HOn3 Conversions All underlined phrases are links to a descriptive page.
ALCO (Australian Loco CO) (Ajin) Victorian Ry 2-6-2T originally built by Baldwin. This is a 1985 re-do of the cute Baldwin "Puffing Billy" 2' gauge engine that was earlier modeled by Kumata for Model Dockyard, and imported by PFM. It is modeled in both HOn30 and HOn3 + 8 in HOn2. Only 110 models were done in HOn3. This a beautiful and sophisticated model and is so much nicer than the Kumata model there is no comparison. The model has a high reduction compound idler gearbox arrangement powered by a Sagami 1220 can motor that produces a very smooth, guiet and slow running loco with beautiful detail including a fully detailed boiler inside the cab interior. The wipers on the insulated driver tires will pick up dust and lint easily so additional wipers on the inside of the insulated driver tires is recomended.
Balboa C&S #74 (Micro Cast). This model has a chrome plated brass worm driving a brass axle gear. The gearing will quickly wear out so substitute a NWSL 230600-6 steel worm or better yet sell it and get a WS #74 or #75 which has a great drive.
Balboa D&RGW T-12 4-6-0 (Micro Cast Mizino). See Westside D&RGW T-12
Balboa D&RGW C-19 2-8-0 (Katsumi). This is the best HOn3 locomotive imported by Balboa and a great loco for the 1960s. It has the destinctive cab of #340 at Knott's Berry Farm. The only problem is the open frame motor hanging out the back of the cab runs fast and only fair. We have designed a complete K-3 Super Glide Drive Kit that is a one piece unit with a slow speed Faulhaber 1319 coreless motor with a large flywheel, a NWSL delrin idler gear that positions the motor in the middle of the boiler and boiler backhead detail that conceal the motor and adds cab interior detail. It is a screw in conversion and runs smoothly at 1 to 30 MPH.
Balboa (Custom Brass) D&RGW C-21 2-8-0 (Kumata). A marginal model but there are a lot of them out there. One run of Balboa's has brass axles which will quickly wear out in the brass bearings, sell and get a CB then it is the next owners problem. The second Balboa run had steel axles, test with a Kadee magnet. The Custom Brass was done as both #360 and #361 but is mechanically the same as the second run Balboa. The gearbox needs better axle bearings for long life and the cranks were soft soldered to the axle ends. A FM-1224 and flywheel may not have enough power. We have developed a complete gearbox (60/1), Faulhaber motor and flywheel conversion that will be available when we have time to do final testing and build the assembly jigs. See K-21 Super Glide Drive kit. Be careful, some Balboa cylinders are cast lead plated brass.
Balboa D&RGW K-36 2-8-2 (Kumata). These were the first K-36's produced in HOn3 and about the standard quality for the era. There were two production runs, one with steel driver axles and the other with brass axles running in brass bearings which will wear fast and wobble, the gearbox is also very marginal quality. I would personally pay twice as much for a Westside or PFM K-36 as any Balboa, they are worth the difference.
Balboa DSP&P Mason Bogies 2-6-6T & 2-8-6T (Kumata). PHOTO Both have a brass worm driving a brass axle gear. Substitute a NWSL steel worm. A friend recently installed a NWSL 50/1 gearbox and reported stunning results. Since these models had 2.5mm axles, he had to bore the axle gear and gearbox carefully from 2.4mm to 2.5 mm. Be careful, the cylinders are cast lead plated brass. If you have an occasional short, check if the tender truck screw can touch the middle axle and file clearence if needed. The 2-8-6T running boards need to be shaped (narrowed) near and in front of the valve gear lifting link and the combination links on both need to be reshaped.
Balboa RGS Galloping Geese (Kumata). These models have nice bodies but poor drive trucks. The body mounted motor has a double pulley and 2 metal spring belts drive pulleys on the power truck coupled to worms that drive the wheels. I recommend a ConCor or Sugiyama (Lambert) drive.
Berlin DSP&P 2-6-6T (??). Very nice looking locomotives with 4 beautiful paint jobs and loco number specific detailing. I could never afford one but others have reported they run well although very fast because of a low gear reduction. The motor (a Faulhaber) was hung off the gearbox and its lateral movement in the boiler limits minimum radius much more than the PFM or Balboa.
