When I was a young child we did not have television in our home so besides participating in a lot of outdoor activities such as baseball, club house building, tree climbing, fighting and an excessive amount of bicycle riding I did a lot of reading. When not busy with shoveling snow or going to school I read sometimes two to three books per week during the long Midwestern winter months. One of those books dealt with a young boy who was building a model of a caboose while he was using an actual caboose as a sort of club house. I do not remember the name of the book or if I even have the particulars correct but I remember that I checked the book out of the public library several times and read and reread it. At that time I had the usual Lionel train around the Christmas tree during the holiday season but had not yet been introduced to scale model railroading.
That brings up a question. What books are your kids or grand kids currently reading that may inspire them in the future? Maybe a gift of a book about this hobby such as “The Railroad Caboose” by William F. Knapke may provide the seed that will evolve into a future model railroader. If they are addicted to the electronic media you might consider loading one or both of these free books onto their device. These electronic books will not provide them with the same stimuli that an interactive game produces but it may capture their attention if for no other reason than it is on their device. In addition to these Railroad Model Craftsman has at least one issue of their magazine that you can download in electronic format free of charge
The Erie Train Boy
Caleb Conover, Railroader
Railroad Model Craftsman free download
You may even consider offering a small financial incentive for a properly prepared book report. (Do kids even know how to do those now?) Such interaction will test their retention capabilities and provide them with reporting skills that will be useful in later life. (There are no Cliff notes for these books.)
A lot of time transpired between me reading that book and getting involved with scale model railroading. However, that book I read as a child must have inserted a subliminal interest in cabeese into my little grey brain cells. In the past 38 years it has driven me to accumulate 26 of these end of train cabin cars in craftsman kit form of which 6 have been built as intended or bashed. Those lettered for my own road are shown on my Roundhouse page. The count of kits does not include the dozen or so brass cabeese and plastic kits which brings the total to 38 cabeese. That is an inordinate amount of cabin cars to have in one’s collection but I never could pass up a wooden craftsman caboose kit when I found one reasonably priced at a swap meet and I still can’t.
(Click on image for larger version)
My Building a Drovers Caboose from a LaBelle kit build continues to be popular with visitors to this WEB site and though I do not know if that project in any way impacted the sale of LaBelle Soo Line caboose kits, I have gotten communications from a few modelers, several of which live in foreign countries, who say they are building their own versions of this caboose. For me this build was quite satisfying and produced a feeling of accomplishment that I do not get from painting one of the brass cabeese.
So what is your favorite car? What builds give you that feeling of accomplishment?
In considering my next caboose build, I am looking for information one of the ATSF modelers may be able to provide.
I have recently discovered that I have this brass ATSF Caboose from Trains Inc. The model No. on the box is 301. This caboose has a “body” dimension of 30’- 3”.
I have this Ambroid kit # H-22 for what appears to be the same, or quite similar caboose however the plans show the body of the boose to be about 29’-0”. The photo of a prototype caboose included with the Ambroid kit instructions shows a prototype numbered 1089.
When I say “body” I am referring to the main structure, not including platforms etc.
Not that I am so much worried about the difference in length’s though it would be nice to know which one is correct, what I am wondering is if these models are to represent the same series of cabeese or did the ATSF have the different body length’s and different series of numbers. Do I letter and number them both the same or……
If you have any info on these wooden ATSF cabeese please drop me a line at:
CWRailman@cox.netNow back to the shops.
Recently I received an email asking if we ever applied our techniques to large size locomotives. The answer is yes. For years I held a membership at the Scottsdale Model Railroad club in Scottsdale Arizona. (Find the link to this club and their new facility on my Home page.) Every Sunday between three and six of my models would run for long periods of time pulling good length and weight consists over the clubs then DC powered 2.5% running grade railroad. Since I no longer hold a membership in that or any other club and our logging themed shortline railroad is not really suited to large size locomotives our roster of the larger sized beasts has been substantially reduced. While many of our large size locomotives have been reassigned to other railroads, here is a representative sampling of some former projects we still maintain in reserve.
Balboa Southern Pacific MK-5 class Mikado 2-8-2. Custom paint and remotored with a 8900rpm flat can motor. Usually double headed with the consolidation noted below.
