Saturday, August 6, 2011

Little Critters, Pt.3

Progress has been a little slow this week, partially from not feeling well, but mostly from taking the time to make sure everything fits properly. If something didn't look right to me, I scrapped it and tried again. A lot of styrene met it's maker on my bench this week.

This is a closer look at the repaired retaining clip. The two ribs are .060 square stock that hold the rear of the deck level with the front.

Here you can see how they 'capture' the slot in the deck. When the screw that secures the front of the deck to the chassis is installed, it prevents any lateral movement, and this end is held nice and snug.

Next I needed to make a space for weights and a coupler box. This rib was in the way, so it had to go.

Next time I will remove this rib before re-attaching the front piece. Next time......
There wasn't enough space for a standard razor saw to fit, but I had recently purchased a saw blade the same size as a #11 blade. It worked perfectly. A little clean-up with a chisel blade, and I was left with this. Now I needed a piece of styrene to transverse the two white strips that was thick enough to take a coupler screw. (I didn't want the same problem I had with the Transfer Caboose.)

This piece of .080 x 1/4" styrene was  plenty thick enough. Too thick in fact. As it was, it protruded below the coupler cut-out. However, some notches cut with the razor saw............

......and everything fit flush.

Now I added lead strips under the styrene. You can see how they have lifted the styrene up. They fit fine when I dry-fitted them. Turns out the multiple layers of thickened super glue added just enough to raise the strip. Unfortunately, the solution here was to chisel off one layer of lead. At the other end I held all the strips tight with clamps, then ran a bead of super glue around the outside. This bond will be good enough for this situation.

A hole drilled and tapped to accept a 2-56 screw to secure the coupler box. The two strips keep the box from twisting out of position.

This 'U'-shaped piece further secures the box, as well as covering the open spaces to either side of it.

Wow, this engine really sat low. To even get the couplers close to the right height, I had to use these underset Kadees. (Notice how the shank is at the bottom of the coupler.) That still wasn't enough, and I had to shim the body off the chassis by .030". Notice where the square strip on the motor retaining clip is located now, then go back up to the first picture, and see how much I had to raise it.

Next it was time to replace the treadplate. First I cut the piece oversize by a 1/16th" all round, then cut a slot at the front the exact size of the chassis mount (the part that sticks up with the hole in it). I applied the super glue to the front half of the deck, and the slot I cut allowed me to lower the treadplate down exactly in place. I let the glue cure, then lifted the rear of the treadplate, and applied glue underneath it. Once that was cured, I trimmed off the excess plate from around the outside. Then I trimmed the inside as narrowly as possible yet still allowing the motor to fit.

 Here is a shot of my original application. I cut out the center portion flush with the kit part, which left some open gaps between the deck and the engine hood at the front. This was unsightly, and if you go back to the original 'Critter' post, you will see where I used some small styrene angle around the bottom of the hood hoping to hide the gap. Didn't like the way it looked.

A neater looking deck and no gaps.

Finally, I shortened the doors  and added steps into the cab. You won't believe how long it took those steps to appear. I tried about a half-dozen different styles before settling on this one.

That's all for now. Thanks for looking. Don


  1. Looking good Don. You gonna get the transfer caboose painted up?

  2. I still haven't decided on a color. What do you think, lime green or banana yellow?

  3. I had been thinking traditional red. What's your prototype location?

  4. The steel mill will be located in south-central Ohio, maybe on the Ohio River. The time frame will be late '60s, early '70s. The mill will be owned by my fictitious Ohio Northern RR, which is closely associated with the Pennsylvania RR. That means I can not only use PRR equipment, but some New York Central and Penn Central stuff as well. I just picked up a few old Athearn PRR steel cabooses that will most likely be painted traditional red, but transfer cabooses, usually restricted to in-plant use in congested or dangerous locations, are many times painted in safety colors. I am leaning toward yellow, but I may undercoat it with chromate green first.