G Scale Model Train Forum banner
1 - 20 of 102 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to be getting an Aster Mikado kit from Royce. After the Huckleberry steamup, where I got to run Fred Gandolfi's Aster Mikado I really found out how much fun alcohol firing was and what engine I really wanted. Do any of you guys have any tips for building the Aster Mikado kit? I did get the axel and tender pump kit.
Brian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
Make sure all the holes that should be threaded, are threaded. I have assembled two kits and one of them had two parts with unthreaded holes. Of course, the ones that were unthreaded were the ones that are the hardest to get to with the screws and I spent a lot of time assuming I did not have them aligned correctly.

There is one other tricky part to get together and I spent a lot of time getting quite upset to my stomach before I realized how EASY it is to assemble them...

The Walshaerts valve gear has a curved link with a forked Radius rod that fits into it and a small square Link Block between the forks and contained inside the Curved Link. You have to place the fork inside the link and then slide the Block down one fork tine halfway into the link and then push it sideways so it will fall between the tines. I had a terrible time because every time I tried to slide it sideways, it fell over and then would not fall between the tines. ARRRRRRGH! TWENTY MINUTES of: put in the fork, lay the block on it, tip the fork so the block slides into the link, it falls over, remove the fork, shake the block out, drop it on the floor, hunt for it, do it all again.

Then I discovered that the small screwdriver that comes with the kit could be inserted into the link from the side and into the hole in the block to keep it vertical. Then it could be slid sideways and down between the tines.

The first one took me 20 minutes and 3 seconds, the second one took 3 seconds. The second engine also too just 3 seconds per side.

Don't be afraid to file off burrs around punched out parts... especially the Link Block (it should be smooth on all the edges, but don't file it smaller, just break the edges a bit!) Also the paint seemed to have subtracted a wee bit of width from the frame axle box horns. A light, fine file will do. I used the file on my Swiss Army Knife for all of it... it is not too agressive.

Mark Horovitz wrote a review of the Mike for Garden Railways Magazine back when the kit came out. I would heartly recommend reading it. I think it used to be available on his web site, but I could not find it just now.

He said he felt that the kit was not for beginners and that had me quite nervous as I had purchased my first one before I read the review and I was a klutz assembling plastic models as a kid. I think he also said that Aster expected the assembly to take between 20 to 40 hours and he felt that was a bit short. He also listed some errors in the assembly instructions... if Royce does not provide them to you, say so and I will get them to you somehow.

I decided to spend no more than 1 hour per evening and maybe 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons just to make sure I didn't "burn out" on it. I assumed it would take me a couple of months to get it done.

I started on a Tuesday night. I read the whole instruction manual and studied the assembly drawings (and made markups per Horovitz's article). I then got a bunch of plastic cups (ice cream cups... low and wide so they won't tip over easily) to hold some of the really small parts and the bags of screws. I kept the bags of screws and such in alphabetical/numerical order on my table so I could find them easily. The parts for each step of the instructions all come in one box per step. That was the first night's "work"... that and being mesmerized by the beauty of the tiny parts!!! It should not have taken me 3 hours to do this step, but I spent way too much time admiring the parts... and it is a good indicator of how well I kept to my plan of just 1 hour per night.

By Friday night I had the chassis running on air, but discovered I had missunderstood the instuctions in setting the valve gear and when I put it in forward, expecting to catch it with my right hand, it went backwards and almost into the glass front of my china cabinet!

By Sunday afternoon, I had it boiling water and running on steam. It took me less that 20 hours to do the assembly. (This was without the axle pump, but with the tender pump.)

The second engine... well it took me slighty OVER 20 hours to assemble it.

Two reasons...

ONE, there were two parts that were not threaded and one was the smokebox base where you have to slip the screws deep into the frame almost blindly to attach them together. I spent a long gut wrenching time on that one before I pulled the smokebox off (a tricky step due to some of the parts in the smokebox you have to thread through the hole in the bottom) to see why I could not get the screws started... NO THREADS... easy fix, but took a trip to the hobby shop to get the right metric tap.

TWO... Male EGO! I had already assembled one of these things! It was EASY! RIGHT!??!?!? I kept skipping steps in the instructions, putting things together that needed other things attached first. Had to do a LOT of dissassembly to correct things. I also still got the valve gear reversed, but I was smart this time and put a couple of big books on the ends of the table to catch it!

If you have problems, feel free to ask here... also do a search of the archives for notes by those that have assembled it. Also check the Southern Steam Trains website for more notes.

