender decks were constructed
to make the tender a little more like those behind for a GS-2 (the tenders
are those that were behind GS-4/5/6).
- USH CB&Q 4-8-4
- Fabricated and installed cab doors and the train control box and conduit, and
installed a mars light on the smoke box front.
- MG AT&SF 2-10-4
- Various ladders needed rebuilding.
- MG UP 4-8-8-4
- CB C&O 2-8-8-2
- CB PRR T-1 4-4-4-4
- I have customized three T-1s.
These locos deserve special mention. The prototype had a rigid frame;
however, the importer built the models as articulated engines so they would
go around model railroad size curves. That didn't look right,
so I modified them so the front engine was hinged at its front
and the rear engine was hinged at its rear. Since both engines
moved in a curve, the movement wasn't noticeable.
This design has been copied with permission by an importer.
- WS UP 4-8-8-4
- SS UP 4-12-2
- The loco was modified to take 60" radius curves with all drivers flanged!
- Toby 4-8-2
- This loco had been dropped, and the smokebox front and tender needed
repairs. The Southern Green paint was repaired. A backhead was added.
- Scratch SF 2-10-2
- This loco had been scratch built. Two different people worked
on it. The person
who built the running gear did his best, but much work was required to get
the loco to run smoothly. The loco was painted as part of the job.
- MG SP AC-12
- Many solder repairs, including tender deck railing fabrication and
ladder reconstruction, were required. Brake shoes were scratch built
- OVL E-units
- An A and a B unit. Both were customized. They easily pulled my 65
freight car test train.
- MG SP AC-9
- A ball bearing boiler support rolling on a V-shaped plate was fabricated
so the boiler would center over the front engine.
- Milwaukee Road Cafe-Lounge Car (!)
- This car was powered in order to assist the 4-4-2 on the head end up
the grades. For photos and details, see:
MILW Cafe-Lounge Car.
- PRB AT&SF Baggage Car (!)
- This car was powered in order to make heavy brass passenger trains
independent of their motive power. By itself it will pull five brass
cars up an uncompensated 2 1/2 percent grade. With more weight it would
have pulled more, but that would have meant changing truck springs, which
is very difficult. The owner decided to forgo that expense. See:
- Division Point RDCs
The major problem with these cars is that they are geared improperly and
as a result run too slow. Modelers run them at more than 12 volts in
order get a reasonable speed. This causes excessive noise, motor
overheating and failure, and even failure of the light bulbs.
My approach to making these locos run better is to change the worms on
one truck, and to take the drive out of the other truck.
The worm change is to replace the single lead worm with a double-lead
worm gear (the gears were made for me.) Changing the worm from a single
lead to a double lead, doubles the number of teeth passing through the
worm gear at the same motor RPM, which doubles the car's speed. Then it
isn't necessary to put more than 12 volts through the motors to get a
The drive train is also very noisy; by taking the drive out of one
truck the noise is cut in half. An RDC with new gearing and one
truck driven will pull a heavyweight car up a 3.25% grade.
The drive prevents the truck suspension from working. When the drive is
removed from one truck the springs in that truck must be replaced with
heavier springs as the factory springs were just cosmetic and way too
Another problem with them is that the light bulbs will fail with a
short! The filament is suspended on a pair of metal supports that can
distort from the heat caused by the excessive voltage needed to run the
factory geared models at an acceptable speed. In one RDC that I worked
on, one filament support touched the other causing a short.
Regarding the motors getting warm, the motor in one that was being
broken was barely warmer than room temperature after an hour of
running. Again, with proper gearing, one doesn't have to put over 12
volts into the model to get an acceptable speed out of them; a cooler
running motor is one benefit of changing the gearing.
- Westside SP TW-8
The issue with this loco is that the firebox on the prototype narrows
to the width of the frame where it meets the frame. On the model the
width of the firebox becomes 48 scale inches, or one real inch. Since
the firebox is attached to the boiler, the firebox has to clear the
drive so the boiler can be removed. Where the drive configuration is
the proven motor in firebox location, this limits the width of the
motor to one inch, or about 25 millimeters. Westside used a large
Mashima motor in the model. However, large is relative to HO, not
O scale. The motor will move the loco but the power is so limited
that the motor will stall before the drivers slip.
My approach was to use a larger motor from Pittman that uses
Neodymium magnets. These magnets, also called Rare Earth magnets,
result in a much more powerful and unfortunately, more costly motor.
