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Discussion Starter #1
This is the newest kit from Rio Grande UK and I was lucky enough to get one of the first runs from Jonathan at Electric Model Works. It is essentially designed to replace the sides of the AMS coach with laser cut wood sides that you put together. This is the third one I have done and it is slightly more complicated than the RGS #259 but not prohibitively so. These kits make a perfect introduction to building your own models. They have step-by-step instuctions with pictures so even the novice can easily construct a very nice model that he or she will be proud to run!

One of the problems with these kits though is that, in order to make them, you need an AMS coach and they have been in short supply recently! I was able to get around this problem by using Colorado & Southern coaches (apparently, these weren't as popular as the D&RGW and RGS versions.) Since I am changing the sides this wouldn't inconvenience me in the least and I was able to procure the very last one that I was able to find. (It is reported that new ones should be arriving at retailers sometime this month so hopefully the drought is over...)

As with the RGS #259, the D&RGW #215 was, for a time, unique. This is the car that LGB modeled their "Drover's Caboose" after! While the LGB model is compressed and as such, looks like a caboose with a baggage door and some passenger space, the actual #215 was a combine with a cupola attached. Take the cupola off and the #215 becomes just another combine (which actually happened.) With it on, however, it becomes a "three-in-one" caboose, baggage/mail car and coach all in one car! Some people have intimated that the car is "butt ugly!" I, however, do not share their less than enthusiastic apraisal! It was for this reason that I put a pre-order in for the kit at the National in Denver last summer!

Well, enough of that. I thought I would share some pics of the bash as it is being constructed. I didn't take any shots of the kit before I started as you can see what they look like if you go to http://sites.google.com/site/riograndemodelsuk/ where they have pics of the prototype being constructed.

Since it's a combine I went ahead and cut off part of the passenger seating. I have applied the red paint for the cushions and still have to apply the gold to the sides:



Due to the arangement of the combine the stack has to be removed and filled in with modeling putty (still drying):



Here's the cupola ready to be fitted to the clerestory roof:



Here's a shot of the new sides. They fit right in place without any mods needed:



I notched the clerestory roof so the cupola could be inserted.
This was my own idea as the directions call for it to be constructed later:



Here's a shot of the cupola fitted to the clerestory roof.
I still have lighting to wire up so it's not glue in as yet:



One thing that LGB, HLW and the rest didn't put in their models was this lantern that sits directly
on top of the cupola. It's a dual sighted lantern:



I have constructed and stained the roof walks but they will be one of the last details to go on.
So far, this has been the most enjoyable of the kits to build! More pics when I finish.
 

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A Steamed Elder
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Steve,

I'm interested to see how your AMS roof comes out after removing the C&S lettering and repainting. How will you remove the lettering? You are probably one of the first to get this combine built. I'm following this very closely. Looking great! I'm STILL trying to get a good Pullman Green spray on the sides of my #212 combine.

It would be great if you could sneak out here to run your train at Fairplex in June!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Gary,
I just use the Floquil Pullman Green in the bottle and a brush to paint over the lettering. The key is to paint the entire board that the lettering is on and then there isn't a real problem with matching colors! The gold decals take care of any slight discrepancies. The real test for me is going to be doing the roof where the old stack used to be! To get it perfectly flush is going to require using flat black and color sanding multiple times! If I have to I will use a spray can to get an even coat. The great thing about this car is that it was designed to be used in a very small train so I can use it as my traveling car.
 

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I like the roof lantern. Nice they included it as part of the conversion kit.


I wonder if they sell the roof lantern as a separate piece? I'll have to check their website. Many of the short caboose fleet on the D&RGW (and second hand D&RGW to the RGS) had the roof lantern. Wouldn't work for me as it is 1:20.3 and a bit too early in time period for our layout. But I bet many others would be interested in at least one.


Are you going to cut out the roof under the cupola? Or leave it as is and not worry about cutting? Cutting out the roof is likely the hardest part of the conversion...that is if this step is done.
 

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A Steamed Elder
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THX Steve. It's cold and rainy out here today in "sunny" SoCal, so I'm doing some painting indoors on my #212 combine. I wasn't going to remove the stack, but now I think after seeing what you're doing, I will do it. David's kits are really a lot of fun and they produce a great model.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Matt,
I thought about cutting out the hole for the cupola but I decided against it. However, it did give me the idea for the notch! The lantern has a hole in the bottom so I am going to run a light up to it that can be independently controlled. I need to figure out if this combine ever sported marker lamps...
 

