0-4-0 Switcher Detailing - First Attempt (Addendum)
The Model (before) :
I bought this on eBay because:
a) as a 15 year old school kid I worked Saturdays in our local hobby store and used to sell these locomotives and kind of fell in love with something I couldn't afford and
b) it was incredibly cheap.
The original model ran like a dog, so needed a full strip down, clean and rebuild.
After that it gave a surprisingly good performance for such an old model with high gearing.
This loco has a 3 pole ‘pancake’ style motor which although a bit noisy runs well, with lots of torque at slow speed. It also means daylight under the boiler and a bit of cab room which is unusual for a 40 year old locomotive model.
This was also my first attempt at fitting DCC and this proved reasonably straightforward.
I had a spare Bachmann tender, so used the trucks and 4+2 pin sockets for the conversion. I also added as much weight as possible because the switcher tended is light as a feather in stock form.
The light bulbs are fitted with miniature plug and socket connections to make assembly and maintenance easier.
Even so, power pick up through the truck mounting screws was poor so I hardwired the decoder power inputs to the truck pickups – much better!
Performance is reasonable without being stunning. I used a rather obscure Hornby Sapphire decoder and have an NCE Power Cab.
Back EMF is a no-go with very jerky performance. After a bit of research I installed a thrust block to get rid of all motor end float, but that didn’t seem to help with this particular problem. It did however remove ‘bucking’ when going down steeper grades on my small logging railroad.
Also the decoder seems to shut down after a few seconds (lights go off) when speed is reduced to zero. I’m not sure if this is an issue with either the Decoder or the NCE command unit?
Loco modifications include extra hand rails, Cal Scale air pump and generator, scratch built injectors, sand pipes, air and power lines. New front and rear lights are courtesy of spares for a Rivarossi Heisler that will be another project. Crew are from Selley.
The Pizza Cutter driver flanges were turned down a little using a Dremel while spinning them under motor power, but to be honest the process was very stressful and I held back. I also chemically blackened the wheels and this compensates a little for still oversized flanges.
To get some painting knowledge, I invested in Jeff Johnston’s “How to Paint a Steam Locomotive “ DVDs and I can’t recommend then highly enough. Everything you need to know and then some – thanks Jeff!
My only deviation from Jeff’s guidance was to avoid using a protective varnish. I prefer to leave the weathering powders un-covered to get maximum texture. I avoid handling my locomotives so this isn’t an issue.
The Model (after):
Overall I am pretty happy. As a low buck training exercise it’s been a total success. The final results are usable on the railroad as well………
The only problem I have with this hobby is that every time I finish a task. I immediately think of a better way of doing it. Knowing when to stop is another problem. Each time I go back to the prototype photo, I see more stuff I could add.
To make any kind of progress I have to strictly apply the “Good Enough” rule and file the idea away for the next time I do this task.
On to “Job 2” – Detailing a Mantua Mallet; coincidentally also inspired by an old Jeff Johnston magazine article.
I’ll get back to you in a few weeks ……………………..
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