Athearn Genesis 2-8-2 Questions

Discussion in '2-8-2 Mikado' started by gna, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    I bought an Athearn Genesis 2-8-2 lettered for the Frisco, #4030, off eBay. The item came with some shipping damage to the pilot, pilot truck, and details. The mechanism seems ok, though the pilot does derail easily. The seller and I worked out a deal, so I'm keeping it. I may install a Soundtraxx decoder.

    I have 2 questions:
    1. Anyone have one? How does it run, what sorts of problems have you encountered?
    2. As I have to buy some details anyway, what details will I need to Friscoize it?
  2. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Howdy Gary,

    The Geneis 2-8-2 is a nice loco with a little work. You may want to consider adding an operating coupler to the front pilot and adding weight for a start. It does not pull well in my experience without the weight. Tony's Train exchange ( has articles about the coupler and weight as I recall and may have an article about sound, too.

  3. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter


    I bought one at a local Houston train show for a very reasonable price. It ran well out of the box, and the locomotive has taken up temporary residence in Springfield, where my nephew keeps an eye on it. I concur with Mike; a little of extra weight would would help. The layout in Springfield has 42" radius curves with a ruling grade of 1.75%. It will handle 15-20 cars depending on make and weight.

    A new Pyle headlight and coonskin headlight bracket will improve its looks immediately. Since the original headlight is cast-on, some cutting and filling will be necessary. The bell is a bit crude, and a new one should be added. A smoke density lamp and class lamps should round out the front. If you care to modernize the locomotive, a Delta trailer with booster and associated piping, could be a nice touch. A cover for the sanders is also a Frisco feature

    Don Wirth has posted doghouse plans, and that addition will be a nice touch if appropriate for your locomotive number. Trim boards for the coal bunker will add to the Frisco flavor for a later-appearing 4000 class locomotive.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2008
  4. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    Thanks Karl. Everyone says add weight; it seems to me that its balance is a little off. It seems to balance on the third driver.

    Any advice on where to get parts? Precison scale or Cal-scale?
  5. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    A bit OT for this thread, but is there a part for the smoke density lamps out there?

    I think Don Wirth wrote or mailed some time ago that he's used a scale pipe-T on appropriate-sized wire. I've tried to cobble one together with wire and leftover diesel wiper blade sprues for the oil hatch on 4-6-2 #1057 but it keeps falling apart.

    Perhaps the wise thing to do is start another thread if others have suggestions.

    Karl and Mike, I appreciate the reviews! This is one product I've been eyeing for a while.

    Best Regards,
  6. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    I couldn't find a part listed. I'm not even sure what it is. I'll have to look it up.

    Hmmm.. maybe we do need a separate thread.
  7. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter


    I've been thinking it is about time that we list all the current models available in all the scales, pluse list the detail parts needed to bring them closer to the prototype. The stack light is a good example. We could list the part name and source, plus include a photo of any construction needed and the finished product. Our more experienced Frisco modelers would have the opportunity to share their considerable wealth of knowledge with the Frisco community. Great knowledge, fully shared!

    What do folks think? Is it worth the effort?

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2008
  8. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    I'd love it--I need all the help I can get--but it would be a lot of work. (Not for me--I doubt I could teach anyone on this site anything). I've got some other steam projects--I'm working on an MDC Roundhouse 2-8-0 kit I'd like to detail as a Frisco Connie, and next is a Bowser Casey Jones 4-6-0 that I want to build as a Frisco ten-wheeler. So more info is better!

    As an update, I emailed Athearn asking about parts, and out of the blue a road pilot showed up. On the Real Frisco section of this forum, Karl posted a diagram of a Frisco Light Mikado,
    from which I learned the pilot truck should be 33". The Athearn scaled out to about 30" and was out of gauge, so I replaced it and now the pilot truck doesn't derail. I replaced the yellow LED with a golden white, but I will get the Pyle headlight and Coonskin in good time. I haven't found a good picture of 4030, but I'll keep looking. I'm trying to figure out how to add weight to the front of the engine and install tender pickups.
  9. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Gary, I'd be eager to hear details on how both progress; pictures, too, of your works-in-progress.

    Best Regards,
  10. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    I've got a question for the steam experts out there. This picture is from Springfield-Greene Library. Can anyone tell me what these two circled parts are, and if anyone makes them as detail parts in HO? Is the one in front of the stack a steam density lamp?


    I'm making slow progress on my Mike. I fixed the pilot, bent some new details from brass wire, and installed a Soundtraxx decoder and speaker in the tender. It stalls on turnouts; I've yet to install tender pickups. I had to order the Frisco headlight bracket and Pyle headlight from my LHS; they haven't come in yet.
  11. slsfrr (Jerome Lutzenberger RIP 9/1/2018)

    slsfrr (Jerome Lutzenberger RIP 9/1/2018) Engineer Staff Member Supporter

    I have two of the Atheran 2-8-2’s that I bought several years ago. You are right; they are not balanced properly (at least that is my experience).

    If you look at the drivers you will notice they are sprung. Turn the engine on its back and gently push down on the driver. If it springs back it is ok. If not, then you need to pull the plate and reposition the spring. As happens, I lost one, so I used a kadee coupler spring which worked just fine. That seems to help tracking and pulling more than anything else.

    However, I did add weight every place I could put it. I also cut the covering off the wiring harness that goes from the tender to the locomotive.

