Monday, January 19, 2015

A Tale of Three Class 60's | 3 Comments - Click Here :

   A big welcome to Bill Meredith. Bill is a long time DSP&P modeler and is well known throughout the South Park modeling community. His post below should be of interest to anyone modifying a Railmaster kit to resemble a South Park locomotive or working with white metal kits.


      Bill Meredith - Greetings All! I thought there may be interest in this job I am doing for a good client of mine in the group. While the RGS did not make it to Leadville to interchange with the C&S, it is Sn3 and the lessons learned here may be of some use to someone.

    The requirements called for three RGS, former D&RG, Class 60 C-16s numbers 3, 12, and 19. The plan was to source two of the locos from existing Railmaster kits which Mr. Poole had made huge and excellent progress on but had to divert to other more pressing jobs. The third was built from castings and nickel silver etchings that I had developed.
At least that was the plan.


    The #19 was built up from the nickel silver etchings and an assortment of brass castings. These castings came from PSC, Tomalco, and from castings that I had developed for projects such as these. The drive comprises of a Faulhaber 1724 coreless motor and a NWSL 36:1 gearbox. I have found this arrangement to be optimal as the Faulhaber tops out at 8,000 RPM at a full 12VDC but with 3x the torque of similarly sized motors. Most can type motors at this size crank at 12,000-15,000 RPM and I wanted a more realistically slower top speed. We were good to go.

    The drivers were built in house using my center castings and stainless steel rims. The tender trucks are an old pair of Tomalco trucks pulled from the parts bin.

    Now Derrell had done the lion’s share of work on one of the Railmasters and the other had really only the tender completed. So I completed this loco as best as I could. I ended up replacing the airpump with an 8” airpump from my collection, the headlight from PSC. The running boards were replaced with nickel silver ones from my scrap box. The rest was stock from the kit. The Railmaster castings are at best ok. Best not to look at them too closely in other words. When they are assembled and painted, a Railmaster can be hard to distinguish from a brass import. The model was plumbed as best as possible and as closely to prototype as possible but as you might imagine, decent photos from that era (ca. 1905) are pretty slim. So we make do.


    Derrell has a pretty good handle on soldering white metal to white metal. It can be done, but a good 60W soldering iron and experimentation is the order of the day. When I say “a good 60W iron” you need to have one with a fairly large tip that can throw off a lot of heat. That is, the white metal will suck a lot of heat from the iron’s tip. The white metal also has a very narrow heating zone between the melting temp of the solder and the melting point of the component you are trying to join.  If you are not careful, the part will melt away into a frustrating blob of a mess.


    The biggest challenge, and one of arguably the most sensitive components, was joining the running boards to the boiler. Given the weight of the loco and the fact that most of us will pick up the loco via the running boards, it’s imperative to insure as solid a bond as possible. This took some work.
The all Railmaster loco is to become RGS #12. The pix show the locos almost ready for paint preparation so if the loco seems a little unfinished, it’s because several of the components were placed for the purposes of some quick and dirty photos.


    When I started RGS #3, the idea was to build it up as the #12 was built using mostly Railmaster components. After some effort, I canned that idea and went with using an etched nickel silver boiler, smokebox, and cab that I had in the spare parts bin.

    Nickel silver is a truly wonderful material to work with that has some very interesting properties. Unlike brass which allows the heat to travel through the material when soldering, nickel silver dissipates heat almost immediately. This means that it heats up and cools quickly. It is now very easy to solder parts together while holding them with your fingers. How slick is that? A simple temp controlled soldering iron is more than ample for the large components and the smaller castings. A resistance soldering unit is required for attaching the large brass castings as usual.

    The nickel silver etchings also provide a greater level of crispness to the model. This is apparent in the paneled cab sides and the rivet detail. For the domes, the Railmaster domes were epoxied in place and the stack was the Railmaster part but drilled out and secured using a 00-90 machine screw.
Other details on the #3 include a PSC headlight, brake cylinders and levers, injectors, throttle, Johnson bar, steam turret, and brake valve. The parts from my custom parts bin include the cab support, 8” airpump, and smokebox front.

    The remaining white metal castings will go on to a better and more useful existence in that I will be melting them into boiler weights and any traces of these kits will be removed from the workshop environment.


    While there are a few more components to add to the 3 and 12, they are mostly done and the plan is to complete them over the next couple of days. After which the paint prep, sandblasting, and cleaning shall commence. The owner has very specific requirements for the finish that will result in three very striking models. The models will be painted with Scalecoat Black and the boiler jacket will be painted a non-blue shade of American Iron that is similar to polished burnt iron. No blue tint, but rather a grayish metallic finish. Lettering is aluminum leaf. All three locos will be equipped with Tsunami DCC and sound with Current Keepers to sustain operation over questionable track. But of course as I look at the models now, I see several more details that need to be added…  there is always something!

    That wraps things up for now. If there is interest, I will post some pix of the finished locos prior to delivery. If anyone has any questions, please fire away.

Bill Meredith
3 Comments - Click Here :
  1. Great to see what you are up to, Bill. The No. 3 is especially delightful. At first glance it may look like the with metal but has a nice sheen of NS. I'd like to try NS in building - I know it machines great! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very nice work Bill, please post photos of the finished engines when you get there.


  3. The Brits, with their many marvelous craftsman locomotive kits, are big fans of nickel silver etchings (usually for the running gear). Neat to see that someone here in the US is using it too. I've wanted to try it out.