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Athearn RTR F7's vs. Proto 1000 vs. BB

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 2:21 PM

wjstix
After WW2, a number of railroads bought F2 and early F3 A units and ran them with A-B FT sets.

That's what the NYC did but only purchased two "cat-whisker" F2As.

Tom

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 1:25 PM

EMD did jerry-rig a way to put a couple on the back of an FT-A and front of an FT-B, largely because Santa Fe wanted them that way. The problem is the FT trucks are spaced differently than later F units. On say an FT-A, the back of the rear truck is about flush with the end of the engine. The front truck is set in a fair amount, so a coupler could go there. In A-B sets, they were connected back-to-back with a drawbar. That left the overhang on the B unit where it could have a coupler - and the space where the cab and controls were on an A unit could be used for a steam generator and water tanks if the railroad wanted to use the engines in passenger service.

The FTSB was a short FT booster, but made with connections for drawbars on both ends, for railroads that wanted to run A-B-A sets of FTs. Many railroads found three were 'just right' - two weren't enough horsepower, four (A-B/B-A) was too much. After WW2, a number of railroads bought F2 and early F3 A units and ran them with A-B FT sets. One railroad (Burlington?) called them "FT-2 sets". 

Stix
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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Thursday, June 22, 2023 9:30 PM

More prototypical for the "long" FTB. I asked a question about them and learned this

"There were 24 short boosters built and another four ordered, but cancelled.

Short boosters as built there were two ABBA sets for Southern (NONE), and 16 ABA sets built for Great Northern 6, Rock Island 4, Lackawanna 4, and M&SL 2. A pair of ABA sets was cancelled by Monon in December 1941. And another pair was cancelled by M&SL. "

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Posted by mvlandsw on Thursday, June 22, 2023 9:25 PM

SeeYou190

 

 

 
mvlandsw
The Proto 2000 EMD 4 axle truck sideframes are poorly done.

 

How so?

I have three Proto-2000 EMD GP-7/9 locomotives. I don't recall there being anything bad about the trucks, other than one had cracked gears.

-Kevin

 

The LifeLike Proto 2000 swing hanger hangs out in midair not supporting anything. The plate that the leaf springs rest on should be resting on the swing hanger.

The bottom of the frame between the axle bearings should be arched upward. The LifeLike version is flat.

I don't know if Walthers has corrected any of this.

Mark Vinski

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, June 22, 2023 8:36 PM

mvlandsw
The Proto 2000 EMD 4 axle truck sideframes are poorly done.

How so?

I have three Proto-2000 EMD GP-7/9 locomotives. I don't recall there being anything bad about the trucks, other than one had cracked gears.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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Posted by mvlandsw on Thursday, June 22, 2023 7:35 PM

The Proto 2000 EMD 4 axle truck sideframes are poorly done compared to the Kato and later Athearn versions.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 22, 2023 11:45 AM

riogrande5761

I don't own any Proto 1000 F units (I recall they were an F3 shell).  The shell looked much better than the old Globe tooled blue box F7 shell.  The reviews of the P1k F were positive about the running qualities.  

I bought an ABBA set of P1K Erie F3s, numbered 714A,B,C,D respectively. I converted them to non-sound DCC units. They are excellent runners and look good to my eye.

I broke them up into two AB sets and connected the A and B units with a drawbar that I fabricated from a cut up credit card. It gave me a realistic close coupling of the A and B units and has worked flawlessly for what I am guessing is about 15 years. I have run them as an ABBA set on occasion but mostly I run them with one AB set handling a loaded coal train in one direction and the other AB set pulling a string of empties in the opposite direction. Here's a picture of a loaded train.

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, June 22, 2023 8:50 AM

riogrande5761
Stewart makes some nice F units and they come in multiple phases of F3, F7 and also F9's.

That's actually a very good point, rio.  I remember - even with the FTs - there are supplied parts included in the box to accommodate a number of phases for a particular locomotive.  Or, the phase is denoted on the exterior label of the box - like they are on some of the Baldwin VO- switchers.  You could then added the desired parts to your model using prototype photos from websites like Fallen Flags.

And I didn't mind purchasing & applying the Cal-Sale detail parts to the A- and B-units myself.  Yep, I really like the Stewart line. YesCool

Tom

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, June 22, 2023 8:02 AM

davefr

What's the general conscensus on Atheran's RTR F locomotives?  Are they simply Blue Box drives and shells w/glass and a less obnoxious headlight? 

Given a choice between Proto 1000 with cracked gears replaced or a RTR F unit, which is your preference wrt detail and running performance. (DC only)

 

I don't own any Proto 1000 F units (I recall they were an F3 shell).  The shell looked much better than the old Globe tooled blue box F7 shell.  The reviews of the P1k F were positive about the running qualities.  So if looks and running qualities are important, replace cracked gears and enjoy.  It's an F3 too, if that matters, or not.

But you don't have to limit your choice to only those models.  If price important, as others have noted, Stewart makes some nice F units and they come in multiple phases of F3, F7 and also F9's.  And they run like swiss watches!

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by davefr on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 12:11 PM

The only mod I made was replacing the drawbars with a modified Kadee #35 between A's and B's.  You have to grind so much off the shank to clear the trucks there's almost no metal left.  They do work fine though.  I didn't touch the non drawbar ends.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 11:57 AM

davefr
I have a Stewart FT A-B-A consist.

Did you modify the model into a short "FTSB", or did you leave the long overhang on the B unit?

