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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We just bought DVD's of Buster Keaton's "The General" - and to be fair - the disney version "The Great Locomotive Chase".

Is there a G-Scale version of "The General" which would be a ca 1850 Baldwin 4-4-0?

Trivia: Buster Keaton wanted to use the *real* "General" for his movie (How cool is that!), but because it was a comedy, the Civil War Veteran's group put pressure on the museum that owned the engine and they backed out.

(Both of these are good movies for a glimpse on how steam trains are run. I think that the time is right for a new movie - it is such an exciting story. What do you do when you are getting low on water, but the chasing loco is right behind you?...)
 

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Posted By KVBarkley on 01/22/2009 3:36 PM
We just bought DVD's of Buster Keaton's "The General" - and to be fair - the disney version "The Great Locomotive Chase".

Is there a G-Scale version of "The General" which would be a ca 1850 Baldwin 4-4-0?

Trivia: Buster Keaton wanted to use the *real* "General" for his movie (How cool is that!), but because it was a comedy, the Civil War Veteran's group put pressure on the museum that owned the engine and they backed out.

(Both of these are good movies for a glimpse on how steam trains are run. I think that the time is right for a new movie - it is such an exciting story. What do you do when you are getting low on water, but the chasing loco is right behind you?...)



The nearest thing to the 'General' at the moment is AccucCraft's fine-looking 4-4-0 in 1/20.3 scale. In 1/29th it's going to be pretty small, IMO.

Do a search on the live-steam forum for shots of one of them on its inaugural run last year - looks and sounds great.

tac
www.ovgrs.org
 

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If you want a Challenge, AMC once made a very well detailed static plastic model kit in 1/24 scale of the real "General" thats preserved in a museum. I have seen this model kitbashed into a working large scale model, using a Kalamazoo drivetrain for the main drivers. I have this kit but so far havent had the gumption to attempt this kind of a conversion. As it is the kit as built is about the same size as Bachmanns 4-4-0 and would require a similar wider radius if built close to prototype. this kit seams to show up on Ebay regularly.

Love the film, especially the cannonball shot over the tender into the cab.
 

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The real pity is that no one makes (or to my knowledge has ever made) a replica of the General in it's original wartime configuration and colors; virtually unrecognizable compared to it's complete refurbishing. I just love the two steam domes, strap iron pilot and complimentary colors of the original. Maybe someday...
Chris


PS. just for the record, the General was a Rogers built engine.
 

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MY two favorite movies .


And if you squint a bit and imagne ..........................

























MY photo of the General when it was in steam , here in 1962 .......................





Please don't get me started about the CW and the trains ................
 

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Posted By vsmith on 01/22/2009 4:35 PM
If you want a Challenge, AMC once made a very well detailed static plastic model kit in 1/24 scale of the real "General" thats preserved in a museum. I have seen this model kitbashed into a working large scale model, using a Kalamazoo drivetrain for the main drivers. I have this kit but so far havent had the gumption to attempt this kind of a conversion. As it is the kit as built is about the same size as Bachmanns 4-4-0 and would require a similar wider radius if built close to prototype. this kit seams to show up on Ebay regularly.

Love the film, especially the cannonball shot over the tender into the cab.




I have three of these "The General" model kits, one assembled and two awaiting disposition.

One of the unassembled ones is from "mpc" with the instructions listing: Copyright 1980 Fundimensions, Division of C9G Products Corp. The box says it is 1:25 scale.

The other two, (one I assembled) are from AMT (Ertl) and do not indicate a scale at all. The box indicates: Copyright 1992 The Ertl Company, Inc. I am sure they are all from the same "molds" (a situation not uncommon amongst plastic model companies). I can't find the instructions for the one I assembled and the other box is still in the factory plastic wrap.

The gauge is 2.3125 inches (2&5/16-in) and since it was a standard gauge loco, the scale calculates out to 1:24.43 so your 1:24 is closer than what it says on the box!


