Resurrection of a Mantua Mikado

This was purchased brand new as a kit about thirty years ago. It was an operational disappointment because the tender brass wheels got dirty with one trip around the layout. Lucky for it, I came across nickel silver wheels for the tender and now it works like a charm. The fake coal load was cut out of the tender so I could fill it with real coal from my Campbell operating coal tower. Three ounces of lead in the rear of the tender improved the wheel to track conductivity. Towing 14 steam era reefer’s is now a piece of cake. Pieces and parts arrived from a company called, yardbird classic trains to trick out this engine like the late John Allen’s engine #42


While I was waiting for some parts to come in, I scratch built a tool rack for the ash pit. Durango Press (JL Innovative Design) makes this as a kit, but I learned to make most of my own parts to build it. The fake cast on piping from the sand dome and “cast on” sand dome was ground away from the boiler. That big tank in front of the boiler was scratch built. Half of the cab window was cut out for the fireman to stick his arm out. The Westinghouse pilot, Berkshire sand dome, whistle, jewel markers, new brass bell, and other piping details have been installed. Most of the parts were from a basic detail kit that includes details for the Mikado “long haul” tender. The foreground track host the ash pit and wash rack. I used the “N” scale 1031 Black cinder, 1151 Basalt ballast, and 1011 Red Cinder ballast mixed for the effect of mining stamp sand at the left-center of the picture. It looked like this for thirty years and ran poorly besides lacking detail.

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