-Kevin

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 11:52 AM

davefr
Were all Stewart F's made by Kato? (F3, F7 and F9).

The originals were made by Kato.  Later Stewart/Bowser used Canon/Buehler motors in the Fs, as well as their other locomotives.  The Canon/Buehler motors run equally as smooth as the Kato, IMO.

davefr
I have a Stewart FT A-B-A consist and I agree they run really nice but the FT coupling was kind of a kludge. They came with a drawbar and the conversion to Kadee required lots of Dremel work.

The majority of the original FTs were delivered with the drawbar between the A- and B-unit.  And Kadee states that there is no commercial coupler available for the Stewarts to convert them to coupling.

I don't have an issue with the drawbars and they work just fine.  Course, my prototype (NYC) used drawbars to connect their FTs together.  After it was discovered that a major disadvantage of the drawbar was that a A- and B-units couldn't easily be uncoupled for maintenance or turning around, couplers were added and became standard for the subsequent F-units - i.e. F2s, F3s, F7s, and F9s.

Tom

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 11:50 AM

davefr
Were all Stewart F's made by Kato?

The Stewart branded (non-Bowser) F3, F7, & F9 all had Kato drives. I do not know who made the bodies.

The FTs had a different chassis made by a German company, or so I heard. I do not own any Stweart FTs. Kadee has not made a conversion kit for the FTs that I know of.

My only A/B set of FTs are brass by Hallmark that I got for less money than the Stewart models cost. That was a great find.

-Kevin

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Posted by davefr on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 10:26 AM

Were all Stewart F's made by Kato? (F3, F7 and F9).  I have a Stewart FT A-B-A consist and I agree they run really nice but the FT coupling was kind of a kludge.  They came with a drawbar and the conversion to Kadee required lots of Dremel work. 

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 10:18 AM

Don't be surprised if those smooth running Atlas engines actually have Kato guts in them. Like Stewart (now Bowser), Atlas used Kato drives at one time in the past. My old Atlas GP-7s have Kato motors for example. 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 10:13 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
davefr
Given a choice between Proto 1000 with cracked gears replaced or a RTR F unit, which is your preference wrt detail and running performance. (DC only)

 

DC... NONE OF THE ABOVE!

Go with Stewart/Kato F units. I own over a dozen, and in my opinion are the best Straight-DC locomotive ever made.

-Kevin

 
Better than Atlas? If true, I'm impressed. I've never owned a Stewart/Kato loco of any kind. Going back to my DC days, Atlas diesels were by far the smoothest runners of any of the brands that made up my roster. I've converted several of the Atlas DC locos to DCC and they still run amazingly well. Most of my conversions have been RS-1s and RS-3s. 
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Posted by Tin Can II on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 9:47 AM

I guess BB F units are good enough for me.  I like to rebuild the chassis with new NWSL wheels and polish the gears.  A truck with gears will roll like a hot wheels car after going through the process.  A new motor with direct wiring to trucks and frame is next.  LED headlight and DCC decoder is next.  I haven't done a sound unit, yet, although that is coming.  Exterior reworks include wire grabs and handrails; Santa Fe specific details (no steam generator exhaust on A units and spark arrestors).

I have bought Genesis F units in Monon & T&P paint schemes; very happy with them.  

 

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Posted by bmtrainmaster on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 9:09 AM

I have a proto 1000 BL2 that the drive is entirely copied from athearn (exept for being a little bit worse quality)The motor looks the same. There is someone I have seen on youtube that has put new motors in some of the BB and proto engines then put DCC in them. Proto 1000 have lots of details but not as much as rapido or athearn genesis.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 9:05 AM

davefr
Given a choice between Proto 1000 with cracked gears replaced or a RTR F unit, which is your preference wrt detail and running performance. (DC only)

DC... NONE OF THE ABOVE!

Go with Stewart/Kato F units. I own over a dozen, and in my opinion are the best Straight-DC locomotive ever made.

-Photographs by Kevin Parson

Add Kadee #450 coupler conversions and Walthers dress-up kits and you will be satisfied.

-Kevin

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 9:02 AM

Dave,

You might want to also consider the Stewart Fs.  Nicely detailed, heavy, and the smoothest running chassis, hands-down.  Older models can also be picked up off eBay for a very decent price.

Tom

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Posted by slammin on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 8:57 AM

Detail wise, there is very little difference between Athearn BB, RTR and Proto 1000 F units. The Proto trucks are Athearn clones and I would assume the motors are more efficent. For someone not using DCC, the super power BBs should do the job. If one is interested in the highly detailed modern offerings, these three products would't recieve consideration. 

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 8:52 AM

Neither were super easy to convert to DCC compared to other "plug and play" engines with a built-in decoder receptacles, and they are pretty close to the same in detail level. (BTW Bluebox Athearn F7s have come with window glazing for like 40 years, it was only the very early ones that didn't have it IIRC.)

Better inexpensive choice appears to be the new Athearn-Roundhouse F7As which are replacing the old "Globe" based F7. They have a new improved body which is more accurate, including the cab window shape, and have starter points for all grabs (rather than just for the side handrails). They're also DCC-ready, set up to drop in a 21-pin decoder. 

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Athearn RTR F7's vs. Proto 1000 vs. BB
Posted by davefr on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 8:20 AM

What's the general conscensus on Atheran's RTR F locomotives?  Are they simply Blue Box drives and shells w/glass and a less obnoxious headlight? 

Given a choice between Proto 1000 with cracked gears replaced or a RTR F unit, which is your preference wrt detail and running performance. (DC only)

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