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In-Box Review
Big Boy Locomotive

by: Scott Lodder [ SLODDER ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Box View

This kit is a Revell AG offering and the entire box and instructions are printed in multiple languages. This in itself is a bit overwhelming. Trying to find ‘your’ language is a challenge among the many offered. The box is a sleeve box and is a bit loose, so things do shake around a bit.
Inside you get more multi-lingual information. The instructions are booklet style and again are in multiple languages. Once you locate what you can read they are standard instructional fair. You get a brief history, code legend, color charts, a parts chart and 41 subsequent assembly steps. Each step is clearly pictured. There are ‘shadow’ images and highlights and ‘call outs’ explaining each step. There are some complex assemblies in this kit and the instructions look like they really show you how each is created.

Beyond the paper is a bag containing two sprues and two loose parts. The kit is molded in a black injected plastic. The plastic is quite hard and appears to be very nice quality. The sprues are efficiently laid out and I found it quite easy to review the various parts.

Revell has done a nice job of balancing the kit. There are some well defined assemblies that pop out. You’ll find piston assemblies with multiple parts. You can easily see the locomotive truck assemblies as separate entities. There are quite a few delicate detail parts that should add a bit of realism and flair to the final product. This kit is billed as a 3 out of 5 on skill required scale. This is a subjective scale, however in review of the pieces I think they have accurately portrayed the skill needed. There are parts and assemblies that will garner a bit more attention than others. At the same time they do not go ‘over the top’ with the details.
The detail molded in these parts is quite good for HO (1/87) scale. The tread way on decks is nice and crisp. Even some of the pipes have texture to them. The tender access bulkhead is molded a bit ‘flat’ but in this scale some of this is to be expected. The engineers cab is nicely detailed.

little big boy vs big big boy

The kit looks like it will stack up against its 1:1 big brother. The kit is Union Pacific’s full 4-8-8-4 with its 14 wheeled centipede tender.

The model represents the dual engine scheme used in the 1:1 version. The locomotive is so long that it had to be ‘broken’ down into two separate engines with their own separate cylinders, pistons and trucks. Each rode on its own wheel assembly, the front 4-8 and the back the 8-4. The model represents this quite nicely.
The 1:1 version measures in at a very long 132 feet, 9 7/8 inches. That would take up almost ½ a U.S. football field (goal line to just shy of the 45 yard line). This scales down to 18.3 inches. The small scale version is a rough 17.5 inches long. This is a rough measurement and the full build version may be more accurate. I had to measure three separate components and then estimate the gap between the locomotive and tender.
The drive wheels are 68” – that’s 5 and half feet tall. On the model they are 7/8 inches across. Not bad, very close, not perfect but not bad.


This is a very good middle of the road kit. It is made of solid material and looks very nicely molded. There isn’t much flash and what is there shouldn’t be hard to remove. Seam lines are minimal and in well situated locations. There is some very nice surface detail in the way of rivets and some texturing on the drive wheels. What brings it back to good and not great are some design liberties. The railing that runs the length of the locomotive is molded as thin sheet or flange and not a ‘wire’ or ‘handle’. It will drive advanced modelers right to a sharp #11 blade and a bit of wire to replace it. Revell does include a set of tracks for you to display your kit. This is basic and simple; you may find yourself upgrading this to a set of real HO tracks.
The size isn’t perfectly to scale. Unless you are a rivet counter I don’t think this will bother you. It is very close and for a static kit at a subjective level 3 it’s within normal production limits.
It looks like it will be a fun build.
A Big Boy even in 1/87 scale. This model rivals even a 1/35 scale kit in its size and stature. Revell has captured the essence of Union Pacific’s impressive locomotive in a static display kit.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: 02165
  Suggested Retail: $20.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 28, 2006
  NATIONALITY: United States

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About Scott Lodder (slodder)

I modeled when I was a teenager. College, family and work stopped me for a while. Then I picked it back up after about 12 years off. My main focus is dioramas. I like the complete artistic method of story telling. Dioramas involve so many aspects of modeling and I enjoy getting involved in the ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Scott Lodder [ SLODDER ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Scott, do you know if these are new tool kits or reboxes of the old Monogram kits? They did a series of locomotives a while back. The sprues look a lot like one I built many years ago.
AUG 28, 2006 - 06:06 PM
Rob - There was no reference to a re-box. There parts do have some 'soft' spots in them as seen in the images. This could be from an old mold. I'll do some digging and report back.
AUG 28, 2006 - 06:57 PM
Just curious. I know Revell of Germany has reboxed old Monogram armor kits. The M34 Tactical Truck and Jeep were ancient Monogram military models from the 1950s. The layout of the sprues (the way the parts are not boxed in by sprues) look like the old Monogram kits.
AUG 28, 2006 - 09:41 PM
The Revell kit is the Monogram kit ... Part, by part, by part ... I have them both ... Oh, there is a difference - the Monogram kit is "Snap-Tite", the Revell kit isn't ... see same parts above And, yes, before somone asks, I had the Monogram kit, sorta forgot it, then thought the Revell kit might be different so I bought it ... now I have twins ... Maybe a double-header is in order, I have several pictures of combines going over Sherman Hill ... Another option is to hack one of them into the SP 4-8-8-2 cab forward or any of the other big articulateds, although that doesn't look like a simple hack .... John
AUG 29, 2006 - 05:58 AM
Thanks for the confirmation. I thought it looked familiar when I saw it on the shelf at Hobby Lobby. Looks like they may have modified the molds to do away with the snap tite feature. I thought that Monogram did a series of HO trains. I just looked up the kits in my Monogram book. The trains first appear in 1982 and again in 1984. The 1982 trains are #1105 Hudson Locomotive NYC; #1106 Hudson Locomotive Chesapeake and Ohio; #1107 Hudson Locomotive Sante Fe. The 1984 trains are #1600 Big Boy Locomotive Union Pacific; #1601 Big Boy Locomotive Baltimore & Ohio; #1602 Big Boy Locomotive. Basically two different kits issued with three different sets of decals.
AUG 29, 2006 - 07:40 AM
Hi Robin, Correct. I don't know who made the molds first, but Con Cor had them for awhile. For the rivet counters, only UP (a.k.a. the Yellow Borg, Uncle Pillage , Lawsuit Lines) had 4-8-8-4s. I found the model an exceptional kit and my only complaint are the molded-on handrails along the boiler and tender. It never occurred to me to review locomotive kits, but I have several 1/87 German steam locos by Revell and Italeri I can do. The detail is incredible, but the fit of the one I started--it may just be the first model I discard.
SEP 01, 2006 - 07:14 PM
I've wanted to do an HO scale engine for some time now. However, I've had a hard time finding "dummy" or undecorated engines. Those I have found were a bit pricey. At twenty dollars I think this is a steal. I think the Big Boys were the last of elegant design era and I've always had an affinity for the later steam locomotives...and I'm not really a railroad fan. Thanks Scott for the review. I wonder if Revell will ever re-release the General?
SEP 04, 2006 - 09:30 AM
iam a train fan among other things, i haven't seen this kit at all in any model shops that i go to and compare the kit price with a HO-O scale models the prices speak for them self . John i was wondering were i can get my hands on those book u speak of , oh and guys if u want some ideas for this giant train!! i got some cool pics of it
FEB 10, 2009 - 12:09 PM
Nice review- I have the NYC hudson kit{revells} and someday wish to kitbash it into the CB&Q Aelus.
OCT 25, 2009 - 03:00 AM

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