Log in

The pilot model of Aster’s U.P. Challenger, estimated at 44¾-inches long. Photo: Aster Hobby.

An evaluation model of the Union Pacific Challenger was shipped to the United States in August by Aster Hobby Co. Inc. of Japan for testing and reservations for the massive locomotive ended on Sept. 9.

The 1/32-scale model of the 4-6-6-4 locomotive is being sold by dealers of Aster Hobby USA LLC of Spartanburg, S.C. While the final pricing on the models won’t be determined until after the production run — and the currency fluctuations between the yen and dollar at that time — dealers estimated that the kit for the black version would run around $12,500 and the ready-to-run price would be about $14,800.

Dealers were also taking reservations for a gray version that would be priced as a kit at around $13,100 and about $15,400 for a factory-built gray model.

The companies say the model will be alcohol-fired with a C-type boiler, working drain cocks on the cylinders, a battery-powered headlight, a regulator, blower valves, a super-heater, a whistle valve, a Roscoe-type displacement lubricator, a hand-operated tender pump “and all the necessary appliances featured on the latest Aster locomotives.” The model is expected to be 44¾-inches long, 41⁄8-inches wide and six-inches tall.

Despite earlier reports, the companies have been careful to not say when they anticipate delivery to start, though Aster USA said that “production delivery will be dispatched from Japan in three or four shipments” and that “customer deliveries will be made in the order reservations were received.”