Monday, November 28, 2011

Building the Strath Hobbies 500 class: Part 2

The next major component to adjust was the polyurethane casting that forms the nose and roof of the long hood. Nothing too difficult here, basically the roof profile is far too flat - but some time with some course-grade sandpaper fixes this quite easily - realistically I should have filed off all the detail cast onto the roof, and replicated it on the re-profiled roof using styrene strip, but having adjusted the radius of the curved sides, this improved its appearance and was good enough. I then drilled out the A end marker lights with a 2mm bit, and then using a cutting disk in the dremel, removed the inner polyurethane walls which have to removed anyway to allow the mechanism to fit.

Once happy with the fit, the nose/hood casting was epoxied into place.

Then it was onto detailing - A set of associated distributors dual-armed windscreen wipers were purchased, and cut in half, providing sufficient windscreen wipers and rear-vision mirrors for one loco - these were soldered into place. Some small model etch lashing rings were then prepared, primed and painted with Floquil Caboose Red and then fitted to the top of the hood casting to represent lift rings. The whitemetal horns and cab vents were then fitted out and soldered/epoxied into place on the cab roof.

The exhaust stack (the angled type) was then filed to shape (out of the box, it looks like a block of balsa) and epoxied into place.

Then it was onto the handrails - theres a fret of the front and rear handrails, as well as a packet of stainless steel handrail knobs for the hood sides - sone .8mm holes were drilled into the side of the hood, knobs glued in and then a length of brass wire inserted through the lot - theres some 18 knobs on each side here, so this takes some time.

Then the hood door handles were drilled out and lengths of brass wire fabricated to represent the handles - these were then soldered from the inside of the hood to secure.

The cab handrails were then added, before the very last step of soldering the runningboard handrails onto each pilot (in retrospect, this would have been better to do post painting, as applying the decals became a real problem).

Once complete, the body was then washed in warm soapy water and left to air dry overnight. The body was then primed and sprayed all over Floquil Caboose Red. Once dry the hood, pilots and cab were masked off, and the runningboards sprayed with Floquil Engine Black.

Once dry, the body was then given an all-over coat of gloss clear coat and decals applied (this was an all-dayer). After many applications of solvaset, the loco was left to dry, before a coat of testors dullcote was applied.

This then allowed me to start on the mechanism. The mech was a Proto2000 S1 mechanism, which had the top weight removed, and the lower running boards filled down by some .5mm to reduce its overall height. The fuel tank was ground off with the trusty dremel and the polyurethane casting expoxied into place. As I was very unhappy with the appearance of the bogie sideframes (they look like shortened Lima C38 class tender bogie sideframes), I manufactured a set of masters for some better looking sideframes with the correct distance between axle boxes for the S1 mechanism. These were then cast by my brother Nick.

These were then fitted to the mechanism and the whole lot given a liberal coat of Floquil Engine Black. A TCS M1 decoder was then fitted and the lighting fitted. I had to make my own coupler boxes using a rather crude styrene and spring steel wire contraption to keep the couplers at a realistic height and ensure no part of the coupler box was protruding from the pilot.

Then once assembled, the whole loco was given a liberal coat of weathering, and the cab was glazed, crew fitted and cab blinds installed. Then it was off to the test track!