Author Topic: Backdating the Trix FM H-12-44 (sort of)  (Read 3161 times)

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Backdating the Trix FM H-12-44 (sort of)
« on: March 02, 2012, 01:30:42 AM »
This week I finally learned how to set my camera up for taking close ups of small things like N scale diesels. I took photos of the process and though I still need more practice with modeling and the camera, here are the results...

I haven't done a whole lot of modeling in N scale. Aside from the layout the only N scale models I have built to date are some building kits for the mockup of Altoona and a kitbash for the New Portage bridge. In the past couple of days I've tried a couple of "bash" projects to wet my feet, so to speak. The first was this double ended PCC cobbled together from two Bachman cars...
Needs a bit of work once the glue and primer dry. I may build a couple more of these for the Altoona & Logan Valley.

The second project is a trial run. The Altoona Northern needs a switcher, which right now is a Trix Fairbanks-Morse H-12-44. The H12-44 was a brand new diesel in 1949-1950. I want the shortline to have something a bit older. The H10-44 was built in 1944 and would be 6 or 7 years old at that time. I took a Trix Fairbanks Morse switcher shell and tried to see if I could work with the tiny parts needed to backdate it to the older H-10-44.

The shell I'm using is pretty carved up already and is essentially scrap. I cut it up thinking I would mount it on a Kato mechanism. That was before I found a deal on complete Trix model. Now I'm using this shell to develop some techniques for modeling in N scale. I'm not worried about scale dimensions just yet, just trying things out.

The first thing I did was scrape the louver detail off the cab side steps. A chisel blade would be the better tool, but I couldn't find mine. I'm getting by with the trusty No 11 blade. The side step is actually indented from the cab so that after the louvers are gone there is just enough space for a 5 mm thick piece of styrene. The side panels will end up flush with the cab sides...

I use the back of the blade tip to score the styrene, rather than cut it. I learned this years ago from an old Alan Armitage article in Model Railroader. Allan used a special scoring tool. I found that if I just turn the No 11 blade upside down it does the same job. Great use for all those blades with blunt tips...

I cut the styrene twice as large as I needed for one side panel...

I then cut that piece in half long ways to get the two side panels...

Looking back on it I might have carved the overall shape of the two parts from the bigger piece and then cut it in two. Instead I shaped one piece by cutting it close to the general shape with the knife (using the cutting side of the blade this time)...

I then used a flat file on the straight edge and the outside curve...

I used a round file for the inside curve at the cab end...

Now I need to make the second side panel match the first...

I applied some tacky glue to the finished side panel...

I glued the first panel on top of the blank for the second side...

I trimmed off any excess and roughed out the general shape with the knife...

After a bit more filing I have two "identical" side panels. They don't have to be exactly the same. A trick I learned from striping and flaming cars is that you can fudge a bit. Nobody can see both sides of an object at the same time. Still, I try to get them as close as possible...

Using a glue pen I applied plastic cement to the steps...

I placed the side panels on the steps and made sure the edges lined up...

I roughed out the general size of the cab roof. Since the roof will be curved the piece needs to be longer than the width of the cab....

On my first attempt I made the roof a little too narrow (piece on the right) and had to cut another piece. I added another millimeter and  tried again...

I spread some plastic glue on the cab roof and applied the roof. At first I tried to hold it in place until the glue set, but got interrupted. I realized I could form the general curve of the roof with my fingers and not have to hold in place or clamp it...

The shell now looks more like the H10-44 but it's still not quite right. The side panels need to  be larger and the roof overhang curves into the cab sides. I may also need to check the cab windows and modify them. On the next try I'll use actual scale dimensions and cut the roof correctly. I'll also need to make sure the louvers and panels on the hood match the earlier switcher. There is also a slight angle to the radiator end of the hood. The angle is so slight I may be able to file the hood to match.

Next I'll try it on the actual Altoona Northern locomotive.

Frank Musick

Dave Schneider

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Re: Backdating the Trix FM H-12-44 (sort of)
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2012, 02:08:38 AM »

That looks like you are off to a great start. I am impressed with the speed with you are knocking things out.

