View single post by Ray Dunakin
 Posted: Wed Oct 31st, 2012 04:20 am
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Ray Dunakin


Joined: Wed Jul 25th, 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1242
Time for another progress report!

I decided that the passenger seats will be held above the electronics by a simple styrene frame. I can easily glue the seats in place after the interior of the car has been painted. Same with the passengers, who will be cut off just below the knees. Then I'll attach a piece of material painted black or dark brown, to the underside of the seat frames, so as to hide the electronics.

I knocked out the seats pretty quickly. The base is made of styrene strips. The seat back and cushion are made of 1/8" thick sheet styrene, sanded to shape:

The seats were just placed temporarily for these photos. Looking through the window, you really can't see much below the seats. Once the passengers are in place, you'll see even less:

With that settled, I started on the roof, beginning by gluing the ribs in place. The ribs at the end and on the partition were cut from sheet styrene. The other two were made from strips, bent to shape by hand. Each of those ribs is made from two strips. First one is glued in place, then a second strip is glued on over it. Then I sanded away any excess, as needed to match the curves on the solid ribs:

The roof itself is made from styrene, V-grooved siding with approximately .1" spacing. The rear half was easy to apply. The front half has compound curves. At first I thought I could cover it with one piece. I figured I could heat it, then press it over a form. I tried heating a piece of the siding over the stove, but it crinkled. Then I tried heating it in boiling water, but it warped, and I never could get it to go over the form.

So I just applied the siding to the front half of the roof in two sections, and this turned out surprisingly well. I used some of the slightly warped siding that I'd boiled, and this might have helped but I think it would have turned out just as well if I'd used it straight out of the package. Here's how it looks:

I used strips of .040" square styrene to trim the edges of the roof:

I also added some more trim pieces to the sides of the car. And you'll note that I changed my mind about mounting the hood permanently to the chassis, and instead glued it to the body:

Next I made the "cow-catcher". It needs to be strong enough to withstand frequent handling, bumps, and potential derailments, so I constructed it entirely from brass. Soldering is not my favorite subject and my skills in that area are pretty weak, so I wasn't looking forward to soldering such a complex structure. But sometimes you just have to leave your comfort zone! Anyway, I had a pretty good idea of how it should go together, and I didn't have much trouble with it. However, I was so involved with it that I neglected to shoot any progress photos. Here's the finished product:

The one problem was, after I finished it I discovered that I'd made it too short! I had intended to have it fit over the top of the end beam on the front of the chassis frame. You can see where I created an opening in the top, center, for the Model T's starter crank to fit through.

Well, the bottom edge would have been 8 or 9 scale inches above the rails, much too high to be of any use and certainly wouldn't look right. So cut off the top half of the end beam, glued the cow-catcher in place, then glued in another strip of styrene above it. It's not terribly elegant but it'll do:

I also made a few detail parts. I built a handle for the rear door, and the driver's hand lever, both from brass:

And I didn't like the coil box that came with the kit, so I made a new, more accurate one out of styrene. (In this photo it's a little dusty from sanding.)

I won't be installing the interior details until after the thing's been painted. I'm almost to that point now. I still have to make some steps for the rear door, and on both sides of the cab. I also need to make and install the headlights and tail lights. These will be lighted with LEDs.

Here's how the car looks so far:

This morning I took it out to the layout to make sure there were no clearance problems with new cow-catcher. I discovered something else... when I'd run the car on the layout before, I only ran it about halfway, in one direction. I turned it around this time I found that the front wheels derailed going through switches. So I checked them and found that the back-to-back spacing was at least 1/8" too wide!

To reduce that, I had to grind the axle stubs a little shorter, and cut the plastic connecting tube a little shorter also. Then I had to grind and sand off some of the bearing supports on the chassis frame, to keep the back of the wheels from rubbing against it. Finally got it all taken care of and it goes through the switches just fine now.

That's it for now. Enjoy!

Visit to see photos of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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