The defunct Model Die Casting used to make a nice little boxcab kit in plastic. For years, it's been a favourite of modellers who wanted to get a boxcab at a decent price.
Unfortunately, the motorization is absolutely garbage. I tried a few time to figure out a way to salvage as much as I could from the old drive, but came to the conclusion it was useless. In fact, the way trucks are powered by middle of the engine makes it absolutely unable to manage sharp curves. Given Harlem Station sports prohibitive 13.5" radius curves in some parts, I had no choice but to think about an alternative.
To be noted, the GE wheelbase, wheel diameter and wheel spacing are wrong too. Now, I had a challenge in front of me. How to make the GE 44-ton mechanism more acceptable and prototypical.
|The new styrene undreframe|
|Lead weights added to the new frame|
|The shell is sitting to high on the frame|
The last thing I wanted to correct was the sideframes. While the Roundhouse sideframes are a little bit crude, they are still better than keeping GE trucks. To make them fit the new drive, I cut the metal pins behing the truck, grinded the bushing behind the journal boxes and slightly reduced the depth of the peg securing the sideframe to the truck.
|One could get rid of everything located at the back of the sideframes|
If I had to redo this, I think I would grind completely the sideframe metal peg and replace it with styrene. That way, it would be much easier to adjust the height.
Finally, my last modification was to remove about 0.75mm of material on the shell ends to make sur the carbody would sit correctly aligned with the pilot beam. The original Roundhouse design was a little bit weird because it didn't align. Now the shell sit properly!
I'll probably remove large part of the underframe diesel tank. Since I changed the wheel diameter, the trucks can't swivel freely. Also, only an air tank existed under Erie #20 and I'd like to follow the prototype as much as I can. It will also look more prototypical and eliminate the last visible remnant of the GE 44-ton.
Another challenge will be to find a way to mechanically fix the shell on the underframe. I don't have yet an idea how I'll do it. Once done, the fun part starts by detailing and painting the locomotive. It shouldn't be too hard. In that regard, I don't plan to buy parts since I consider this a low budget conversion.