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Sunset Models Brass 4-6-2 (by Samhongsa) for Walthers Circus Train

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Posted by snjroy on Friday, November 10, 2023 12:06 PM

BradenD

90's Samhongsa made very good engines. I don't believe it will like 18" curves though electrical tape can and a file can make it work

 

I have one of those Walthers engines. It ran like cr*p when I got it. I changed the tender, added all-wheel power pickup on the tender, did some filing on the trucks, and other things I can't remember. It runs very nicely now and the original details are great. Today, I would probably consider a Bachmann USRA model.

Simon

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Posted by BradenD on Thursday, November 9, 2023 10:51 PM

90's Samhongsa made very good engines. I don't believe it will like 18" curves though electrical tape can and a file can make it work

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Posted by Speedrail Fan on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 9:25 AM

I personally have one these locomotives, and in my experience, it is really finicky. Some of the tender wires came undone (which were a pain to fix), and when it does want to run it is kinda rough. Great display piece though with the rest of the set.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, February 21, 2020 4:49 PM

I have a Sunset 4-6-2 USRA Light Pacific, and it will easily go around 18" radius curves. However, mine has the four axle USRA tender, and not the tender shown in the OPs picture.

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As others have noted, this thing has poor pulling power. I plan to use it on a four car mail/express train of one 50 foot express reefer, one 50 foot express boxcar, and two 60 foot baggage cars. It is pretty well fully loaded with that.

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Pulling a circus train of 70 foot Mount Vernon flats and 86 foot heavyweights around 18 inch radius curves might be another issue.

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-Kevin

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 21, 2020 2:21 PM

 There is another elephant in the room here - not just the loco. SOme of those cars are 80+ foot long - while you may find a loco that can go around 18" radius curves, those long cars are not going to work very well, it at all. Unless they are all like old AHM/Rivarossi cars with truck mounted couplers. 

 Even the Rivarossi Hudson didn't like 18" radius curves, we built an extension around the outside of the layout so there was a loop of 22" radius for it.

 Add 20 cars, longer cars? A 20 car train of 40 and 50 foot cars will extend halfway around a 4x8 layout. I may not be a complete radius snob, but as Harry Callahan once said, "A man's got to know his limitations"

                                --Randy

 


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Posted by wjstix on Friday, February 21, 2020 2:01 PM

De Luxe
So a brass or die cast metal engine is needed to move it. A plastic steamer won´t pull such a long train, especially not a plastic 4-6-2 and especially not on grades or in tight curves.

Not sure I'd lump die-cast and brass together. In my (limited) experience, the brass boilers of brass steam engines is made of fairly thin metal, and (unless the manufacturer has added weight somewhere) generally results in a fairly light engine. An engine with a die-cast boiler, like the Bachmann heavy 4-8-2, is probably going to out-pull this old brass Pacific by quite a bit.

Also, a newer engine is almost certainly going to have a much better motor than this old one, like a low-current drawing can motor...plus the old engine probably doesn't have the motor isolated from the frame so you'd have to take it apart and do that (and add the needed wiring) to adapt it to DCC.

For me, I'd maybe look at an Undec BLI heavy or light USRA 4-6-2. My BLI Hudson is one of the strongest HO steam engines I've ever come across.

Stix
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Posted by snjroy on Friday, February 21, 2020 1:54 PM

Necropost but maybe still some interest out there on this topic. The Bowser NYC Pacific is a bit crude from a details' perspective. I would go for a Mantua Pacific (or two, given the load), which is a decent puller and can handle 18'' curves. They may be harder to find new under the new Lionel administration... They can still be found in quantities on Ebay.

I'm surprised that they used Pacifics to pull these trains... I would have bet on Mikados  to pull those elephant loads!

Simon 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, February 21, 2020 12:52 PM

Not off-topic at all, Dave, but rather an interesting look into the real thing.

Thanks for sharing it.

Wayne

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, February 21, 2020 12:40 PM

OK this is OT but I was there in 1967 and 1968 to see the arrival in Milwaukee of the Great Circus Train, heading by GTW Pacific 5629 with its special lettering on the tender (the train and the resulting circus parade were sponsored by Schlitz Brewing).  The loco shined like a new car but even it slipped its drivers a bit after the train stopped but then needed to pull ahead so the train could be unloaded.  So to a certain extent, pulling power problems with the big 4-6-2 were "authentic."  By the way it had a huge tender, not the original.  The tender it had was from a Soo Line 4-8-2.

