NEB&W Guide to IHC Steam Locomotive Models

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Also see AHM. IHC was the sucessor to AHM and picked up most of their steam models, which were imports made in Europe by Rivarossi. (So also see Rivarossi.) In recent years, Rivarossi switched to Walthers and IHC has managed to continue to produce/import some steam.

For years and years - nay decades - these locos have been produced with oversided flanges, even slightly deeper, I believe than the NMRA. Not that anyone else follows the NMRA standard, S-4, as the hobby has switched whole-hearted to their recommended practices RP-25.

Anyway, IHC has finally gotten the message and I understand their new premier line of locos have RP-25 flanges. Also the review in a recent Model Railroader said their test engine started at 0.5 scale miles per hour and in all other respects was excellent, in terms of the drive. (The superstructure, while somewhat upgraded, is still - as MR gingerly says - is "spartan".

At the RPI club, we were so estactic when Athearn came out with their USRA light Mikados and Pacifics. However, after not too much use on our layout, we pretty much have retired them. We are going to try one of the Broadway light Mikados, but also will get and compare it to one of these new IHC locos. (Will let you know the results, but just wanted to let you know that IHC quality is now high enough we are taking a serious look at it.)

  • Stephenson's Rocket 0-2-2 - While everything on our website here is about American railroading, this model of an English loco could be used on an early era pike, particularly as the first locos used here were imported from England. The Rocket was the clear winner at the Rainhill trails in 1829, being clocked at over 29 m.p.h. It then went into regular service until 1844 at least. This model was made by Hornby and contained three triple-stagecoach type passenger cars.
I'm willing to bet the motor is in the tender, which means you could easily cobble up other early locos and just use the tender to power it.


  • 1286 0-6-0 Saddletank Switcher - Decorated for the Reliance Rock Co. Very similar but not identical to the Bachmann saddletank.



  • 0-8-0 "USRA" Switcher - Mantua/Tyco created a Consolidation by stretched the USRA 0-8-0 and giving it bigger drivers (basically 63 inch ones instead of 51 inches) and a pony truck. While the cab looks like a USRA one, it is really the Mantua one used on all their 20th century locos. Then they turn around and leave off the lead truck to make a switcher again. While this might simulate what the prototypes did, namely convert 2-8-0's to 0-8-0's in later days (when these road engines had been made obsolete by bigger freight locos), this is NOT a USRA engine.



  • 2-6-0 Mogul - Spen Kellogg said this "is a reasonably accurate model of an SP/T&NO M-4 after it was updated to superheated steam in the 1920's. Marshall Thayer suggested that while it would look pretty big compared to other c. 1900 steam, it could be backdated two decades. (Kellogg said that Dunscomb's A Century of SP Steam Locomotives has pictures of two M-4s dated 1899 and 1900.)
Thayer suggested MDC for suitable parts, including first and foremost the tender. He suggested MDC's shorty tender from their Moguls and Consolidations. He also said that MDC has a "loco detailing kit" with the parts sprue from their line of "old-time" 2-6-0/2-8-0 kits. He said you'd have to go directly to MDC to get the cab. The headlight needs to backdated to an oil or acetylene type. The piston valves would be acceptable but not common in the first decade of the 20th century, but rather than replace them, he'd suggest filing away the existing ones and replacing them with laminated sheet styrene. Both Thayer and Kellogg suggested the compressor is rather big and could be moved from the left side, or replaced with a smaller on. Kellogg also suggested replacing the pilot with a spoked cow catcher, since some M-4s came with pilots with horizontal slats instead of the vertical ones, and adding an acetylene storage tank (for the new headlamp). Kellogg thought it might be possible to merely shorten the IHC tender.
I'm pretty sure this model originated under the Pemco line, with the tender powered from a diesel drive and the loco simply pushed. The model was redesigned and eventually wound up under the IHC label.


  • Consolidation 2-8-0 - I think this model dates back to Tyco/Mantua. It is basically a stretched USRA 0-8-0 with bigger drivers (basically 63 inch ones instead of 51 inches) and a pony truck. While the cab looks like a USRA one, it is really the Mantua one used on all their 20th century locos. On a road engine, it dates the loco to the mid-1920's, and substituting a different one would be the easiest way to back date the loco. As part of its switcher heritage, the model has a second sand box or dome because so many moves are made in reverse. Cutting this off would be another noticeable change, but tricky.
If this model ever is upgraded to IHC's premier line and that their premier line is as good as MR said, this might be our NEB&W stand-in Consolidation for the Rutland one.


  • USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2 - There were 625 of these original USRA light 2-8-2's built during WWI, (over 1/3 of the 1,830 USRA locos produced were light Mikados) and apparently 1,266 total including post-War clones, spread over 50 railroads. (But USRA loco clones often look quite different from the original version, even though the boiler and running gear were pretty much the same.) I think this model was originally produced as a light Pacific with a new mechanism. The real light Mikado used the boiler from the heavy Pacific, but it sat lower, so there is more relief along the skyline (the stack, domes, etc. sit higher).



  • 2-10-2 Santa Fe - This loco has RP-25 flanges. Not sure of the prototype, if any. It looks like it has the same notched cab as per their 4-8-2. If they did, they refined some of the details.



  • American 4-4-0 - The AHM's Reno/Genoa reissued. These two models came out around 1965 under the AHM name, and both are based on the locos of the same name on the Virginia & Truckee. The Reno was the V&T's first loco, built in 1872 and the Genoa, the following year. And both are very famous, I believe, because the V&T locos were stars in many a western. (The Genoa was on display at the 1939 World's Fair to represent one of the two locos at the gold spike ceremony completing the transcontinental railroad in 1869. And plans of the Genoa appeared in July '50 Model Railroader, which is probably where AHM got their inspiration.)
The prototype Genoa had 57-inch diameter drivers.
Like the AHM's Bowker, the models are oversized - the review in the Feb. '65 Model Railroader said about 6% too big. For instance, the balloon stack tops out at 17 feet (as like the Bowker above, two feet higher than Plate B clearance of almost a century later), while the prototype was 13 ft. 9 ins. I'm not that familiar with the prototypes, but the models differed mainly in the type of stack, headlight, and pilot (cowcatcher).
Mantua's General represents a similar type of engine from about the same period, but the General has closer spaced drivers and thus overall is shorter. And also close to scale, not oversized.
In 1998, IHC announced this model had all new tooling. I would bet they were getting a new manufacturer to make this as Rivarossi was leaving IHC. Unfortunately, don't know of any improvements, ANY improvements.



  • "Modern" 4-4-0 - They used a different mechanism under their 2-6-0 body. At least one version (V&T, model no. 13822) comes with an oil headlight, which is really anachronistic for the rest of the loco (1880's light fixture on a 1920's type body), but this could be replaced. This 4-4-0 has the motor in the engine, unlike their 1870's style 4-4-0.
According to the review in the August '97 Model Railroader, the model comes closest to the Southern Pacific's class E-23, locos built by Cooke and Schenectady in 1899-1900. MR said two of these lasted into '50's. The model, particularly the boiler, was said to be close to the Boston & Maine's A41 locos built by Alco between 1900-1911.
The MR review pointed out that the model has only 60-inch drivers, while most 4-4-0's of this era were built with 68 or 69 inch ones. The model also has the two drivers closer spaced, which only emphasizes the difference. (I would bet that IHC simply took their 2-6-0 mechanism and dropped the first driver.



  • 1204 Casey Jones 4-6-0 - Illinois Central loco no. 382 was built in 1896 and used to power the IC's top express trains, including the Cannonball. Casey Jones was an engineer at the throttle in April 1900 when the train crashed into three freight cars left on the main. Rather than jumping to safety, he stayed at the throttle until the end, in an effort to slow it as much as possible. He was the only fatality. His heroism was fairly common at the time, but a ballad was made of this wreck and due to its popularity, his name became synonymous with railroad men everywhere.
    The loco itself, which AHM originally replicated, was typical of the 1890's, with two exceptions. It had a Belpaire firebox and a short clerestory on the cab roof, apparently the second as a way to blend into the profile of the passenger cars. After the wreck, the loco was rebuilt and I believe the this version duplicates that. The loco had 69 inch drivers (the song called the loco a "six-eight wheeler" which probably referred to the driver diameter, off by one inch) and a narrow firebox between the drivers. By the late '30's, this class of locos had been extensively rebuilt and not recognizable as the this version.
This is one of the few AHM locos that was only resurrected under the IHC name for a short time and not ever under the Rivarossi one.
If you wanted to "unspecify" this model, besides replacing the headlight with an electric one and removing the clerestory on the roof, you'd probably want to replace the Fox trucks under the tender with more modern ones (or even arch bar, just more typical ones).