Balboa Southern Pacific C-9 class Consolidation 2-8-0. While not really a “large” locomotive, this consolidation features custom paint and an 8900 rpm flat can motor. When in operation at the club, it was usually double headed with the MK-5 Mikado to easily handle a 40 car freight consist.
Sunset ATSF 3125 class Mikado 2-8-2. This model was put together for operation on Harold Shelton’s Black Canyon RR. (A link to a multi media tour of that railroad can be found on my Home page.) While this model was sold by Sunset as a 3160 class Mikado, prior to painting we found by researching photo’s that as modeled, it is closer to the 3120 class of Mikado’s operated by the ATSF. This model features custom paint, 8900 rpm flat can motor and Sound Trax pre Tsunami sound system with custom sound chamber. At the time this model was being put together, the sound decoders were quite fragile and easily damaged by shorts. Therefore there are two decoders in this model. One for the sound and another less costly decoder to control the operation of the locomotive. If something shorted out we would loose the inexpensive decoder rather than an expensive sound decoder which at that time were selling for about $150. The sound install was handled by fellow modeler Harold Shelton who at the time was doing a lot of such work. We have since done a few installations of Tsunami systems in our own shops.
Westside Southern Pacific GS-8. Features custom paint and a Sagami round can motor. This smooth running quiet model has been weighted to optimize tractive effort and would run for hours on the club railroad pulling a 12-14 car passenger train.
MB Austin Southern Pacific P-5 Class Pacific. This model was acquired painted and lettered with this private road name which we never found time to change. This model was remotored with a 8900 rpm flat can motor and spent most of it’s time hauling a four car passenger train built from LaBelle wood kits.
PFM Sierra 2-6-6-2. The largest loco for our logging themed road, this model was painted over 35 years ago.
Over the years we have had numerous brass articulated locomotives on the roster such as several Akane cab forwards, four different USRA 2-8-8-2’s from several different importers, 0-6-6-0 and 2-6-6-2’s from Aristo Craft, PFM and Westside.
In addition we have had many long wheel base locomotives such as the PFM/United ATSF 2-10-2, 4-8-4 and 2-8-4 as well as both Balboa and Westside examples of the GS class of Southern Pacific Northern's. We have serviced and done upgrades to many of the PFM series of Southern RR, Pennsy and C&O locomotives. But, as I said earlier, we no longer have a need to maintain these models and they now have new owners.
No matter the size or complexity of the model, except for sometimes selecting larger or smaller can motors, in our large size locomotives we use the same time and operational proven techniques of remotoring and reworking locomotives that we employ on our smaller projects. The successful operation of these models for long periods of time under various conditions on both DC and DCC powered railroads has proven that we must be doing something correct.
Though we no longer take consignment projects from outside sources, by showing our projects we hope to inspire you to undertake one or more of your own without having to invest in a lot of expensive tools or equipment.
Enough of this talking. Time to get back to work in the shops.
I recently took delivery of 10 Mabuchi FK 180SH-17140 motors which were purchased from All Electronics. Here is a link to the data sheet. The motors measure 15.4mm x 20.4mm x 32mm and at the time of purchase from All Electronics were selling for $1.75 each and $7 for shipping for a total of $24.50 for ten motors.
(Click on image for a larger version)
Upon arrival I compared these to my standard and current favorite motor the Mabuchi FF-180PP. I have installed over 40 of the FF-180PP motors in locomotives and have not been disappointed in any of these installations. (You can see video’s of some models repowered with this motor on my Projects page) However, the FF-180PP/PH series motors have become difficult to find so I wanted to see if the FK 180SH-17140 motor would give similar performance.
The test vehicles at automotive proving grounds are called “Mules”. This is the mule I use for testing motors. It was posed in this manner for this photo as a joke that I sent to someone. Normally for testing purposes the superstructure is not attached and the tender is in storage. During testing, the frame is blocked up allowing the drivers to float and the motor to be tested is clamped by rubber band (which can bee seen under the cab) to the frame and connected to the 40:1 gear box with a flexible coupling. Electrical leads are then attached to the motor and power is applied. I record the amperage and voltage readings at the point the drivers just start turning. I count the number of revolutions per minute and divide that by 40 to get the slow start speed. While this is not a highly technical method it allows me to make reasonable comparisons. The usefulness of this chassis is the main reason (at least this is what I tell myself) that this locomotive has not yet been painted and completed.
