Railflyer at Springfield

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Hawkeye251

Member
Thanks for posting these Ryan, a lot of people stopped by the Railflyer booth yesterday, and there seemed to be a lot of interest. Chris was kind enough to bring my walkway module to the show with him, so I'll be reviewing and building it up over the next few weeks and will post my thoughts as I do so.

This stuff is real guys, and it's amazing. Chris said that he's got everything for the deck down in stock now, so if you've been waiting to place an order, now is the time. The wide cab should be ready fairly soon, but I'll let Chris give you any details on that.

If you'll be at the show today, stop by and say hi.

Chris
www.milepost15.wordpress.com
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Are the SD40's counted in the 34'? I've never know what an SD40's wheel base length is. This might allow me to repower & rechassis all my current SD39 & 40 projects.
 

Railphotog

Railroad Photographer
Great to see Chris really coming along with his products. I've known him for many years, he used to live a few houses up our street. He moved away and I later found out he was flying commercial aircraft in the US. He got tired of that and moved back to the area, got married and now has a child.

He does all the work himself on his models - researches and measures/photographs the prototypes, does the drawings on his computer, and deals with firms all over the world to have them made. When he mentioned his intent of making all of the parts to do a diesel, I really thought it might be a long time in coming if at all possible, especially doing it on his own. But he seems to be doing good, and exposure at a show like this one will only help spread the word.

Thanks for the photos of his items, I hadn't seen them. I took many photos of his parts for his website last fall, but the cab and underframe details weren't availalable at the time.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Josh,

If you want to see the 38/39/40/45 line SD chassis, you'll need to support the efforts of Railflyer now. As Bob indicated, this is a one-man operation and Christopher has gone into massive debt to produce what you see in the photos I linked. If this isn't financially successful, there definitely won't be any more products, so my suggestion is that you buy one of the SD Dash 2 chassis and build an SD40-2 or SD38-2 while Christopher continues to develop more products.

One alternative for you is to make four cuts (fore and aft of the fuel tank) to shorten the chassis to your liking. The frame is made of injection molded plastic, so it's not like reworking an Atlas or Athearn diecast chassis.

You could also support Christopher's efforts by purchasing other products from him to get him some cash flow. One thing I can recommend are the step kits and pilot faces, which are a vast improvement to anything currently available in plastic or brass. They don't cost much and they look fantastic. There are also some detail parts in the photo series, like the underframe detail bundle, which includes the air tanks, air filters and other components. Install that along with the Cannon fuel tank detail set and you've dramatically improved any EMD RTR model on the market.

The important thing to impress upon everyone is that if you like what you see, go to the Railflyer website and make a purchase large or small. The concepts are groundbreaking and the execution is flawless, but none of it can happen if it doesn't return the money Christopher has invested into it.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Thanks Ryan! I'm planning to buy a few pilot/step kits soon. I just wasn't sure what the SD38/39/40/45 wheel base length was. I think my first purchase will be the SD split air tanks, and a standard SD step kit, with a pilot, for an SD40.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
That should be 40 ft. even, bolster to bolster for the frame you're talking about.
 

River Run

Diesel Detailer
I really like what I see as an old detailer from way back, but it seems when I visit the site there are photos, but no explaination of the applications. I would really like to see some kind of text on this explaining what the different frames fit and what all the measurements of the frames apply to. It's pretty sketchy, and I think he would have much more success with this if he explained things a little more. As a person that makes and sells items for the diecast car collecting hobby, I find that explaining things helps sales. Not trying to be an antagonist here, I'm trying to help plus find out what's going on with this myself, as I'm very interested. One major mistake a person that makes and sells items to the public can make is having the impression that everybody else knows what you know. Thanks! :)
 
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Railphotog

Railroad Photographer
Randy: I can see where you are coming from. As I noted, I've photographed a bunch of Chris' parts for him and there are a lot of them that I don't have a clue as to their application. Probably Chris assumes the rabid modeler who would use his parts probably knows what they are and where they go. But not being that into modern diesel modeling these days, I would certainly be apprehensive about wanting to, and using his parts. What to use, and where?
 