Combined with a Northwest Short Line gearbox, the new drive will
easily slip the drivers when the load is greater than what the prototype
would pull. Here is a
photo. Photo courtesy of Charlie Morrill.
Visible at the inside of the backhead is one of the weights I used to
balance the loco. Anther weight is attached to the top of the firebox, but
is difficult to see in the photo.
The motor shaft is connected to the gearbox worm shaft with the brass
collar. Set screws enable disassembly for servicing.
I have modified three of these locos in this manner.
The gearbox change is not straight forward because the axle diameter on the
model is 4MM, but NWSL does not catalog a gearbox for this axle diameter. It
is necessary to adapt the axle gear from the gearbox kit for another size axle
to the 4MM axle, and to fabricate new brass side bushings for the gearbox.
Other changes are the usual customizing changes: relocate the factory
boiler weight to balance the engine over the drivers, changing the spring on
the pilot truck to leave more weight on the drivers, all of which make the
loco pull more. I found that the pilot wheels short on the cylinders and so
increased the wheelbase of the pilot truck by 1/16" which fixed the shorting
problem. The wheelsets on the tender are replaced with NWSL steel
wheelsets; this requires fabricating bushings because the NWSL axle end is
smaller than the journal in the truck. Wipers on all tender axles and
hardwiring the wipers to one motor brush greatly improves slow speed operation
if the track and wheels are clean.
Go to Table of Contents
- Domes for Kasiner passenger car kits
- These domes were unusual in that all windows were flat plate glass.
Four domes were fabricated out of brass and fit to the car bodies.
- Square tender for C&O 2-8-8-2
- The demanding owner was ecstatic.
- Oil tender for SP 2-8-8-4 AC-9
- A sister to the C&O tender, this tender has been exhibited at O
Scale West and at the Chicago March Meet.
- Complete SP GS-1 4-8-4 locomotive and tender
- This loco has been exhibited at O Scale West, Chicago, and O
Scale National conventions.
- Chooch Ultra Scale II NP Boxcar
- This car was built as a personal car from the above kit.
- Overland SP H12-44
- This loco is a personal loco. It was painted about 10 years ago
with Accu-Flex paint (remember them?) And then it sat until a DCC
decoder with enough functions became available. All lights are
indivually controllable: headlight, front mars light, front class
lights, engine number lights, train indicator lights, rear headlight, rear
class lights, rear mars light. Decals are by Microscale. All the striping
is painted. Drive is stock. Decoder is an NCE D408SR.
A crew would not fit into the cab, which is unfortunate because of all
that glass. Note that the wind wings have glass in them.
When a Tsunami 750 was installed for sound, the light functions were
consolidated so that other funtions were available in the 0-9 range
for sound control.
- C&O L2a 4-6-4 Conversion to L2
- New cylinders, pilot, pilot deck, and valve gear. Redetailed boiler, trailing
truck, and tender.
- Chateau Martin Wine Tank Car Conversion from Lionel Milk Tank Cars
- The pink on These cars was painted by someone else. I converted them
to 2-rail, applied the decals, sprayed the clear coat (which softened the
pink a bunch - whew!), and then reassembled the cars. The KDs are mounted
to a cast brass plate made from my pattern. The plate includes an ear to
which the air hose detail can be mounted.
View of all four cars sitting on recently completed
yard tracks on my personal layout.
End view of one car showing the KD and air
- Photos In Other Locations on the Internet
- Photos of other projects that I have completed, mostly for my personal
layout, can be found in two of the yahoogroups that I frequent. They are
Oscalekings and oscalemodelers. In Oscalekings you can find them in the
Photos section under Rod Miller's Photos. In oscalemodelers you can find
them in the Files section under RM-01.
Go to Table of Contents
- Driver wheelsets
Built up driver wheelsets starting with customer provided wheel center castings.
Machined castings, made axles, made crank pins, modified counterweights, assembled
wheels to axles so they were quartered, in gauge, and had no wobble.
- Smokebox fronts
Fabricated smokebox fronts from customer provided parts.
- Dented brass passenger car
A heavy square object had been dropped on this car, which was factory
painted in the SP silver and red scheme. The side was bent, and the
end was twisting into a parallelogram. After the repair the only
way to tell the car had been damaged was to inspect it very carefully.
- Worn side rods
Re-bushed worn side rods on both a CB UP 2-8-8-2 and a SS NCNG 2-8-0.