In chassis testing, the Mabuchi FK180SH-17140 motor produced amperage and voltage readings similar to the FF-180PP however it’s “start speed” the speed at which the drivers start rotating, is nearly twice that of the FF-180PP and at 6 volts the drivers are spinning faster than the model would be run. Remember, this is a no load sort of test. Under load and with friction from all the drivers etc it would run a bit slower but I seriously doubt you would ever need the upper rpm ranges this motor produces. Ironically a NWSL 1630 round can motor with a data sheet showing a 15,000RPM no load speed produced similar results.
Conclusion. This motor will provide an improvement in operation over the original open frame motor. It has good torque and will start a train smoothly however it will accelerate quickly as power is applied. In DC mode you probably will not need to go much further than 6 or 7 volts unless you are running a bullet train. If coupled with a decoder, the low speed operation can be enhanced by properly setting the “Torque compensation kick rate” and the “torque compensation kick strength” and I would allow a wide range between V start and V mid. These settings would provide a slow start and a lot of precise control between startup and mid range. I did note the rather short output shaft which may be an undesirable feature in some installations.
For the price I think this is a good buy.
Now back to the shops
You have a great model railroad either under construction or completed and in operation but you would like to do something smaller. Maybe a small oval to fit into your coffee table or something that fits into the back of your van or car to take to shows or…. Maybe you’re main interest is in contemporary railroading but you have always wanted to dabble in an earlier era. Maybe you want to model a small logging operation instead of your class A railroad or do some industrial switching instead of heavy main line or….. During your next visit to the hobby shop you start looking at smaller scales but soon realize that could be kin to opening Pandora’s box and it might get expensive. Your local retailer/hobby shop owner notices you looking at the smaller scales and sees this as an opportunity to get you hooked and starts drooling over the concept of selling you a lot of equipment in that new scale. But how about this idea that could save you a lot of money now and possible benefit you in the future.
(Click on the photo for a larger version.)
Here is a selection of Shay locomotives. All are HO scale standard gauge. The largest is a PFM B-2 class and will operate on a 15” radius curve. It is representative of the type of loco you would see on someone’s large logging operation. The middle is a PFM Benson Shay and will operate on a 12” radius curves for sure and maybe less. The last is a NWSL 20ton Shay and I have had it operating on curves down to 9” radius but I think it will work on smaller curves. This loco pulling some short Tichy/Gould hoppers or Keystone log buggies or some short scratchbuilt cars followed by a Kadee or Keystone Grasse River logging caboose would look right at home on those tight radius curves. If after a while you decided the coffee table thing, or whatever small project you have in mind will not work, these models can be put to work on your main road. Check out the Projects page for a remotored Westside Ali-San Shay. Click on the video to see it in operation. It’s about the same size as the NWSL Shay shown above above. Next is a selection of diesel type models. The UP diesel is an old Athearn model. The box says it is a SW 7 but somewhere I heard that was not true. (Remember diesels are not my thing.) It will work on 15” radius curves. The next is a Gem Industrial switcher that will work on curves down to 5” radius. Check the Projects page to see this little guy getting reworked with new gears and a flat can motor. The last is a Westside standard gauge version of the D&RGW #50 switcher. It’s so small it will probably turn on a dime, or at least a silver dollar. I don’t know. As with the Shays, if your small project does not work out you can always put these guys to work on your main road. While I originally noted these possibilities for your secondary or display railroad, maybe you are currently restricted to working in a small environment such as an apartment or smaller but you are planning on building a larger system when you move into that mansion in a few years. Maybe you want to experiment with scenery, building bridges and hand laying track techniques. Maybe you built or are planning on building a few structures and would like to display them with a working railroad. The late John Allen proved that you can start off small and then incorporate the models, and in his case the entire small railroad, into your larger system when and if it becomes a reality.
On my home page checkout and download the free track plan for the P&F railroad. This small railroad features continuous running for display or point to point operation. I have developed an operating scheme for this railroad including train orders and a time table that includes running both passenger and freight service and operating the railroad in a point to point manner with an interchange with the outside world. That will all come as a later project.
