MDC 2 Truck Shay – HOn3

MDC HOn3 2 Trk Shay

Prototype Research

The Shay is a renowned logging locomotive that was less common in mining areas.  Yet its short radius capability along with its ability to deal with less than perfect track and grades make it a plausible engine to run in this section of the layout.  Besides, I love these engines.  I’ll doing up some prototype photos when I get a chance.

Modeling the Shay

I picked up this engine in kit form produced by MDC Roundhouse.  It is an early run engine which means it was produced in the 1970s.  These MDC engines have a reputation of being difficult to bring to smooth operating status so there are a fair number of unfinished kits out there.  The image is an example of the assembled product.  My engine will be assigned to the Sonoma Magnesite Company mining district.  It is likely to be joined by a second Shay when an appropriate kit becomes available.

Here are some kit images.

MDC Shay Kit 1

MDC Shay Kit 2


MDC Shay Kit 3

Obviously someone got started on assembling the kit then set it aside.  Hopefully all the parts are there.  These engines have a reputation for the drive line binding due to manufacturing issues with the plastic gears.  I picked up upgraded metal gears from North West Short Line.  This is the Bull Gear Upgrade set.

NWSL MDC Upgrade 1

This is the partial running gear upgrade.

NWSL MDC Upgrade 2

I also picked up a NWSL can motor, and a copy of Jeff Johnson’s MDC Shay Handbook.  So with the parts in hand, I’m going to start building this Shay.  In Jeff’s book he shows step by step construction of a two truck Shay using kit parts and a three truck Shay using NWSL drive train components and other super detail parts.  I’ll be \doing with my two truck Shay kit what he did with his three truck Shay.

I have the additional challenge of finding a place for a receiver and battery pack is what is a very small engine.  Fortunately, this is a district that uses oil as its fuel and construction of a taller than normal fuel bunker should allow me to solve the battery storage issue.  The receiver can probably be tucked under the cab roof.

I hadn’t started on the first Shay kit when a second kit showed up on eBay.  I got the second a bit cheaper as the seller wasn’t sure all the parts were there.  I think they are.  So while I’m waiting for that kit’s arrival, I ordered a second set of NWSL gears.  I also have two can motors and two sets of flywheels.

Once the second Shay and parts have arrived, I’ll work on both kits together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>