Custom Brass D&RGW C-21 2-8-0 (Kumata). See Balboa C-21
Custom Brass DSP&P 2-8-6T (Daiyoung). This loco runs fairly well (with sprung drivers) but won't take a corner. To get the can motor to drive the idler gear above the driver and fit in the boiler, the driver frame was rigidly mounted under the boiler like a regular 2-8-0. The tender truck was mounted on a swing arm so it could move sideways and up and down. The body mounted coupler had no lateral movement so the loco can not take curves coupled to a car. The fix looks pretty complicated, moving the geared driver and gearbox to the #2 driver position and mounting a worm on the gearbox / alternately use the NWSL 50 / 1 gearbox, I think this is better. Use a Super Glide Drive M-2B motor at the back of the boiler and double universal driveshaft to the worm, low speed motor for the stock gearbox, high speed and power motor for the NWSL gearing. A pivot plate must be mounted to the frame behind the gearbox and a pivoting plate mounted to the boiler for the driver frame to pivot on and support the boiler. Mounting this to the boiler is going to take some serious design work. Replace the brass idler gear pivot shaft with steel, modify the driver frame to faciliate rotation and mount the tender truck on a screw.
Erie Ltd D&RGW #50 Davenport B diesel. See Westside D&RGW #50.
Erie Ltd RGS #20 4-6-0 (Katsumi)/ distributed by Sunset. These fabulous but scarce models were actually a much revised PFM RGS #20 with equilized and floating driver mounting, an idler gearbox with a good 5 pole can motor in the boiler with backhead detail. The tender trucks are also fully equilized for good electrical pick-up. They were offered painted with black and green boilers and were closed out by The Train Shop (Santa Clara, Ca.) with the Erie Limited name cut out of the box label. The mating tender truck surfaces sometimes need cleaning for continuous electrical contact but when done this is an excellent running model with room for sound.
Erie Ltd SP #1 B-B diesel. Also sold labeled as JONAN MODELS See NWSL SP #1 diesel
Far East Distributors (NWSL)/ Spartan Series 4-4-0/2-6-0 (Sugiyama). Modelers asked for a cheap loco they could detail and NWSL delivered these in 1880 and 1910 versions for both wheel arrangements and a few were produced in TT and HO. A Cal Scale bell and air compressor cure the worst details and a bunch more PSC C-16 parts can be added to suit. The body, wheels and gears were good but the motor was noisy and only 2 wheel pickup from each rail was insufficient, these 2 deficiencies combined to make them fast and jerky runners. Our K-2 Super Glide Drive adds a Faulhaber coreless motor, flywheel, almost invisible driveshaft and all the parts to give it 8 wheel pick-up, better balance and extra weight for the cab roof. This will make these poor runners into your best runners. With details the 2-6-0 makes a perfect D.S.P.&P., D.L.&G., U.P.D.&G. Brooks 2-6-0. See Slim Gauge News Sum.1974. The doams are correct for early Brooks 2-6-0's, unfortunately they aren't very pretty, later Brooks or Baldwin doams were much more stylish and would have made the models look better. The HO versions came with brass tender floors and std. engine / 4 wheel tender electrical pickup and some of these were converted to HOn3 as these sold best. We have just come out with the K-2 S Super Glide Drive Kit that mounts the Faulhaber motor, flywheel and an idler gear in the boiler which leaves room in the tender for DCC sound and a Keep Alive capacitor circuit. A more difficult conversion.
Gem EBT 2-8-2 (Seiko). Quite a nice model for the era it was built with sprung drivers, a non idler semi-open gearbox and a Mantua motor just waiting to be replaced. The valve gear is heavy and I have been told it is a little oversize but is available for half what you have to pay for the Hallmarks.
Hallmark EBT #02 Brill motor car (Samhongsa). A very well built model with a Canon 1832 can motor driving an idler gearbox on the front truck. Only has 2 wheel pick-up on each truck so adding wipers to the insulated wheels greatly smooths running. Get the factory painted model as masking the red window frames is a real pain.
Hallmark EBT #11 2-6-2(Samhongsa). This large 2-6-2 with 48" drivers is a fabolous model with Sagami 1425 motor and fully enclosed idler gearbox on the sprung drivers. The tender trucks are equilized and wired to the tender for perfect pick-up. It is hard to say enough great things about this model.
Hallmark EBT #12 "Millie" 2-8-2 (Samhongsa). Another great model from Samhongsa with an enclosed idler gearbox, 48" drivers and Sagami can motor. Smallest EBT 2-8-2.
Hallmark EBT #14 & #15 2-8-2 (Samhongsa). These midsize 2-8-2's had slide valves, 48" driverrs and Waalscherts valve gear. Another great sprung 2-8-2 with idler geabox and Sagami 1630 motor from Hallmark.
Hallmark EBT #16,#17 & #18 2-8-2 (Samhongsa). The "big" 2-8-2's with piston valves, 48" drivers and Southern valve gear, sprung drivers, idler gearbox and a Sagami 1630 can motor. All Hallmark EBT models are very prized and scarce.
