Vintage N Scale B&M Motive Power #1

Bev-Bel (Atlas/Kato) RS3 1536 –


Since this blog will predominantly be about the B&M in N scale, I think the first post about motive power should be about the first available motive power.  I spent quite some time researching the question of just exactly what was the first commercially painted B&M locomotive to become available in N scale.  After several discussions on online boards, and research done on various websites, I think all of the evidence pointed to a Bev-Bel (1) repaint of the Atlas/Kato RS3.  I am not sure if this came in any other road numbers but I would be surprised if it did.  Apparently the Atlas version of this locomotive, which was made in Japan by Kato, was released around 1983 but I am not clear on when Bev-Bel made their repaints available.  Regardless, there doesn’t seem to have been anything commercially available in N scale B&M prior to the release of this locomotive.  It is interesting to note that quite a bit of rolling stock was available in “blue-dip”(2) from most manufacturers dating to the very beginning of N scale.  It strikes me as odd that no locomotives were available until the early 1980s and I do not believe a caboose was commercially available until the mid-1980s at the earliest (more on that in another post).

Overall the paint is pretty basic and it appears from actual photographs of 1536, after it was “blue-dipped”, that the sill should have been painted white on the model.  Bev-Bel didn’t always get into too much detail with their paint schemes and they even painted the windows of their Bachmann B&M GP-40 blue to match the rest of the locomotive (more on that in another post). The Kato drive seems to work very well, as expected, and I have decided to leave the Rapido couplers installed for nostalgia.

I guess, in the absence of B&M motive power, I would have bought up every example of this RS3 I could find and simply renumbered them.  Luckily B&M has become a popular subject for modelers and manufacturers of N scale so I don’t have to go through that.  I should point out though that it took me a year of active looking (and bidding) to land this example so they are not common, I ended up paying something close to a discounted new-production Kato to get it.  If you decide that you want one keep your eyes open and be prepared to pay.

Historical Information:

B&M 1536 was part of an 11 unit order dating to 1952.  The real Alco (American Locomotive Works) RS3 B-B locomotives from this order were set up to run long hood forward and had both MU equipment (Multiple Unit) and steam generators (for passenger operations).

(1) Bev-Bel was a model railroad company basing its product line on models made by the big manufacturers.  Bev-Bel would paint them (or have them painted) in schemes, or road names, that were not otherwise available.

(2) “Blue-Dip” is a common term for the, more or less, solid blue scheme used at the tail end of the B&M prior to its acquisition by Guilford Transportation.


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One response to “Vintage N Scale B&M Motive Power #1”

  1. Jonathan Caswell says :

    Wish I could find or paint up one of these!

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