Category Archives: products of note

AHM/Rivarossi HO scale 4-8-8-2 Cab-forward original June 1966 Model Railroader magazine Trade Topics review

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My example was picked up at a local swap meet for $25. It was being sold by an older woman who was recently widowed. When I informed her that it was worth far more, she thanked me and said that her son set the prices and that she would go by that. Conscience cleared, I found when I brought it home that it had a warped frame inside the boiler, causing the rear engine to set tippy-toed on the forward driver. After many hard stares at it, I finally broke the frame into three pieces, then carefully glued it back together with JB Weld. With some careful filing and fitting and a coat of paint, the engine was reassembled with a DCC chip, 3 ounces of additional weight and an LED headlight. It pulls 35 cars easily up a 1.75% grade and runs quite well with the original 3 pole motor.

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AHM/Rivarossi HO scale 2-8-4 NKP Berkshire, circa 1966, original Model Railroader magazine Trade Topics review…

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Thanks to DCC and Tsunami sound modules, mine was found in a box of cast offs for next to nothing and, as you can see, is near flawless. Alessandro Rivarossi worked hard to make these beautiful locomotives of his affordable and able to operate on impossible radius track (18″ for most–even his 2-8-8-2 N&W Mallet!!).

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In our vain glorious attempt at modeling perfection, we’ve forgotten what feats of engineering these little beasts…even the oldest of them…can be. As Solomon put it…;

Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity. –(Ecclesiastes 2:18-19)

I have pictures of a 4-12-12-6 articulated built in gold elsewhere on this blog. When I look at it and the past works of others long since gone, how much of that is now laying at the bottom of some landfill, food for whatever lives in that debris.

It should give one pause…to consider one’s way…and one’s final end. It all goes to dust in the end my friend, no matter how accurately done.

Athearn rubber band drive 4-6-2 Pacific…

Until recently, a thing of legend, pondered but never proven, the Holy Grail of all things Athearn, the locomotive model that nearly broke Irv…a Hi-F rubber band drive Pacific. There were always rumors, but nothing confirmed until this past spring…

As posted on Ebay…

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…another legend confirmed, it was at $3200 when I signed off…

Northwest Short Line 18 ton Class “A” Shay…original review 1974.

July 1974 Railroad Modeler magazine…

Interestingly, it does not point out the fact that the rear truck and crankshaft are just along for the ride…they were not designed to work on this particular model.  This may be one the “production problems” cryptically referenced in one of NWSL’s original ads from back then.  If so, it begs the question of value…could this flaw make it worth a little more because it was uncorrected?  Years ago a brass locomotive was sold with 1 1/2 volt motors installed instead of the usual 16-18 volt ones.  A recall was quickly sent out to correct the flaw but less than 10% were returned for a new motor.  Working models with the original motor are worth more—so long as they are carefully tested with a very low juice power source.

Regardless, it is one of my favorites, even if it makes my TYCOs look like they are powered by Kato drives…