California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific
Fairbanks-Morse H12-44

With all the variations possible, a photo of a specific unit in your timeframe, is really going to be necessary to 'get it right'.

Modeling choices at the moment are:

  • For N Scale:
    • Minitrix once made an FM H10-44 that may possibly still be found.
  • For HO Scale:
    • Walthers
    • Cary
  • In O Scale:
    • ?

Walthers released a HO Scale RTR model of the H10-44, which is pretty close to a H12-44, both 'Tiger Stripe' and 'Blood Nose' paint. The model is a sweet runner, and with a bit of work can be made into a fair representation of an earlier Espee unit.
Walthers also sells the Custom Finishing H12-44 Conversion kit 247-264 to convert the H10-44 into an H12-44
The front mounted bell presents a problem, as I haven't been able to find a HO Scale item that comes even close to the one fitted to the SP H12-44's.


  • Model Railroader, Feb. 1992 Page 49 - Product review of the Walthers H10-44.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman, May 1992 Page 91 - Product review of the Walthers H10-44.

Kalmbach's 'The Second Diesel Spotter's Guide' has a few good photo's to use. Page FM-329 has good shots of early H12-44's that could be of use. Page FM-330 has a side-on shot of a late H12-44, showing it's 3 foot reduction in length and thicker frame.

If you're willing to spring for it, buy an Athearn H24-66 bodyshell, this should provide enough grilles/louvers to upgrade a couple of H12-44's,

For the sake of completeness, Cary also made a H10-44 as a metal bodyshell in HO Scale, these were designed to fit various chassis, and may still be available.

  • The Cary Shells were reviewed in:
    • Model Railroader March 1986 page 37.
    • Railroad Model Craftsman February 1986 page 98.

Additional information supplied by Bruce Conklin.

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Sunday, 14 November 2004