Author Topic: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?  (Read 10023 times)

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2-8-8-0

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Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« on: March 28, 2010, 06:38:16 PM »
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Hello folks.

As I wait for my new GP-38 and -9 to come in the mail, as well as my decals, I was debating if there are any other modifications I want to make besides moving the headlight on the -9, and obviously painting and decaling them, and I found some nice sets of grab irons for sale. They add much in the realism department, no doubt, but I would need to remove the molded on details, and then add them, and I am not sure if I want to try that. How difficult is removing the cast on steps on say, a Kato -9 shell? I definately like how they look, but this is my first attempt at doing something like this in N (or any scale, for that matter. My HO -9s had grab irons already!) so I dont want to get in over my head.

Is this a OK project for a beginner, removing the cast on grabs and adding the wire ones? Seems like once you have 1 very detailed loco, now you need to detail them all...(having second thoughts about trying operating ditch lights for the same reason, though these I have done on HO locos)
Just say no to dummy couplers.

Hyperion

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2010, 07:51:49 PM »
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If you're buying Undecs and/or plan to repaint the unit anyway, the effort to install grabs is fairly minimal it just requires a steady hand.  Doing it on a unit that's already painted is a fair bit more difficult as removing just the grab iron on a painted unit without causing any damage around the area isn't terribly easy.

Your first unit is probably gonna take a while.  But once you get the hang of drilling the holes it's a quick process.  Most of the guys here can probably do drill all the necessary holes on a unit in 15 minutes.
-Mark

eja

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2010, 09:11:57 PM »
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Don't forget the BLMA grabs come with a drilling template ,,,,, BIG help

ljudice

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2010, 10:05:01 PM »
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Look great, way too tedious for me...

I like the way FVM is doing these - leaving them off and letting you decide - never thought it would look right, but they do...

kiwi_al

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2010, 11:41:33 PM »
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Well, once you have the grabs done, then you can move onto the lift rings, cut levers, mu hoses, windscreen wipers, mirrors, sunshades, trainline hose, V Grab at the back of the longhood after the last fan... oh and replace the fans on the Geep. See in reality it's just like HO only  smaller ;) and we don't have Cannon & Co  :-X So most of what you used to do in HO you can do in N. ;D ;D
[

SkipGear

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2010, 12:45:32 AM »
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It's rather addicting once you start detailing loco's. Start by doing lift rings, sun shades and mirrors, they are less repetitive and not as critical that you get everything parallel.
 


Once you get that down, then work on grabs and fans. Pretty soon you will start doing handrails also.....

Tony Hines

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2010, 12:54:49 AM »
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I personally think it's worth it, but I actually enjoy that kind of work... If you find it tedious, it's probably best to not go down that path since - if the first one turns out well - you'll want every unit to look as good.  Maybe you should scrounge up a scrap shell and practice before you decide.

When scraping off old grabs (this part is definitely not "fun") I work slowly and use magnification.  I do about 80-90% of the removal with a chisel blade at a shallow angle, then finish it off by scraping with a #11 blade at a ~90 degree angle.   There was a bit of a discussion about this in a recent detailing thread:

http://therailwire.net/forum/index.php/topic,20650.msg191347.html#msg191347

Cheers,
Gary

wm3798

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2010, 12:57:59 AM »
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Too much other work to do to get the layout running again.  I like the looks, but a little too fragile for my tastes.

Lee
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inkaneer

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2010, 11:11:26 AM »
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Too much other work to do to get the layout running again.  I like the looks, but a little too fragile for my tastes.

Lee

I agree especially if you are going to handle the locomotives fairly regularly.  If you are going to place them on the layout and leave them there then great but if you run Nrak then not so great.  There is so many aspects of this hobby that one could indulge himself this is just one of those to choose from.   

ednadolski

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2010, 11:14:29 AM »
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Is this a OK project for a beginner, removing the cast on grabs and adding the wire ones?

Sure, why not?   It's no different drilling holes for grabirons than for any other detail parts.  The only real requirement is patience, but of course it's a lot easier with good light and some magnification.   You can always try a "pilot project" on a scrap shell or a junker, to build up your skill & confidence.

Removing the cast-on grabs is straightforward enough.  There are several ways to do it, and IIRC there was a how-to video on the BLMA site.  I use either the Micro-Mark tool (tho that is a bit large fro N scale) or a #17 X-Acto blade.  For N scale work I like to grind the #17 blade down to make it more narrow (about 1/16" to 3/32" wide) and slightly round the corners to reduce the chance of scratching.  Using a light touch, shave off the unwanted, cast on grabirons in layers, taking several passes per grabiron.  The last pass should come almost flush with the flat surface.  The less plastic you "bite" with each pass, the easier it is to remove.

