Author Topic: The Potomac Project  (Read 3084 times)

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wm3798

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The Potomac Project
« on: May 14, 2010, 11:26:00 PM »
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No, this isn't some CIA mission to secure the nation's capital, it's my attempt to create the illusion of a WM Potomac 4-8-4 using a Bachmann Northern as the basis for a kitbash.  I've got a million projects started in the train room, so I thought it would be a good time to start another one!  I got a great deal on the engine from a guy over on Scale Rails Online that got it in a train set, but found it to be too big for his little layout.  This is a reprise of a project I built for the WMRHS layout about 25 years ago, but the locomotive of course was a terrible runner, and I only did some modest cosmetics on the front end.  I must have done something right, though, because someone thought enough of it to steal it.

Here's the beast we're going to try to create:


And here's the model we're starting with:


It's the newest version with the smoother drive and blackened hardware. The shell, on the other hand, is the same old same old that's been produced since the late 60's, replete with cast on everything, and a rectangular boiler profile below the belt line. I'm going to see how these problems might be fixed.



The first step is to lose the oil bunker.  I had picked up an old Rivarossi Berkshire tender in anticipation of this project last year.  I went ahead and painted the top of the tender Oxide Red, but left it there.  I'll need to have some decals made to properly finish it.



I've prepped the tender to handle DCC, adding wipers to the trucks, and cutting down the frame to make room for the decoder.  There looks to be room for a sound chip and a speaker, which I might add down the road.


The drive looks to be pretty easy to convert, with friction tabs being the only connection between the motor and the frame.  These can be easily insulated to allow for separate connections to the decoder.  I'll need to dig a trench up the spine of the frame to get the lighting wires installed, but that shouldn't be a big deal.

The other modification I made was to the drawbar on the tender.  I had to cut it back a bit, and drill some new holes to bring the spacing between the engine and tender to a more realistic dimension.


I drilled two holes in the metal Rivarossi drawbar to be able to adjust the coupling distance. The shorter hole turned out to work fine with the 15" minimum main line curve on the layout, so that will be the permanent setting when I get to that point.



After drilling out the draw bar, I fabricated a new pin from a bit of sprue left over from a pack of MT 1015 couplers. I trimmed off the smaller arms, and filed the shaft smooth. It fits snugly into the hole left by the stock pin, with the drawbar resting on the tab that I left in place. Once the painting and other body work is done, I'll use a soldering pencil to melt a "rivet" on the top of the pin to secure it permanently to the engine.




 Engineer's side renovation plan. I want to get brass overlays etched to simulate the all-weather cab, and I'll have to rework the walk board into a single level from front to back. The ladders will also have to be modified, and I want to add new separately applied grabs down the length of the boiler. On the front of the smoke box, I'll need to relocate the headlight to the top of the box, and move the bell over to the right. The rest of the modifications will be on the pilot, similar to the 2-8-0 with the addition of a Z scale 905 coupler and a plow, plus a few other details.

The next step will be wiring in the decoder... as soon as I can get my hands on one!

See you next time.
Lee
Route of the Alpha Jets

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

SkipGear

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2010, 12:19:09 AM »
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That looks like a pretty darn good starting point for the Potomac. It's not horribly far off to begin with. Mainly appliances and detail issues that the boiler lacks. There is room above the frame without milling for wires. With a little milling, I installed a decoder in one in the boiler. It didn't take much work at all.

I have visions of using one to make a recreation of the C&O 614 that I rode behind when I was 12.

Tony Hines

Chris333

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2010, 03:08:45 AM »
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The Safety Train?  I have pics of it coming through Warren and Youngstown. They even took it up to the wye in Hubbard to turn it.

wm3798

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2010, 08:14:53 PM »
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Decoder is installed, and mechanicals are being tested.  I put the decoder in the cavity behind the headlight, which minimized the amount of weight I'd have to sacrifice.  I may build the plow pilot out of lead just to restore what little was lost.

Next I have to tether the tender to the engine, to pull some track power from the trucks back there, and to run the reverse light wires.

Film at 11...

Lee
Route of the Alpha Jets

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

wm3798

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2010, 10:09:52 AM »
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Decoder installed...


Tender wired up...


Then off for a test drive!