Other steam locomotives that pulled this train over the years included C&NW 4-6-0 1385, Southern 2-8-2 4501, and the first of the steam powered circus trains in 1965 and 66, the CB&Q 2-8-2 4960 now down at the Grand Canyon RR.  But not all of them had the Schlitz labels on the tender.  Some years CNW diesels did the job, including F units from their business train.  Years later when the train was revived the Wisconsin Southern E units did the honors.  

The Great Circus Train was like nothing else on rails because probably no actual circus train of the classic era had so many oramental as well as working wagons (50 wagons) and so many flat cars (but would have had more passenger cars - there were 3 or 4 on the Great Circus Train, all standard older cars in gaudy colors).  It was essentially the entire collection of the Circus World Museum of brightly colored and hand carved wooden wagons, running on authentic and vividly colored circus flatcars, with passenger cars to boot.  There were also authentic circus stock cars with elephants and other animals.  A genuine steam calliope but also many air calliopes.  Cage wagons with wild animals.  30 or more marching bands, all in authentic costumes and all playing - at the demand of the museum - authentic marches and other music.  The parade route was about 4 miles long.  

 

The train was loaded and unloaded in authentic fashion, with draft horses and antique Mack trucks.  The resulting parade featured something along the lines of up to 700 horses, although most years that was closer to 300 or 400 horses.  Entire bands played while riding on horseback.  There were hippos, giraffes, big cats, and a woman holding a huge snake.  And one of the highlights -- they recreated a famous episode in circus parade history, the famous 40 horse hitch of ten rows of 4 horses across.  The driver holding the reigns had to practice all year on his farm and big part of it was building up the strength in his hands to hold the horses.  They had to round sharp corners and even sometimes had to back up.  

The parade took about 2 hours but it was preceded by antique cars holding local politicians and celebrities.  The circus world museum wanted a sharp separation between that inauthentic part and the actual circus parade itself.  To the extent possible the train and parade were made to be visually as authentic as possible.  

Dave Nelson

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, February 21, 2020 10:34 AM

Well, the O.P.'s post, from almost 8 years ago, refers to 18" curves, and any steam locomotive able to operate reliably on them is very unlikely to be able to handle 20 cars under such restrictions, as the tight curves increase the rolling resistance of the trailing cars.

It's possible to add weight to most steam locomotive models, and if properly balanced, can increase the pulling power rather dramatically.

Trynn_Allen2
...What our club uses and what my wife and I use are different. What the the other club members use: An Athearn Light USRA 2-8-2. (It's heavy enough out of the box, but barely)...

The Athearn 2-8-2 is a very nice-running locomotive, but out-of the-box is an extremely poor puller, as it's not only too light, but what little weight it has is badly imbalanced.  There's a thread HERE showing one method to improve the pulling power.

The Bowser Pacific is a decent puller, but can also be improved with added weight.  If your layout has wider curves, Bachmann's Berkshire, which is relatively light right out of the box, has ample room for additional weight.
Sheldon has modified his into "Heavy Mikes", and uses them to pull trains considerably longer than a mere 20 cars.

For long trains or heavy ones, I simply use multiple locos (all steam), as much of the layout is curves and grades, often both occurring in the same place.

Wayne

 

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Posted by Oregon_Steamer on Friday, February 21, 2020 9:43 AM

They are more of a MEH engine I got one new and it had bent details and I got another one and while trying to put the weight in the engine, the said weight was too long and caught the gearbox and that caused a soldered part to give. now I need someone to re solder the part, grind down the weight, and possibly repaint the chassis. I swear the people who design these locomotives don't think it over.

There is more details about the engine I found here.

This engine was a commission from Walthers to memorialize Grand Trunk Western #5629 that was tragicly lost by the Wicked Commutor of the West.

Apparently Walthers wanted Oriental Limited to make their model of 5629 but was rejected because it was nothing like the ill fated locomotive.

So they got Sunset Models to speed rush this special release. "Possibly why the engine has all these flaws"

Details

The image of the prototype model by Oriental has the same tender, so one could assume that they did finish the prodution of the models but, Walthers only took the tenders and sent them to Sunset to be paired with the more accurate model, while Oriental possibly resold the models under their powerhouse line.

If you ask me they should've had someone like Bowser modify their USRA Light Pacifics into this engine, with the same standards as the Orients and have the brass tenders paired with them.

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Posted by JimValle on Friday, June 29, 2012 5:02 PM

You guys are worried about how a Sunset Pacific would do on tight curves but in my experience the real issue is pulling power.  Sunset engines that I have worked with are really light on their feet.  The detail is great but lightness makes pulling power a problem.  You can add weight, of course, but that might overtax the can motor they come with and it will burn up on you.  Luckily you can replace it with a Sagami but still.....  If I were you, I'd look for an old Japanese brass piece.  They're really heavily built and the price is comparable to recent plastic and "hybrid" offerings. 

