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Old 05-15-2011, 02:28 AM   #21
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Default Re: General Locomotive 4-4-0 --- Don't Give Up Yet !!!

Hello Tom.....
We seem to be looking for the same information. I'm an Industrial Designer and 3D CAD modeler / computer animator
I've been chasing this same basic information for years...... I recently discovered a data file of the General locomotive in a website called TurboSquid (

In the TurboSquid site, you can do a search for "The General" or type in 398216 (the product I.D.) and you'll be taken directly to the page for "The General" file. You'll note that this file has been on this site since April 2008.

I purchased the file and downloaded it..... I felt that it, along with the plastic kit was an inexpensive place to start…..
After review of the file, I believe the data I was seeing was based on the information (hard data) that was used to create the 1/25th scale plastic kit of the GENERAL (which I have). The similarities between the kit parts and the data led me to this thought…… This hard data could have been used to create hard tooling for plastic injection molded parts. With that in mind, I thought that these polystyrene parts had to be fairly close.

I'm not certain which CAD system the original file was created in, however the file that exists in the TurboSquid site is a file that was most likely translated into an earlier version of a modeling and animation application called 3ds Max (now produced by Autodesk).

The file itself is a .max file and only usable or openable in 3ds MAX..... I am not a regular user of this application however I wanted to access the file and translate it into another application I use and then eventually into SolidWorks..... or even ProE if necessary. Here in lies a bit of a problem.
One must find a means of creating either a legitimate .igs/.iges, dwg, or dwf file of the entire .max file….. not easily done….. There seems to be some sort of an error in the file I downloaded (not a virus).
In lieu of this file….. One would have to attempt to establish a contact with whomever was involved with mechanical or tooling engineering or possibly even the art or design department at which ever plastic model kit manufacturer produced those 1/25th scale model of the GENERAL.
I sense that someone from one of those companies which produced that 1/25th scale model provided that data file to TurboSquid. The data file may have even been provided illegally (possibly even violating some form of copyright law --- who knows).
My 1/25th scale kit was produced by MPC, however we already know that it was produced under the name of another model kit manufacturer --- AMT/ERTL (I’m not certain if there were any merger’s or sales of tooling, etc, in this respect).

However I still feel contacting the museum in Georgia is going to be a next stop (possibly an actual visit if they agree to allow the use of a fabric tape measure). Someone has to get close enough to the General

I downloaded a Free Trial of the 3ds MAX application from Autodesk site (it's a complete version of the application with a time limit) and all capabilities function. I did the same with AutoCAD, Inventor and a couple of their other applications.
3ds MAX is supposedly capable of creating and saving all the different files however the model of the locomotive is a polygonal model and quite large (in terms of polygons), and does not allow the application to create or translate a complete model.
The tender body translates, but not the locomotive. Worse yet, the locomotive “object” as it exists in 3ds MAX cannot be un-grouped (everything is attached and cannot be separated past removal of the driving wheels, the bell and the cab all being attached.
I’m mentioning all of this just in case you want to try downloading the file from TurboSquid….. You’ll know what to possibly expect.
After I downloaded the file I opened it easily within 3ds Max….. on opening the download folder I also discovered the black on white images of the artwork for the stripping on the tender….. This is another reason I felt this file may have been generated for the 1/25th scale model.
I created several side view elevations within 3ds Max….. and saved them as screen grabs with the Windows 7 - Snipping Tool to transfer into my primary modeler ALIAS Studio as underlays and then create surface data over the images that can be turned into solids in SolidWorks.
Here again, I discovered a bit of a problem….. On review of the screen images, I noticed that the General’s driving wheels seem to be a tad small and also that there seems to be a larger space between the driving wheel fenders and the bottom of the cab. The proportion seems a tad off.
I scaled the image based on what I thought was an accurate dimension that I located on a list of specifications in one publication I have about the “chase”….. It lists the diameter of the driving wheels to be 60 inches….. However in the same publication, there seems to be discrepancy about the diameter of the driving wheels.
In this publication there is a black on white line drawing specifying that the diameter is 62 inches. It can’t be both, so part of my dilemma is whether the flanges were taken into account for the larger dimension or not. This is one thing I want to use as a datum….. this, as well as the wheelbase between the drivers.
IF one or two datum lines can be established, the rest can be visually scaled in a CAD system with an underlay of a reliable image. It may not be 100% accurate….. however it could be close enough.

I don’t know if any of this helps you, however it may offer a place to start. Please feel free to jump in with any suggestions or questions….. Perhaps if we collaborate, we can solve this….. and keep in mind that there is some hard data out there somewhere….. even though someone, somewhere may have taken some license with some of the dimensioning which would not surprise me.
In short, we may have to create our own plans based on whatever can be gleaned along the way…..!!!

Please feel free to contact me directly at and let’s see what we can determine….. I’m not ready to give up yet.
Regards, William Renteria

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Old 05-15-2011, 03:30 AM   #22
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Default Re: General Locomotive 4-4-0

I would not be too sure the 3D file didn't come from somebody measuring the plastic model.
TurboSquid buys solid models of anything from anybody that cares to create them.
They have a number of people that draw up objects anything from exactly scaled to that-looks-about-right.

Hopefully this is not the case, but it's something to consider.

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Old 05-15-2011, 11:41 AM   #23
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Default Re: General Locomotive 4-4-0

You're right on..... and this is being considered.
Thanks for the input.

Wm Renteria
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:32 PM   #24
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Default Re: General Locomotive 4-4-0

I've been to the museum in Kennesaw, and the restored engine is beautiful. However, it went through many modifications after the civil war, and it's current state is somewhat different than the original. The museum has a number of photographs as well as models of the General in several configurations, so a visit to Kennesaw would definitely be useful.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:29 AM   #25
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Default Re: General Locomotive 4-4-0

Thanks, and right again.