The plating on the tires on the 2-8-0 was worn to the point where the
brass was showing. The 2-8-0 tires and rods were re-plated to
their new appearance.
- Jerry White custom built locomotive restoration
Restored two Jerry White custom built locomotives to their as delivered
condition. One was an SP AC-11 4-8-8-2 and the other was the Lima 4-8-6
(the prototype was never built but both Jerry and Bill Lenoir built models.)
Both locos required extensive solder repair. The poppet valve gear on the
4-8-6 was missing major parts and had to be rebuilt. Both locos were
repainted and redecorated as part of the job.
- Box pok main drivers
Fabricated box pok main drivers for a UP 4-12-2.
- Exhaust Stacks on a VO-1000 Diesel
Fabricated and installed eight exhaust stacks for a VO-1000 diesel.
The model is by Car Works. The mounting hole for the original single
exhaust stack was filled.
The location and spacing of the stacks was determined from a drawing.
The stacks themselves are best match to stacks shown in a photo.
The loco was painted by someone else, and is in service on a standard
gauge logging layout where it adds a lot of character. The photos were
taken on my home layout.
Detail view of the stacks.
- Repair shipping damage on a PSC caboose
- When received both ladders had broken loose and were bent,
one end platform was bent down, the end fascia was bent, and the
running board was bent. This
shows the model after the end platform was bent up and before any
other repairs were made. This
shows the fascia after repair. Finally, this
shows the model after the ends and roof were re-painted.
Go to Table of Contents
- General expertise
- Importer and distributor of the Lenz system for four years. Five year
member of the NMRA DCC committee. Learned command control by installing
Keller Onboard on a pre-DCC layout. Lenz DCC is installed on my home
layout. I use an NCE PowerCab at the workbench.
I have installed decoders
and sound in a number of locomotives, all were O scale and with speakers
in the smokebox if the loco is a steam loco.
A partial list of DCC installs (most included sound) is:
- Overland SP GS-4 (D408SR + Tsunami)
- Overland SP GS-5 (D408SR + Tsunami)
- U.S. Hobbies SP MT (Zimo MX65, no sound)
- PSC SP P-10 (Lenz LE230 + Sountraxx DSX)
- Lobaugh Lost Wax SP 2-8-2 (D408SR + Tsunami)
- Key SP F-7 AB (Soundtraxx DSD-150 in each unit)
- Glacier Park SP 2-8-2 (Tsunami)
- Glacier Park SP 2-8-0 (Tsunami)
- Glacier Park SP 2-6-0 (Tsunami)
- Overland S2 (D13SR + Micro Tsunami)
- Overland FM H12-44 (D408SR + Tsunami)
- PSC SP GS-4 (D408SR + Tsunami)
- PSC Cab-forward (D408SR + Tsunami)
- Sunset USRA 2-8-2 (D408SR + Tsunami)
- 3rdRail PRR 2-8-8-2 (D408SR + Tsunami)
- PFM SP 2-8-0 (Tsunami)
- 2nd PFM 2-8-0 (Tsunami)
- Overland MILW 4-4-2 (D408SR + Soundtraxx DSX)
- Overland PA+PB (D408SR + Soundtraxx DSX, speaker in each unit)
- Red Caboose GP-9 (Lenz LE130, no sound)
- Lobaugh SP 0-6-0 (D408SR, no sound)
- Westside SP 4-8-0 (Tsunami)
- Vulture Models SP 4-6-0 (Tsunami)
- U.S.Hobbies SD-9 (D408SR, no sound)
- Glacier Park SP 0-6-0 (Tsunami)
- PSC MT (D408SR + Tsunami)
- PSC AC-10 (Protocraft Tsunami)
- OL GN 2-8-8-2 (Protocraft Tsunami)
- RY Models GE 44 tonner (Tsunami)
- Westside SP 4-8-0 (D408SR + Tsunami)
- 2nd Overland SP GS-5 (D408SR + Tsunami)
- Overland A-B-A Sharks remotor + (D408SR + Tsunami)
- Car Works PE car (Lokpilot, no sound)
- 3rdRail FP-7 ABA set upgraded and tuned factory QSI decoders
- 2nd 3rdRail FP-7 ABA set upgraded and tuned factory QSI decoders
Go to Table of Contents
Interested in learning more about 2-rail O scale? Please visit the
O Scale Kings web pages.
These web pages were designed and implemented by Rod Miller.