  • USRA Light Pacific 4-6-2 - There were 81 light Pacifics built during WWI, which went to the ACL, B&O, and L&N. Close copies were later built for these three as well as the GTW and M&O, with the ACL getting the most (70 total of the original and clones), and the B&O a far second (45 total original and clones).


  • Semi-Streamlined Pacific 4-6-2 - They took their USRA standard loco, above, and added some skirting to the running boards for a on-the-cheap streamline loco. The one prototype that comes to my mind is the Rutland's Whippet, even though that was a 2-8-0, not a Pacific.


  • 1540 B&O 4-6-2 Pacfic - The USRA heavy Pacific, decorated for one (the President Fillmore) of the 20 "President" Pacifics with red and gold pinstriping.



  • Hudson 4-6-4 - It appears they took their mountain loco, below, and substituted a Hudson mechanism. Not any specific prototype, but I think it is a good idea. (The firebox is really set for a two-wheel trailing truck, so the four-wheel one of the Hudson looks a little cramped, but not too bad, in my opinion. But you could switch trailing trucks and get a Pacific and Northern 4-8-4.)


  • Mountain 4-8-2 - I believe this is a C&O prototype, with the hallmark airpoints mounted on a smokebox. IHC is also offering this without the air pumps, but they didn't put them any place else, so this version (such as model no. 903, CB&Q) can't (theoretically) stop. They also leave off the headlight which is even more noticable. (The parts might be included but not shown on the stock model.)
I also think this model was originally imported by Pemco and IHC only later took it on.
According to SteamLocomotives dot com, the C&O originated the 4-8-2 wheel arrangement, in 1911, with two locos built by Alco. Between then and 1923, they got a total of 10 Mountains. In the 1930's, the 7 class J-2 locos (acquired 1918-'23) were modernized with rebuilt cabs, feedwater heaters, the air pumps moved to the front of the smokebox, and a Vanderbilt tender. It would appear this is the version IHC modeled. (The first three locos had 62-inch drivers while the 7 locos of class J-2 had 69-inch drivers.)


  • 4-4-0/2-6-0 Mother Hubbard - Personally, I find the superstructure weird and unconvincing. I'm not sure why. For one thing, it has a square headlight, indicating an oil headlight of the 1880's or earlier, but a round steam chest, indicating post-1904 piston valves. And the cab has a crappy little vestige of a clerestory - a full clerestory is unusual enough on a cab.



  • 1248/3 SP 4-8-8-2 Cab Forward - These were locos on the SP that were built to run cab first, because of the many and long tunnels and snowsheds. This kept the crew in front of the exhaust, not trailing it. These engines burned oil which could be piped to the firebox, otherwise they couldn't have separated the firebox from the tender.
    According to the review in the June '66 MR, there were several classes of cab forwards, AC-4 through AC-12. The first three series (AC-4 through AC-6) had a flat front to the cab, while the rest had a rounded front. This model was based on the plans of AC-11 no. 4272 in the June '48 MR and reprinted in Steam Loco Cyclopedia. This class of 30 locos (nos. 4245-4274) were built by Baldwin in 1942-'43.
The first cab forwards were the MC-2 class ("Mallet - Consolidation) built in 1910. "AC" stood for "articulated - consolidation", probably meaning they were not compound engines. The SP had a total of 256 cab forwards and no other road is known to have had any.
This was a former AHM model and it is now available under the Rivarossi label, not IHC.


  • 1254/2 UP Big Boy 4-8-8-4 - By many attributes, this class of locos were the biggest steam engines ever produced. Only the UP had ones like this. These locos were constructed in late 1941 (nos. 4000-4019), with five more built in '44 (nos. 4020-4024). Legend has it that the name came about when some unknown worker at Alco chalked "Big Boy" on the smokebox front. They stayed in service until 1962 and a large number (proportionately) were preserved. This model, with smaller flanges, but still not RP-25, is still available from Rivarossi.
This was a former AHM model and it is now available under the Rivarossi label, not IHC.