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In-Box Review
HO scale
2-6-0 Mogul, CN
Canadian National Railways 2-6-0 Steam Locomotive No.412
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Until recently, if a model railroader wanted to model the era of the Industrial Revolution, the budding "Golden Era" of railroading, there were four choices of motive power: a few balky generic plastic locomotives, die cast metal craftsman kits, limited issue expensive imported brass, or scratchbuilding! Then came the 1990's and the introduction of a new generation of quality metal and plastic steam locos, yet most fit into the later Golden Era or modern era of steam. It was then that Roundhouse/Model Die Casting (MDC) cleaned up and re-tool the kits of their Old Timer series. This review shows the fruits of the process.

2-6-0 "Mogul" Type Locomotives
The first North American example of this type of locomotive was built for the Louisiana & Nashville Railroad [sic] in 1864. At the time it was the largest locomotive and got its name from the Mohammedan Empire (India). More than 11,000 Moguls were built between 1860 and 1910. They were generally used on freight trains but had enough speed to occasionally pull a light passenger train. [1]

Canadian National Railways 2-6-0 "Mogul" Type Locomotives?
Canadian National had hundreds of Moguls and used them until 1958. They were the last 2-6-0s regular service. CN consisted of many merged railroads and had several subsidiaries; CN Moguls proper were of the following classes:

* C-1 through C-8, No.’s 400–428, driver diameter under 52"
* D-1 through D-11, No.’s 470–504, driver diameter 52" to 58"
* E-1 through E-12, No.’s 530–929, driver diameter over 58"

Of the many photographs I have viewed of CN Moguls, none resemble this model. Then again none of the photos are of locomotives built before 1900, as this model represents.

Roundhouse HO RTR Old Time 2-6-0
Roundhouse released their 2-6-0 in the following roadnames: Baltimore & Ohio, Boston & Maine, Canadian National, Chesapeake & Ohio, Denver & Rio Grande Western, New York Central, Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, and undecorated.

Roundhouse advertises that the basic model will be detailed to represent an individual railroad with specific headlights, domes, pilot wheels, and smoke stacks. The prototype that Roundhouse modeled their 2-6-0 from is indistinct. Roundhouse was part of Model Die Cast. MDC produced the locomotive kits. According to the authoritative Rensselaer Railroad Heritage Website:

Originally, MDC produced a boiler and cab superstructure based on Santa Fe practices…

ATSF Old Time Mogul 2-6-0 - A c. 1880's loco, with Baldwin characteristics. This model has the same 51 inch diameter drivers as their "Old Time" 2-8-0, but they also offered a version with the larger 62 or 63 inch drivers. This model is ready-to-run.

2-6-0 Mogul - It appears MDC took their new 4-4-0 and added another driver instead of the second [axle on the] lead truck. This model has much taller drivers, maybe 63 inches and I don't think it is the same as the above Mogul.

American 4-4-0 - MDC has a new state-of-the-art rtr 4-4-0… It appears to be a c. 1890's loco with arc or oil headlight, wood cab, ringed Baldwin-type domes (although there may be other varieties, square steam chest and inboard valve gear). If this is truly as good as it could be, this could revolutionize the hobby, allowing for more modelers to model earlier periods, and the one review I've read gave it a stellar rating. It appears MDC started with their "Old Time" boiler/cab superstructure.

The actual model dimensional data is:
• Overall length, 57’ 6” (60’ 6” coupler to coupler)
• Engine wheelbase, 24’
• Overall wheelbase, 50’
• Driver Diameter, 66”
• Weight, 10.8 oz.

HO RTR Old Time 2-6-0, Canadian National No. 412
Roundhouse released many 2-6-0 models with DCC and sound. Those were discontinued although the current offerings are equipped with Quick Plug DCC technology.

Roundhouse models are packaged in an olive box that displays the model through a cellophane window. The model is packed in a Styrofoam cradle with a fitted clear lid. A thin sheet protects the model from scuffing. Documentation includes an exploded-view parts diagram and parts list.