Ken Kidder Porter 2-6-0 (Katsumi?). Many production runs of this model were produced by several importers and factories in HO and HOn3. In the 1870's Japan imported many Porter 42" gauge 2-6-0s and by building this small loco to Sn3 1/2 you got a cute HO gauge 2-6-0. Building it to HO scale but HOn3 gauge produced a cute n.g. model. Many of these models built for the Japanese market were imported by Ken Kidder with an open frame motor and about 16/1 gear ratio which is not acceptable. The best simple conversion I have seen is to use a NWSL 28/1 idler gearbox ( NWSL #139-6 ) and my M-2 Super Glide Drive motor. The FED 2-6-0 with the K-2 or K-2S Super Glide Drive conversion is easier. The tender truck sideframes are upside down, the diagonal bar should be in "tension" and run from the bottom of the truck spring plank to the tops of the journal boxes. Cut the leaf springs off, rotate the sideframes 180 degrees and solder the spring back on.
Key C&S 2-6-0 #6, #8 & #9 (Samhongsa). These beautiful models had inclosed idler gearboxes and a Sagami 1225 motor. These small motors were noisy and ran only between 15 and 120 mph on DC. I have recently installed a Super Glide Drive M-2A motor (with flywheel on the brush end) to the gearbox. This requires pulling the worm from the Sagami and pressing the bearings and worm on the Faulhaber motor shaft then assembling the gearbox on the bearings. The space is so short that the front Faulhaber thrust bearing has to be removed and the worm and bearings act to position the armature in the middle of the motor. This assembly must be very carefully done to press the worm on the motor shaft without puting too much lengthwise pressure on the armature which could damaging the motor. A small "U" of brass wire is glued to the bottom of the motor and presses against the sides of the gearbox to keep the motor from rotating on the shaft. The model now runs 1 to 30 mph, is silent, smooth and has flywheel coast.
Key C&S 2-6-0 #22 (Samhongsa). A very nice model with sprung drivers. Unfortunately it also has a brass idler gear rotating on a brass shaft and a Sagami 1225 motor with high starting speed, much noise and a very high 12 volt speed. We had NWSL cut replacement delrin idler gear stock we cut to width, just screws it in place of the original. See Key #C&S#22 Idler Gear Also available is KC-92 Kit + Conversion. Installation requires sending the old motor and motor bracket to LocoDoc for boring to fit the larger 7400 RPM Faulhaber 1319T7.4K motor and FW-130915 flywheel and the whole assembly is returned to you with the custom delrin idler gear. The reduction in 1 volt and 12 volt speeds, quietness and the added flywheel coast is truly remarkable.
Key C&S 2-8-0 #58, #60, #65 & #69 (Samhongsa) Very nice models with sprung drivers. Unfortunately the cogging and high speed Sagami 1230 motor only allows 10 to 90 MPH speeds and the brass idler gear is noisy. LocoDoc offers a custom NWSL delrin idler gear conversion Key C&S#58 Idler Gear. A full upgrade kit Super Glide Drive K-11B with delrin idler gear, smooth and slow Faulhaber 1319T7.4K motor and large flywheel is available, just mount the old worm on the new motor carefully and glue the motor to the gearbox for quiet 1 to 30 MPH running with smooth flywheel coast. The rear cab brace soldering to the frame rails is weak, resolder if needed. Very rare.
Key C&S #71 2-8-0 (Samhongsa). This has a Korean copy of the WS C-16 HiGrade mechanismbut with brass worm, brass idler gear and a motor that often fails, See Namiki Motors. We offer KC-93 Kit + Conversion to cure all the problems and give a slow, smooth, quiet and flywheel coasting drive to this locomotive. Not nearly as nice as the #58 etc. (above) but more available. The motor and holder and the idler gear mounting bracket must be sent to our shop for machining for the larger Faulhaber motor. A NWSL steel worm and flywheel and will be mounted on the Faulhaber coreless motor and mounted in the motor bracket and returned with a modified NWSL Delrin idler gear mounted in the revised bracket. The Key C-17 RGS #42 has the same problems and similar cure.
Key D&RGW C-18 2-8-0 (Samhongsa). The first run was #318 only, unsprung and was made at the same time as C-19 #346 (below) and each came with the tender that belonged to the other. Some models out there have the tenders swapped back. Quality was marginal, some ran smoothly, others didn't. If yours runs well continue, if not consider selling and starting again. It came with a nylon idler gear, a Namiki 1220 Motor. and some of these seize up. Substituting a Namiki 1230 (good) or a Super Glide Drive M-2B Kit (best) would greatly improve running. The second run had sprung drivers, came detailed for several road numbers and was offered in brass or factory paint. It had an enclosed gearbox, higher quality and a Sagami 1230 motor, which is greatly improved with a Super Glide Drive M-2 Motor. You should find this C-18.
