OK, admittedly, this one comes from way out in left field... or from a fertile mind... or maybe even someone who has WAY too much time on their hands. But "could it happen?"
A few months ago in MODEL RAILROADER magazine, Tony Koester wrote a piece about "pocket articulateds." You know... articulated locomotives that are sized to fit on the much smaller layouts that most people have. Sure, those giant articulated locomotives really look good in the magazine ads and on the hobby shop shelves but when you put them on your 4x8 layout and put a couple of cars behind them... you quickly get the impression that it is chasing its own tail. Anyway, Tony commented about the Nickel Plate's 2-6-6-2s being only a little larger than their much more famous Berkshires so they would qualify as a "pocket articulated" for sure.
Now I'm not a particular fan of logging railroads but I do like my Shay. However, the logging lines had the real pocket articulateds in the shape of 2-4-4-2s and 2-6-6-2s that would make even the smallish NKP articulateds look like behemoths in comparison. But these smaller, articulated loggers have only been available in brass... until recently... almost.
At the National Train Show, Bachmann Industries showed their recently released 2-4-4-2 On30 locomotives. For those of you unfamiliar with the notation of On30, it is O scale narrow gauge that runs on HO scale track. Most of the time, narrow gauge is 36" wide but with HO being just a little smaller, it made sense to a large population of narrow gaugers to simply run their locomotives on HO scale track hence the special designation.
Anyway, the new Bachmann engines look pretty sharp and their HO gauge makes them an ideal candidate for a rather kooky kitbash that would downsize the engine. From the picture above, you can see that the details like the lights, smokestack, domes, bell, cab and tender are too big for HO scale. But the mechanism is already built to HO gauge so it isn't out of the realm of possibility to take a smaller HO scale boiler and drop it onto the On30 mechanism and have a "reasonable" 2-4-4-2 in HO scale.
That's what I did in the first photo although the work was done with the magic of image editing software and NOT on my workbench. I have to admit that there are some parts that look a little shakey but the concept seems sound and maybe one of these days, I'll grab one of those new engines and take a serious look at its "innards" to see if such a bash would be possible and plausible.
In the meantime, I'll keep an eye on Ebay as every once in a while, one of those "real" brass engines comes along and I might just be able to snag one. If so, this hair-brained idea gets put to rest. If not... who knows??!?