The locomotive and tender models are connected. You will have to disconnect the wiring harness and drawbar to separate them. The model is ready to run straight out of the box.

The locomotive and tender are fully assembled. This Mogul continues the tried and true Roundhouse model engineering concept. You have a diecast boiler and a styrene cab shell secured upon a die-cast underframe by screws. The tender is plastic. Mounted on the locomotive underframe is the dynamically balanced five pole skew wound motor with flywheel. This transmits power to the axles of each powered driver via worm gears. The only drawback is that the drive can be seen in the open space between the running gear and the boiler.

Power is transmitted from the track to the motor via the trucks of the tender. None of the drivers have traction tires. This model has a single connecting rod for all of the drivers. Prototype steam loco manufacturers found this to be flaw, and it does not work well on model steam locos, either. However, this model does not mind and runs well. Attached to the rods is a representation of Stephenson valve gear.

The metal drivers are blackened with nickel tires. Unfortunately, the pilot truck wheels are shiny, as are the tender wheels.

Original MDC boilers had piping and appliances cast on. Not anymore. Most of the main details are plastic or light metal and separately applied. Few elements are molded on.

My inspection finds the model to be in conformance with NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices, with RP-25 wheels and couplers at acceptable height.

Key Features

• Fully assembled and ready for your layout
• Prototype specific smokestack, dome, headlight, lead truck and tender
• Upgraded drive mechanism
• Equipped with Quick Plug DCC technology
• Razor sharp painting and printing
• McHenry scale knuckle spring couplers installed
This sharp model features the type of detail that, until about a decade ago, was only found on brass imports.

On the Inspection Track: Details
First, the engine. The pedigree of the engine has been discussed. The headlights represent electric types. Each headlight has a single micro bulb. These give a bright white glow. They are directional.

We’ll start our walkaround at the front with what differentiates classes of steam locomotives from each other, the wheel configuration. A Mogul is a 2-6-0 per the Whyte notation. The leading (pilot) truck features no detail. The wheels are shiny. Next are the six 66 inch drivers. They are properly blackened except for the tires. This may not be of concern as some railroads accentuated these rims with white or silver paint. Brake hangers properly detail the spaces between the rearmost drivers, though no driver springs or sand pipes are represented.

A detailed and animated Stepheson valve gear sprouts from the rear of the simple cylinder chest. Both plastic and metal parts make up the valve gear. It looks smooth when operating.

This is all set in and upon a metal frame. The firebox is festooned with rivets. The engineer side sports a feedwater pipe and reverse bar. The fireman side has the prominent air pump, air reservoirs, and feedwater pipe. No piping is attached to the reservoirs and no piping is present below the running boards.

This Mogul features a road pilot with a McHenry knuckle coupler. Above and behind it is the pilot deck (‘campground’ in hobo-speak) with metal tread decking. It lacks a train line and air brake hoses. The coupler cut bar and handles cross over this assembly.

The smokebox front is sharply detailed with a variety of molded and applied accessories. Unlike so many other model steam locos, this model does not have a glaring gap between the smokebox front plate and the smokebox body. The smokebox is painted in dark graphite. No wires to the headlamp can be seen due to the tight fit of the headlight to the smokebox top. Individually applied marker lamps and handrails adorn this area. Atop the smokebox is a stack with overscale thick walls. The number plate rounds out the engine’s face. Brass paint simulates the plate edge.

The boiler is a sharply cast metal shell with separately applied steam and sand domes. No flash, ejector marks, sink holes nor seam lines are apparent. Surface detail includes recessed lines for the boiler sheathing, raised detail for the boiler bands and fasteners. Including the previously mentioned parts I identified 23 individual parts applied to the boiler:

• Bell
• Whistle
• Pop-off valves
• Generator
• Feedwater piping
• Railings and grabs
• Marker lights
• Air reservoirs
• Air pump

A separately applied cab brings up the rear of the superstructure. While it does not feature a folding deck between it and the tender, it does have individual grab irons and handles, and molded arm rests and sunshades.