As I write this I have been glancing over at my glass topped coffee table. Time to get the tape measure out and see what radius track will work within those confines and how I can suspend the railroad under the glass. Hmmmmm!! Maybe a couple of scratchbuilt #3 turnouts and 9” curves and a short trestle running over some drop down scenery, a small mine against the mountain, a bridge on the other side and small passenger station and …..
Excuse me, I’ve got some plannin to do.
Prototype railroads pay close attention to the costs associated with purchasing and operating their locomotives. Going back to the 1880’s and before, the economics of certain wheel configurations, fire box designs, piston speed, and driver diameter was already being considered. Years later in a natural progression of engineering advancements and in response to increasing operating costs special designs such as the Big Boy evolved. With the same thought in mind I have spent time studying the various costs associated with owning and operating our models.
The case in point of this dissertation is a HO scale plastic locomotive verses a previously owned brass model of a similar locomotive. For my comparison I am using an early edition Bachman Spectrum consolidation verses a brass PFM/United ATSF consolidation. These plastic models have been around for a long enough period of time and there is sufficient data available that I can safely make this comparison. Disclaimer here. I am using models of steam locomotives in this comparison. I am not sufficiently familiar with past or current valuations to suggest that the same economics will apply to models of diesel locomotives.
I had procured three of the plastic Bachman consolidations when they were first advertised. These were acquired at a price of $95 per copy which I believe was a bit less than most folks were paying for them at that time. Over the years, these three models spent may hours running on the club railroad and clocked up many miles of operation.
The PFM/United ATSF consolidation was procured around the same time period at a swap meet and while I actually gave $70 for it, I am going to use a more realistic market value of $150 for my comparison for reasons that will become apparent. There are many out there selling for much less.
Both models were operated for comparable periods of time and maintained in a similar manner. All wheels were cleaned before every Sunday operating session. Side rods were all lubricated before every operating session. Axles were lubed and gear boxes were broke down for lube and inspection every 20-24 hours of operation time.
PFM/United brass ATSF 2-8-0
Initial cost $150
Can Motor 15
Replacement axle gear 7
Weight material 3
Total invested $185
Resale after 10-15 years $160
Total Spent -$25
Bachman Spectrum 2-8-0
Initial cost $95
Can Motor 0
Replacement gear 0
Weight material 3
Total invested $98
Resale after 10-15 years $50
Total spent -$48
To pull an 18 car train up the clubs 2.5% grades required one PFM ATSF consolidation but 2 Bachman consolidations. Unrecoverable costs for an 18 car train -$25 for the PFM and -$96 (2x-$48) for the Bachman.
The difference between investing and spending is the ability to recover capital. Any amount that cannot be recovered due to resale is considered spent. The amount for paint is assuming that the brass model did not come painted or prelettered for your road and that the plastic model was.
The prices I used are a combination of prices I’ve personally seen at swap meets and on Ebay for models comparable to those I have used in this comparison. The increase of $10 in the resale price of the brass PFM model was the value added upgrades which included a can motor and newer NWSL gear. When we look at the economics of funding a working railroad handling sensible loads such as the 18 car consist on ruling 2.5% grades as noted, this is one consideration that cannot be ignored. These numbers get even more skewed if you consider that I actually purchased my brass model for $70 and I have seen may others for much less than $150. I have near identical numbers comparing a Bachman Decapod to a PFM Frisco Decapod. The numbers on that comparison get really interesting if working with a 20 car train as it actually takes three of the Bachman Decapods to handle a 20 car consist, which would be normal for such a locomotive, up a 2.5% grade or one PFM United Decapod with 3 ounces of added weight. In testing we found that one Bachman Decapod can handle 8 free rolling cars on such grades verses the 10 cars the heavier Bachman consolidations can handle.
Another issue to consider is serviceability. A complete breakdown of the PFM model including removal of the gearbox for disassembly, inspection, relubing and reassembly took approximately 25-35 minutes. A similar process on the Bachman consolidations took 60-75 minutes. Due to the complexity of that process many of these models owned by other operators are never properly serviced. Just ask anyone who has a Bachman consolidation or similar model if they have ever had the motor out of the chassis. (Servicing the Bachman Decapod took 90 minutes and resulted in several broken plastic parts. )
Disassembling servicing and reassembly of a brass PFM two truck Climax requires removal of three screws which can be seen under the superstructure in this photo and takes about 15 minutes.
