I saw a Bachmann Spectrum 4 4 0 for sale with a Phoenix sound system already fitted This was at a quite good price, so after consultations with the chief accountant(who wants a sound system equipped loco) it was quickly agreed that it could be bought.
Naturally it was in the usual Bachmann colors; those were going to change as much more information is now available. Jim Wilkie and Jon Davis in the DRG Historical society magazine â€˜The Prospectorâ€™ had a very good article on locomotive colors, and Dave Fletcher did some color renditions for Accucraft for their new steam locos.
That produced a dark green one, and a black versionÂ which the D&RG bought from Baldwin; those were 3 locos and they were the first black locos the D&RG had. These were 99,100, and 101; David had done a rendition of 101, and he had sent me a copy of this â€" it looked good.
Black the three may have been, but that does not mean that they were dull â€" far from it!Â The trim was white red and gold. The tender was almost complete â€" I added some red trim from â€˜sticky back plastic as David does to the tender exterior and the inside was given three toolboxes, and an air tank on the rear, which meant that the toolbox was lifted to the top of that tank, all toolboxes have ribbed lids now. The firemanâ€™s one has the switch for the sound system (which makes the tender weigh almost as much as the loco), so that lid is left loose; the others are fixed.
The tender interior was painted red oxide (mineral red), and pout on one side. It was now the turn of the loco to have plenty of paint. The cab was black, the boiler was done in Humbrol Metalcote, and the yo my eyes rather thin smokestack had a new tube for the lower portion, and retained the old top part â€" the difference is not a lot but it makes it look much better!
Next off was the tiny headlight, and a new one made to the pattern for the Mason Bogie â€" that has a scale 23â€� lens, and after a quick build of it looks much better. The old one was removed, and wiring for the dim LED unsoldered. The new one was internally adjusted, the reflector unit is fixed to the baseplate which has trough contacts from the inside of the boiler, after some trial runs with it. I normally use a â€˜grain of wheat bulbâ€™, but that did not illuminate. This was eventually traced to the fact that the circuit board, which was not removed or accessible, must have had a capacitor or such for it. I did not strip down the loco as IÂ had strong suspicions that it would be complicated! Â More thought and fiddling was done Â when a lucky co-incidence was found â€" the LED from one of the â€˜Indieâ€™ Moguls worked! Â The emitted light was at the top of the reflector but that was â€˜livableâ€™ with. The outerÂ shell was then fitted and it was then time to extract the domes â€" the fixing screws are inside â€" take off the tops and shine a torch in and they can be seen, Kevin Strongâ€™s GR article also helped, and a query to himÂ answered another question re the fixing of the boilerÂ (5 screws â€" two at the front under the running boards, undo the cylinders, for the 3rd, and two more on the sides of the firebox BUT beware IF removed (from David Fletcher) of a tiny orange wire that seems fated to always break!
That decided it â€" leave the boiler in position,Â and paint it in situ! The cab has 4 screws of which the rear two are hidden behind an air tank, and the rear cab supports â€" they donâ€™t make things easy do they!Â That also stayed put, but the roof was removed. I also added the blowdown pipes on the bottom of the cylinders to match myother locos, and painted them barss and steel colors at the same time as the cyiinder front and rear were painted.
The domes cab, pilot deck, pilot, and wheels were painted black, and it looked very dull in spite of the black being gloss.Â I asked David Fletcher if he could produce a master for Stan Cedarleaf to make a set of decals from. It was managed but was very tightÂ twhen fitted onto a single sheet.
They are complicated! Gold, red, and white colors are used. The white is also around the extreme edge of the domes, that was a thin (.030) strip of paper for each one (of 4) held on with a very thin sliver of glue, as the white strip in the dcal was not a denase enough white. That gave me an idea for the cab, which has the bevels (provided by Bachmann) lined out with gold strips,Â eventually that was done to a satisfactory result, and includes red strips (as the tender) as well.
Now the decals had arrived; and the application of them was started; something went wrong â€" Stan had a faulty sheet of decal paper, which was not obvious â€" the decal broke up!Â Consternation!, I was worried at the mess: a phone call to Stan plus a photo sorted out that I could have the defective bits rectified (when I had decided which out of all of the sheet, it ended up as not much in the end, and Stan fixed it as soon as possible â€" Thanks Stan!).
The most difficult are the tops of the domes; I cut it up into 4 pieces and put on all 4 at once; they have to slide downwards over the double curve on the tops, moving apart to get all lined up as it should be â€" I was moving all 4 pieces minuscule amounts with a fine pair of tweezers, with plenty of water to help them slide.Â Do NOT use decal softener that may have contributed to the breaking up! Care and quietness whilst fiddlinâ€™ is what I found worked best. The domes have in the end 4 pieces on the top, two on the main portion, and two on the base portion, each!
That was finally done and dusted and varnished over for protection. I also add an initial coat of varnish to give the decal some extra strength as well; that was done for the driving wheels 12 spokes, with 5 of those needing the â€˜spokeâ€™ decal cutting in two â€" all times 4. Remove the center of the wheels (it comes out with gentle pressure â€" and had its own decal as well to be fitted) and one by one add the red (etc) spoke decals after painting over the gold lines that are there. Â Yes there should be a red line around the inside of the tyre (which is silver by the way; the bogie wheels are left white) â€" that was left off!
Touch up the inevitable gaps with red and white and put back the (now decaled) center caps. The bogie wheels have a center decal (make a .010 plastic disc and put it on there) and the wheels have a larger circle â€" did that cause some trouble! The eventual solution was a â€˜washer shapedâ€™ piece of painted paper with the circle added then glue that in, and over the projecting center. Its not perfect but I can live with the fault that is there â€" one is a painted version.
The headlight has its own little set of decals; the side is a geometrical design, with added tiny red squares added, and the front had a red diamond from the sand dome spare set, and some tiny corners from some old decal sheets with a couple of fold lines and finally a red & gold trim line around the lens rim. That brought the thought of adding the number (99) onto the lens so it was done. The headlight has a couple of lifting handles added from brass strip, and finally it was varnished for protection. The rear of the tender has a number on the toolbox, and also a trim panel on the air tank.
Some locos had painted rods; possibly red, certainly black; I chose red (the crew painted them â€" they are proud of their loco (when I can get them in the cab!) I also painted the ends of the rods to replicate a polished steel finish. All was then varnished before fitting. Do one side at a time, and lock the front drivers in posityion wuth a small bit of card through one of the gaps between the spokes; re fit the painted rods, and move to the other side.
A red trim strip, is also added to the top of the domes â€" more fine sticky plastic strip. Â
How long did this finery last â€" I donâ€™t know, but there is a photo of Kokomo herself on the La Veta pass line that David used for the decals, and they are different to what was expected, and to what the olive green locos had!
Here are the results â€" which I think Bachmann should do it as they could have two versions, one olive green, one black! Â And it will save me some of the grief and consternation when fighting decals and thin painted paper strips; BUT I think it looks good. All the photos are taken inside - it is the end of March but tewaether is of the opinion that it is January - we have 1" and above of snow outside!!Â So inside it is.
There are 3 photos here then some more in the next posts; the 'load' facility to my webspace is misgehavin' and throws up an error! Therefore they photo have been given some extra compression to get them undet the 60KB limit.