Not sure is any of this matters for for your project, but I thought I would toss this out for you and others who might be interested.
(From 2nd Diesel Spotter's Guide).

  • The H10-44 Loewy-style car body was produced from 1944-1949 and had a sloping nose, battery box fairing and roof overhang.
  • Early H12-44 produced 1949-September 1952 were similar to the H10-44s.
  • Beginning in September 1952 through 1953, the slant nose and roof overhang was eliminated.
  • In 1953 the battery box fairing was removed.
  • Finally, in 1956 the entire car body was shortened 3 feet and the side sill was made deeper.

The Trix model is a mix of various versions of FM switchers, but the overall dimensions are closest to the last version produced from 1956 on. An earlier model H10 or H12-44 could be produced by splicing two shells together and mounting on the Atlas VO-1000 mechanism which has the correct wheelbase. That said, I haven't seen this actually done yet! The closest I have gotten is to splice the shells. I haven't figured out how to mount this on the Atlas mechanism yet. Let me know if you need extra shells. I have some to spare.

I would love to see Atlas, or FVM, or whomever make a new shell to mount on the VO-1000 mechanism. I need 5 or 6 for the Beer Line.

Best wishes, Dave
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.


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Re: Backdating the Trix FM H-12-44 (sort of)
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2012, 02:27:25 AM »
My Backtdate/update/kitbash/I didn't like how it looked, so I improved it IMHO

Mine was missing the steps on the front, and some other details. in my world, this was picked up 2nd hand from Milwaukee after a grade crossing accident, and the front end was rebuilt by the shortline's own shop.

Northern Pacific, Tacoma Division, 4th subdivision "The Prarie Line" (still in planning stages)


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Re: Backdating the Trix FM H-12-44 (sort of)
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2012, 08:13:48 AM »
Dave and Mike,
I opted out of cutting up the beast, preferring  to stick with the Trix mechanism. Budget restraints, you know...
I used drawings and a scale rule this time to get more exact dimensions.

I have trouble seeing these little trains and the photograph is the first opportunity to see what they really look like. Ugh!. When I see these photos I really see how terrible the workmanship is. I didn't remove the old paint from the engine and didn't realize how bad that coat was. The black brings the imperfections out like a spotlight. The skirts and the roof looked better when I was working on them. I think I need my glasses prescription changed! Even the filing and sanding I did on the sloped nose looks terrible. I'll have do the whole locomotive over again.

The Trix wheels still need be turned down, last time I tried that it did not go so well. Had to glue the wheels back on my Trix K4s. I found out that NWSL sells replacement wheel sets, so I'll go that route this time.

I used it Squadron Green filler on that PCC...
It filled in the gaps, and after sanding it looks better, but still needs work.

Altoon Northerns ancient oil electric still looks rather caboose like...
I used an Atlas extended cupola caboose. After removing the cupola, I used a chisel blade to remove all the cast on detail. I left the openings in the side hoping I can add ventilators or something. Roof overhangs need to be cut back. Not sure I'm happy with the whole caboose bash idea.

Hopefully my N scale modeling skills will improve (S scale was a lot easier). I need to use my magnifier/lamp thingie more.



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Re: Backdating the Trix FM H-12-44 (sort of)
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2012, 03:45:52 PM »
Once upon a time, I made the mechanism for a LL SW1200 fit the Trix shell and gave it DCC.  It ran very nicely.  I miss it.
Thanks much,
Mairi Dulaney, RHCE
Member, Free Software Foundation and Norfolk Southern Historical Society


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If at first you don't succeed...
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2012, 08:07:31 PM »
After four tries and two shells the FM went from this...

To this...
After applying the decals I sprayed the thing with matte clear and it discolored the hood. In general it looks like hell and I'm going to try again on shell number 3. The decals were made on my inkjet, so at least one thing went right.

The Logan Valley PCC went from this...

To this...
Next time I'll cut the shell cleaner, but I'll leave well enough alone for now.