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WalthersProto HO scale Jordan Spreader

Read this review from the November 2018 Model Railroader
WalthersProto HO scale Jordan Spreader

Walthers has added a Jordan Spreader to its HO scale Proto series. But this isn’t an assembled version of the kit from the 1990s. No, this is a newly tooled model that has several features not found on the kit, including positionable wings and slopers, wire grab irons, and railroad-specific details.

The WalthersProto model is based on a Model 2-200 prototype. The full-size Jordan Spreader could be used as a spreader, ditcher, and snow plow, making it a valuable, year-round asset for railroads to have in their maintenance-of-way fleets.

I compared the model to dimensions for a base Model 2-200 Jordan Spreader that I found online. The dimensions closely follow the published data. The truck wheelbase is a scale 5'-9", not 5'-6" as on the plan. However, the plan depicts solid-bearing trucks. The model correctly has roller-bearing trucks.

Our sample is decorated as BNSF Ry. no. 939004. The prototype was built in June 1949 as Chicago, Burlington & Quincy no. 203845. After the 1970 merger that created Burlington Northern, the Jordan Spreader was renumbered 972618.

In the 2000s the Jordan Spreader was rebuilt and renumbered BNSF no. 939004. Though it’s still pneumatically operated (modern rebuilds are often converted to hydraulic operation), the prototype has a new, taller cab; three-pane all-weather windows on the sides; and a side-facing light above the all-weather window.

What really makes the Walthers model stand out are the positionable wings and slopers. Yokes are attached to the frame and back of the wings and slopers. A wire pin holds the universal block in the yoke. A brace on one end and a rack on the other connect to the blocks, allowing the wings and slopers to move in and out. The slopers can also be raised and lowered. The small plow end wings are sprung and move when the main wings are extended.

Though some of the details on the Walthers model don’t match the full-size no. 939004, the lettering placement and striping make it a reasonable stand-in. The paint is smooth and evenly applied, and the white and yellow printing is opaque.

The cab on the Walthers model has clear window glazing on the sides and ends, but the interior isn’t detailed. Attached to the main vertical wing post crosstie is a non-functioning horizontal twin-beam headlight and single-chime air horn. It’s hard to tell in prototype photos, but the real 939004 has at least a two-, and perhaps a three-, chime air horn.

In the field. The model weighs 2.8 ounces, which is 1.4 ounces too light based on National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. However, there is space under the body to conceal extra weight. The Proto-Max metal couplers are mounted at the correct height, and the 33" metal wheelsets are correctly gauged.

I tested the Walthers-Proto Jordan Spreader on our Milwaukee, Racine & Troy and Wisconsin & Southern staff model railroads. First, I pushed the Jordan Spreader around both model railroads with four- and six-axle road units. Even though the model is underweight, it navigated no. 5 through no. 8 turnouts without incident.

Then I towed the Jordan Spreaderat the end of a train, as this is how it would typically be transported between terminals. Again, the model operated flawlessly.

I’m glad Walthers brought the Jordan Spreader back to its HO scale lineup. The Proto-series model is vastly improved from the 1990s-era kit. I’m a fan of maintenance-of-way (MOW) equipment, and the positionable parts ratchet up the cool factor on this model.

Visitors will be drawn into a scene featuring the Jordan Spreader, whether it’s parked on a siding, being handled in a train, or earning its keep at a MOW site.

Price: $89.98
Wm. K. Walthers Inc.
5601 W. Florist Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53218
Era: 1949 to present
Road names: BNSF Ry., Canadian Pacific, Pennsylvania RR, Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, maintenance of way (gray), and painted yellow but unlettered. Also available undecorated.

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Plan and design an around the room track plan.

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