As is, as a model, they won't even roll on track as many of the parts of the Stepnenson's valve gear are all molded as one piece and the side rods are at fixed angles.

There were only two challenging parts to the assembly... 1) putting on the decals, and 2) painting the sign boards on the sides of the boiler ("GENERAL" in a 'frame') and the number plate on the smokebox door.

The decals are large and cover large (long) areas and I found that difficult to handle. I had to substitute some yellow "chart tape" for some of the lining on the tender as the decals just fell apart. (If I had patience, I'd be a doctor!)

I learned how to paint the sign boards AFTER I was almost done. (The next two will be lots easier to do now that I know how!) The "background" of the signs have to be painted red, leaving the molded ("brass plated" plastic) raised letters unpainted.

I tried cutting a paint brush down to just one bristle, 1/8th inch long and still could not get a drop of paint small enough to fit inside the letters (like "R" and "A"). I could not paint a straight line along the edges of the "frame"... it was a miserable job. I got the side signs almost good enough and gave up on them. Then I started to do the number plate on the smokebox. It also has a ring of lettering around the edge and they are even smaller. In frustration, I just painted the whole thing and then laid it face down on a flat paint cloth (rough but no nap) with a small amount of paint thinner on it. I rubbed it on the cloth and that removed the paint on the raised letters just beautifully, leaving the background painted and the letters shiny brass. Unfortunately, I had already glued the side signs on the boiler before I learned this so they are still lousy.

Although there are a couple of models of 4-4-0 locomotives of true American outline, none of them have large drivers like the General does and none are the correct scale for a Standard Gauge locomotive on Gauge 1 track.
 

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If you want a Challenge, AMC once made a very well detailed static plastic model kit in 1/24 scale of the real "General" thats preserved in a museum.


I too have one made up and one kit sitting waiting for disposal. It was supposed to be 1/25th, I recall. It's still sitting on the shelf over my desk (whips out camera and uploads photo..)




they won't even roll on track


Mine rolled fine, though the valve gear between the frames is fixed, until a wheel got knocked off so I glued it solid to the frame.

Here's my original kit to a Bachmann 4-6-0.


Here's a 4-4-0 bashed from an AMC kit.
http://4largescale.com/fletch/d0b.htm
 

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A book was written a couple of years ago by Russel Bonds called "Stealing the General". An excellent read and full of history.
http://www.stealingthegeneral.com/


As for a movie, yes the chase itself could make up half of a movie, but the rest of the story has not really ever been the focus of a film. Specifically, the awarding of the first Medals of Honor to some of the surviving (through a daring escapes).

That locomotive has a special place for me. When I was 4, my family moved to Kennesaw, GA where the General is housed. Went to visit her very often until we moved again when I was 7. Eventually, I hope to learn the skills necessary to build a working model of that locomotive. Maybe even a live steam version, wood fired.

Mark
 

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One thing your all forgetting is that the original General was 5'0" gauge, as most southern railroad refused to adopt "that yankee gauge" and its quite possible the model is also built to that gauge

Thanks Chris, I thought it was Mason
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everybody!

Mark: The Disney film does go into the medal of honor awards. The ceremony is used to "book end" the movie, and there is a scene at the beginning establishing that the medal was a new award.

In the version of "The General" I have, the little documentery on the actual goes into the fact that the loco was modified to burn three sources of fuel: wood, coal and oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oh, and just in case anyone is interested, here is a link to the review of the disk of "The General" I got:
http://www.decentfilms.com/sections/reviews/general1926.html
This is a new release with a lot of extras, including some footage of a bunch of Keaton's train stunts.