\http://www.southernsteamtrains.com/reference.htm
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
353 Posts
Brian,
As I told you at the Huck, TAKE YOUR TIME! Read and re-read the instructions as you assemble. That is the most important thing. Second is one word. Loctite. Use it, but not on items that would need to be removed for maintenance.
Good luck. Also send me an email with your home address. I have something to send you that will help with the assembly. I think you know what it is.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
The Mikado is a great kit building experience. Take your time and study the graphic instructions as well as the written ones. The (8) cylinder studs that came with my kit were incorrect (too short) and were replaced by Aster, though you could use the shorter ones, however you will need to test fit the valve box assembly and loctite them in at their proper length. Make sure that everything moves smoothly in each assembly, before proceeding further.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
If I remember these details correctly.../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif

They recommend the absolute weakest type of locktite... I think that is "222", but I could not find it locally and wasn't about to wait to order it by mail... so I bought the only type the hardware store had on the shelf which is "242". According to a chart I found, that is the next to weakest type.

I used it VERY sparingly. I would put a small drop on a toothpick and touch that to the screw threads and then use a paper towel to absorb most of it back off... leaving just the tinyest amount in the threads of the screw. I have had no trouble removing screws when I have had to and I have only had one part come loose in operation... the Bypass valve has a ring with a long screw to hold it to the shaft of the valve, the long screw helps the fingers grip the ring to turn it to open or close the valve. This is the only part that came loose and I actually found it laying on the ballast when I discovered it missing during a run. :cool:


Another bit of advice... the kit comes with a tube of "bathtub caulk" (the box is printed in Japanese, but the 'drawings of use' on the box will show you that it really is bathtub caulk). The instructions will tell you to use the caulk on all of the steam fittings and on the gasket material around the steam chest. It was recommended to me to use steam oil on the gaskets instead, as it makes opening the steam chest easier if you want or need to make adjustments inside it. I have had to remove the steam chest lids a couple of times and the steam oil releases easily and I have not had to make new gaskets, but if I had used the caulking compound I am sure I would have needed new gaskets to reassemble things. It won't hurt to use plenty of steam oil there as it is needed inside the chest anyway, but if you get that caulking compound in the wrong place it will be a big problem. Do use the caulking compound on the pipe fittings and such, but be sure to keep it away from the insides of the pipes... it will clog things up badly and may be impossible to get out of the wrong places.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
353 Posts
Brian,
i always use the blue loctite. Charles is correct, the number is 222. I've bought it at auto parts stores in the past.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
22 Posts
Hi All,

I am in the process of building a Mikado as well. I am new to alcohol firing and was just wondering about something. I am sure I will get many different answers, but I just wanted to hear your input. How exactly do you light the fire in the engine? Do you use a match, lighter, etc? It seems somewhat difficult to access the wicks on this particular engine so I was just looking for some tips.

Thanks for the help,
David
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
I put the auxilary blower fan (either the commercial Aster type fan, or a computer CPU fan in a funnel, or an air-compressor through a venturi) in the stack to draw a draft on the fire, open the fuel valve and wait about 30 seconds (if I can wait that long!) and then use a butane bar-b-q lighter held along side the bottom of the firebox. The alcohol lights quite easily. A small handheld inspection mirror-on-a-stick (dental mirror) can be used to look up into the firbox to see if it is lit and how well it is burning. I keep the auxilary blower running until I hear the built in blower hissing and then remove the auxilary one.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
353 Posts
I use a butane lighter as Charles mentioned. If it is a sunny day you will not be able to see the flames from the wicks even with a mirror. I then use the butane lighter to check and see if the wicks are lit. Either light the lighter and blow out the flame (while continuing to hold down the trigger) or pull the trigger enough to let the fuel flow without engaging the spark, and place the lighter by the side of each wick. If the lighter lights, the wicks are lit.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
22 Posts
OK. I have already have a butane lighter for my butane engines so I am all set there. Fred, that us a neat trick. Use the flame to ignite the lighter. I will have to pick up a mirror though. Thanks again for the tips guys.

-David
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,052 Posts
Brian, while I did not build mine from a kit a friend was nice enough to add the detail kit to my RTR engine for me. If you do get the detail kit, you need to install it while you build the engine. The sand pipes, feed water pipes, front cow catcher detail, etc. in the detail kit add a lot to the looks of a already good looking engine. I think that they are still available from Hans.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would like the detail kit but I do not want to drill holes in the boiler shell. From what John Garret was telling me at the Huckleberry steamup you have to drill square holes in the boiler jacket. I do not want to tack a chance on messing up the engine. Steve, I have seen videos of your Mikado on here before it looks like it runs really good.
Brian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,052 Posts
Hello Brian. One of the great things about the Mike is that I have never heard of one that does not run well. They are just a all around great engine. As far as the detail kit, you might give Hans a call about drilling those holes that you are referring too. He may have some advice on how to do it easier then you have been told. This is easy for me to say because I did not do mine, but the detail kit adds a lot to the overall apperance of this already awesome engine. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I got the kit today and after 7 hours of working on it I got the drivers in the frame and the cylinders together. If I am lucky after work tommorow I can get a good start on the valve gear.
Brian
 
1 - 20 of 102 Posts
Top