Key D&RGW C-19 2-8-0 (Samhongsa). The 1st run was #346 and RGS #40, had the same problems as C-18 #318 (see above) plus having a brass worm and idler gear that wears out with extended use. The second run came in several #s plus RGS #40 and #41 that also came Factory Painted, had sprung drivers but a frame mounted gearbox with a brass idler gear that wears out and is noisier than the enclosed gearbox in the late C-18"s. This is the same drive as the Key C&S #58, #60 and #69 and the Super Glide Drive K-11B conversion is the ultimate upgrade. See all other comments above (C-18).
Key RGS #42 C-17 2-8-0 (Samhongsa). This model has the same problems and cure as C&S #71 but the conversion is KC-94 Kit + Conversion (the idler gear is different.
Lambert C&S 2-6-0 (Nakamura). This very popular 2-6-0 has the motor inside the boiler and a hollow tender for easy sound conversion. The model needs the open frame motor, brass idler gear and worm replaced by a Super Glide Drive KE-71 "economy" Kit with instructions for easy installation. The Mashima FM-1224 and flywheel power a custom LocoDoc #305 Delrin idler gear on a steel pivot shaft for extremely quiet, smooth and slow running. Gauge all wheels, I found the pilot and tender wheels were narrow in gauge. See Nov.2012 Gazette Page 14 for review and picture. Most of the tender truck sideframes never got the second punch to thin down the bars, the tool probably broke and they didn't have time to replace it.
Lambert RGS Galloping Geese (Sugiyama). These are very nice models, factory painted with good power trucks. The wheels have nylon idler gears and a worm shaft powering them. The worm shaft has a large nylon spur gear powered by a small brass spur gear on the motor which is a 3 pole HO slot car motor (the weakest part). Most of the noise is from the motor so substituting a Faulhaber 1319T17K motor and flywheel greatly improves the running.
Sugiyana also produced a run of "flat bed" work Goose #6. Since there was no room for a motor it was pushed by a 4 wheel push car with a motor drive under a brown box that due to a electrical pick-up wiper rides at an angle. In 1994 a small run of about 60 of these was offered by Jonan with a power truck in the flat bed (under a silver tank) powering the unit. It is obvious the conversion was modified three times and the rear truck was still mounted solidly to the flat bed and the front cab was hinged in the middle to the rear bed. YUCK!
NWSL #1 GE diesels (Orion). This model had nice model work. They were trying for a slow model with a flywheel but it was before can motors and the flywheel was directly coupled to a power truck which produced a lot of wheel to track vibration. The spur gear speed reduction in the main power truck was very noisy. They offered a rebuild program that unfortunately was fragile. The solution is a M-1 motor/flywheel and a revised coupling to the power truck. A decade later Erie Ltd (also sold labeler JONAN MODELS) did a rerun with nylon idler gears over each wheel powered by 2 worms and a motor on each truck. As long as the 2 motors run at the same speed this is a very smooth drive although there are no flywheels. The wiring was too heavy, rewire.
Overland C&S #69 & #70 2-8-0 (MSM). These models have bearings on the drivers but are un-sprung. They have a Mashima FM-1224 motor and a 36/1 idler geasrbox with nylon idler gear. They run well with a good speed range and the details are excellent, The #70 was the only oilburner on the Clear Creek line and ran with the tender and oil tank off CB&Q #537 and #537 got #70's tender (widened for more capacity). These models did have very highly detailed tender frames and trucks, Bettendorf trucks on #70 actually the old tender off CB&Q # 537.
Overland D&RGW K-36 2-8-2 (MSM). They did these detailed for several different road numbers but I have been told some of the details match details that were added by the Cumbres & Toltec after the D&RGW days. Generally considered a good model but I have never examined one. I believe the PSC K-36s were s revised version of this model and they are not a strong mechanism.
PFM Benson/ Cowichan/ Herrington/ MichCal #2 (etc.) shays (United/Atlas). Biggest
improvement is adding wheel wipers for 8 wheel electrical pickup. I do this by
pre-tinning some double sided PC board and cutting 2 3/16" chips and soldering
them to the truck bolster between the insulated wheels (but the top side must
not touch the truck or pivot screw. I take 2 Kadee #5 centering springs and bend
the spring ears out 90 degrees then tin both sides of center portion and cut off
most of the center portion with the hole. Now adjust so the ears touch the back
side of the insulated wheels and solder to the PC pad. Test that the wiper is
insulated from the truck. Solder a
Mini Connector to the top of the
spring and wire the connector pin to the proper motor brush, this allows easy
The open frame motors has a 2mm worm and shaft. Motors that fit have 1.5 mm shafts. The easiest remotor is probably a FM-1224 motor with FW-130615 flywheel. Cut the old motor shaft off even with the end of motor and use ST-15 to couple the shafts. Haven't done it. A Faulhaber 1319T12.2K and FW-130615 would be smoother but probably not enough to justify the cost. Later models had a Namiki 1220 Motor hidden in the tender (much better) but some motors run tight, squeak or froze up because the oil that was used hardened with age.
