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NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Sat Apr 20 10:53:43 EDT 2019

If it helps:
I vote for the M.  All the others would have been fairly limited service.
I would pay bli hybrid price, and probably get two....

On Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 11:42 PM NW Modeling List via NW-Modeling-List <
nw-modeling-list at> wrote:

> I built the attached Excel spreadsheet in the hopes that multiple RRs
> would have had Mastodon classes that were close to N&W’s, under the theory
> that NWHS could join forces with the societies of other RRs to lobby for at
> least a common frame/running gear that could support many RTR models.  And
> at this point, I want to acknowledge for its
> extraordinary database and resolve to keep it available on-line for all to
> access.  Truly a *tour de force*!
> I don’t come away very optimistic, viewed from my knothole, but for those
> modelers who can accept some inaccuracies in a model to get a “decently
> close” RTR version, the results may be a bit more encouraging.  If a
> suitable “common standard” frame and mechanism can be agreed on, then each
> society could work with a builder toward a superstructure acceptable to
> that society, while using the “common standard” chassis.  Alternatively,
> members of various societies might work together to crowd-source 3D-printed
> superstructures made to mate with a “common standard” frame.  (IMO, this
> should be done for all USRA designs, and it would be equally possible to
> develop “plain vanilla” USRA superstructure CAD models from which all
> idiosyncratic models for specific RRs could be modified.  If these
> resources could be brought into existence, then we’d have a strong interest
> in getting BLI to sell their several existing USRA chassis, with motors,
> DC/DCC/Sound parts included, but no tender or loco superstructure.)
> I’ll admit that I’m not willing to compromise much on driver wheelbase:
> maybe +/- a percent.  I’m also not willing to compromise more than an inch
> on driver diameter or piston stroke, and not at all about valve gear
> type—and I prefer my Stephenson-equipped models to have the axle cams and
> valve drive rods included in the model.  (Hey, if PFM could do this on
> their Shay models as early as 1959, I don’t think I’m asking for too much
> here!  That said, it really differentiates N&W M’s from M-1’s, which is an
> issue for all of us.)  I’m more forgiving on overall engine wheelbase,
> because that can be altered within my abilities to accomplish the work.
> Everybody gets to vote on these tolerances and features with their own
> wallets and time allocations.
> On the spreadsheet, I first identified the N&W M, M-1, and M-2 parameters,
> and then compared all the other RR twelve wheeler classes, and highlighted
> the ones that were “close” by my standards.  You can do the same, changing
> the color coding in the spreadsheet to suit your tolerances.
> My conclusion is that there might be basis for collaboration with the
> societies interested in CE&I, MP, NP, UP, and Winston-Salem Southbound,
> mostly for matches to N&W’s M and M-1 classes, although the UP TW-57 class
> looks close to be a fair match to a Baldwin N&W M-2.  At a slightly bigger
> stretch, BR&P and SP, D&IR, and GN societies might be brought into the
> tent.  Your own tolerances may suggest opportunity for broader
> collaborations between NWHS and other societies on such a project.
> Realistically, the only model producer whose current business model could
> make much use of a “common standard” chassis is BLI—and only because they
> might be able to justify making 4 to 8 very different superstructures for a
> single “common standard” chassis under their “hybrid brass” line.  I doubt
> that *any* company would invest in superstructure injection molding dies
> for classes that had fewer than 10 locos in them, or for BR&P, Laurel &
> Tullahoma Western, or Winston-Salem Southbound prototypes.  That said, I
> acknowledge the existence of MTH triplexes (of the Good and Not Good livery
> types that perfectly illustrate how not-so-far *one* model company is
> willing to go in speciating chassis for different RRs.)
> So, IMO, rational people should expect the products of this thinking to
> have an MSRP of $600 (for a “medium” sized BLI brass hybrid model)—which is
> *not* more affordable than any Sunset M, M-1, or M-2 on eBay in current
> times, but *would* include a robust drive with DC/DCC/Sound).  While I
> don’t think much of the early BLI hybrids (UP TTT, NYC Mohawk), they have
> since produced some really nice ones (NH I-4 and I-5, T&P I-1, GN S-2, UP
> 4-12-2, C&O J-3a; I’m indifferent to the C&O L-1 because of its finish, and
> haven’t held a PRR S-2.)  I’d buy a BLI hybrid M-1 and/or M-2, if produced
> well, over a Sunset or LMB version.  And I’d definitely buy a BLI hybrid SP
> TW-8 over a Westside or Max Gray TW-8.  But I’ll hang onto my PSC CNJ K-1s,
> my PFM GN G-3, and my PFM NP X, all of which are very nice models, even
> though it will cost me $600 each to have the latter two painted and DCC’d.
> If a society could get members interested in crowd-sourcing CAD models of
> their superstructures of interest, I’d WAG that the 3D printing costs might
> be ~$200 for a decently detailed superstructure kit.  Adding $250 for a
> “common standard” BLI chassis w/DC/DCC/Sound plus $350 - $400 for custom
> painting would put this approach at much higher cost than a BLI hybrid, but
> some modelers can throw their own really nice paint, giving them a
> potential ~$450 model plus assembly and painting time investment choice.
> -Eric Bott
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