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Discussion Starter #1
So I started out buying an aristocraft  PRR MIkado because it was on sale for cheap and I'm from Pennsyvania. That was the reason. It ran great, it was fun. But I'm a historian for a living, so I started looking around--what would an actual PRR Mikado look like? Well I learned a few things--air tank in the front, gray smokebox, red roof. I started messing around and looking at pictures of other locos--I added an elesco feedwater heater, just for fun. Added some handrails. But I kept going back to the PR mikados--headlight needs to move, number plate needs to go in the center of the smokebox--check. Thanks to a really nice visit with Bruce Chandler, I got a brass numberplate (thanks Bruce!, moved the headlamp--I did a bunch of silly stuff which kept me busy and made me happy

But the thing is, the PRR look is the Belpaire firebox. They had a few USRA mikados with conventional fireboxes, but they had different trailing trucks and besides, they were badly outnumbered. The Belpaire firebox is the Pennsy look

It's kind of ugly--or so I thought at first. Now it's kind of grown on me

So how to make one? I have very limited skills--I've never worked with styrene in my life, for example. I've done a lot of woodworking--I thought about making something in balsa wood. But I'm not sure how to go about it.  I=Having studied a lot of PRR mikes, I think it'd be REALLY hard to make an Aristo mike into an accurate model--the walkways are way too high, for example, and they're molded into the frame. But it should be possible to add something that says "belpaire" and looks good without having to be slavishly accurate

So does anyone have any suggestions, or any links to threads where peple have done this?.
 

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One of our live steamer has converted his Aster Mikado to a PRR L1.  Being a brass engine and needing to make parts that can match the boiler shell he formed his addition top portion of the Belpaire firebox from a brass sheet.  His dimensions are scaled in 1:32.  I can call him for measurement if you would like:

 

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Discussion Starter #3

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I have not had experience of making Belpaire boxes for USA locos but have made plenty for 0 scale models of Great Western Railway locos here in UK. Although your loco is plastic, I assume, I would make the box from sheet brass.The angles of the bends in relation to the footplate line is all important and I find brass is the best material for getting this right.
You will have a lot of fun/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gifgetting it all right but the result will be worth it.
Regards
Bunny
 

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Give styrene a try, it’s a lot of fun to work with.:)
 I’d recommend some thin stuff for starters (about the thickness of paper). It can be easily cut with scissors or an exacto knife, and can be easily bent. Start by making something that it roughly the shape that you want and fit it over the existing firebox. That test fit should be enough to encourage you!


You may also want to get a copy of Model Railroader’s "Steam Cyclopedia" This book if full of line drawings that can be enlarged on a copy machine to the size you want. Then it’s a simple matter of gluing the plan on a sheet of plastic and cutting out the piece you want. I’ve used this to technique with great success on 5 locomotive models so far.


Joel
 

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I will follow up with the  information from the owner.  Joel's recommendation is an excellent starting point.  Other metal, copper, is also easy to work with but either brass or copper would need a good adhesive for plastic to metal bond.  If it were metal to metal then solder or JB Weld would work.
 

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Mike,
Come on over sometime and we can have a styrene working session.   Heck, bring the loco and some pictures and I'll help you fabricate the firebox.  (You get to cut, I get to "supervise" /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif )
That way you can see what tools might be the handiest before start buying stuff. :cool:

I've probably got enough styrene and stuff to get you started...
 
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