PFM C&S 2-6-0 (Katsumi). This is a very popular and atractive small locomotive but the very small tender tank sits on a floor with a big cut out to clear the small (often a 3 pole) motor. My Super Glide Drive K-8P Kit is my M-2B Faulhaber motor and large flywheel, I have withdrawn this kit as the motor is too small for the high friction of the drive and will replace it with a variation of the K-2S kit.
PFM C&S 2-8-0, RGS #20 and SP 4-6-0 (Katsumi). These well built and powerful models came with open frame motors in the tender with a poorly designed driveshaft to the engine. Our Super Glide Drive K-9P Kit includes a Faulhaber 1624 coreless motor with 1608 flywheel, a soft universal coupling to the almost invisible .015" drive shaft and a ball universal to drive the original coupling on the worm shaft. This design eliminates the problems that gave tender drive a bad name and the bell armature motor and flywheel gives these models a quiet and smooth drive that will surprise you.
PFM D&RGW K-27 and K-28 2-8-2s (United/Atlas). Great model with 30/1 gearing. . Silicone gluing a Super Glide Drive M-1 Motor is the best upgrade with a ST-15 surgical tubing connection to the worm. Easy and effective, produces a great runner that will last forever. Be careful adjusting the motor mounting plate for motor alignment to the worm, the solder joint to frame sides is a little fragile.
PFM D&RGW K-36 and K-37 2-8-2s (Fujiyama). These are great running models with a good 1630 can motor and excellent gearbox, wheels, rods and crankpins and the current selling prices show how many modelers realize this. The only complaint is that the K-36 tender has a very inaccurate rivet patern (way too many) and the K-37 has the trailing truck sideframe detail as a very thin relief part of the rear frame extension.
PFM DSP&P 2-6-6T (United/Atlas). This is probably a better mechanism than the Balboa 2-6-6T but still has problems. The worm drive is to the rear driver on a shaft up to the middle driver. Two spur gears are mounted in a vertical tube that the driver frame pivots on and the motor in the cab powers the top spur gear. On real Mason bogies the driver frame was held level to the boiler and the spring rigging allowed for rough track. Here the front of the frame and cylinder rest up against the smokebox and the rear of the frame was supposed to be spring loaded down to the rail to handle rough track. Unfortunately they sprung the rear of the frame up so only the front driver touches the rails. I mill down the big cylinder in the firebox then wind a special spring that surrounds the cylinder then shrinks down to the shouldered screw diameter for the last turn. Installing this spring, a washer, the rear frame extension loop and the shouldered screw cures the driver springing problem. I find the noise from the spur gears unacceptable and think moving the axle gear to the middle driver, adding an idler gear into the pivoting column and a worm driving the gears is the solution but the middle frame spacer will need to be modified. The model also cames with a Mason diamond stack that was immediately replaced in Colorado (1879) and an air compressor (but no air reservour) that was added in 1884. All Mason Bogies had slight wagon top boilers for the rear coarse, the model does not and the front boiler courses are too large, see the 2010 HOn3 Annual for a re-detailing article.
PFM (Model Dockyards) 2-6-2T (Kumata). This is an early and fairly crude Japanese model of some Baldwin outside frame 2-6-2T's that were common power on the Victorian Rys (Australia) 2' gauge branches and now run on the "Puffing Billy" tourist line. It has a fabricated gearbox of marginal quality powered by an open frame "pancake" motor. The ALCO re-do (see above) is so much better in every respect they can not be compared.
PFM Rio Grande Southern #20 4-6-0 (Katsumi). See PFM C&S 2-8-0 for comments. This model was also offered years later as the Erie Ltd. RGS #20 with a much improved drive in the boiler and factory painted.
PFM Sumpter Valley 2-6-6-2 (United/Atlas)(no backhead). GlideDrive C-16 is an easy conversion and Super Glide Drive M-1 Kit is much better but this requires 2SS-1520 shaft sleeve to fit the 1.5mm shaft to the 2mm spur gear. The gear noise remains.
PSC C&S #6,#8,#9 and #10 2-6-0 (Boo Rim). A beautifully detailed model with a nice idler gearbox and a Mashima FM-1224 motor. Drive is identical to the Overland C&S #69-70 made by MSM). They have axle bearings but are unsprung. Scale speed is very nice. C&S tenders are very narrow, a problem fitting a speaker.
