Author Topic: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides  (Read 3169 times)

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arbomambo

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Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« on: March 25, 2012, 08:19:38 PM »
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OK!...
so...had about an hour to sit down and figure how to tackle this bash/conversion-before I knew it I jumped right in!

Acouple of notes, first, about how i decided to tackle this one and why...
1)- I'm using the Microtrains RPO as the donor 'core' for this one...it's not necessarily less labor intensive than using a rivarossi/Atlas/Concor heavyweight, but I believe the microtrains car has a few advantages for this particular bash.
 The underbody detail on the MT car is slightly better (and more accurate for this car-the only real change I may need to make is to shift the battery boxes slightly to the center)
 The end and door stirrup detail on the MT car is very nice, and, although Roberto (M&R sides) provides BEAUTIFUL stirrups on the fret, i wanted to try to use the MT ones because they're made of Delrin, and will hold up well with handling-the fact that Roberto's sides are so well drawn and produced, i.e. the doors line up beautifully with the doors on the MT car!
The MT roof is beautifully molded and, although I'll have to shave some detail from it (the built up area around the smokestack), it's going to be superior to the Rivarossi roof.
 The MT car is molded a little thicker-it'll stand up to the removal of material from the sides and still be pretty strong...
AND, along the same lines, using the MT car doesn't neccessitate sawing the car in half...although there's going to be a lot of 'carving', the MT 'core' will remain in one piece.

After mulling it over, here's what I'm going to have to do to the MT car to convert it...

sand the sides completely flat
remove the material from around the doorways and cut away plastic that will be behind the six windows on the brass side
remove the molded-on sill from the MT car
remove the molded-on bolster piece from the MT car (the MT car comes with 3 axle trucks AND the bolster is not centered to allow clearance on sharp radius curves-the ATSF car rides on 2 axle trucks)
Lower the strrup assemblies so that they sit at the correct height under the supplied brass ATSF style sill
add new bolsters at the correct location for the ATSF car
Shave the extra material from the roof until it is a 'clean' celestory style roof

All this sounds like a bunch of work, and I'm not trying to dismiss it as no big deal, but it's really not much more work than using a Rivarossi core and sawing it in half...and, unless I want to search and pay a ridiculous amount for a brass model (and I don't!), this is the only way to have a true ATSF RPO in my consists.

ya' can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs....
the first cut always hurts....(this is where I cringe a little in using the MT car-I've been able to buy a BUNCH of old rivarossi cars from Ebay at very low prices...even though I got this RPO at less than wholesale, it's still not a cheap as a rivarossi car!)



Doing my best to apply even pressure along the entire side, I sanded each side-checking frequently to make sure I was removing material evenly along the side.



after getting the sides completely flat, I checked the fit of the brass side...a quick note*...when laying the brass side over an unmodified MT car, you'll see that the brass side is about a millimeter long on each side-no worries!-this completely corrects itself as you sand the sides and remove thickness...once the sides are sanded flush, you'll notice the sides are perfectly aligned!...a testament to Roberto's AND Microtrains' drawings!



continued.....
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 08:26:51 PM »
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After removing the underframe, this is how the MT car looks...one can see how the stirrup assembly fits into a recess and is captured and held in place when the underframe is attatched....





You can also see the circular bolster point which will be removed as well as the pad where the couplers are body mounted (NICE TOUCH Microtrains!!!)-this pad will be left 'as is'....



Here;s a pic showing the new bolster (a MT part) that will replace the one removed...



continued....
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 08:46:21 PM »
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And so the removal of the molded-on sill begins....
I used a sharp blade in a heavy duty Xacto handle....I want to preserve the end detail on the car, so I was very careful to remove the sill up to, but not including the very end of the car. This is necessary to allow clearance for the new ATSF 'signature' sill/channel that will be attatched to the bottom of the brass side (Roberto provides the sills on the fret with the brass sides)
although I was very careful, i DID remove too much material on one corner of the car...no worries, I'll replace the material with styrene strip before adhereing the brass sides...



Here's the bottom of the car after the sills have been removed...



