Model Power HO 2-8-0 - any advice?
I have a Model Power 2-8-0. It's tender driven (with rigid trucks and 36" wheels!), but all in all not a bad little engine. Being all plastic, except for the brass driver tires (which pick up power), I am surprised at how well it runs and how good it looks. It's no Spectrum or Proto 2000, but it's a lot cheaper as well. And kitbashing is easy since the motor is out of the way!
Here's a photo from the Frateschi web site (the company that makes these models in Brazil):
What I am looking for is advice from others who have seen, owned, or worked on this model. I plan on adding DCC, so I have to figure out how to isolate the motor. I would like to replace the tender wheels with 33" nickel silver wheels, which means I have to figure out if replacements are available and how to get them swapped.
DCC: The tender frame is plastic, and it looks like the wiring from the wipers on the wheels is all embedded in the plastic. I don't see any obvious place to isolate the motor from the track, so my first thought is to use a cutoff wheel and saw through the plastic underneath the brushes, then add new wires as needed. If there's an easier way, I'm all ears! Note that there have apparently been a couple versions of this model, with the newer ones having a circuit board and being fairly easy to convert to DCC. Mine is the older version.
Wheels: I cannot figure out how to get the model apart. I can get the tender shell off, of course, and the sideframes pop off easily enough, but it looks like I'm going to have to pull the wheels out to get it disassembled any further. Before I go yanking parts off (and breaking things) I was hoping somebody could say for sure that's the way to go. After that, does anybody make a suitable wheelset (I assume it's a half axle?) to replace the ones on the model? I can live with 36" wheels if I have to, of course, but I'd like to go with something smaller and more prototypical if practical.
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