PSC D&RGW C-16 2-8-0 (Boo Rim). This is a beautiful model based on the old Kemtron castings with many new details. It has a very small (probably too small) Maxon coreless motor and because of its small size and high speed the model has 2.5 mod gearing. These very small gear teeth cause the soft brass worm to wear out fast. No upgrade parts available. The side rods and crankpins are also fairly soft brass and is not well suited to a lot of running The first run by S. Kodama (Japan) is great, See Westside C-16 and C-16 "High Grade".
PSC D&RGW C-19 2-8-0 (Boo Rim?). These beautiful models came with a short and small flat sided can motor that did not run the model well. I tried to remotor with one of my Faulhaber motors but it required disassembling the back of the boiler and removing the cab to get the motor in. I have never finished it, I probably could but this is a project I will never try again. Find a second run (sprung) Key or a Balboa C-19 - See above.
PSC D&RGW K-27's and K-28's 2-8-2 (Namiki - Japan). See Westside K-27's and K-28's.
PSC D&RGW K-28, K-36 & K-37 2-8-2s (BOO RIM - Korea). These beautifully detailed models unfortunately are not very strong. The gearbox has 2.5 mod gears (very fine) and the soft brass worm will wear out fast and before completely stripping can destroy the nylon idler gear, even heavy grease lubrication will not save them. The soft steel shaft also wears in the bearings. I have made some steel replacement worms that I mount on hardened steel motor shaft. Installation requires very careful gearbox adjustment I need to do on my work bench. Contact LocoDoc for this $60 upgrade. If you just want to admire them, these are fine. If you want to seriously operate them, I suggest the Japanese Westside / Namiki's and PFM" ? Fujiyama's. .
PSC RGS 4-6-0 #20, #22, #25 (Samhongsa). These very nice locomotives were done in 2
production runs and kits. The first run had sprung drivers with long axle gear teeth that
meshed with a frame mounted brass idler gear and Sagami 1225 motor (similar to the Key
C&S #58). For the first run a Super Glide Drive K-11A kit is the complete
upgrade (delrin idler gear, Faulmaber motor and flywheel). These produce
quiet 1 to 30 MPH running with smooth flywheel coast.
The second run had an inclosed idler gearbox that floated on the sprung axle (same parts and design as the Key C&S #9). The fast and coggy Sagami motor only ran at 15 - 120 MPH and was very noisy. A Super Glide Drive M-2A motor (with flywheel on the brush end) is the upgrade for the second run (see Key C&S 2-6-0 #6, #8, #9) for description of the installation on the gearbox for the same quiet 1 to 30 MPH speed and flywheel smoothness.
PSC RGS Galloping Geese (?). Nice models with frame mounted motors and double U joint drive shaft to power trucks with idler gears connecting the wheels. Reducing power truck rotation (which is far greater than needed) will keep the drive shaft from falling out. The 1.5 volt headlights are particularly nice but are prone to burn-out. Replace with SMT LEDs and resistors.
Sunset D&RGW C-16 2-8-0. Some of these models had real problems. They were made out of thin and soft brass and some frames were skewed, set it on glass to test if it rocks on diagonal corners. If so remove the boiler and reverse twist the frame. Mount the boiler and retest. Remove boiler and run the model on test leads. If the model runs well thank your stars and go to last comment. If model runs with any problems watch the idler gear, the pivot shaft was soldered into the frame and this sometimes melted the idler gear and made it eccentric. If so contact Sunset as they brought in spare idler gears (glue the shaft in). Since the motor mounting plate on the frame has a hole for the motor shaft smaller than the worm, the worm must be pulled from the motor which takes some effort. Open this hole bigger than the worm diameter for easy future adjustment. When you have the mechanism running smoothly with an index finger powering the idler gear, install the motor (a very good Mashima FM-1224 that does not need any fixes) and test run. If everything runs well the last step is to put a support between the back of the motor and the frame. The frame bracket the motor is mounted to is too flimsy and under load will flex and allow the worm to disengage from the idler gear. Some C-16s had a long screw up through the retainer plate pushing up the back of the motor but there was no length adjustment so usually the motor was not properly supported. If all is well, lubricate the gears with a heavy oil and keep lubricated as this model has very fine gearing that will just barely handle the load and you don't want to strip any gears a few years from now. NWSL has no replacement gears. All this should make you want to follow my advice and buy a WS Kodama C-16 which is a much stronger model.
