Sunday, May 12, 2024

New Walthers Mainline RS-2

Chicago Great Western fans have had several new models in recent months. I talked about the Broadway Limited F3s in this post. I recently ordered one of the new Walthers RS-2s. The CGW had eight units numbered 50-57, built in May and September 1949. The Walthers models are numbered 53 and 57, both in the final CGW diesel scheme of bright red with black roofs. I ordered the 53:
I haven't been able to find any color photos of the prototype 53 in the late scheme, but here's a photo of the prototype 52 by Jim Sands:
The red on the Walthers model seems a little too maroon, but it definitely isn't the older maroon of the 1950s scheme, which is illustrated in this photo from Steven Rush.
But here's a photo of a cow-and-calf set in the 1960s brighter red from an unknown photographer:
This seems closer to the red of the model. I've never been a believer in exact colors on the prototype or model, since this can depend on the age of the paint, lighting, weathering, and in fact where the individual shop or railroad bought its paint. A model can be wildly off, which is one thing, but I don't think the Walthers model is wildly off, and I can live with this color.

Notably, the prototype of 53 has a lengthwise stack, while the model has a crosswise stack. This is a bit odd, because Walthers advertises that each road name version has the stack in the prototype position -- however, 57, the other number Walthers did in this run, had a crosswise stack. On the other hand, I haven't been able to find any photos of either 53 or 57 in the late bright red scheme.

This run of RS-2s has the new standard Mainline features of diagonally cut gears in a newly tooled chassis, and this is the first Walthers run of RS-2s with factory sound. I weighed this updated unit on a postal scale, and it came in at about 10.5 ounces. I weighed an earlier-run Walthers RS-2 on the same scale, and it was heavier, at 11.5 ounces. I assume the need to allow space for a speaker in the retooled frame accounts for the difference.

The sound is ESU LokSound Select, with limited features. This is well-suited to a loco of the 1950s and 60s, which didn't have features like flashing ditch lights. I liked the Alco sounds.

The headlight is satisfyingly bright. A good feature when I tested the loco for a first run was that it began rolling very, very slowly on speed step 1, without any need for running in or tuning CV 2 for starting voltage.

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