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Teshodo Challenger

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  • Member since
    October 2022
  • From: Pasadena California
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Teshodo Challenger
Posted by BradenD on Sunday, June 4, 2023 1:56 AM

Just saw a listing for a Teshodo challenger and I'm debating on purchasing it. It's about the same cost as an athearn challenger. Was wondering how the community felt about Teshodo. I have an Athearn big boy and love it. How do teshodo's run?

Also can someone tell me when this model was built?

 

https://imgur.com/a/5GQUkie

Tags: Brass
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Posted by tstage on Sunday, June 4, 2023 2:41 AM

Hi Braden,

I presume you mean Tenshodo?

I don't own any Tenshodo brass but my observation about them is that they are older stock (ca 60s/70s) and a bit sparce on details.  With any brass locomotive, I would verify with the seller how well it runs before pulling the trigger on it.

Will you be operating it DC or DCC?  Brass - even older brass - can successfully be converted to DCC.  If DCC, however, you may need to consider replacing any open-frame motor with a more-efficient can motor.  You'll also need to isolate the brushes of the new motor from the frame so you don't fry your decoder.

These are always important considerations when purchasing any brass locomotive - particularly older brass, as it can drive up the overall cost of the purchase.  And some motor replacements can be more challenging than others.

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, June 4, 2023 6:01 AM

BradenD
Was wondering how the community felt about Teshodo.

I have one Tenshodo locomotive that was given to me almost thirty years ago. It is a rock-solid locomotive that runs with pure reliability.

-Photograph by Kevin Parson

Tenshodo locomotives were made in Japan and imported primarily in the 1960s through 1980s. They are heavier and more sturdy than my later Korean made brass locomotives by Samhongsa.

If you love your Athearn Big-Boy, you will probably be somewhat disappointed in the Tenshodo Challenger. It will be noisier and less detailed. It will also have some hurdles to cross in order to convert it to DCC.

Over 90% of my steam locomotives are brass. I prefer them because they are rugged, easy to repair, and inexpensive. I also only run DC, so that is not a problem.

Brass locomotives are not for everyone.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Sunday, June 4, 2023 12:37 PM

It does look like an older one, but Tenshodo's models are very solidly built, and by the time the Challenger was produced, they were pretty much the top of the line of what you could get anywhere.  I suspect it has an old open frame motor, but it also looks like it has sealed gearboxes instead of the open gears present on the oldest ones.  With a can motor upgrade and some cleaning and fine tuning, it should run every bit as well as a new model.  The articulation is built to scale unlike the Athearn and other plastic and diecast models (except Bowser), so the front chassis does swing out more on curves.

_________________________________________________________________

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, June 4, 2023 1:21 PM

Didn't realize that the link in the OP's post was of the model.  Here it is to help facilitate further comments.  Each photo is also clickable for enlargement:

That's quite a bit of space under the smoke box.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the Tenshodo Challenger on the Brasstrains.com website using their Brass Guide tab.  They list a 1993 and 1999 #3985 release for that model.  However, the one photo of the 1999 release shows much more detailing and it came in a fancy wooden box, with a price to match.  (Original MSRP: $4,000)  I'm guessing that this one is an much earlier release.

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
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Posted by BradenD on Sunday, June 4, 2023 1:51 PM

Thanks for the response, Kevin. I have a key Imports GS5 which runs fantastic on DCC however the rest of my fleet is Athearn because I love the reliability. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Pasadena California
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Posted by BradenD on Sunday, June 4, 2023 1:53 PM

Thanks for the response, Tom. I intend to switch this model over to DCC, change the headlight to an LED, and potentially install working marker lights. Do you think a Mabuchi 266 motor would be strong enough for replacement? I have a few on hand.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, June 4, 2023 2:17 PM

Looks as if the flexible steam piping at the front is across the chassis and that's what's jacking up the front of the boiler.

Has to be said he could get an Athearn in passenger colors with both DCC and sound for $50 less...

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, June 4, 2023 2:21 PM

Braden,

Although I've done a few motor replacements, I am by no means an expert on can motors and which one would be the best replacement for that particular brass Challenger.  The Mabuchis are strong motors so it might be worth a try.

If you haven't checked them out, there's a terrific group on Groups.io that discusses remotoring & regearing of brass and plastic locomotives.  They are a plethora of information and expertise and I'm sure you would get some great guidance there should you decide on the Tenshodo.

Tom

[Edit: Braden, I emailed you the link to the aforementioned Groups.io forum.  Hope you find that helpful.]

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
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  • From: Pasadena California
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Posted by BradenD on Sunday, June 4, 2023 3:52 PM

Thanks Tom that is incredibly helpful. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 5, 2023 6:47 AM

BradenD
Thanks for the response, Kevin. I have a key Imports GS5 which runs fantastic on DCC.

Key Imports was regarded generally as a step-up in brass quality.

I only have one Key model, a USRA light 4-8-2.

-Photograph by Kevin Parson

It is better detailed and runs much more smoothly than any of the Japanese brass models I have (Tenshodo, United, etc). Although to be fair, there is really not a lot of detail on USRA locomotives.

It also draws much lower current, which I understand is important in DCC.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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