Hawkeye251

Member
Randy, One thing Christopher likes to emphasize to all potential customers is that the best way to find out what parts you need is to send him an e-mail with a road name and unit number, if you do, he'll give you the correct part #'s for that unit. There's also a search field at the bottom of the page when you're in the shopping cart (Click on "Detail Parts" then choose a category, to enter the cart). Typing in a unit type (i.e.: gp38-2) will give you the parts applicable to that type of locomotive, with a description telling you what road name they go best with.

I've always found Christopher to be very good about responding to questions or suggestions submitted via e-mail, contact him at christopher@railflyermodelprototypes.com. Like Bob said, Christopher does a lot of this work on his own and is pretty busy, but I think you'll find that he gets back to you within a few days.

Josh, knowing the sort of modeling you like to do, you should definitely pick up one of the walkway modules. Get an SD40-2 as a first practice unit and figure out how everything goes together (and really, being a BNSF modeler can you ever have enough SD40-2's? :). Then get another and try modifying it to fit the SD40. Like Ryan said, the only way Railflyer will be able to offer more prototypes is if the Dash 2 line is successful.

Chris
www.milepost15.wordpress.com
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Thanks guys. Ryan, thanks, as I've said,. I never knew, Railflyer's measurements are bolster to bolster, so I'll wait until I see that (and ask Chris when a 40' length comes out).

Chris, thats what I'm planning. My brain clicked last night, like it always does when I try to go to bed... I have a Kato SD40-2 shell, with an SD45 radiator section thats waiting on a chassis, might as well use the Railflyer, since getting a Kato chassis is darned near impossible, and/or expensive.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
I really like what I see as an old detailer from way back, but it seems when I visit the site there are photos, but no explaination of the applications. I would really like to see some kind of text on this explaining what the different frames fit and what all the measurements of the frames apply to. It's pretty sketchy, and I think he would have much more success with this if he explained things a little more. As a person that makes and sells items for the diecast car collecting hobby, I find that explaining things helps sales. Not trying to be an antagonist here, I'm trying to help plus find out what's going on with this myself, as I'm very interested. One major mistake a person that makes and sells items to the public can make is having the impression that everybody else knows what you know. Thanks! :)
Randy, I'm with you on this. I make no secret about my enthusiasm for Railflyer. You could even go so far as to call me an "evangelist" of sorts for Railflyer's products and concepts. I'm not an employee or a consultant, though, just someone who sees something groundbreaking and wants to help the venture achieve success.

I have followed Railflyer's product development closely for some time now, so I'm very familiar with what you see in the photos. I know that Railflyer is basically a one-man operation, with the help of some volunteers collecting and presenting prototype information. Because Christopher, the "one-man" behind the company, is so busy creating products, performing QA, keeping vendors in line, etc., there is something of a vacuum in terms of documentation. I find that I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to this problem because I'd rather see more products than more documentation!

Christopher has prepared the first of some PDF documents that will help bring the concepts into focus a little better, but there is room for improvement in these documents. I'd suggest that you have a look at what he's put together so far on the Railflyer website under the heading References.

That should get you started. I can go a little more in-depth on this for you here, though. Instead of creating a new locomotive (and reinventing the wheel, so to speak, as Life Like and Athearn have been known to do), Railflyer is designing a modular locomotive building system, which will allow the customer to build the locomotive of his or her choice using the appropriate components, much in the same way the real locomotives are built. If you think about it, the hood doors on a GP38 are the same as those on an SD45-2. The cab is the same, air tanks and fuel tanks are the same, the blower duct is made modular-style of lengths of duct material. What Railflyer is doing here is creating the parts-stock for you to grab each item "off the shelf" to build your model, whether it's a GP38, a GP40-2 or an SD40-2 (or any model in between).

The modular locomotive building system is a work in progress. That's not to say that Railflyer is releasing halfway-designed products or poorly though-out kits that won't work with future offerings. Christopher is meticulous and has a knack for traveling down several mental avenues during the design process. He has an inventor's mind, you could say.

