There have been a number of S Scale items that I did not buy or did not interest me at that time when they first came out for various reasons. This American Models F40ph and Amtrak train was 1 of them. I was much more 1957 era focused back then. The F40ph locos are still available new from American Models but the cars are not currently listed on their website. The cars were made when American Models was doing business in China which likely ended with the same company closing that ended S Helper Service being in business. Some things that bothered me years ago I am little less critical about now. The cars are about an inch shorter than they should be for full length 80’ cars. But otherwise are very nice and unlike anything else in S Scale. Also body mounting the Kadee couplers is a significant job.
But finding something that is “new to me” to buy that I don’t already have 1 or more of that is basically “northeast” or “eastern” is getting a bit tougher. A set came up for sale on eBay in November 2021 and I bought it. Most were sold as hi rail so finding a set with scale wheels is somewhat rare. The wheels were not mentioned in the listing but I got really lucky they are scale wheels. I was prepared to flip out the hi rail wheels for scale but I did not have to. The set was never run.
With the exception of adding a Tsunami2, a LED headlight and Kadee couplers the set as shown below is stock out of the box. I don’t have any intentions of detailing or changing anything. Getting another set like this with 1 loco and 4 more cars would add to the appearance greatly. American Models sells a modern boxcar in Amtrak colors so that is a possibility to buy. For now it is a short Amtrak train.
Adding Kadee Couplers
I took on changing the truck mounted fixed couplers on an Amtrak train as a job many years ago. It was extremely time consuming for me back then, and was a reason why I never bought the set for me. Since this is a unit train that will always run together as 1 train I came close to leaving the American Models fixed couplers in place event though they were truck mounted. But I relented and decided to body mount Kadee couplers instead. For the cars I started with a Evergreen strip .25 x .080 thick. By the time I noticed they were still high I painted everything silver that matched well. So I added an additional 5/16 x .030 strip that I slid between the coupler screws for a total shim of .110. The loco was a complete other challenge. The frame is recycled from the FP7 and is in the F40ph shell backwards. I got .125 x .250 brass rectangular tubing and soldered 1 of my brass draft gear I made for a PRR N8 into a “T”shape. I cut the tube flat on either side of the draft gear, drilled tapped and screwed it to the frame. The total shim amount down is .180! I left the truck mounted fixed coupler to the pilot for now. I cannot think of what I would doublehead this loco with to need a Kadee on the front.
My “short Amtrak train” did not stay short for long – about 3 weeks. I fell into a great deal of another set with 3 extra cars including the Amtrak boxcar. The Kadee couplers were already installed. The new set loco had a decoder installed and running in 1 hour flat. I am calling this train complete. Nothing else will be purchased.
All photos and content © Lanes Trains 2005-2022