Not a “BIG BOY” but a very “Little Brat”
By Mike Stella
I remember when I saw the magazine ad for the new Williams 4-6-6-4 Challenger Steam Locomotive in the early 1990s. I had to have one. And then the 4-8-8-4 Big Boy the following year. And then a 4-8-8-2 Cab Forward and then this and then that.
It seems every one of the BIG articulated steamers I have admired in books have been offered and I added most of them to my collection, including the EM1; an Allegheny; the 2-8-8-8-2 Triplex; a Yellowstone; 2-8-8-0s; 2-6-6-2s; and on and on. Even a few “rigid” Big steamers like a 4-4-4-4 Duplex and a 4-6-4-4 Q.
But not all “O” Gauge locomotives have 12 or 16 drivers. Some have only 4 and these “Little Brats” are just as collectable and a lot of fun to operate.
The Lionel Kickapoo style 0-4-0 was introduced very early in the MPC era. The #8200 and the #8209 date from 1972 or 35 YEARS AGO. I remember one fellow selling new Kickapoo sets for $11 at a big West Coast train meet. I already had one but bought another which I have never taken out of the box. Lionel made great use of this 0-4-0 making it RED for the Rock Island set #8700; and Dark Blue for the Santa Fe #8512; and Light Blue for Learning Center Award #18709.
Finally the #8905 was used in the Smokey Mountain set. Six locomotives that are very easy to obtain and never too expensive. More small locomotives abound with a few from K-Line (now Lionel) and a few brass imports from Japan.
I really think K-Line did a fantastic job with the little diesel switcher and the tiny steam loco which could run in you mining area or citrus plantation (we all have one of those?).
Three rail brass imports seem to turn up quite often and are a great addition to any “O” Gauge collection.
Finally we turn to one of my favorites, the Docksider.
The B&O used these tiny 0-4-0s in the streets and on the piers to clear very tight spaces.
R-O-W made a beautiful model of the B&O Docksider and it runs as good as it looks.
Lionel brought out an 0-6-0 Saddle Tank switcher a few years ago and it is a great value and a great runner.
While all of the “Little Brats” may not be as glamorous as their bigger steam giant brothers, one thing you can truly say about all of them… they are a lot easier to get on the track!!!