Built by Roco in Austria, this HO-scale Alco Century 424 is an above average example among AHM’s diesel offerings. Joining AHM’s catalog in 1975, detail on the model is very good and the loco benefits from all-wheel drive.
This model represents the only Roco-made diesel for AHM’s line. The Austrian manufacturer produced Model Power’s early 1970s Alco FAs,Baldwin Shark Nose, and EMD E-units. Roco went on to produced the 1975 collection of Atlas HO-scale diesels, as well as another round of product for Atlas in the form of a series of Alco S-series switcher models in the 1980s. Roco also made Walthers’ SW1 and original release FM H10-44 switchers in the 1990s.
There are a couple odd details regarding this model of ALCO’s Century 424. Most notable is the inclusion of an EMD-like dynamic brake fan on top of the unit just behind the cab. This is totally incorrect with respect to prototype. The error likely can be traced to a drawing published in Railroad Model Craftsman magazine in the 1960s, which included this incorrect feature. The other interesting spotting feature of AHM’s Century 424 is the slanted rear number boards. Correct only for early Phase I prototypes, this makes AHM’s Century a very unique example of this ALCO diesel.
The Century 424 appears first in AHM’s 1980 product catalog with a suggested retail of $19.98. The May 1980 issue of Model Railroader includes a review of new proudct releases announced at that year’s HIA (Hobby Industry Association) Trade Show. AHM announced a new group of road names for the Century 424: Amtrak; Conrail; Erie Lackawanna; Penn Central; Pennsylvania Railroad; Reading; and Spokane, Portland & Seattle. Two road numbers were to have been available for each of the announced new seven road names. To date, I’ve never seen any of these proposed additions to the Century 424 AHM roster, beyond Amtrak, Penn Central, and Pennsylvania Railroad examples. Additionally, some AHM boxes for its Century 424 includes Chessie System and Missouri-Kansas-Texas examples. I have never seen either of those AHM and assume they do not exist. AHM’s Century 424 is missing from catalogs as of the 1981 edition. To date, no other manufacturer has surfaced with this tooling, making the AHM offering the only time this example of Alco’s Century 424 from Roco was offered.
AHM’s Century 424 Roster
Amtrak Century 424 (orange MOW scheme)
Chicago & North Western
No. 5015-C -1975 release
No. 79-61 (powered pair with caboose) -1979 release
Spirit of ’76
No. 5015-H -1975 release
No. 79-64 (powered pair with caboose) -1979 release