By comparison, disassembling and reassembling a Bachman 2 truck Climax to get at the motor and broken internal gears took four hours of pure frustration spread over two days. I do not believe that Bachman meant for either the Climax or the Decapod to be disassembled for servicing.)
Please note that while I showed $7 for a NWSL replacement gear for the brass ATSF model, I showed $0 for a similar Bachman replacement gear. The plastic models, including the three that I own, have a history of gears breaking and I am making an assumption here that as they did for me, Bachman is still replacing the gears free of charge to those who are doing their own servicing such as myself. If that is not the case then Bachman’s charge for the service must be considered and they do not guarantee that you will get the same loco back.
In addition, though I know it might not be a consideration everyone wants to think about, there is a much broader market for used brass models than for used plastic models. The family of a recently deceased model railroader found that while the local hobby shop was interested in selling the used brass items on consignment they were not as willing to devote shelf space to selling the used plastic locomotives.
One final point. Both of the models shown above have been in our storage better known as the “black hole” for a number of years and were pulled from that abyss just for that photo. Despite not seeing the light of day for four or five years, the brass model started up smoothly and ran well. The motor in the plastic model is turning but the model does not move indicating there is yet another internal gear or drive problem in addition to the one I resolved years ago.
Time to get back to the shops!
In the 1980’s under it’s Roundhouse banner, Model Die Casting introduced a kit to build a two truck and later a three truck Shay. I remember that initially there was a flurry of interest in this model and they sold quite well until modelers tried to put them together. Ah!! The realities of mass production and some design flaws became obvious. Magazines ran a few articles on how to remedy the issues inherent with these creatures and a few of those articles spawned soft cover books dedicated to improving the running characteristics. NWSL jumped into the fray and offered two regearing kits for these models. Super detail kits containing high quality brass castings were offered as well as a cast metal replacement boiler to backdate the Shay to an earlier version. Obviously these were not shake the box kits but motivated by the can do attitude some modelers paid attention to the various authors, made the proper modifications to their models during the construction phases and got their models into satisfactory operating condition. Others resold their kits for less than what they had paid for them and for a while previously owned kits could be purchased at swap meets for about half the original price.
Some time after the modified kit built models started rolling on railroads Roundhouse introduced the RTR versions of the two truck Shay. While I do not know if Roundhouse took advantage of the immense knowledge base of the model railroad community and incorporated the modifications suggested by various experts I do know that some of the RTR Shays ran OK from the start but many did not.
Here is a version of the Roundhouse two truck Shay kit that I built shortly after they were first introduced. Be kind in assessing it as this model has had a hard life including a fall of five feet onto a concrete floor. Some of the parts it shed in that acrobatic feat are still missing but it has been mechanically rebuilt and is running again. Over the years, this model has been a sort of test bed for various modifications. Both NWSL regearing kits have been installed replacing the axle gears as well as the main gears. In addition it has a 15mm x 20mm x 30 mm 8,900 rpm flat can motor installed.
For comparison, here is a brass PFM/United two truck Shay. Initially the resale value of these brass versions was impacted in a negative manner by the introduction of the kit and later RTR models but over the years the values have recovered nicely. This brass version features a Mashima flat can motor. While we have done many such projects here in our shops, this motor conversion was done by another mechanic prior to our purchasing the locomotive.
CLICK ON THIS IMAGE to see a brief video of these two models in operation. By paying attention to sound mechanical principles, incorporation of the improved NWSL gears and a efficient can motor the Roundhouse kit can be made to run with the best brass versions and for a lot less money. Since both of these locomotives are on stand by and were pulled out of storage just long enough to shoot this video, neither has been lubed in quite a while. Now if I can just get all the parts back on the Roundhouse version and some details improved so it will look as nice as it’s brass counterpart.
Happy Model Railroading!!
In the RIP Track Rescue project, shown on the Projects page, I showed two unserviceable PFM V&T 4-6-0 locomotives that were to be bashed into one good running locomotive. In this case value was added and what had been a basket case model became a smooth running addition to the roster. (Still waiting for it’s turn in the paint shop.)
