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The loco was built from a kit, s/n 089, in 1999 and has undergone many facelifts and renovations over the years. In 2013, it was smashed in shipment home from the Diamondhead Steamup, crushing the smokebox, busting the cab, etc. I ordered another boiler from Accucraft, but alas they had redesigned it since those early days, and it couldn't be swapped in. This necessitated cutting off the smokebox and fabricating another one. Stuck at home during the quarantine, I decided to finish the job, and add some details to backdate it to the 1870s.

The name "Miss Ruth Hill" honors my wife's grandmother, who lived in Chihuahua City as a child in the very early 1900s. Her father Arthur was in charge of the lumber operations for the construction of the FC Chihuahua al Pacifico. The "ChePe" was the Mexican section of the Kansas City, Mexico & Orient, which ran from Kansas City to the Mexican Pacific Coast. This is the railroad after which my model railroad, the "Flint Hills & Permian Basin", was fashioned. Of course, there were no narrow gauge operations on the KCM&O, and it didn't exist in the 1870s, but it's my fantasy and I can do what I want.

Here's a video of the Ruth Hill running at Diamondhead, a couple of days before her encounter with an Acme anvil. The next photo shows her after arrival home, with the pilot, stack and smokebox door removed, to assess the damage.

video:Ruth Hill at work

2013-01-24 20.53.49.jpg
 

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While I was at it, I decided to backdate the locomotive to the 1870s, since I had taken the general form of the Denver & Rio Grande loco "Montezuma" as my guide. The rounded 1880s domes and the acetylene headlight had to go, replaced by fluted domes (from Delton, I think; purchased in a box of miscellany) and a Trackside Details oil headlight. While I was at it, I made some new cylinder head covers to hide the weirdly proportioned originals, and especially the Philips screws that hold them down.
IMG_20200605_095443.jpg
 

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The last thing to go on was the headlight. Live steamers rarely have working headlights, but I wondered if the big box headlamp would be big enough to make functional. I had bought a couple of MagLite replacement reflectors, and I chucked one in the lathe and turned it down so it would fit into the case, with just enough space to slide a CR1620 battery behind it. We had some little plastic "votive candles" with yellow flickering LEDs, so I cannibalized one for the LED, and cut a slot in the bottom of the reflector for it. A piece of brass tubing slid over the LED gave the (approximate) appearance of an oil lamp with a glass chimney. I bent the leads so one would touch the positive side of the battery and the other would touch the case. The brass case would act as a ground. A bit of epoxy putty holds everything in place. The boiler does tend to heat up the mounting bracket, so a thin piece of walnut acts as insulation and also looks prototypical.
Headlight 2020-06-26.jpg
Painted headlight 20200628165632288.jpg
 

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Here's the finished loco. I took this photo, sepia toned it, and superimposed it on a photo of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, from an 1870s Baldwin builder's photo, to get a builder's photo of my own.
IMG_20200820_111916~2.jpg
FHPB No 1 builders photo.jpg
 

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P.S. I still have the new-style boiler (screwed-on steam dome, slip-on sand dome), never used, as well as a spare set of used cylinders and rods, some cabs and side tanks, round domes, etc.
If you need any of those, let me know and we'll work out something
PXL_20201006_212246755~2.jpg
PXL_20201006_212535261~2.jpg
 

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Vance, that came out really nice. I hope we get to run trains again some day. I was busy shoveling snow yesterday and failed to get a photo of the
Alvarado hotel with snow above the second story windows.
 
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