Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back To Scratchbuilding, For A Moment

(Announcer) "When we last left our newly moved model railroader, (me) his layout was in sections piled-up in his new, smaller basement and the pre-snow-outside house -projects "Honey-Do"list was growing by the minute...."

Well. I'm happy to report the outside projects are done, so let the snow far the weather has been sunny and cool - go figure! The inside projects list is getting addressed with caulk, Spackle and paint. In the spare moments of the day (ha) I have had a chance to work on my On30 2-8-0 logging locomotive conversion from HO scale. (See previous posts for background info.) I have had the forethought to actually document the process with photos so if I ever get around to putting together another "how-to" article for a modeling magazine, I'll have the "beginning construction" shots done.
To update the project, I have completed the locomotive's tender to the point of doing final gap-filling, detailing, testing the DCC and finally painting. I started by building an extended frame around and over the HO locomotive tender chassis using styrene strips, so the new 1/4-inch-scale width tender frame measured-out to about 7.5 feet. I'm still toying with the idea of replacing the small HO trucks with a set of On30 trucks and then somehow adapting them to pickup power from the rails like the HO ones do. In the meantime, the HO scale trucks will do just fine.
With razor saw in hand, the tender body was cut in half and all the un-needed plastic was cut, filed and sanded away. I cemented the sides to the new extended frame. The "stock" loco's wiring and DCC plug-in can be seen as well. Now, the fill in the gaps.
Above you can see a filler section bridging the gap between to two original rear tender sides. I also cut and added sand bins from an old Shay tender to this section to add interest and take the eye away from the gap. I did the same gap filling in front, but with more pieces to create a "walkway" over the mini plug that connects the loco wiring to the tender. (See other photo below) Once this stage in the construction was done, I tested the DCC and sound components into the enlarged tender body to see how everything would fit.
In the background of the above picture, you can see the tender's top deck section. This was built to be removable to access the DCC system. I cut a section of the old HO tender's top and water hatch and glued that to the new tender deck, as well as adding a fuel oil hatch. I want to get some of those Micro-Mark rivet decals to add details to the new tender and locomotive. Has anyone used them yet?
I'm going to have to mount a coupler pocket to the rear, but I guess I'll wait on that until I decide on the taller On30 trucks or not. The tender will get an operating rear headlight, as well as coupler lift bars, grab irons, steps and all the other detail goodies to bring it to life.
This tender has given me an opportunity to get my feet wet in the new scratch building project. Now onto the actual locomotive with the saddle tank, new cab, walkways and all the other doo-dads. I guess that means a trip to the on-line hobby shop!

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