Once the grabirons are removed, I use a fine-point awl to mark the locations where I want to drill the holes.  The shaved-off grabs leave a "shadow" that helps to locate where to make your mark.  (Again, good magnification & light make this much easier).  Making a dimple with the awl locates the hole and also helps keep the drill bit from wandering.  If you are using factory-made grabs, then check them against the shadows, since the sizes may differ slightly from the cast-ons.   When marking the holes, you want to try to get them lined up as straight and square as you can.

Drilling is straightforward too.  I use a #80 bit chucked in a pin vise.  The #80 is 0.0135" diameter which means it is relatively delicate, so you want to use a light touch and also not leave too much of the bit sticking out from the chuck -- I use about 1/4" or so.  When drilling, you want to hold everything as steady as you can.  This is a 'skill', so it takes a bit of practice, and don't worry if you break a bit now & then, and a few more while learning -- that's why these bits are sold in bulk packs  ;)

The #80 hole is slightly large for commercial grabs, which run about 0.008" to 0.010" diameter.  So to install the wire grabs you will want to use a gap-filling CA cement, and also expect to have to fill some of the gaps with paint.  I use a small strip of plastic as a spacer, to try to get the grabs to all stand off from the shell at a uniform distance.  IF the grabs dont all come out completely straight/parallel, you can some times twist or bend them with a fine-point pliers to improve the alignment.   BTW you can touch-up paint the 'shadows' from the removed grabs either before or after you install the wire grabs, however you prefer.  You want to get the paint match to be "close enough"; it doesn't have to be perfect esp. if you are going to be weathering the loco.

So overall, it does take some effort and some practice, but that's no different from anything else that is worthwhile.  There are lots of modelers who find the results to be very rewarding.  Give it a go, I think you'll be pleased.




Ed N.

ednadolski

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2010, 04:06:11 PM »
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When scraping off old grabs (this part is definitely not "fun") I work slowly and use magnification.  I do about 80-90% of the removal with a chisel blade at a shallow angle, then finish it off by scraping with a #11 blade at a ~90 degree angle.   There was a bit of a discussion about this in a recent detailing thread:

http://therailwire.net/forum/index.php/topic,20650.msg191347.html#msg191347

One way to make it fun:  think ahead of how much better that loco is going to look, once you get those cast-on "eyesores" off of it  ;D ;D ;D

Question for you Gary:  in your pic below you have the grabs shaved off.  Which wire grabs are you planning on using, and how well do they match up size-wise compared to the "shadows" left by the cast-on grabs? 



PS that looks like a really neat job that you did, to remove those old fans!

Ed

Craig Martyn

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2010, 05:37:09 PM »
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Simply put, the effort that goes into super detailing anything depends on your tastes.  As we've seen from the responses, some people appreciate the overall look (dare I say, 'three foot rule') while others love the up-close detail.  That being said, we have two instructional videos available for those who wish to super detail:

Installing BLMA Grab Irons:

http://www.blmamodels.com/cgi-bin/webstore/shop.cgi?c=videos/grabirons.htm&t=main.htm

Installing BLMA See-Through Fans:

http://www.blmamodels.com/cgi-bin/webstore/shop.cgi?c=videos/fans.htm&t=main.htm

Here are a few photos of a highly detailed model by our friend Henry Baez:





Craig Martyn
BLMA Models

www.BLMAmodels.com

ednadolski

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2010, 07:04:28 PM »
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Craig, is Henry's Espee a custom paint job?   Are those the BLMA pilots?

Ed

Craig Martyn

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2010, 07:15:02 PM »
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Yes, completely custom detailed and painted.  The pilots were simply sanded smooth then drilled for the MU Hose and other detail.
Craig Martyn
BLMA Models

www.BLMAmodels.com

jnevis

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Re: Grab irons on diesels. Nice detail or headache?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2010, 08:07:31 PM »
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While I really like the looks of the wire grabs and other details I think I will finish the ones I've started and leave the rest alone ::)
My first (a Kato SP GP38-2) looks good and was relatively simple.  The other two I started (GP7U and GP15 parts from M4D) were pre drilled.  The FVM GEVO >:( launched damn near every grab across the room and some of them are now in the wrong place but easily repainted (wasn't looking at pictures while adding them). 
Can't model worth a darn, but can research like an SOB.