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Union Pacific Big Boys and Cab Forwards

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Union Pacific Big Boys and Cab Forwards
Posted by alloboard on Sunday, April 04, 2010 2:19 PM

 What HO vendor produces the best quality UP Bigboys and Cab Forwards?

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Sunday, April 04, 2010 2:51 PM

As far as non-brass, PCM/BLI probably makes one of the best HO scale Big Boys. I don't have one myself, so I can't tell you how good they really are, but I've only heard good things about them so far. Athearn and Trix also make excellent Big Boys from what I've heard, but the one from Trix has drive wheels that are much smaller than prototypical (which was most likely for the larger flanged european models).

There have been fewer manufacturers of Cab Forwards. Intermountain has tried twice to make one, but I think both versions have had running problems. BLI has been making a very good AC4/AC5 cab forward for a while now, and they'll also be releasing a brass hybrid AC12 eventually.

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Darth Santa Fe, doing weird and challenging projects for the fun of it!

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Posted by selector on Sunday, April 04, 2010 3:21 PM

PCM/BLI tooling for the Big Boy was part of a settlement that went to MTH when MTH prevailed legally in court against the manufacturing outfit in Korea that makes locos for both firms.  That happened over two years ago, nearly three now.

Rivarossi makes a good Big Boy, now including a pre-weathered version if you like.  Other than that, or the odd PCM find still on eBay, or sold privately, your only other choice is Athearn Genesis...I think they are due later this spring.

-Crandell

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Posted by rjake4454 on Sunday, April 04, 2010 3:47 PM

Cab forwards, lets see. As noted earlier Broadway Limited Imports is releasing a Paragon 2 cab forward, and later a Brass Hybrid version.

MTH is apparently releasing an HO cab forward this April or May.

I myself am waiting for the brass hybrid, although I'm anxious to see what the MTH one looks like as a die cast metal engine, and if it is DCC.

Their Veranda Turbine is DCC apparently and looks and sounds quite impressive.

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Posted by cudaken on Sunday, April 04, 2010 3:51 PM

  I am lucky to have a BLI PCM Big Boy with Loksound 3.5 decoder. It had a bug with the draw when I got it (fit to tight) but got it fixed. I all so had 2 Athearn's, there not in the same league as the PCM. My PCM tracks like it on rails (which it is Approve) and pulls like a bear.

  Next pick would be a BLI Blue Line version. It is made form the same castings so detail should be as good as the PCM.

 Pair of F7's, then a 2-8-8-2 Y6 b and then the Big Boy. Y6 is not a small engine!

            Cuda Ken 

I hate Rust

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Sunday, April 04, 2010 4:10 PM

rjake4454
Their Veranda Turbine is DCC apparently and looks and sounds quite impressive.

The MTH Veranda is the same one that Lionel sold a few years ago. They were very good, but they only had four axles powered (like Athearn's Turbines), and Model Railroader commented that some of the detail was a little chunky looking. Athearn will also be releasing a Veranda, which looks like it will have finer detail than the Lionel/MTH, but it won't have quite as much traction due to the plastic shell.

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Posted by twhite on Sunday, April 04, 2010 4:35 PM

alloboard

 What HO vendor produces the best quality UP Bigboys and Cab Forwards?

Remember, the Cab-Forward is NOT a UP engine by a long shot. Tongue  Of course you knew that, I was just being 'picky,' LOL! 

My BLI AC-5 cab-forward (one of the original runs) is an absolutely terrific locomotive--smooth running and EXTREMELY powerful.  It's actually the only dual-mode 'sound' locomotive I'm keeping (I'm DC), because I was able to program its starting voltage down to about 4-1/2 volts.  It can almost (and I say "almost", with caution) be run in tandem with my straight DC locos. 

