Posted By Truthman on 02 Mar 2012 06:09 PM
Threads evolve and almost never stay on topic. I don't know about others but my particular point stemmed from the suggestion that Dallee was going to be the new Aristo soundboard since the topic was titled, "new version of Dallee Sound System." Someone in this same thread mentioned Aristo had stopped all product development so it's sorta on topic.
And I know I've been as guilty as anyone at going off topic, but I just happened to think that if someone wanted information on Aristo's new sound decoders (that had been promised) but had no interest in Dallee, that might never see any of this information.
Narrow Gauge Business Car
(Based on the Rio Grande Southern “Edna/San Juan”)
Don 'Doc' Watson
MasterClass & Articles
Topic Title:Docs Private Car
MLS User ID:
(Edited by - docwatsonva on 16 May 2005 12:15:44)
The Long-Term Project Begins
Ever since I've been modeling in large scale, I've wanted to build a private car. You know one that is typically owned by the railroad owner or senior executive and dragged along behind some freight consist. At first, before 1:20.3 became so popular, I considered kit-bashing a couple of Bachmann coaches in 1:22.5 like Theron Bailey's wonderful Bachmann-based private cars he showed at the last ECLSTS. Kevin Strong's fantastic scratch built EBT combine has also spurred me on.
With the advent of 1:20.3 and the availability of kits at that scale, especially the ones made by Hartford, I decided it was time to reconsider the project. Since the majority of my 1:20.3 kits and other, commercial cars are D&RGW, I figured that the private car should resemble cars of that railroad. The one thing I definitely wanted to avoid was making an exact replica. That's too difficult at my skill level and, besides, I didn't want the 'rivet counters' to have a field day with the results of my effort. However, I am a stickler for details so whatever I came up with had to look real enough to be believable.
So last fall I began my research, I'm basically a lazy person by nature, so I really wasn't interested in hand making every part. On-the-other-hand, I also wasn't about to buy a Hartford passenger car kit and kit-bash it, especially since there are many things in Bob's kit that I decided I couldn't use; like the pre-cut end pieces and siding sheets. Besides, most private cars were longer than the coaches, and therefore, I figured none of the pre-cut parts would be long enough anyway.
After much consideration and consternation, I decided to model my private car after the Rio Grande Southern 'Edna'. I chose this car because it was originally a D&RGW business car named the 'San Juan'. One of the major problems was finding drawings of the car. I admit, I really didn't dig all that deep. Since I didn't want to do the research to try and locate a set of plans for the Edna nor did I want to take the time to draw my own plans I decided to take the easy way out. I did the next best thing; I cheated and borrowed a copy of Hartford's D&RGW coach plans. I then made a few simple scale drawings of the basic floor plan and adjusted the overall length to come as close as possible to the actual car's dimensions. As it turned out, the model will be about 1 foot shorter than it should be but still longer than the Hartford coach. You want to know why, don't you? Well, as it turns out, the overall limiting factor was the length of Hartford's scribed siding, but that's another story.
In addition to having, at my disposal, a set of Hartford's plans, I did manage to locate several photos and floor plans. Since the plans were in S-scale, I was able to convert them to determine the correct window placement. I will also base my interior details on the Edna although I plan to take a few liberties with them.
Both of these drawings are from “Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Varnish” by Herbert Danneman (Colorado Rail Annual No. 25).
So basically, my project will be based on the RGS “Edna” and I will use Hartford's 1:20.3 coach plans for the majority of the construction details. As you will see in later discussions, I also managed to talk Bob Hartford into selling some parts from his coach kit. There were some things I just wasn't willing to fabricate. The purchased items included: 2 sheets of the scribed siding, a set of his laser cut roof carlins, 2 roof end castings, and a set of his hardware components. I wish to thank Bob for this.
Don't ask me why but the first step I decided to take was constructing the trucks and, I had already made up my mind that they were going to be Hartford's passenger car trucks. After hearing so much about them, I couldn't resist the challenge.
As with all Hartford products, the passenger car truck kits were fantastic. The metal castings required little or no cleanup and the laser cut wood parts fit together perfectly. The instructions were a little weak in some places but, as usual, the drawings that accompanied the kit helped fill in the gaps left by the instructions. Here is a photo of the basic framework, up side down. The assembly, at this stage, included the end sills, main beams, transoms, and axle guards.
A couple of the more difficult steps of the kit was drilling diagonal holes in the axle guards and inserting the truss wires through them. I digressed a little here from the instructions. I temporarily mounted (with CA) the small truss rod hangers shown above in center of crossbeams) and used them to help guide the drill bit at the correct angle. The angle is determined by a line running through the axle guards between the hanger in the middle and the frame braces at each end, which are mounted between the transoms and the main beams. I then removed the brackets until after inserting the rods. This was done because they kept breaking off as I tried to insert the rods. After several attempts, I determined the easiest way to install the wires was from the top. Below, is a photo showing the bent rods partially installed.