Keith
 

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Vic, the plastic model of the General is not of the 5' gauge engine. It's patterned after the final rebuild, long after it was re-gauged to standard.
One thing that was not well publicized from the film is that Keaton actually broke his neck during the filming. Maybe it's in the new DVD? I can't remember the exact shot, but it's in the film. It's where he falls of the handcar as it runs off the tracks. He hit his neck on the corner of a tie. Keaton later said he had a pain in the neck for weeks afterward, but it wasn't until he had x-rays for another matter (much, much later in his life) that the doctor asked him how he broke his neck. That guy was TOUGH!
Chris
 

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Chris, are you sure it was this film?
In the documentary "A Hard Act to Follow" in an interview Keaton recalls it being during Sherlock Jr, when hes running across the top of a freight train, he grabs hold of the rope to a water tank pulling the filling tube down and he got the full force of the water from the tank which shot him down onto the ties where he cracked his neck on a tie, but like you said, he didnt discover it until years later that it was a fractured neck when a doctor X-rayed him and asked him "When did you break your neck?" He thought about it and replied "Oh, maybe it was when...." and the doc replied 'Yeah, that coulda been it"


Amazed he lived as long as he did given the abuse he put his body thru.

BTW for anyone interested, How did Joseph Keaton Jr end up being called "Buster"?

At 6 months old, when his parents were in a traveling road show with Harry Houdidni, in front of the troop, he fell down a long flight of stairs, sat up and shook it off uninjured, Houdini remarked "Boy that was a real buster" meaning a stage fall or prat fall, the name stuck. By age 3 he was part of the act, being thrown around the stage like a piece of the scenery, and often into the scenery!


 

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Posted By vsmith on 01/23/2009 1:15 PM


Chris, are you sure it was this film?
In the documentary "A Hard Act to Follow" in an interview Keaton recalls it being during Sherlock Jr, when hes running across the top of a freight train, he grabs hold of the rope to a water tank pulling the filling tube down and he got the full force of the water from the tank which shot him down onto the ties where he cracked his neck on a tie, but like you said, he didnt discover it until years later that it was a fractured neck when a doctor X-rayed him and asked him "When did you break your neck?" He thought about it and replied "Oh, maybe it was when...." and the doc replied 'Yeah, that coulda been it"




Yeah, he's quoted referring to both films at different times, so if he wasn't too sure, well, we'll never know either! I choose the General version of the story, but they're both train stories!

Chris
 

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Well given the amount of times he was knocked on the head, I guess we can count both stories as being true then.
 

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BTW anyone who loves TRAIN FILMS Keaton was a train nut just like us, and made several train related films or had trains featured prevelantly:

The General, the train IS the star as much as Keaton, watch out for cannonballs in the cab though....

Sherlock Jr, has the seen I mentioned above.

Our Hospitality, which if you've never seen, Netflix this one immedeatly, the Stephenson Rocket locomiotive replica gags are absolutely beyond priceless.

The Railrodder, his last flick and a surprisingly good little film, across Canada on a speeder!

One Week, trains only in the very end, but its a "smashing" ending indeed!
 

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I found what specs I could about the engine and then measured the parts in one of the kits I have... as usual the model designer had a rubber ruler. Driver and tender wheel diameters scale out to anywhere from 1:26.96 to 1:24.26. Track gauge and piston stroke (based on offset of main drive pin from axle center) gives similar random variances in scale.

You can download a copy of Buster Keaton movie "The General" (1927 United Artists) from the"Unoffical museum website" at:

http://www.locomotivegeneral.com/index.html


You can see excerpts of the movie "Our Hopsitality" on YouTube, including the wonderful trackwork for the RR in that movie........ I'm seasick!


just search for "our hospitality buster keaton" and you'll get many copies of it.
 

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Well if you all get to Georgia stop in at the museum in Kennesaw, Ga and take a gander at the real thing. Later RJD
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
In the train excerpts extra on the DVD I have, they have some clips of what must be "Our Hospitality" with the rails going *over* the logs. One scene that amazes me in "The General" is the train crash at the end. I find it hard to believe that they destroyed a train like that!
 
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