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N Scale - Life-Like - 7961 - Locomotive, Diesel, EMD SW8 - Undecorated

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N Scale - Life-Like - 7961 - Locomotive, Diesel, EMD SW8 - Undecorated The image shown is the same body type though not necessarily the same road name or road number.



Brand Life-Like
Stock Number 7961
Original Retail Price $59.95
Manufacturer Life-Like
Production Type Regular Production
Body Style Life-Like Diesel Switcher SW8/600/900
Prototype Locomotive, Diesel, EMD SW8 (Details)
Road or Company Name Undecorated (Details)
Paint Color(s) Undecorated
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Coupler Mount Body-Mount
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
DCC Readiness No
Release Date 2003-01-01
Item Category Locomotives
Model Type Diesel
Model Subtype EMD
Model Variety SW8
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Years Produced 1950–1954
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Life-Like introduced the SW9/1200 model in 1997. In 2003, they added the SW8/600/900 which is a very similar model which uses the same mechanism. It is fairly high quality and runs well when it can get good pickup. It is prone to stalling, however, whenever it has slightly dirty wheels, encounters slightly dirty track or runs over a turnout. For this reason, they are best run in pairs or at high speeds. That being said, the revised versions run better and the most recent releases that started in 2017 run quite well.

The reason for the stalling is due to the fact that it is simply a small, lightweight engine. Even though the chassis is all-metal and split-frame with a free-floating weight inside the cab, it just doesn't weigh all that much. Without enough heft, it is hard to keep conductivity with the track. The motor is s 5-pole skew-wound job. All eight wheels provide pickup and drive. Directional lighting is provided by an LED-equipped PC board mounted to the front of the chassis. The model uses chemically blackened wheels. Early runs used body-mounted Rapido couplers. Later versions feature Accumate or MTL couplers. The couplers are held in place with a plastic clip to permit easy swapping with the couplers of your choice.

Walthers also supplies the mechanisms for the latest 2017 DCC-Ready version to Micro-Trains which uses its own shell for their switchers.

DCC Information: There is no specific support for DCC on these models, but installing a decoder in the cab is a usual solution.

A wired DCC decoder installation for this model can be found on the following:
- Brad Myers' N-scale DCC decoder installs blog.
- André Kritzinger's Chessie System in N scale website.

Prototype History:
An EMD SW8 is a diesel shunting/switching locomotive manufactured by General Motors Electro-Motive Division and General Motors Diesel between September 1950 and February 1954. Power is supplied by an EMD 567B 8-cylinder engine, for a total of 800 hp (600 kW). A total of 309 of this model were built for United States railroads and 65 for Canadian railroads. Starting in October 1953 a number of SW8s were built with either the 567BC or 567C engine, they are noted in the roster below.

Road Name History:
Although they may be molded in color, unpainted and unlettered, undecorated products are marketed to modelers who seek to custom decorate their models for private roads and/or road and/or company names that were not commercially produced by any of the major manufacturers.

Undecorated models are frequently also unassembled or only partially assembled and required modelers to be comfortable with glue, paint and sometimes solder in order to prepare their models for display. Materials for these models can vary but often include plastic, pewter and resin. Models may or may not come with decals or other decorations such as plastic signage, railings and ladders to enhance the appearance of the final product.


Brand/Importer Information:
Life-Like Products LLC (now Life-Like Toy and Hobby division of Wm. K. Walthers) was a manufacturer of model railroad products and was based in Baltimore, Maryland.

It was founded in the 1950s by a company that pioneered extruded foam ice chests under the Lifoam trademark. Because ice chests are a summer seasonal item, the company needed a way to keep the factory operating year round. As model railroading was becoming popular in the post-war years, they saw this as an opportunity and so manufactured extruded foam tunnels for model trains. Over the years, Life-Like expanded into other scenery items, finally manufacturing rolling stock beginning in the late 1960s. At some point in the early 1970s, Life-Like purchased Varney Inc. and began to produce the former Varney line as its own.

The Canadian distributor for Life-Like products, Canadian Hobbycraft, saw a missing segment in market for Canadian model prototypes, and started producing a few Canadian models that were later, with a few modifications, offered in the US market with US roadnames.

In 2005, the company, now known as Lifoam Industries, LLC, decided to concentrate on their core products of extruded foam and sold their model railroad operations to Wm. K. Walthers.

In June 2018, Atlas and Walthers announced to have reached an agreement under which all Walthers N scale rolling stock tooling, including the former Life-Like tooling, will be purchased by Atlas.

Read more on Wikipedia and The Train Collectors Association.

Item created by: Alain LM on 2019-03-06 17:32:17

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