The most frustrating part of the project so far was getting the running gear to behave after I gauged the wheels.  I must have knocked something out of quarter because it would go a foot, then lock up.  I finally got it to where it would run backward as smooth as glass, but going forward, it would lurch and stall.  (Naturally).
Finally I gave up and pulled the connecting pins from the front driver set, so now it runs fine, albeit as a 4-6-4.  I'm hoping that by adding some weight inside the boiler shell I can compensate for that.


Running backward gave me a good chance to test the back up light!

Lee
« Last Edit: May 22, 2010, 12:51:09 PM by wm3798 »
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wm3798

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2010, 12:37:14 AM »
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Started messing with the boiler shell tonight.  I received my etched brass cab overlays from the Wizard of Warren, Ohio, so I was inspired to take on this part of the project...



Here we see the assembled overlay placed for position only on the ATSF cab.  This will make a dramatic difference in the appearance of the engine.  Satisfied that this part is a good solution, I moved on to the surgery required on the smoke box.



First, I nicked off the steps from both my primary shell and the auxiliary one.  The walkboards on the Potomac run straight from cab to pilot, so there will be four steps on each side. I'll either use these, or get some parts from a Consolidation shell.  I also carefully cut the headlight housing from the smoke box door, and set it aside to be reinstalled at the top of the door.


To eliminate the original headlight hole, I plugged it with a convenient piece of sprue I had laying about.  Once the glue set, I trimmed it off flush with a Dremel tool.  I then worked over some of the rivet detail to give it a cleaner appearance.  The Potomacs only had a ring of rivets around the circumference of the smoke box, and a smaller door in the center that carried the number plate.


Next I popped off the smokebox door, and I used a small drill bit (16th?) to drill a notch in the top of the boiler to accept the light tube. This will nest over the LED I installed earlier. The silver marker is there to highlight the cut. Black is indeed beautiful, but it's a pain to photograph!


Here's everything roughed in.  The light tube is glued in place.  I used a silver marker to tint the top of the tube to help reflect light forward from the LED inside the frame.  The original headlight housing is then nested onto the light tube.  Again, once the glue is set, I used a Dremel to trim the light tube to be flush with the front of the headlight housing.


And here's the progress shot to date.  The headlight works, and I used some flat black acrylic paint to touch up around behind it where there were some light leaks.  Next I'll have to paint the bottom of the LED to reduce the flares that appear below the pilot.

The next job to tackle will be the walkways along the sides of the boiler.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Lee
Route of the Alpha Jets

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

Philip H

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2010, 07:51:02 AM »
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Nice work.  Looks like you figured out the new camera!
Philip H.
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2010, 09:53:38 AM »
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Before you're done, don't forget to give that pilot a little cleanup if you're going to retain it, it's really sticking out to me.

sizemore

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2010, 10:24:39 AM »
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Started messing with the boiler shell tonight.  I received my etched brass cab overlays from the Wizard of Warren, Ohio, so I was inspired to take on this part of the project...



Lee

Can the cab sides be purchased from the Laurel Valley Shops?

The S.

wm3798

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2010, 11:12:23 AM »
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I'm working out that little detail with the manufacturer now...  :D  Be advised, it is not a true scale rendering of a WM all weather cab, but merely a pretty close overlay that fits on this particular model.  (with a little modification, it will also fit on the Rivarossi Challenger 8)

Price and Availability TBD.

Oh, and Ed, the pilot will be getting the Rock Knocker treatment that was used on the Consolidation:


Lee
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

Bob Bufkin

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2010, 04:08:24 PM »
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Another great product brought to you by LSE (Lee's Steam and Electric), not to be confused with that group in Ohio.

You don't watch out Lee, you'll wind up branching out from decoder installs to complete loco rebuilding.

wm3798

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2010, 06:07:39 PM »
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Don't laugh... I've got a basket case coming into the ER shortly... ;)

Lee
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

Dave V

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2010, 07:57:15 PM »
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Don't laugh... I've got a basket case coming into the ER shortly... ;)

Lee

Yep...  The Juniata Division is sending a brass K4 back east for heavy class repairs.
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Bob Bufkin

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2010, 08:01:08 PM »
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Maybe I should send you my old Minitrix K4 which isn't running for an install and backshop work.  Would be nice to run a short passenger train with it.

wm3798

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Re: The Potomac Project
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2010, 08:24:22 PM »
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And for those of you taking notes, this is why I haven't made any progress on my layout.... ;)

Lee
Route of the Alpha Jets

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net