The next photo shows a truck frame with the addition of the pedestal front and rear pieces, the yokes, and yoke hangers.
At this point, for some reason, I didn't photograph the remaining steps during the rest of the construction. But, let me provide a couple of additional tips for those who may want to build one of these kits.
Yokes and Equalizer Bars: The axle spacing is obviously determined by the locations of the pedestals. The location of the pedestals is fixed by the pre-drilled holes in the main beams. There are no options available for adjusting this spacing. The tops of the journals are pre-drilled to accept the pins that are a part of the equalizer bars. When I test fitted the combination of the journals and equalizer bars, I noticed some binding in the up and down motion of the journals. When I looked closely, the journals were slightly askew. To fix this, I had to fill and re-drill the journals to permit free motion. It is critical that the journals move freely, otherwise, the springs will have little or no effect on the suspension. I'm not sure that this is a problem in all of the kits.
Bolster Stabilizer and Retainer Strap: The Hartford kit offers 2 versions of the truck. The updated version appears to be the prevalent one based on the many photos of passenger cars that I have seen. The updated version has this huge bolster stabilizer with roller bearings at each end. The last steps in assembling the trucks involve inserting the spring plank on top of the leaf springs, placing the bolster stabilizer on top, and then attaching the retainer straps to hold the bolster in place. Now most people would think to leave the leaf springs out, set the spring plank in place, lay the bolster stabilizer on top and then glue the retainer straps in place. However; first, I had already painted all the parts, and second, I found it extremely difficult to insert the leaf springs during trial fittings. So, I determined the easiest way to assemble these last parts was to put everything together, put weights on each end of the bolster stabilizer to fully compress it, and then epoxy on the retainer straps. Works for me! The attaching of the retainer straps is critical since they are the only things that hold everything together.
Here are a couple of photos of the completed trucks, beautiful aren't they?
I hope I didn't bore you too much with the construction of Bob's trucks. They are fantastic and worth every penny. If you want to avoid the cost and the time, I recommend looking into Kevin Strong modifications to the standard Bachmann passenger trucks. They look very good too.
One difficulty associated with using an existing set of plans is cutting lumber to the exact same dimensions as are required by the plans in order for all the components to fit. If I had drawn my own plans, I would have ensured that the wood parts would be standard dimensions. What I mean is, a sill might be made from a ¼” x ½” piece of strip wood. As it turned out for example, I had to make my main sills as close as possible to .197”x .345” as would have been supplied in the kit. To solve this problem, I devised a method to accurately trim readily available, standard size strip wood. The photo below shows how I modified my Dremel router table to create the same sizes as required in the plans.
This is a view of the router table from the top showing a piece of basswood moving past a small diameter-sanding cylinder. I had to manufacture my own miniature feather board to hold the piece against the fence. Using this technique, I was able to trim the wood to within a few thousandths of required size.
Here is a view from the side:
The photo below shows a view from the top of the first step in the construction of the under frame. The sills, end sills, bolsters and needle beams have been assembled and ¼” scribed basswood has been glued to the bottom of the assembly. Holes have been cut in the bolsters for the truck body center plate and slots have been cut in the bottom sheets to accept the truss rods. The position of the truss rods was one of the only things I didn't like about Hartford's plans. Most coaches, it seems, had the truss rods located along the bottom of the outside sills. I wish I had done it this way. It would have made it easier later when considering the addition of storage boxes to the underside. Oh well!
The next shot is a view from the bottom showing the completed framing including the addition of the brake cylinder and brake reservoir mounting pieces. As mentioned above, the slots are for the truss rods. The top of the frame was covered by a single sheet of 1/16” basswood that I scribed to represent boards.
Next, came the under frame details including all the brake rigging, truss rods, water storage tanks, coupler pockets, couplers, bolter mounting hardware, and end platforms with steps. The water tanks were fabricated from ¾” PVC tubing with commercial, rounded end caps attached and then wrapped with thin styrene.
And a close up:
Hartford's plans generally never include information regarding the airlines. I had to guess at most of these but I did use some information from plans of other, similar coaches. Most of the parts are from Hartford except for the plumbing. I did wrap the brake reservoir with styrene to slightly increase its diameter. Brass rod was used to simulate the piping. All parts were attached using CA.
In the next part of my construction, I will detail the end platforms, steps, couplers, and end rails.