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A Steamed Elder
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Steve,

The combine I'm modeling doesn't have the lettering on the top board. It's actually on the side of the car just below the windows.

Opps! The photos too big. I can't see where I can delete it and resize. Help moderators!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Okay.... that's gonna look cool! Are you doing it with the roof walk? What lettering do you need to get rid of? Just use a brush and it should work fine. I just painted out my Colorado & Southern letters and it worked great! I notice that #212 has seven windows. Are you going to try and add another?
 

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A Steamed Elder
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In looking in my Colorado Rail Annual No. 25, I don't see ANY photos with the Pagosa Springs combine sporting marker lamps. There are hangers for them, though.
 

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A Steamed Elder
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Steve,

With the time period I'm modeling, 1947-1950, this car will be "minus" the roofwalk and handrails. David custom-made my sides for me. It is EXACTLY like the photo....seven windows. I need to get rid of the "Colorado & Southern" on the board above the windows. #72 was the only J&S coach Jonathan had at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If you're painting the sides with a Floquil spray can then painting the top board with a brush will make the sides come out even. Use a very good (artists) brush and put a decent amount of paint on on the first coating and do it quickly so that it will flow together and eliminate the brush marks. Are you going to give your car a final semi-clear/ satin coat? After you're done with the roof, tape off and give it a quick spray! Simple and it looks good! By the way, I want to see pics of your #212! C'mon, give!!
 

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A Steamed Elder
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Steve,

My wife has the camera. I'll try to get some pix this weekend of what I have completed so far. I have too many projects going at the same time is the problem. I need to stick to ONE and get it done! Just finished the wood overlay for three AMS D&RGW flats and try to finish a flat car load for them. Western States double cylinder stationary steam engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hmmm.....an interesting development has occurred! I went to fit the roof walks and I looked at the cupola and realized that there is about a 2mm gap between the walls and the clerestory roof! I kind of gave myself a "Gibb's slap" and remembered that the clearance is for the clerestory facade that I didn't use. Obviously, I was going to have to add some material before I glued it which led me to my next dilemna: how to glue the bloody thing?!! There was just enough space when I finished adding material to use a small strip of white glue that filled in the cracks nicely. A brush and some flat black will complete the look! Since I'm not cutting out the cupola hole I have decided not to light it. I am going to go ahead and add marker lamps as the photos do indeed show brackets. Hopefully, if all goes as planned, I should be done sometime next week.
 

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A Steamed Elder
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I'm going to use the clerestory facade. But in my case, it won't cause any problems I'm going to use Tracksides marker lamps....I just need to find some lenses to fit. I'm anxious to see your finished combine.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Here we go! D&RGW Combine #215 is now finished! I opted not to add the marker lamps as there are no pictures of it while sporting them! I chose not to cut out the hole where the cupola straddles the clerestory but I did add a light to go into the lantern that sits on top of the cupola (does anyone know exactly what that lantern was for?) I wired it so it can be independently operated from the cabin lighting. This kit was a step up from the #259 RGS Combine but was not too difficult to construct. The instructions were very explicit and the color pictures were invaluable!
One thing new about doing this kit that truly pleased me was the addition of Ceaderleaf Custom Decals which don't come with the kit but can be ordered from Jonathan at Electric and Steam Modelworks. These decals are the best I have ever used!! They were easy to work with, robust (believe me, this is a serious consideration!) and they look fantastic!! The car is wired for battery power and I replaced the original AMS wheels with ball bearing wheel sets so the car rolls practically by itself. I am now a firm believer in building your own kits or scratchbuilding your own rolling stock as each time I complete one of these I really have a great sense of satisfaction! I highly recommend these kits for anyone interested in something other than a generic AMS J&S coach!

Here's a few shots of the completed project:





Here are a couple of shots of the #215 lit up:





One shot with a flash:

 

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A Steamed Elder
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Dang! That's nice!


Am I correct in thinking that you repainted the original ends to match the color of the NEW sides? The lighting REALLY sets off. Did you get the batteries from Jonathan, to fit in the restroom area? You are my inspiration!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Nope (although it would have been easy enough to do), that's the Floquil Pullman green matching the AMS green! The car doesn't have the batteries in it per se. Jim Carter (pimanjc) showed me a method whereby, using a battery car, you can power an entire train of coaches! I just plugged it into the battery boxcar and flipped the switches, one for the inside and one for the lantern.Of course, your method will allow you to run it anywhere! By the way, thanks for the compliments!
 
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