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Posted by Trynn_Allen2 on Friday, June 29, 2012 8:56 AM

Couple of things Deluxe.

1.  The 4-6-2 for the Walthers Circus Train is "not good".  And that is probably being generous.  We looked at getting one for my wife's Circus Train.  Thankfully the dealer allowed us to take it for a test drive.  It wouldn't move.  The dealer pulled it apart, restored a broken tube, put it back on the track and it still wouldn't move.  We left it.  I have since talked with other owners and the performance is wildly different out of the box.  Everything from fair to yard queen.  I would say leave it.  There are better engines out there, unless you are serious about having the engine just for having it to complete the set, I would find another engine to haul it.

 

2.  There are lots of engines around that can haul it, even with the weight of the fully loaded wagons, using the Sparkling Star Models.  What our club uses and what my wife and I use are different.  What the the other club members use:  An Athearn Light USRA 2-8-2.  (It's heavy enough out of the box, but barely), A N&W Yb 2-8-8-2, or an Athearn Big Boy.  What my wife and I use a BLI Hvy Mike, a Bachmann DM&IR 2-10-2 or a pair of Cannonball Car Shop 40ton steeple cabs.

 

If you haven't discovered the Sparkling Star Models circus wagons I would look them up.  They are very nice models.

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Posted by tpatrick on Thursday, June 28, 2012 9:51 PM

I recommend you look for a Bowser NYC K-11 Pacific. It is heavy cast metal and should bed able to negotiate 18" curves. You could paint it to match the circus train, which it should be heavy enough to pull. An alternative would be a Bowser PRR K4. The K4 will certainly do the job, but you will have to decide whether to accept a model so obviously Pennsy. You can still paint it as you want, but the Belpaire firebox and high headlight will still say Pennsy. The K-11 is a NYC model but has a more generic look which better lends itself to another road name.

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Thursday, June 28, 2012 9:33 PM

I hear ya on the pulling power...  You will be hard pressd to find locos that will fill the bill given train length, curve radii and grades that you mention.  My Westside 4-6-2 would have problems under those conditions.

FWIW: I have pics of a circus train pulling into Santa Cruz with doubleheaded 2-8-0s....another approach to consider..

 

Guy

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Posted by De Luxe on Thursday, June 28, 2012 8:27 PM

The photos of that 4-6-2 are not the photos of the engine that I wantedt to buy, because the one that I wanted to buy is in like new excellent condition and looks really good. Sunset Models made these brass 4-6-2´s exclusively for the Walthers Circus Train and it came fully painted. The complete train has 20 cars (3 heavyweight cars, 1 huge elephan car, 1 giant stock car and 15 long flat cars). So a brass or die cast metal engine is needed to move it. A plastic steamer won´t pull such a long train, especially not a plastic 4-6-2 and especially not on grades or in tight curves. For big steam locos, I prefer die cast metal. I only accept plastic on small steamers like 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 types. Too bad there are only very few manufacturers that produce large die cast steam locos (no plastic and no brass). On my layout there are 18", 20" and 22" radius curves. But 80% of the total trackage has 20" curves. The thing is that I don´t like my locos to be restricted to a certain trackage. I like them to be operational on ALL the tracks on the layout. No limitations! But that´s what it makes so difficult for me to find: a large, heavy (die cast metal prefered) good pulling steam loco that won´t have troubles on 18" or 20" curves. Brass in most cases is too expensive for me plus I can´t use them anyway because of their larger minimum radii.

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Posted by don7 on Thursday, June 28, 2012 7:45 PM

I agree with keeping the trackage with as wide a radius as you can accommodate.

Unfortunately, some of us trying to perhaps run too much track-age for the size of the areas we are using have had to use smaller radius curves than what we would like.

My initial layout was 22" radius with a couple of 18" curves at a few locations. I became aware of the limitations with a few engines I had as well as acknowledging that long train cars do not look good on short radius track. I went back and upgraded my layout getting rid of anything less than 26" in all but a few spots.

I know have a Selkirk engine running on my layout. it can only negotiate about half of the layout before it encounters curves that are less than it can handle. It has a set route through the layout and must stay away from a few areas that it can not negotiate.I think I might have to consider getting rid of the engine as it just needs too large a radius wherever it goes.

