I was searching through eBay on Christmas and came across a listing for a HOn3 parts set to assemble NPC No 21. This engine is my RR Holy Grail. I have a partially built version in Large Scale. I’ve felt building one from scratch in HOn3 is beyond my capabilities.
This sequence of images is from Wiseman’s eBay listing for this kit. As they do not contain a copyright, I assume I am not out of line posting them here. It is my hope that those reading this page will find them useful in assembling an engine from the kit.
The kit is unpowered. But the driver wheels and truck wheels appear to be of a quality that could be powered. There is also that nice drive gear surrounding the front driver axle. As you will see further down the page the original intent appears to have been to deliver a powered version.
This view is from the other side.
This shot of the engine is from the rear. Remember, this is a cab forward.
The shot from the front shows the back head. I think I can do better than this given the drawing David Fletcher, Keith Christensen, and I collaborated on that is posted elsewhere in this resource.
The tender was unusual. One tank for oil and the other for water.
Tender shot from the side. As presented in this sequence the tender is missing a number of air, water, and oil lines that appeared on the prototype.
A shot from the top.
Here are some of the the parts bags.
So I’m going to build this engine in HOn3.
What the parts set gives me that I didn’t have as a result of my prototype research is an exploded parts diagram and a set of parts in 3D that can be used to design a 1:20.1 version. So as I proceed with construction of the Wiseman model, I’m going to take of dimensions and convert them to large scale narrow gauge (1:20.1). While I’m at it I’ll also convert them to 1:1 dimensions.
The Wiseman Parts Set Arrives
The above photo shows a box containing the parts set. What I received is a plastic zip lock bag jammed full of parts along with four photocopied pages. Two contain prototype photos that also appear in higher quality in this resource. One page contains a drawing that was published in a railroad publication. The final page is an exploded parts diagram for the kit.
So I dumped the parts out of the bag and started sorting them and comparing them to the parts diagram. Guess what? There are parts in the diagram that aren’t in the kit. There are parts in the kit that aren’t on the diagram. There is no parts list that names the parts that are numbered on the diagram. The major inconsistencies are where the drivers are attached to the engine. Now that’s a pretty crucial area of the engine to have a variance.
In the above diagram of the drive area of the kit, there are a number of parts with X’s drawn through them and no parts numbers. Those parts don’t come with the kit. They include a worm screw with the male portion of a universal coupling, a universal coupling, the motor mount block, the cap over the motor mount, a yoke and the plate that screws into the bottom of the motor mount to secure the drivers. Instead the kit includes a number of unidentified parts that presumably perform the same function without mounting a motor. Some of these parts can be seen on the engine photo of the engine on its side in the photo series at the top of this page (photo 2). Presumably the changes resulted from the decision not to release this as a powered model.
As soon as I have this sorted out, I’ll post a photo of the parts and a description of how they go together.
I’d love to produce a working running NPC No 21. But the parts aren’t in the Wiseman parts set to do so. So I could order parts and fabricate. Assuming the Wiseman drivers and truck wheels are properly insulated, that is a possibility. The following shot shows the wheels and axles for No 21. The drivers are clearly insulated with cockle silver tyres, plastic centers and steel axles. Presumably power could be picked up from these drivers with wipers. One issue is the gdrivers are out of round. I’m not sure whether this is a centering or quartering issue.
The middle set of four wheel sets are the tender wheels. They are nickel center with plastic centers and steel axles. With appropriate wipers, power could be picked up from these wheels.
The third pair of wheels and axles are for the lead truck. These wheels appear to be plastic so would not be a good source of electrical pickup.
This photo is of drive line parts. Side frames, cylinders and yoke, and piston rods appear to be white metal. The rest of the parts (side rods, cylinder fronts, cylinder rears, and the parts that ride in the cylinder rear assemblies all appear to be brass. Off to the left are some brass parts that are part of the connection between the motor (not provided), the gear box (not provided), and the center brass gear in one of the drivers. It remains to be seen whether these parts and the out of balance drivers can be converted into an operating drive train.
I could purchase a variation on the same upgrade parts I’ll be using for NPC No 14 which would provide a moor and the gear box as well as linkage between the two. I wouldn’t be going for sound on this loco but would want DCC. However, those two tanks may be large enough in diameter to hold a sound board and speaker.
A safer variation on the plan is to purchase a second FED Spartan HOn3 4-4-0 and use it for parts for the lower half of the engine. I will have been through upgrading the 4-4-0 so I will know where the weaknesses are and how to address them. And the parts would all be designed to work together in an engine that actually ran. Assuming I can get a second FED for around $130, project cost lays out as follows.
- FED Spartan HOn3 4-4-0 – $130
- Wiseman Parts Set for NPC No 21 – $190 (already in hand)
- NWSL upgrade parts – $90
- DCC Decoder with sound and speaker – $140
- Total budget – $550 – not too bad for a unique Holy Grail engine that is at least half brass using DCC and sound. It might be the only running NPC No 21 in the smaller scales.
I might be able to use the surplus parts from the FED (boiler, cab, tender, etc.) in another project. That is especially true if the surplus Wiseman lower end parts (trucks, wheels, tender, etc. are functional (electrically isolated and smooth running). Or I could auction off the surplus parts on eBay to recoup a portion of the cost. Until I work through the companion NPC No 14 project, I’m going to proceed with superstructure assembly of the Wiseman parts set.
Given that the lower end of both engine and tender is up in the air, I thought it best to attack assembly of the tender superstructure first. Here’s an exploded tender diagram.
These parts all appear to have been shipped with the kit. I’ve located the major parts. Some of the smaller parts are still hiding from me in my parts pile. I do find it amusing that one of the parts (a valve) has a question mark next to it. I don’t know whether that means they couldn’t come up with a part number or whether the part is not supplied.
The first step in working with a kit where the majority of the parts are white metal is removing and filing down flash left over from the moulding process. The white metal parts are of good quality and flash removal on the tender only took a few minutes with one of my modeling files. This photo shows the parts that make up the major portion of the tender. The white metal parts have been cleaned up. I have a bit more work to do on the bronze parts. The wheel sets are still in their parts bag.
The following is the takeoff and conversion of major tender truck parts. For example, in ON30 the oil and water tanks will need to be 1.604″ in diameter and 1.243″ tall. The truck wheelbase will need to be 0.979″ which translates to 46.98″ in 1:1. The wheels are 23.925″ in diameter. Once I have these conversions I can begin looking for parts.
Here are two images of the completed Wiseman tender to this point.
This image shows some additional tender parts including the wheels, oil and water tank support brackets, a second air tank, and end beam. The truck side frames are shown in the earlier drawing.
Note that the tender wheels appear to be electrically isolated. If I could use a complete Wiseman tender without borrowing FED parts, I would have a complete 4-4-0 tender to either use in another project or sell on eBay. I’ll need to fashion tender electrical pickups in either case. SBS4DCC.com makes N scale electrical tender pickups. I’ll bet they can be made to work in HOn3.