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Kitbashing CNJ M2 & M3 Mikados

from Victor Roseman
Wooten Fireboxes and other details for CNJ M2 & M3 Mikados

For Mikados the Rivarossi engine is a good start. The Mikes were always the best running of this line of engines. Shame to remotor them. I think the newest ones come with a better motor and small flanges. As they come they are nothing. They have the Pacific boiler which has too small a smoke box. I cut the stack off and filed down the details and wrapped the smokebox in about .020 or so thick styrene sheet, you could probably get Riko or else our Evergreen.

Then the fun starts for there is no boiler front for this. I wrapped a brass casting with about .030 square section strip styrene- brass would be better but it is what I had. Makes a credible front end, although you could file off what you don't need on the Rivarossi front and wrap that for a beefy looking front. Details varied from loco to loco and you have to pick out what you need from catalogs, unfortunately. To have a real USRA Mike you need a Cole trailing truck. I think I chopped mine down from the Rivarossi Delta truck, but you could use the one of the Mehano Pacific or Mikado as well, or use those as a starting point to build your own.

I suggest getting the catalog from Bowser for Cal Scale parts, including a lot of Bowser and Cary pieces you might be able to cobble into something too. Precision Scale catalog has many times more of what they make than you would find in Walthers, if you have one of those catalogs.

For the fireboxes on these engines, Lee Town had nothing you could use unless you could make something for a 2-8-0 fit. I added strip styrene to the outside of the plastic boilers and wrapped these with sheet to get the wide firebox. The cab gets notched too and the front and bottom plates glued to the open area- make those from bits of styrene sheet. This is not hard to do if you have worked in styrene before. If not, make up some cubes and little forms as practice before chopping into a Rivarossi model.

Personally, I work from a Rivarossi boiler as described above and use the Mantua mechanism with Bowser spoked drivers. I gear my locos with the NWSL spares and sets and I use a Mashima motor, although your favorite will do too. I fit together valve gear using the very nice little link Bowser offers for (I think) their K-4., but you can retain the whole Mantua valve gear for it is pretty close to CNJ's


from Doug Hunt

  1. notch cab

  2. wide firebox, build up with styrene.  New running boards over the new firebox sides.

  3. possibly relocate generator to firemans side of firebox

  4. enclosed turret in front of cab, maybe Bowser's IC covered turret

  5. twin single stage air compressors

  6. optional: Elesco feedwater heater system

  7. trailing truck is fine as-is for an M-2/M-3

  8. the IHC 4-6-2 trailing truck or Bowser's USRA 4-6-2 die-cast trailing truck is good for an M-1.  Cal-scale also has a brass one, but it is very expensinve, and the Bowser die-cast is the same thing.  (Bowser owns the Cal-scale line)

  9. different vertical boiler check valves, Precision Scale makes a nice set

  10. smokebox modification Vic described.  A Cal-Scale 81" USRA front would be a good starting point.


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Last modified:  16 July 2016