This model is best described as a hybrid.
It utilizes a Varney shell and a Pikemaster mechanism. For this reason
modifications in the shell were necessary to accommodate the attachment lugs
of the Pikemaster chassis. This resulted in the three round
holes drilled in the side of the shell where the small rectangular holes are
found in Pikemaster locomotives. The sample shown below also shows
square holes at the bottom of the doors, the purpose of which, if any, is
There were two versions of this locomotive in standard
The one below using the front skirt of the Varney shell is sometimes
referred to as the "Split Skirt" version. (All Varney shells used for
Gilbert locomotives, except the 420 Lackawanna, had a split skirt to
accommodate a front coupler.) This required that the Pikemaster frame
for this locomotive have its built in skirt removed.
second version uses the skirt built into the Pikemaster frame, which is a
full width skirt with a slot for the front coupler. It is
sometimes referred to as the "Full Skirt" version. These locomotives
have had the shell skirt removed to fit on the unmodified Pikemaster
There is indeed a third version that is described by Charles Sommer
in his Gilbert HO guide that uses both a Varney Shell and chassis. For
more information on that version,
click here to
go to the description and photos in the Unusual Items and Production
For a variation
of this locomotive, click here.