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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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