by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Atlas offers this animated Operating Oil Pump in O scale/1:48. This example, Red Bird, is item 66907.
Atlas offers this model as a lineside industry accessory, and write of it:
The “nodding donkey”, or pumpjack, is a common sight across the rich oil-producing regions of the United States. Whether grouped together in fields of hundreds or standing alone, the slow rocking motion of these visible parts of the vast underground oil extraction process typically extract between 2 to 12 gallons of liquid per stroke, unattended, 24/7, every day of the year, making them extremely cost-effective to install and operate. Their unique shape and motion have also inspired generations of creative artists to add paint and sheet metal to transform many examples into whimsical creatures, which have become staples of small-town tourist attractions. This release of the Atlas Operating Oil Pump includes both standard and artist-inspired color versions, as well as a “basic black” canvas for you to create your own menagerie.
Pumps like this can be found around a lot of the country, even places not widely associated with oil pumping, e.g., southern Illinois and Mississippi, to name a couple. I haven't found a date that these came into use but images of oil fields during the early 1940s show the tall tower wells.
The ModelAtlas' Operating Oil Pumps are fully assembled and wired, and operates on DC or AC power (8-22V). It is mostly made of styrene although I'll bet the cyclone fencing is nylon.
Molding of the parts is good with no visible ejector marks, no flash, no visible ejector circles, but noticeable seam lines.
An electric motor and circuit board with tiny wires moves the pumpjack via a range of current. The motor is not silent but I don't think it is load, either. No doubt someone has created a sound card that can be synchronized with appropriate mechanical noise.
DetailThe detail is in the action. For the physical parts, the A-shaped frame is simplified. It does have a maintenance ladder attached to the samson post. The bridle hangs from the horse head actuates the polished rod, moving it through the stuffing box. The polished rod is long enough that a hole will need to be cut in whatever you mount this pump on.
Instructions and FinishAtlas includes a small useful instruction sheet. It explains how to hook up and run the pump, and the footprint of the unit. It is easy to install this pumpjack and get it pumping.
Except for the bird face painted on the horse head, all the parts are molded in color.
ConclusionThis 1/48 / O scale Operating Oil Pump is a cool accessory for your layout. It is a common ancillary industry machine of the second half of the twentieth century. It should be welcomed by O scalers, whether or not they value animation.
Seam lines on the prime mover and fuel tank create a toyish appearance but overall, this model looks good. Modelers can use it out of the box or weather it up. Either appearance can be satisfying.
I am eager to mount this model on a layout and have it oscillating while my trains run by. Recommended.
Please remember top mention to Atlas and retailers that you saw this model here - on RailRoad Modeling.