I'm only interested in the present configuration..... I should've stated this in the beginning.

Another question..... Does anyone know the location of the Leo Myer model's...

Wm Renteria
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:27 PM   #26
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Default Re: General Locomotive 4-4-0

Gene Allen of Allen Models in Goleta, CA sells plans and casting kits/parts for an American 4-4-0 and other wheel arrangements, including 2-6-0 Mogul and 2-8-0 Consolidation. Poke around the net for more info. Gene advertises in Live Steam magazine. Unfortunately he doesn't do anything web related, including email. You can order his catalog for $5. I've gently tried to get him to at least get email, but he says he's too old (90 ?) to be bothered with all that and didn't feel up to learning all that anyway. His engines are very popular and run well. Lots of folks have built them.

Send $5 for catalog to:

Allen Models
5994 Cuesta Verde
Goleta, CA 93117

After some research and asking others what they suggested, last fall, I purchased the complete casting set/plans for his 2-6-0 Mogul. I've yet to start, but figured I'd better get the kit while Gene is still around I drove up to his home, a couple of times, got the grand shop tour, and dragged 200+ lbs of iron/alum/brass/bronze home with me

Yahoo group for Allen Locomotives.

Lot of Allen locomotive builders here :

Look around, there's lots of info there.

A member of Southern California Home Shop Machinists club :D
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:09 AM   #27
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Default Re: General Locomotive 4-4-0

if you are looking for a set of orginal p.lans in full scale the Western national parks association offers a 2 cd set of the fukll scale pklas for the "119" and the "jupiter". these are the same as the general. the set can be purchased form the mnationawl parks service at for $24.95. I have a set and they are outstanding. and you can move them on screen blow them up for finew detail and print them how ever you wish .
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:45 PM   #28
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Default Re: General Locomotive 4-4-0

Hi folks
I'm new to this website but may be able to help with some of what correspondents have given so far. I am not aware of a commercial Live Steam design for the original "General" but the firm mentioned in UK that had "American" locos in both 5" and 7.1/4" gauges was A.J.Reeves & Co(Birmingham)Ltd which was at one time (a) the worlds largest model engineer suppliers and (b) the store for model engineers run by model engineers. I wa sprivileged to work there for 30years and 3 months, mostly as "Technical Correspondent and Patternmaker" which was my job description, but almost any other back ground task I could accomodate. I absolutely refused to work on the sales counter but put 110% into everything else I did: I even cleaned the toilets on one occasion. Sadly AJR closed on 22nd December 2000 due to financial problems.

The trading rights, all design copyrights, and existing stock was bought a couple of weeks later by another firm, and are now known as Reeves 2000. Sadly they are not run by model engineers so any enquiries other than for actual sales are unlikely to be answered.

Back to the "American". AJR directors had long desired to have a larger 4-4-0 on the range of locos and initially started work - I was the self-taught draftsman on a 7.14" gauge type but due to pressure of other work this was stoped after schemeing out a side levation. In 1987 the idea was resurrected and I was asked - I was at that time the Librarian of the Birmingham Society of Model Engineers Ltd, - if I had any information on a suitable design. I had. I had been given copies of Colburn's "Locomotives and Mechanism of Raillways, published posthumously in 1872. All the locos described were of Uk or European origian except one, that being a Rogers 4-4-0. I did additional research and obtained a copy of John H White Jnr's book "A history of the American Locomotive" (Well worth seeking out and acquiring) and commenced work on the design for 5" and 4.3/4" gauges, the latter aimed at the USA builder.

I regret that a number of mistakes crept in, but bearing in mind that much of my work was elsewhere on the works, and Alexander Bell's infernal invention THE TELEPHONE became an infernal nuisance, plus being taken away for other duties such as the pattern shop, etc. etc.etc., it's hardly surprising the design is not perfect. However any student of American locos will almost certainly find it useful.

Several have been completed over the years - look up website for "Walton Park Trains" and you should find videos of one. Others in Sweden, France, and Australia have also been finished and opereated.

I still have an early set of drawings, so if anyone out there wants specific help I may be able to assist.

Reeves desired a code name for the design. "Washington" was chosen - BIG MISTAKE - I had no idea that in New Zealand there is a narrow gauge railway with two 2-4-2 tender locos built by Rogers and one of them, K88 is named "Washington". Both were buried in the sea as part of a breakwater and resurrected years later. Over the years I have had more feed-back on this than my own design. Grrrrrrrrrrr. I have no problem in Reeves 2000 having the copyright, after all I was paid a weekly wage for whatever I did including drawing board work. However will readers respect that copyright as I do now.

Reeves 2000 still offer the other designs mentioned above, but advertise them as 'simpler' than "Washington" even though this is much more authentic. I made most of the foundry patterns too, but not the driving wheels only because they would have been too time consuming.

Hope this helps

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Old 04-07-2013, 11:45 PM   #29
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I tripped over this old thread doing a little Google research.
It has come to my attention that the plans for a generic America 4-4-0 3 1/2 Gage called the Virginia are now on john tom .com

the plans are somewhat flexible and have a few options including the funnel slyle stack found on the general.

I also notice the original poster of this question has not been active here since last October . It is my hope he is in good health and enjoying life. It is also my I hope others reading this will benefit from these L.B.S.C. plans. The 4-4-0 American has become an icon of the old american west and is what many of us think of as a steam locomotive , with the classic side cylinder design. There are many in museums , theme parks and historical parks around the US. I expect this familiar design is a desirable build.

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Amat victoria praeparatio diligens
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:34 PM   #30
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Hey Tin! Thanks for that find!

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