Sunset D&RGW K-27, K-28, K-36. These reasonably priced models were good buys but I have found all the wheels on the K-27 and K-28 are very tight in gauge (just take an NMRA wheel gauge and a NWSL wheel puller and correct the problem). The K-36 had overly thick driver flanges which caused the "back to back" wheel gauge to be too tight and they bobble in turnout flangeways. I laid the models upside down in a modelers cradle and ran it with a hand file against the back side of the wheels and thinned and contoured the flange to HOn3, up to the tip where the missing plating will not be a problem. This is the solution to the gauge problem, you can't just regauge the wheels. If you are going to run a lot, save the idler gear by replacing the soft brass worm with a NWSL #1334-6 polished steel worm. Run the motor on test leads and adjust the worm mesh as tight as possible without slowing the motor then add a shim under the back of the motor to keep the wimpy motor mounting plate from flexing under load and allowing the gear mesh to open up. All the K-27s had the stepping down smokebox handrails of #461, redrill and mount to match photos.
Train & Trooper ET&WNC 4-6-0 (Art Hobbies). This very large 4-6-0 (largest 36" gauge 4-6-0
built for the U.S.) and noticeably larger
than the SP #18 which looks similar) is the only HOn3 brass engine built in the last
10 years. It has a 20/1 idler gearbox and a Mashima FM-1025 motor which makes it very
fast at both starting and top speed. The boiler weight is a small and light brass
rod which makes the loco light and a poor puller. In addition the 1.5 volt bulb is powered
by a DC style large 6 diode light board over the gearbox that takes up space that should
hold a big boiler weight. The Super
Glide Drive M-2A motor mounted like the Key C&S #6, 8, 9 would also be a big improvement
and LED lighting would allow a much larger lead boiler weight over the front driver and
I am considering a special version of the K-2S kit that will require installing a 30 tooth axle gear (included), a Faulhaber motor and flywheel, LED lighting and a boiler weight to make this model run and pull with the very best HOn3 models. Keep the siderods well lubricated.
Westside/PSC C & S #74/75 2-8-0 (Micro Cast). A fine model with a Namiki Motor that sometimes fail. Our K-12 Super Glide Drive Kit replaces this motor with a Faulhaber 1319 with a large flywheel and NWSL steel worm for much smoother and stronger running.
Westside (Erie Ltd.) D&RGW #50 Davenport B diesel (Tsubomi). The first run had an open frame motor, the second run a Sagami Can. Both had a small spur gear on the motor shaft that powered a large spur gear coupled to a worm that drove the rear wheel. Both were very noisy and only ran fair. Raising the front axle slots and adding a center body plate for the axle to rock on will allow the front wheel to rock and maintain all wheel pick-up. The best upgrade I have seen is installing a NWSL Flea and aux. gearbox powering both wheels with a flywheel on the motor shaft. The Flea is still noisy but this drive removes the waddle the siderods cause and adds flywheel action to smooth out running with poor 4 wheel electrical pick-up. Erie Ltd did a rerun with a Mashima 1224 can motor and idler gear drive in the hood that eliminated the spur gear noise. Much better.
Westside (Balboa) D&RGW T-12 (Micro Cast). There were at least 3 production runs, the first by Balboa is better because it has a white nylon 72 DP idler gear and brass axle gear. The second Balboa and the Westside runs had brass idler gears which will quickly wear out the reverse cut brass worm . In addition all of the runs had all wheels too narrow in gauge and the axle slots cut too deeply in the frame and the models "teeter totter" on the middle driver that is pushed down in its slot by the frame mounted brass idler gear. We now offer a custom conversion for both versions, see our K-3A and K-3B Super Glide Drive Kits . This will cure all the problems and produce a great running 4-6-0.
Westside D&RGW C-16 (S. Kodama). The one with motor out the back of cab- see our K-1 Super Glide Drive.. This kit makes this very good locomotive run slow and great and have the shape of the boiler in the cab.
Westside /PSC D&RGW C-16 "HiGrade" with cab interior (S. Kodama) A great model but with no flywheel action and some of the motors have seized up or run poorly due to the factory using a lubricant that hardens with age, See Namiki Motors I have developed the KC-91 Kit + Conversion . that includes a Faulhaber bell armature motor and flywheel all installed in your boiler.
Westside D&RGW C-25 (Nakamura). The brass worm and idler gear MUST be replaced with a #305 Delrin Idler Gear and 1312-6 worm conversion. The can motor used was very fast, our FM-1426 can motor will just fit and will slow it 50% but is still does 60 MPH at 12 volts and has no flywheel. We offer a full conversion kit K-25 Super Glide Drive. with a Faulhaber motor, flywheel and custom delrin idler gear that makes this model run smoothly with a 35mph top speed with lots of flywheel coast. Included are washers to keep the siderods from scraping the paint off the counterweights.
