3/4" BN SW1500

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by Daris A Nevil

A nice looking Burlington Northern SW1500 EMD switcher in 3/4 inch scale was posted for sale on eBay in December 2012. Here is the description of the engine from the auction:

I started this project in 1979 when my son was 3 years old. He just turned 37! Engine is well constructed of 13 gauge CRS for the under carriage, and 18 gauge CRS for the cab and engine cowling. It is currently non-powered. I had two thoughts regarding power, one was a 12 volt motor cycle starter with drive belts, or four traction motors.
  • Dimensions
    • Under carriage: 7.75" x 31.5" long
    • Cab: 7.5" wide x 7.25" high
    • Engine Compartment: 4.75" wide x 5.5" high x 21.5" long
    • Approximate weight: 40 pounds without motors

I wrote to the seller asking for details on the engine, and whether he purchased drawings and castings or designed from scratch. I received the following reply.

To: Daris
From: Rob
Sent: Dec-29-12 03:01 AM
Hello Daris, This is a total custom Engine, and everything was built from scratch! At the time 1976 I was a Master Model Maker, newly graduated Mechanical Engineer working for Motorola! The only thing purchased are the fasteners, all the rest has been fabricated. Thanks for asking. It was built for my 3 year old son in 1978, he is now 37! LOL
All the details were pressed in using a Diacrol Press brake. The head lamps, Bell, bearing slides, and horns are solid brass. The bearing slides also have oil lite bushing pressed in. When my son was 3 I brought it home. He sat down on the cab and I gave him a push! He went right through the kitchen wall! LOL. We laugh about it now. With 3D modeling it would be a breeze to duplicate the unit. I am currently designing the trucks with 4 traction motors as that is my preference. If the motors are not driven then they will be generating? I see the controller having 4 Rocker switches one for each motor. Any combo can be drivers, generators, as well as braking systems. It is up to the new owner to decide whether he wants traction motors, or utilize drive pulleys. But he has both options. Originally I had it painted Black and Orange, and I should have left it alone, as it was beautiful! I have no idea what the AAR Type A prototypes are but this was built in 1978!
The original design only had a few louvers, but I like the way they looked so I kind of went over board with them. Also they really stiffened up the panels.