    As far as detailing goes if it says Frisco on the side and has the right engine number for the class then I am happy.

    Hope this helps,
  12. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    GNA--I don't even pretend to be an expert, but the small wire-like device to the front is a smoke density lamp as I understand it, to determine if the engine is burning fuel efficiently. The other device is the booster exhaust.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2009
    gna likes this.
  13. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Tom, you've cleared up one mystery for me, vis-a-vis the booster exhaust.

    Gary, I'm not aware of smoke density lamp detail parts. I think Don Wirth has posted here or elsewhere at some point that he has used a Tomalco(?) HO-scale pipe tee on appropriate sized wire - he might be able to confirm or deny.

    On my glacially-paced 4-6-2 project, I tried using rather thin wire with a bit of sprue from a cab unit plastic wiper blades for the tender's filler lamp but the spue keeps falling off.

    Best Regards,
  14. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    It was important for the fireman to use the color of his smoke being exhausted from the stack as an indicator of the condition of his fire. Maintaining a good fire also helped with fuel economy, and the Frisco was keen to keep it's fuel costs down. A quick perusal of the on-line collection of the Frisco Man/Frisco Employee Magazine bears witness to that. Some municipalities had smoke abatement ordinances that required clean stack.

    The Railroads and the Municpalities used the Ringelmann Chart as a standard to achive clean stacks.

    During the daylight observing the stack was straight forward. At night it was difficult to view the smoke, and hence the lamp. The Frisco was a big believer in this apparatus, and it applied it to nearly every locomotive.

    Collias's book, Frisco Power has a shot of 4411 with 2nd-10 at Springfield. This night shot shows clearly the appliance at work.

    I believe that the method that UNITED used on its PFM Frisco 2-10-0 might serve your needs.

    It is just a brass rod/tube that has been mounted on brass wire, which runs to an electrical junction box from which thin brass wires go to the class lamp brackets. It's nothing fancy, but it might suit your needs. You might also chuck it up in a motor tool or drill, and put a slight taper at it's base.

    Hand rail stanchions might be used to attach the lamp to the the stack. Lift rings might also do the trick.

    PSC handrail Stanchions

    Custom Finishing Junction Box

    If you retain the Hodges trailer, you won't have any need for a booster stack. However, if you use a Delta trailer and booster, a brass rod, bent to shape should do the trick.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2009
    gna likes this.
  15. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    Thank you, Karl, Tom, and Chris. I've always wondered what that was on Frisco steamers, and now I know. I'll try to make one. I want to get a delta truck and booster, so I'll add the booster stack, too.

    Do you like the PSC Delta truck?

    I made a little progress tonight. I installed tender pickups, following this guide:

    The mike runs a little better, but now I get shorting at some turnouts. I swear, sometimes I think this loco is snakebit, all the problems it's given me. Here's a bad picture of the mike and the connie. The connie will probably get valve gear from Bowser, and some new brass details.

    Attached Files:

  16. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Superb summary, Karl. Excellent information to have. I'm finding it much easier to model steam when I actually know the purpose of the various attachments.

    I'm not sure I can place my finger on it, but the photo of 2nd-10 at Springfield in the rain with the glare of the stack lamp is one of those I find myself staring at for minutes on end. It would be a fun challenge to model-night lighting effects and all!

    While I'm still trying to mentally digest the information, the FEM articles to which you refer do make for some good reading. Between fuel conservation efforts and the early recycling at the South Shops reclamation plant, gross wastefulness certainly wasn't a problem!

    Thanks again for the background and links, Karl...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2009
  17. FRISCO4503

    FRISCO4503 FRISCO4503 Supporter

    Not only should a list be made of what is readily available out there, but, also add to the list what is out there but out of production. There is a treasure trove of FRISCO to be found from both new and old stock. I know I have found tons and tons of it. I find things every now and then on EBAY that I never heard of. I did something along these lines when I was in the Army in 1996. I took a picture of FRISCO #1522 and an older Walthers Catalog and matched up Detail for Detail on an old Bowser 4-8-2 M1-a Mountain. I rebuilt a MAntua Tender. I placed an order for every detail in the book that came really close. When the parts all came in. I went to town adding details everywhere. I couldn't for the life of me get the hanging hardware right because I could figure out Bowsers rivet tool but alas I had to part with her and can only imagine where she is now. BUt I did as was posted here. I made a density light and ran it up the front of the stack and connected it with lift rings. It was fun building one of FRISCO's most beautiful Masterpieces!|-|
  18. FRISCO4503

    FRISCO4503 FRISCO4503 Supporter

    P. S. In loo of what Mike said about te list being made of whats out there. I was told that the days of the "Master Modeler" are gone. Maybe I should introduce this feller to all of you!|-|
  19. renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013)

    renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013) Passed away March 8, 2013

    The main thing you will have to add a Pyle-national headlight with the frisco coonskin number plate under neath it. You will need to replace the USRA trailing truck with a cast steel type used by the frisco with booster engine, I can not think of the name of it at this time. A Bowser 30 foot tender is a better fit for the Frisco. I own three of them from the first run many years ago, they seem to run so so, will not pull very much, my Bowser USRA Friscoized engines will pull twice the number of cars.
    Richard E. Napper
  20. FRISCO4503

    FRISCO4503 FRISCO4503 Supporter

    Thanks for the Tip Richard! IS it Cal-Scale that makes the trailing truck?


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