Getting it Right:
Re-detailing The Bachmann On30 Climax
Introduction & Taking It Apart

Bachmann Climax Conversion to Date (September 17, 2010).


My father and I’s little On3/On2 model railroad (the Diamond Springs & Fiddletown Railway) is best served by small geared locomotives. We already have several shays in progress, so I was looking for something different. Small Heislers are few and far between (and very expensive). That left Climaxes. Supposedly, Precision Scale Co. has several kits available, but I’ve never seen one, let alone one for sale. Flying Zoo made an 18-Ton one just the right size many years ago. They are hard to find and can be expensive. My father had one, but eventually sold it because of the amount of work that would have been required to build a boiler rear end/back-head for it. Backwoods Miniatures sells a kit for one about the right size (20-Ton, built to the same plan as the Flying Zoo locomotive). Though we have several of his fine kits, they are a long project to build right (I have too many multi-year projects now) and this kit is a little too whimsical for my tastes. This left the Bachmann “On30” 28-Ton Two Truck Class B Climax. My father already has one and it can be seen working the mining tipple in the D.S.&F. Ore Train Photo Gallery in the Photo Gallery section. I found one, new in the box, at the O Scale National/O Scale West convention at Santa Clara, California, July 2010 for $90. Which fit my limited budget nicely.

Bachmann Industries Item No. 25760: “On30” 28-Ton Two Truck Class B Climax Locomotive - Pocahontas Lumber Co.

Bachmann’s line of On30 locomotives run the gamut from crude toys to well done models of some really neat/useful prototypes (The 2-6-6-2 is my current favorite, but more on that later). At the time the Climax came out, Bachmann’s other locomotives definitely fit into the “toy” category, with the 1st, the 2-6-0, being literally being made to pull a Christmas tree train. The Climax, however, is a complete departure from this. It is an extremely good model of a small, Class B, Climax; well worth any re-detailing effort you put into it. While you shouldn't expect perfection for this price, at least the details that are present are not “incorrect.” The appliances are in the right place, the plumbing is correctly routed (i.e. doesn’t pass through windows like the shay) and actually goes to the appliances they serve (instead of just passing behind them, like the later locomotives - though the HO air pump IS hilarious), and the details are correct for this type of Climax. Even the “fancy” pin-striped paint scheme is correct (weird, but correct). If you’re looking for the specs for the prototype for this locomotive, has a good listing for Construction No. 952. In short, “the bones are good.”

Pacific Lumber No. 38 at Roots of Motive Power, Willits, CA.

The point of this little adventure will be to make the necessary changes to this model to turn it into a prototypically correct, Class B Climax. Though not any one, specific Climax. Most the work will go into converting it into a true oil burner. If you’re following along with your own model and are building a wood or coal burner; you’re in luck. All you’ll have to do is add the missing details (and not very many at that). Making a true oil burner is a different story (specifically, this story). While I give credit to Bachmann for even offering an oil burning option (which actually includes a proper shut-off valve!), the oil tank isn’t even remotely the right shape for a Climax built oil tank and all of the oil delivery pipes and firing controls are missing. Luckily for me, the Roots of Motive Power museum group right here in Willits, California, has a standard gauge, Class B, oil burning Climax: Pacific Lumber No. 38 (60 ton, c/n 1621). They also have an oil burning Heisler (Bluestone Mining and Smelting Company No. 1, c/n 1351, 47 ton) and an oil burning Class B Shay (Robert Dollar Lumber Company, c/n 2978, 50 ton) for comparison and study of prototype practice. I’ll post relevant photos as I go along. It will take a while to post all of this project online, so you’ll have to come back from time-to-time to see the changes and additions. I’ll also have to carve it up over several “pages” to keep from clogging up download times with all the photos.

Bluestone Mining and Smelting Company No. 1 at Roots of Motive Power, Willits, CA.

Robert Dollar Lumber Company Shay (what’s left of it) at Roots of Motive Power, Willits, CA.

Let’s get started…

Basics - Taking it Apart:

Bachmann’s exploded diagram isn’t real clear on how to take the Climax apart, so I’ve put up these photos as a guide.

Continues on Next Page!

©2010, 2011, Scott Kitts. All rights reserved.

Rev. 3/28/2014.



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