MTH is coming out with an AC-6, which is the true 'transitional' 4-8-8-2, between the AC-4/5 and the later 'streamline cab' AC 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12.  It was the one with increased boiler pressure and tractive effort, and the first to have the air pumps transferred to the boiler 'front'.  They're releasing it in both 'flat' cab and 'streamline' cab (several AC-6's had streamline cabs installed after they arrived from Baldwin).   I don't know how it will run, but the production photos look impressive.  It's the usual MTH 'triple' mode, DC, DCC and their own DCS, but if they somehow manage to put out a straight DC version, I'll be first in line. 

I've heard varying reports about the Intermountain second run of their AC-12's, so I can't really say much about them.  They're certainly handsome, but I know the first run had a lot of problems with speed, pulling power and tracking.  Hopefully, the second run has cured that.  We'll have to wait and see.

I know that BLI is planning a 'hybrid' version of the AC-12 (which would work for the other series of Cab-Forwards from AC-7 on up, with a few detail changes), and it will be interesting to see how they turn out.  If they're anything like the first run of the AC 4-5's, BLI should have an absolute winner. 

Sorry, can't help you on the Big Boy--but I know that a lot of other posters will have a lot of information. 

But just for kicks, here's my all-time favorite cab-forward, it's an old (1964) Akane brass model of an AC-8.  Runs like a Swiss watch, hauls like a team of oxen. 

Tom Big Smile

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Posted by Margaritaman on Sunday, April 04, 2010 8:10 PM

Like Tom, I have the orignal run BLI cab forward.  Picked it up off Ebay. So far it's as smooth as butter.

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Posted by baztrains on Monday, November 22, 2010 2:35 PM

Sir. I note that you are pleased with your BLI Cab-Forward. Although a U.P. fan, I would like one of these, but not sure what make to get. The BLI's get good reports, but is the sound correct? They seem to have a very 'generic' steam loco sound rather than that distinctive AC-wheeze. The Intermountains sound great, but it seems as they have a problem keeping their drivers correctly quartered and attached to their axles! I don't know anything about the MTH models except thay use a compatible DCS system. If the BLI sound is not correct, could a better sound-chip be fitted? Your comments would be appreciated. Barry (United Kingdom).

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Posted by twhite on Monday, November 22, 2010 6:37 PM

Baz:

The sound on the BLI AC-4/5 is actually quite correct for those particular classes of AC's.  The 'sound wheeze' you're referring to is probably the so-called AC  'talking pumps' which didn't happen until the air pumps were mounted on the boiler front (rear, actually, since we're talking 'cab-forward' ) of the AC-6 and later AC classes.    Mounted slightly 'off-set' on the boiler side of the earlier AC-4/5's, the pumps were much quieter and not as distinctive.  

The AC-4/5's were the first of the 4-8-8-2 simple 'modern' Cab-Forwards, and as such, had a TE of about 116,000 pounds, as opposed to the later 123,000 pounds TE of the AC-6, 7,8,10,11 and 12.   But they didn't sound like the later models, they had a little sharper exhaust, which I think BLI has captured quite well in their model. 

Tom Smile 

 

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Posted by baztrains on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 6:43 AM

Tom

Thanks very much for the info. I shall be looking out for a BLI early Cab-forward AC based on your comments. I understand BLI may be bringing out another version next year.

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 9:04 AM

It might be worth looking into what QSI has as a resource sound file set for their Revolution series of decoders.  QSI seem to have gone to some lengths to make more appropriate/less generic sounds available, and you can get them "packaged" for you by a seller who specializes in QSI decoders.  For example, Litchfield, if they are still open for business, or Tony's Train Exchange...they should be able to help.  QSI's website has a list of selectable sounds for a broad range of locomotives.

Crandell

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Posted by WPAllen on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 12:14 PM

In my converstions with Intermountain they said they are working on a third version of the AC12. Hopefully all the previous problems are corrected. My IM first run has been doing very well after making the noted corrections including replacing the motor.

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Posted by TexasSP on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 9:48 PM

If you don't mind opening it up and replacing the motor, the intermountain is a nice model.  I have both it and an original BLI cab forward.  The BLI is the better of the two all around but the detail on the IM is a little better.  Before motor replacement the IM was set to be display only, however, it runs quite well now.

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