The “interior” features a molded backhead with basic detail such as firebox door, gauges, and rivets. Neither the “hogger” nor fireman have seats due to the small tight fit. No crew is provided and there isn’t any room to put full figures in the cab anyway.

Second, the tender. This is a typical tender of the era. Roundhouse molds it to accept a coal or oil load. This model represents a coal burner. The coal is not realistic looking. Aside from the rivet detail these tenders are fairly plain. The tender has scale ladders, steps, and hand rails. The chassis is not detailed. Like the engine pilot deck the rear of the tender sports no air or train lines.

Supporting all of this is a pair of four axle trucks. The wheels are shiny. The trucks have good side detail including eye bolts.

The decorated CN locomotive features crisp, sharp opaque lettering on the tender and the cab sides. I cannot find any information whether CN used this livery, or if the gray boiler is meant to simulate “Russia Iron”.

The paint is smooth. The graphite paint of the firebox and smokebox is smooth and thin. I noticed no blemishes.

Mogul in Motion
While this is a great model for static display, how does she move? Steam loco models, on account of all of those rods and valve gearing, tend to be balkier than diesels. That said, straight out of the box, I ran this model back and forth across my track work of code 83 and 100 Atlas flex track and Atlas and Peco turnouts. She strides gracefully over the rails and frogs and through the guard and wing rails.

My power pack is a 30 year-old MRC type with a pulse function. Without pulse the model lurched ahead at probably 10 mph. With pulse the slowest I could move her is about 2 scale mph! Almost any model will run smoother after a break-in period, and a bit of extra lubrication works wonders, too. The wheels smack across turnout gaps with satisfying sounds and motion. Fast or slow, forward or reverse, the model moved smoothly and quietly.

To what standard do we judge this model? Steam locomotives were usually quite unique to the railroad that used them. Their appearance could vary considerably after a few major shoppings. One of the givens of steam locomotive modeling is that if you want a particular steam loco, you need references for that locomotive, during a particular period of time. To be frank, that’s what brass models are for. This model is a standard design that Roundhouse tweaks with different stacks and headlights to be close enough for a 2-6-0 of a popular railroad.

So how about it as a model? I think it is great! In pulse it creeps as slow as you’d probably want. The non-pulse minimum speed is disappointing. Yet, the mechanism and drive are smooth and quite. The decorating is fantastic. The separately applied detail parts are impressive.

Yes, these generic models, so good right out of the box, do afford us the opportunity to model the era of the Industrial Revolution through the Golden Era, without spending your life savings on a brass model. They offer the opportunity to kitbash and detail to more closely model a specific engine. The price is good. I do recommend this model.

Athearn and Model Die Casting/Roundhouse are now under one management and you might see "Athearn" as the brandname when they mean "MDC", or vice versa, so also check Athearn. And the steam locos now being produced are a generational step above what they did before. [RMRRS]


[1] SteamLocomotive.com, 2-6-0 "Mogul" Type Locomotives, http://www.steamlocomotive.com/mogul

[RMRRS]" NEB&W Guide to MDC/Roundhouse Steam Locomotive Models." Rensselaer Railroad Heritage Website. n.d. http://railroad.union.rpi.edu/article.php?article=2604.

The Catskill Archive. “LOCOMOTIVE ENGINE
Running and Management”. http://catskillarchive.com/rrextra/toc.Html
Highs: Smooth, quiet propulsion. Sharp lettering on clean castings and moldings.
Lows: Lack of some detail piping and decking. For CN purists, ambiguous prototype data.
Verdict: This generic model affords us the opportunity to model the era of the Industrial Revolution through the Golden Era, without spending your life savings on a brass model. It runs great, too.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: 84775
  Suggested Retail: $149.98
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 29, 2011

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


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