The first "kit" in the modular locomotive building system is the walkway module. The two versions offered represent EMD/GMDD Dash 2 GP and SD frames and can be customized to represent virtually any GP or SD locomotive in the Dash 2 line simply by providing a railroad and unit number, along with a photo or photo link of the desired prototype.

EMD and GMDD General Purpose diesels have shared the same wheelbase frame since the GP38, GP39 and GP40 came on the scene (with a few variations and exceptions). This frame design continued through the Dash 2 line up to and including the GP49 and GP50. Similarly, the SD diesels share a common frame, though it was lengthened with the introduction of the Dash 2 line to accommodate the larger trucks. The frame was again lengthened when the SD50 series was offered (although a short version, the SD50S, was offered on the standard Dash 2 frame), and the frame length has varied a few times since.

The Railflyer walkway module gives you the ability to create everything from the hood bottom down to the railhead for any EMD/GMDD diesel from the GP38 to the GP50 and from the SD38-2 to the SD50S. As I explained to Josh above, the pre-Dash 2 models, including the SD38, SD39, SD40 and SD45 can be built by shortening the walkway module fore and aft of the fuel tank to give a total length of 40 feet, bolster to bolster. Four sawcuts and some styrene cement, epoxy or CA gets the job done.

The next line of kits are cab/subbase and nose kits. Some have said these duplicate the Cannon line of cab kits, but the first of the Railflyer releases, the Canadian wide cab (comfort cab, wide nose cab, safety cab, whatever you want to call it) is not offered by Cannon. It does duplicate the efforts of two other companies, but those companies that have produced it have not attained the level of quality associated with Cannon cab kits. The Canadian cab kit can be seen in the photo above, and in the photo gallery I posted the cab and walkway module can be seen together.

In addition to a seemingly endless variety of detail parts associated with the walkway module and cab kits, the next step of the modular locomotive system has been announced on the Railflyer website. It consists of hood side kits, which enable the kitbasher or scratchbuilder to bypass the traditional method of cutting and splicing shells together or of accumulating numerous packages of Cannon door kits (and in some cases, kitbashing individual doors) and building a styrene "frame" to place the doors in. With the hood kits, you get a set of photoetched layers (door base, door frames and the doors themselves) and injection molded "knuckle buster" door latches. For example, all the doors you need to do a GP38-2 are included in the GP38-2 set.

Small production locomotives like the GP39-2 are now possible (and on the horizon in the form of these hood kits). Until now, there's no way Athearn or Atlas would offer a GP39-2. Why? Santa Fe had at least four distinct versions of them, and that's just one of the railroads that bought them. If Athearn or Atlas choose the Delaware and Hudson version, they don't make their Burlington Northern fans happy since BN used the late version and only a small portion of the Santa Fe fleet can be modeled because they had less than 20 of that version. Choose the late Santa Fe version and the D&H and CSX guys won't be interested.

So, you build your walkway module, add the cab kit, build the hood sides and apply them to a hood "core" (in the concept phase now), detail, paint and decal and you have a road-specific, phase-specific, number-specific model with detail unparalleled by Atlas, Kato, Athearn or even Overland brass. See why I'm fanatical about this concept yet?

Even if you don't want to build the whole modular model, any of Railflyer's detail parts from the most minute details to the correctly contoured fuel tank will improve any EMD model. Just having photoetched step kits to represent some of the unusual step arrangements you'll see out there was a giant leap forward. Where Railflyer's obsession for prototype fidelity has taken the product line today is amazing when you consider this is the work of one guy in two years' time.

If you model any EMD or GMDD diesel, from simply adding ditchlights or steps to building the whole thing from scratch, you owe it to yourself to check out Railflyer. And if you don't model HO scale, first of all, I'm sorry, but there's a cure for that: switch scales.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Wow Long winded reply Ryan! Sadly, I read the whole thing.

I love the Railflyer concept, and think its the most brilliant thing ever. Plus if brings us modelers back TOWARDS the root of "scale" modeling, in the aspect that its all kit form again, yet brings us leaps and bounds closer to being perfectly to scale, and prototypically accurate at the same time.

