Hello all I've spending several months researching how to scratch build a several steam locomotives and cars. I've currently got a DSP&P pay car under construction, but my lack of a lathe and mill have prompted me not to built the appropriate Dawson & Bailey 4-4-0 #2 which pulled the car. I cannot find a source for the necessary 44" O scale driver centers. Instead, I'm inclined to pursue building either a Nickel Plate K class pacific or an R class ten wheeler. Since my father has the Alco builder's photograph of K-1b 168, and I have the builders photograph and drawings in the Nickel Plate Story...it seems to be a better choice. Some basics on these engines: Built with 73" drivers (later increased to 74" through the addition of thicker tires). 22.5"x26" cylinders Weight on drivers: 148,500-159,300lbs. Total weight: 245,000-265,100lbs. Boiler Pressure: 200psi Grate Area: 50.23 sq ft height above rails: 14'10.25" driver wheel base: 13' engine wheel base: 34' lead truck wheels: 36" dia trailing truck wheels: 45" dia Tractive effort: 30,700lbs Factor of Adhesion: 5.0 (insane!) 160-163 were built by Lima...164-169 were Alco Brooks. Walshets valve gear Franklin Type D reverse gear My plan is to get my hands on an Athearn Genesis USRA light 4-6-2 mechanism. If memory serves me well (although I don't have a book on me to verify it), USRA light pacifics had 73" drivers, a 13' driver base, 34'6" wheel base, Walschets valve gear, and 25"x28" cylinders. If Athearn's model is accurate, then I can harvest the frame, running gear, and drive train to build a new boiler over the top of. I would prefer not to use Bowser's mechanism since it has 72" wheels and would require a bit more work to make it as smooth as the Samhagosa assembly used by athearn. I will need to replace the USRA trailing truck with the appropriate style. I'm not extremely concerned about these, because I took my digital calipers to my Rivarossi berk (65" drivers instead of 69"), my Athearn Mike (61" drivers instead of 63"), and my brass NKP hudson (75" instead of 73/74")...but I'd prefer to get it right...and later use the 72" Bowsers for building an R class 4-6-0 with which they would be right on. I will use the tremendous MR articles from October 1997 through May 1998 for my techniques...plus anything else I learn here on the guage Previously I have kitbashed plastic HO cars into HOn3, scratch built styrene structure and rolling stock components (windows, doors), assembled Grandt Line and Clear Creek Model's kits, but my only experience in working with metals has been in repairing a brass passenger car with a mix of glue and solder. So my work is cut out for me...all while doing this on what money I can spare from research stipend. I have $30 a month for my hobby...plus whater I get for Christmas...and my wife knows I want resin casting supplies! I believe the tender is pretty close to the USRA specs, so I don't know if I'll need to build it or not (I don't have a set of USRA drawings currently). The primary difference is that I'll need to fabricate a new boiler...after I can afford to buy the mechanism to use for design specs...I'll probably be building a Lima model...162 had a reputation for being the best pacific on the railroad...I grew up within 10 miles of the Lima Locomotive Works. It'll probably be a while before I can afford all the detail part castings, but it'll take me a while to finish the engine. Despite the commonly held belief among Nickel Plate modellers that they were based off of NYC power (plausile considering the NKP's ownership of the NYC at the time), the NYC power books do not provide information of any similar NYC pacifics. (yes, the NKP was owned by the Van Swerigans, whom owned the NYC...later they owned the NKP, C&O, Erie, and PM...the NKP was their flagship road) Do any of you have any experience in modifying the Athearn pacifics? Do any of you know how close to scale the drivers, wheel spacing, and running gear are? Do their motors take well to adding a ton of weight (with a factor of adhesion of 5, this engines did not slip )? Has anyone performed a similar conversion?