Westside D&RGW K-27s (Nakamura). Compound and original slide valve K-27s (also check others) MUST have a #305 Delrin Idler Gear for Westside and a 1312-6 steel worm added if the original is brass. Our LocoDoc Super Glide Drive M-1 motor adds smoother starting,lower top speed, lower noise, and flywheel coasting. All this also applies to the Piston Valve and Modern Slide Valve K-17s but we are also working on a Super Glide Drive K-27 Kit for these K-27s versions that will include all the parts and features of the K-36 and K-37 Kits plus tips on how to eliminate shorts and make it run on tighter radius curves, mounting couplers and extra weight and up to 14 wheel electrical pick up to produce a real pulling and performing BRUTE of a K-27. PSC handled a few of the #455 and #461 versions as PSC Models as well as selling kits.
Westside D&RGW K-28 and K-36 (Nakamura). These superb models came with a fine (for a C-16) motor that is so weak it cannot spin the drivers at 12 volts and often fails See Namiki 1230 Motor. The recomended conversion is our K-28 and K-36 Super Glide Drive Kits with a very low speed Faulhaber motor, large flywheel (2 in the K-36), all mounted on a bracket that just screws onto the gearbox trailing arm. The K-28 kit has a steel worm on the front motor shaft. A brass front worm shaft bearing and steel worm that couple to the front motor shaft are part of the K-36 kit. Included are side rod washers to keep the paint from being worn off the wheel counterweights. PSC sold a few of these K-28's and kits. Westside also did a very early run of K-28s by Tetsudo. These are truly inferior models and I would recommend avoiding them, they are identified by a Pittman style motor in the cab with no backhead to the boiler.
Westside D&RGW K-37 (Nakamura). A fine model with an open frame motor and brass worm
and idler gear that will wear out fast and need replacement for good operation.
The best upgrade is our Super Glide Drive K-37 Kit. This has a Faulhaber coreless motor with 2 flywheels mounted on a bracket you screw to the gearbox trailing arm, our #305 idler gear conversion, a new front worm shaft bearing, steel worm and shaft and universal to couple it to the motor shaft and washers to keep the siderods from scraping paint off the wheel counterweights. A smooth, quiet and strong runner.
Westside NCNG#9, SP.#1 2-8-0 (Micro Cast). Avoid the ngled cab drive See Balboa C&S #74. For the 2 idler gear (later versions with cab motor) we offer our Super Glide Drive K-5A and K-5B Kits that greatly improves the running and looks (boiler and backhead are visible in the cab).
Westside S.P.#8,#9 and #18 4-6-0 (Micro Cast). Tender drive add our
Glide Drive K-9W Faulhaber + flywheel motor conversion.
For the cab mounted motor, idler gear drive versions of #8, #9 & #18 the Super Glide Drive K-6A and K-6B Kits are the perfect upgrade. Like the K-3A and K-3B except for some slight fit differences. I recently discovered there were 2 runs of cab drive SP 4-6-0s with the same gear, gear mesh and wheel gauge differences and problems as the Balboa D&RGW T-12 4-6-0s. The first run had a white nylon 25 tooth idler gear, the 2nd. had a finer 30 tooth brass idler gear that must be replaced. Both kits include a Faulhaber coreless motor, flywheel and NWSL steel worm, all mounted on a custom bracket that screw mounts to the frame.
Westside W.S. Lu. Co. #8 and #10 3 truck shays, Hassinger 4 truck, B-2 2 truck shays (Nakamura) These had a low speed, high torque drive down to the front axle of the middle truck. This twisted the truck right when going foreward and left when backing and under heavy load the truck would derail. A cure is to tie the truck to the movement of the drawbar. Solder a wire to the gear tower of the middle truck facing back to the tender and slide some electrical insulation on it as the drawbar is the opposite electrical polarity. Solder a U shaped wire down from the drawbar near the tender and insert the insulated wire. This keeps the middle truck aligned with the drawbar. Put a non-shouldered screw at the drawbar mount to the tender making the drawbar like the tongue of a travel trailer and as curved track moves the tender sideways, it aligns the middle truck properly to the rails. PHOTO . Unfortunately this will not fix the 2 truck shay. The #8 only has 6 wheels of electrical pick-up. Adding wipers to the insulated wheels on the 3rd. truck and wiring them to a Mini Connector that plugs on the second truck aligning wire (routed around the tender screw) would give 4 wheels of electrical pick-up off each rail. Wipers on the front truck could be wired to the frame with a Mini Connector and would give 10 wheel pick-up.
Westside W.S. Lu. Co. #12, #14, #15 3 truck shays (Nakamura). To correct the derailment problems of the above shays the factory designs a new mechanism that mounted a a Namiki 1230 coreless motor in the boiler with spur gears down in the firebox with a drive shaft out the back to power the worm in a standard gearbox on the front wheel of the middle truck with a double universal to allow truck rotation. This cured derailments. #12 and #14 were later offered by Precision Scale.
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