(MLS User ID: Dougald) - A very nice start - you have gone to a significant amount of underbody detail and it looks really nice. i too would be interested in a "schedule of plumbing fittings" ... if that is too heavy for the thread then perhaps you might provide offline but the fact Andy also asked seems to suggest there might be general interest in the underbody details.)
First off Doug, I have been holding out to some extent. I'm a very, very slow builder so I wanted to get a little done before I committed to a posting. My guess is that it will probably take me another 2 months just to finish the exterior. I guess I think and plan too much.
Now for information on the plumbing and castings. The white metal castings are all from Hartford. They are what would normally be included in his passenger car kits.
As for the plumbing, let me explain where I got most of my information. For the most part, plumbing is plumbing, is plumbing. I have built several kits and scratch built cars representing narrow gauge rolling stock. The techniques I use have been developed during previous construction projects.
In reference to the narrow gauge passenger cars, I got a little help from 1 plan in "Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Varnish" mentioned earlier. His is a copy of the underside of one car:
Sorry for the size of the image but I wanted to keep it within the required size.
Below is a close-up photo of the underside of my private car:
For the airlines, I used 1/16" brass rod. To create an elbow fitting, I simply bend a piece of rod 90 deg. and slip a very short section of brass tubing over each end and CA them in place. All fittings are assembled with CA. I tried solder but it was too messy. I make tees by taking 2 short pieces of tubing, filling the end of one to form a saddle, and then gluing them together to form a tee.
Here's another close-up from a different angle:
I hope this helps a little.
(Comment: Wayne Spence -
G'day Doc, Very impressive detail work on the under car of your Pullman coach and thanks for posting the plan, pity I didn't have that information 2 years ago when I built 466. Only had limited photos and a plan from an old NG Gazette.
I am looking forward to the next "chapter" of your scratch building skills.
(Comment: Wayne Spence -
G'day all, Just as an add note, most coach's seemed to have a "spiral" brake chain guide fitted to the lower part of the break wheel staff to lock the hand breaks in place. I couldn't find anything suitable from LS detail suppliers, so I came up with the idea of making my own. First I looked through the sizes of steel GI coach bolts at the local hardware store, found one that looked about right and purchased two. I then cut off the "pointy" end with a hand hacksaw, measured the required length and cut off the hex bolt end. Drill a suitable hole through the length of the spiral and epoxy it to the brake staff.
The finished fitting looks about right.
The large safety chain links are made from short copper wire lengths soldered together the form the chains.)
Very interesting Wayne, I never noticed the spiral. None of the photos I've seen were clear enough to see that particular detail. I remember your coach. Very nice work, I like the curved doorway. What did you use for your roof covering?
The Construction of the car platforms follows Hartford's plans except for the rear platform. Each platform is made up of 4 beams (2 sill supports and 2 draft timbers) that are attached to the car frame. The platform sills are then attached to the ends of the 4 beams. I used a piece of 1/16” scribed basswood for the platform decking instead of individual boards. Here is a photo of the front platform.
The rear platform was built to include platform extensions to cover to steps. This was common on many private or observation coaches. The photo below shows the rear platform with both extensions down.
I actually hinged each extension so they could be lifted like the real ones. The hinges are from a dollhouse store. The next photo shows the extensions in their upright positions.
I made the steps using 0.060” styrene, since most cars of this type and era used metal for the steps. Besides, I think it's much easier to get the necessary detail out of styrene rather than wood. I used Hartford's plans as templates to create the parts out of plastic. Hartford's kit supplies the plastic NBW's but I added the brass rods to the underside of the steps for a more realistic effect. I guess the rods provided additional support for the treads. The next photo, although a little fuzzy, shows the underside detail of the steps, you might also take note of the air brake detail showing the line support bracket, the hose and Hartford glad hand pieces.
I originally wanted to use Kadee couplers for this project but, since Hartford's hardware package included his couplers, I said what the heck and used his. They come in several parts and are pretty easy to put together. Once cleaned up, they work very smoothly and realistically. As seen in the photo below, they mount between draft timbers using 1 pivot screw and 2 springs at the rear. In Bob's kit he has already laser drilled the holes to the exact depth in the draft timbers. I, on-the-other-hand, had to take a great deal of care to locate and drill the holes in my homemade draft timbers. The depth of the holes was particularly critical because they must accommodate the springs he supplies and must provide the right amount of movement and centering.
Here's another view right side up.
Hartford supplies 2 sets of very nice white metal castings for the end railings. Since all private and observation cars had elaborate end railings on the rear platforms, I had to fabricate my own. (I did use 1 set of Hartford's castings on the front platform.) The only issue I have with his railings is that they are very flimsy and do require extra care when handling. Here's a view of the front platform with the Hartford railing in place.
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