At that time the fate of the heavily painted parts missing donor locomotive had not been decided. With the success of the first rebuild, a decision was made to rebuild the remaining mess in the hopes of producing a locomotive that runs as well as the RIP Track Rescue project.
Not all of us are in a financial position to shell out the “big bucks” some of the brass models are commanding. However, there are a lot of models on the market that have been “abused” by less informed/skilled individuals. These can be restored and value returned/increased by taking time to undo some of the abuses inflected by others. For a few hours and a bit of patience you can end up with a very nice model for a fraction of the cost of buying one in pristine condition that had not gone through the abuse. Besides returning value to the model, you’ll have the self satisfaction of bringing one back from the dead.
(Click on an image for a larger version.)
To begin this project the donor locomotive, shown here before it donated parts, was completely disassembled and all brass components sent to the paint stripping tank. A two day bath in my usual Pine Sol solution and a bit of scrubbing did nothing to the paint. Days three and four were spent in a bath of brake fluid. This did lift what I found was the last of three coats of paint. At that point I noted that someone had attempted to scrape off the underlayment of paint with a sharp tool. There were scrape marks in the paint down to the brass.
Despite the best efforts of the brake fluid it could not permeate the bottom layers of paint so a few days later the locomotive was soaked in a bath of Lacquer thinner. This finally started to loosen the last two coats of paint. Final scrubbing in a bath of Pine Sol removed the remaining remnants of paint. About an hour spent with a rotary wire brush chucked into my little Dremel cleaned up the snags of paint and removed some of the tarnish. Again by taking a bit of time value was added to a rather useless locomotive. Watch for further developments which will be featured in the Projects page as this is a work in progress and I am scouring the shops for components on hand to satisfactorily complete the project.
Now back to the shops!
Recent discussions about colors used by the prototype for various cars had reminded me of an experience I had many years ago in the painting of passenger cars. In this photo you see the ends of three different passenger cars all built from wood LaBelle kits.
(Click on Image for a larger version.)
Car #27 was the first LaBelle kit I ever attempted and was completed back in 1975. This was closely followed by car #22. Both were painted using paint out of the same bottle. Notice the difference is shades of the same color. Both spend most of there time in storage so there is no fading due to exposure to lighting. About 18 years later #20 was completed and has spent a good amount of it’s time under lighting that could alter it’s color a bit. All are painted Floquil Tuscan # RR25 or in my case more accurately RR2025 which was the 2oz bottles I bought. They all should be the same color right?
Car #27 was painted with a brush dipped directly into the bottle of paint and never clear coated after decaling.
Car #22 was painted with an air brush shooting a mixture of 50% Floquil Tuscan, 10% Floquil Glaze and 40% thinner. After decaling the car was again over sprayed with a coating of Floquil Glaze. The yellow/golden color of the Glaze changed the color of the car a few shades darker.
Car #20 was painted using techniques similar to #22 however after decaling it was over sprayed with Testors Dull coat out of a spray can.
While the above image was shot under florescent skin tone lights, here is an image of the same cars shot with an incandescent light source added to the mix. A more dramatic shift in colors can be scene. This color differential is much more noticeable when seen in person especially under sun light.
Many years ago when discussing such variances in colors with an acquaintance of mine who owned a business supplying pigmentation to paint manufactures, he explained that one of the major quality control issues facing his company was guaranteeing the consistence of pigmentation/color from one batch to the next. While today we take such quality control for granted he indicated that during the time period I was modeling which is 1928, materials such as paint were gotten from local suppliers and due to base components, the colors might be more than a few shades off. Since companies such as Pullman manufactured cars in several different locations it is reasonable to conclude that not all colors were identical and there might be variances from one car to the next.
My initial experience with color differential between #27 and #22 caused me to complete construction of the remaining passenger cars for the consist and paint them all at the same time. That way I was reasonably assured that the paint would match. Years later I added a few “private” cars to the consist but the fact that they were private owner business cars allowed me to overlook the fact that the colors do not exactly match the original consist.
Now on to the shops where there are locomotives in the process of being rebuilt
Many years ago I was a member of the Lake Shore Model Railroad club on the Southside of Chicago. Our railroad ran a mainline as well as a shortline operation. The shortline represented a less affluent somewhat worn operation similar to those delineated in the book “Mixed Train Daily” by Beebe. I decided I wanted to build some equipment specifically for operation on the shortline that was a bit unique and not as common as much of the plastic prepainted cars some other members operated.