I'm waiting for a SD70M/SD90MAC Series II EMD Wide Cab, and an SD70M/MAC flare kit from Railflyer, to take the place of the cruddy resin example on the market (albeit hidden).

The hood core idea sounds tempting, however, I ALSO like Hi Tech Details SD39 hood sides approach, single cast part, designed to accept Cannon doors, and would like to see more of those, though I'm sure the Railflyer concept will steal my mind set there.

P.S. you messed one thing up. The cab on a GP38 is not the same as an SD45-2. Remember the Dash 2's come with the small lip to the rear of the roof. But I understand what you're trying to say by that.
 
Updates

Hi Guys,

I just got back late last night from the show. We're trying to get things sorted out and our back orders shipped. The new stuff looks awesome however we do not have all of it. I'll be spending most of the week finishing up the details of this production run.

The new pilots are in stock however. At this point you can use our GP D2frame and make it a GP38/40. We have all of parts to do this except a new walkway duct. There is new GP38/40 tread-plate on our inbound production run that replicates either the early "X" pattern or later "Double D". We can offer the same for the SD versions but we still need to draft new sills for this. I plan on doing this along with others such as the SD40, SD40A, and GP15-1 very quickly.

It looks like we lined up Digitrax at the show to supply the electrical components for the drive. With support, this part of the project will go very quickly.

Chris Slemp was at the table and allowed my father in law and I to walk around a bit. Thanks for doing this.

All the best,

Christopher Howard
Railflyer Model Prototypes Inc.

www.railflyermodelprototypes.com
 

River Run

Diesel Detailer
What I would like to see is a Package that could be purchased all together to produce a certain locomotive. For example, say someone wants to build a GP-38AC for...Norfolk & Western. Could a Package of Railflyer components be offered so one doesn't have to "shop" the website like a detective for hours trying to figure out what is what?

Example...


Package #001-GP-38/40, This Kit includes all components of Railflyer products neccesary to build the GP-38AC, GP38, GP-38-2, GP-40, GP40-2.

Package #002-SD38-2/SD40-2, This Kit includes all components of Railflyer products neccesary to produce SD38-2/SD40-2.

Frame, Sills, Fuel Tank, Pilots, etc.. in one Package.

For lack of better words, a "kit" of all the parts Railflyer makes in one package for ONE PRICE to produce a specific model. I would certainly prefer to puchase these products in "package" or "kit form" as opposed to shopping each individual part.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Awesome idea Randy. Each package could just be a package deal of all the parts required. This will not be possible for a few years however, due to the time it takes to build up a supply of everything. Each version would get its own package though. I.E. Sou GP49, Sou GP38AC, ATSF GP38-2, ATSF GP39-2 Phase I, ATSF GP39-2 Phase II Ect...
 
Ordering

Randy,

We can do what you ask over time, its too much work at the present. I do have some tips on the Model Kits page for determining your order however you can email a unit number and we can build you a shopping list with links.

All the best,

Christopher Howard
Railflyer Model Prototypes Inc.

www.railflyermodelprototypes.com
 

Smoke

Southern Railway lives on
I have been looking into building a scale model of a EMD unit, probably something before the widecabs. I was fortunate enough to find Railflyer webpage from Brian Banna's website. I now have alot of the pieces of the puzzle to biuld a highly prototypical, fine scale model. granted mine would probably be fantasy, but I still can biuld it to a prototype, only with a High Hood.:D
 

River Run

Diesel Detailer
Randy,

We can do what you ask over time, its too much work at the present. I do have some tips on the Model Kits page for determining your order however you can email a unit number and we can build you a shopping list with links.

All the best,

Christopher Howard
Railflyer Model Prototypes Inc.

www.railflyermodelprototypes.com
I looked at your website. You need to put more pictures up and explain things a little more before I spend any money. I don't know if a frame and walkway are one piece, or if the bolsters are separate pieces or what. It's just too sketchy to me... I'm sorry, not trying to be a pain, but it's too confusing to me. That's why you need to explain a little more or offer this stuff in a package. On the frame page there are only a few pictures, and they are so small I can't figure out what is supposed to fit what.
 




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