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Posted by mlehman on Thursday, June 28, 2012 6:49 PM

Even within a run, brass locos will often differ in how well they negotiate curves. These sorts of differences usually respond to adjustments, a slight bend in a brake show here, a pipe bent a little there. In the end, if you can get it with the option to return, it's worth a try.

Given this is a six-coupled engine, I suspect it's good down to 20" to 22", but only testing will confirm that. 18" may be possible. Those six-wheel tender trucks could be another trouble spot, too. However, if you're running passenger cars and those long circus flats I suspect you're gonna have problems with the rolling stock anyway on 18" curves?Hmm

Mike Lehman

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Posted by Boise Nampa & Owyhee on Thursday, June 28, 2012 2:45 PM

A lot depends on whether the middle drive wheel set has a flange on it.  Many manufacturers allowed for tight radii by using several ideas.  One was having a narrow frame and allowing the axles to float side to side quite a bit.  The recent Walthers Hiawatha Pacific release had a huge amount of side play.

The other way manufacturers got to some of this was by having no flanges in the center drive wheels, whether three wheel sets or four or even five.  Only the end drivers had flanges.

So if the model  you are looking at has no flange in the middle it will be more tolerant of tighter radius track work.

see ya

Bob

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, June 28, 2012 2:32 PM

don7

 

 tstage:

 

De Luxe,

From my small bit of understanding about brass locomotives, they are less forgiving than their plastic siblings (i.e. those made in the past 15 years) when it comes to negotiating curves under R24".  For brass, R26" thru R30" is probably the smallest radii that you'll be able to operate it.

Tom

 

 

WHat about Pacific Fast Mail and their older Sierra models. Let not us forget Tenshodo as well.

 A lot of these 1960's to 1980's models would negotiate 22 " curves.

I have a couple of URSA mikes that will negotiate 18" curves if they had to.

I agree that the large engines on sharp curves do not look good, however, a lot of model railroaders have mixed curves, with the broader wide curves most apparent to the public, but also with sharper curver which are often kept hidden at the back of the layout.

On my layout I try to use broad curves where I can, but with space limitations I do have a few sharp curves as well. I try to keep these out of public view.  

I stand corrected, Don.  I spoke too generally about brass but with larger locomotives in mind.  I should have just stopped after the word "curves" in that sense.

Tom

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Thursday, June 28, 2012 2:12 PM

Deluxe,

i would suggest that you choose another loco if your criteria are 18" radius curves and good running out of the box.  Is the photo of the exact model you are buying?  Most brass comes unpainted and Sunset made runs of both painted and unpainted locos...Painting adds a whole new wrinkle to things...

I would suggest some modern plastic from Spectrum as a workable alternative..Unfortunately the line doesn't offer a Pacific.  I have a Westside Brass 4-6-2 from the same era and it definitely won't go around 18" curves (it also needed other work to run well)

Guy

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Posted by don7 on Thursday, June 28, 2012 12:41 PM

tstage

De Luxe,

From my small bit of understanding about brass locomotives, they are less forgiving than their plastic siblings (i.e. those made in the past 15 years) when it comes to negotiating curves under R24".  For brass, R26" thru R30" is probably the smallest radii that you'll be able to operate it.

Tom

WHat about Pacific Fast Mail and their older Sierra models. Let not us forget Tenshodo as well.

 A lot of these 1960's to 1980's models would negotiate 22 " curves.

I have a couple of URSA mikes that will negotiate 18" curves if they had to.

I agree that the large engines on sharp curves do not look good, however, a lot of model railroaders have mixed curves, with the broader wide curves most apparent to the public, but also with sharper curver which are often kept hidden at the back of the layout.

On my layout I try to use broad curves where I can, but with space limitations I do have a few sharp curves as well. I try to keep these out of public view.  

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, June 28, 2012 10:53 AM

De Luxe,

From my small bit of understanding about brass locomotives, they are less forgiving than their plastic siblings (i.e. those made in the past 15 years) when it comes to negotiating curves under R24".  For brass, R26" thru R30" is probably the smallest radii that you'll be able to operate it.

Tom

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Sunset Models Brass 4-6-2 (by Samhongsa) for Walthers Circus Train
Posted by De Luxe on Thursday, June 28, 2012 10:13 AM

Hello,

does anyone got that engine?

I would like to buy this engine for my circus train, but therefore I need to know what the minimum radius of that engine is, since brass engines usually are made for larger radii. It would be great if it could negotiate 18" track.

And what about the performance of that engine? Is it a smooth operator or would you rather call it outdated? I heard it was released in 1990.

Here I found a photo of it:

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