(Click on image for a larger version.)
While I did not model the Virginia and Truckee(V&T) Railroad, I had seen images of their paint schemes applied to passenger equipment. Their colors were the inspiration for the color scheme I applied when building the first and only piece of passenger equipment for the Lake Short Line. This car was built around 1977 from a LaBelle wood kit #12 and rode on Central Valley trucks.
The manner of construction facilitated the paint scheme as the colors to most components were applied prior to assembly thereby eliminating the need for extensive masking during the final painting process and assuring crisp lines between transitions from one color to the next.
Many years later, Harold Shelton saw my Lake Shore Car and liked the scheme. He used a similar color scheme for his Black Canyon RR. He built these cars from Westwood kits. As I did, he prepainted many of the components prior to assembly.
While neither Harold nor myself modeled the V&T, it was the inspiration for the color schemes we chose for our models.
Happy Model Railroading!
Sometimes, even though it has nothing to do with your goals within the hobby, is not the era you model and makes little sense in the scheme of things, you just have to do a project like this one. At the end of this blog check out the video of this locomotive in operation.
(Click on the image for a larger version)
The locomotive in this photo was sold as a Ready To Run (RTR) Mantua model of the famous General civil war era locomotive. I found this at a local swap meet this morning. It followed me home. As I discovered, this is a good example of why new modelers get discouraged. After a few attempted test runs I removed the tender shell and cleaned and lubed the motor. While that did make an improvement the model’s running characteristics were unacceptable. I decided to do what I could to improve it’s running without sinking a lot of money or time into the project.
In the middle is the original Mantua motor which is mounted in the loco tender. After cleaning and lubing, it had a start speed of about 1000 rpm which is too fast for this sort of model. On the top is a Nichibo PC130SF series motor which costs around $5. This would have fit and produced a really nice slow speed but I would have had to modify the tender and build a longer drive shaft. The bottom motor is the one I decided to use. It is a 12mm x 15mm x 28mm, 12,000 rpm motor which I procured for about $3.
The mounting bracket for the old motor was cut off with a Dremel cut off disk. In this image you see the new motor has been glued using Westinghouse Silicone glue. A NWSL bushing was used to increase the motor shaft size from 1.5mm to the 2.4mm id of the drive coupling. All these components were glued on using ACC.
To improve electrical connections to the motor I soldered flexible wires to both tender trucks. These wires were then soldered together and after verifying which terminal was correct, they were connected and soldered directly to the motor terminal.
Total investment in this project was $3 for the motor, a few squirts of Westinghouse silicone glue, one NWSL bushing at $1 a few pieces of wire from the junk box, and one Dremel cut off disk. Total working time was about 1.5 hours. Though I had to wait about 2 hours for the glue to set up between steps.
If this was an infomercial, this is where I would be saying
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!
After running this loco back and forth over a period of several days I continued to wonder how it would run with the Nichibo PC130SF series motor so…. Out came the newly installed motor and in went the 15mm x 20mm x25mm long Nichibo. (These can be purchased from sellers on Ebay). Because this motor sat back further into the tender, I had to fabricate a longer drive shaft out of 3/16” material. About 3/8” longer. I used aluminum because it is what I had on hand but brass, steel or even plastic rod would work as well. I used a NWSL gear puller to pull the universal balls off the ends and carefully pushed them onto the new shaft. Taper the very edge of the new shaft to allow the ends to slide on a bit easier. It is a very tight fit and I used no glue.
Using the Westinghouse Silicone I glued the new motor down into the recessed area of the tender frame and tilted the back of the motor upward ever so slightly to better line up with the drive shaft. One additional note. There is a protrusion from the wood load going through the top of the tender. That will have to be cut flush with the inside of the tender shell if you use this motor.
With the small can motor I had said that the model ran well but “not as well as some of my other projects”. Well, I can no longer say that. Click on the link provided below to see the updated video and check out the very last segment. It shows the General and a much more expensive remotored brass loco both being run on the same DC throttle.
VIDEO OF THE LOCOMOTIVE IN OPERATION.
Now back to the shops.
Happy Model Railroading!