The diesel is based on Lionel's Postwar tooling. The chassis was for the #41 U.S. Army Turbine switcher but was reused in the #51 Vulcan U.S. Navy Yard Switcher. The Navy Yard switcher is what yours is based on, which was a real 30 ton locomotive built by the Vulcan Iron Works for the Brooklyn Navy Yard around 1938. Obviously the only real similarity to the real one is the shell. The running gear is definitely copied off of the Army switcher which I believe was a Davenport product.
Toylike and too big as you said, but it is sort of based on a real one.
More info can be found quite a way down this page:
Cool post! The ore cars are really sharp. The paint scheme is nice and simple...not too flashy.
The locomotive is interesting. How well does it pull the heavy cars? I have a set of new Lionel hot metal cars and they are all die cast. They are really heavy. I plan on putting them with my MTH NW2 and slug, which is also heavy, dead weight. I am hoping the lone engine can handle them all.
Jake, thanks for posting the Navy yard info. My daughter lives right near there and my father spent some time there during the Korean War. It is an interesting place. Here is a pic of my dad‘s ship, moored at Brooklyn Navy Yard, 1953....
In the background, you can see some boxcars spotted along the pier...
Kreiglok. That little loco will pull the five ore cars. It struggles a bit I think. I have two more now and am fairly certain it will struggle too much, but I have a new loco for it, which I have not tried.