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Hi All,

Does anyone know anything about this maufacturer and their quality, also does a DCC fitting guide appear anywhere on the net as i cant find anything ........ any help would be appreciated as have seen one of these big locos in HO but it needs attention to some wiring and so conversion to DCC would be done immediatley to rectify it.

Many thanks.

Nick.
 

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do you have a rough manufacturing date?

I have a couple of brass loco's including one tenshodo and they are very good. mine is a fairly old model but the detail is supurb and even by todays standards its quite an acceptable loco.

mine has an open frame motor which drives through a plastic tube for a universal joint. this works very well on my loco but it is very current hungry. it should be easy to convert to DCC but you might need a 1 amp decoder for a pacific and for a big boy you would need to do some measurements with a multimeter before purchasing your decoder. Some of them had one of the motor terminals uninsulated with the chassis. this could be a small problem but i understand there are decoders that can cope with only having 1 motor terminal.

Mine has pickups on all wheels on one side of the loco and pickups on the other side of the tender.

Very smooth runner.

they have been going since the year dot so obviously the arrangement of motor and pickups will have changed over the last 40 years...

Peter
 

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*** You really do need to be careful here: A new Tenshodo big boy is several thousand dollars. A cheap one will not always be a bargain

Tenshodo head office is in the Ginza, the most expensive part of Tokyo, and they are a high end watch maker so their models generally reflect precision, however their earlier locos, while nice, can be hard to get running well as they are all brass and wheel to brake gear and similar problems causing shorts are very frequent. They are never suitable for tighter curves either, so unless you plan 30" of more don't even think about it.

On the other side of the coin the DO do reasonable stuff too.... Their HO scale bullet train is a truly superb model in detail and engineering quality - and is actually made for them by Bachmann!

To put their brass pricing in perspective, the HO scale / current model of a JR C56 is 312,000yen...

You can see more at http://www.tenshodo-models.com/

Regards

Richard
 

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*** It looks like a problem waiting to happen. I'd let it go.

If its a layout loco, the current Blueline/Broadway Big boy is by far the best there is, better than the Tenshodo - and the Trix or Athearn in detail, performance AND sound quality(I've worked on all of them) - its also a reasonable price if you can still find one in a retailer - I imported a few and they sold out instantly.

regards

Richard
 

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Tenshodo were one of the very first Japanese brass locomotive makers.They make superb ,if a trifle conservative ,models built like tanks but often lacking modern motors and gearing .They made (probably still do) them over a long time frame and detailing got better over the years especially the detail castings .They specialised in Great Northern prototypes plus any thing else the took the owners fancy .They even made a BR18 German prototype but I would avoid it unless you just want a collectors item . Their diesels were not great models and their coaches usually shortys.Its easy to switch out a open frame motors on US brass as usually you can just silicone sealer a new can motor in place.Often the bit of rubber tubing joining motor shaft and gearbox shaft is rotten and will need replacing .This can be tricky to find but perhaps its easier to find now we have an internet .I used to nick spares from someone elses model if I could as most new brass I was painting had a spare bit included . .Adjusting the tubing is critical to smooth running .Early gearboxes were fibre and steel gears and the fibre one on the axle wore out .Northwest Shortline make better boxes though you need to strip out the old gears which means pulling a driver off and requartering .I usually just marked the old axle and wheel .Real technical stuff.It always worked though .I think the advice on buying a modern Big Boy is sound though I bet the Tenshodo will be still running come doomsday.
I once painted a 2 motored 0 scale brass Big Boy for a customer .It nearly took my hand off when I tried stopping it after a test run at the end of my test track.
hope it helps
 

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I concur with Rossi but I'll add a couple of extras. Tenshodo were made in two qualities, a base line model with many cast parts that bore a loose resemblance to the real part and a Crown model. A Tenshodo Crown model of a Big Boy would probably set you back upwards of $10,000 if you could find some one willing to part with it. While these are nice models thay are some what dated with the last models being produced in the early seventies. Most of these models were done in small batches of 200models except for the crown series models which were usually hand built in runs of around 50 or less. I did see an Norfolk and Western J class 4-8-4 go for around US$25,000. There were only 10 made in this run.
The biggest bug bear with this type of model is that it is close to scale and there for requires a fair size radius curve usually around 40inches as a minimum. Even at this size the overhang on the model can be quite severe. The other is the gearbox arrangement. Most of these big articulated models follow the same format with a central gearbox that devides the drive to two smaller gearboxes. This is often quite noisy and can be source of much frustration. Motors to can vary from large DC81 open frame motors to Cannon can motors. Adding DCC to model like this can be some what difficult as brass models usually pickup on one side of the loco and return on the opposite side of the tender. To ensure reliable running requires the fitting of additional pickups to loco and tender.

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia
 

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Just to add yet more info .
Of course ,forgot about Crowns ..I have a 2-8-8-2 C+O H8a Crown by Custom Brass .Stunning model .Mine was damaged quite badly but I have just about resurrected it now.It runs very well now but needs a can motor ,preferably a Canon.No idea what its worth but its now a very nice model ,at least when I have painted and weathered it and covered up some sound but unsightly soldering trying to get a badly bent cab all square again .
I believe Tenshodo were always painted but never weathered .I always remember weathering one and it turn a dull black lifeless model into a firebreathing monster .The black paint they used seemed to absorb light and loose detail IMHO .They were imported into The USA by Pacific Fast Mail and then to MG Sharp for the UK .Fulgarex handled The European side of it .Of course then we were not part of Europe LOL .
martin
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi all,

Many thanks to everyone who has replied and given information ...... on reflection i intend to just watch it and let it go, in the new year a search for a fully working Big Boy is the way to go
 

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Rossi, I think from memory the Custom Brass H-7A they were called Chesapeakes, I have two Fujiyama Crown's and Key H-8, used a Sagami can motor, no longer available. I think I still have one as I bought a spare about 10yrs ago which if I can find it I can send to you. You'll have to give me till after new year to find it as I won't be home till then.

Regards
Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (rossi @ 15 Dec 2008, 02:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Just to add yet more info .
Of course ,forgot about Crowns ..I have a 2-8-8-2 C+O H8a Crown by Custom Brass .Stunning model .Mine was damaged quite badly but I have just about resurrected it now.It runs very well now but needs a can motor ,preferably a Canon.No idea what its worth but its now a very nice model ,at least when I have painted and weathered it and covered up some sound but unsightly soldering trying to get a badly bent cab all square again .
I believe Tenshodo were always painted but never weathered .I always remember weathering one and it turn a dull black lifeless model into a firebreathing monster .The black paint they used seemed to absorb light and loose detail IMHO .They were imported into The USA by Pacific Fast Mail and then to MG Sharp for the UK .Fulgarex handled The European side of it .Of course then we were not part of Europe LOL .
martin
 
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