This pic shows the underframe back in place after the sills have been removed...you can see here that the underframe is more narrow than the carbody so it will allow clearance for the new sill without any modification to the width....



However, if left unmodified on the ends, the undeframe, as shown above, won't allow me to add shims to lower the stirrup assembly (Again, I have to lower the stirrup assembly because the ATSF style sill/channel sits a little lower than the bottom of the MT car-the upper part of the stirrups will be hidden if left unmodified)...
....so...
OFF come the underframe ends...!



This is where I'm going to leave it this evening...
As you may be able to visualize now, I'm going shim the recesses that normally 'captured' the stirrup assemblies, then attatch the assemblies directly to the bottom of the car once the new bolster points are added.
Thanks for looking,
Bruce

"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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bbussey

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 09:30:00 PM »
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Food for thought on future MTL heavyweight kitbashes - the models are available undecorated, including the RPO, which saves some on the up-front cost.  See some of the online retail websites for available stock at standard discounted pricing.

Bryan Busséy
NHRHTA #2246
NSE #1117
www.bbussey.net


arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 08:53:19 AM »
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bbussey
I agree...I'm finding it tough to find an undec anywhere these days...there ARE a few other road names on Ebay...I'm just going to have to go down that road!
Sincerely,
Bruce
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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bbussey

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 02:11:56 PM »
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BLW has them in stock.
Bryan Busséy
NHRHTA #2246
NSE #1117
www.bbussey.net


arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2012, 10:13:25 PM »
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Eeeee Haaaa!
Bruce
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 09:05:57 PM »
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About an 1/2 hour spent this evening doing the rest of the 'cutting' required for the core...

First, I attatched the seperate sill to the bottom edge of the brass side...I used Gorilla brand  CA...easy to do as the PE part is well defined...
I'll align and glue the seperate doors during the next session.



I needed to remove the molded-on bolster points before attatching the sides, so I just used a razor saw, then sanded the area flush...





while I had the razor saw in hand, I removed enough from the coupler mounting pad to provide enough clearance for the new 2 axle trucks...
The proper trucks are express trucks; I had an extra Roundhouse express reefer that will donate the trucks...we NEED for Athearn (or anyone else) to re-release these cars or provide parts seperately.




continued...
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2012, 09:28:26 PM »
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Then...using the brass side as a reference often, i started to remove material from the sides...
I attatched the roof while doing this to constantly test the strength of the core as I removed material.
Because of the VERY cool inclusion of the interior 'burglar bars' (I don't know what the proper name for them is) that Roberto includes on the fret...I knew I didn't want to use the MT roof 'glass' for the new windows (The Microtrains roof, on the RPO at least, is manufactured just like the old Rivarossi cars-that is the entire roof is molded in clear styrene, the walls are left clear and provide the clear 'glass', the roof is painted black)
On the real RPO, the bars are on the inside part of the window glass, I don't want to glue the burglar bars in place until new window 'glass' is in place.
So...I measured, test fit, and cut...
tested a little more...
....cut a little more...
until I was finally content with it all...
I'm pleasantly surprised at the amount of side wall material I was able to lose and still have good structural integrity.





I'll remove the roof 'glass' from the area behind the windows, but I'll keep the roof glass for the door windows as the doors are mounted 'inset' and the roof glass will sit flush behind them-I want to be careful, since I removed so much sidewall, to not remove so much roof 'glass' as it contributes greatly to the integrity of the car now...

Here is a good pic which shows how little of the original car side remains....





and here is the structure with the roof attatched....





the next session will see the brass sides permanently attatched to the carbody, and, using this as a guide, the removal of the roof glass behind the 6 windows on each side.
Thanks for looking,
Bruce
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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bbussey

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2012, 11:28:22 PM »
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Wheels of Time sells four-wheel heavyweight trucks with the proper 36" diameter wheels.  I believe the Athearn trucks have  33" diameter wheels.
Bryan Busséy
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NSE #1117
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arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2012, 10:26:24 PM »
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just a little more progress...
Attatched the sides to the core car. Previously building Roberto's beautiful Forse Express car and 70' baggage has really helped me get into the swing of doing these brass car sides on cores-I learn a better way to do something with each build. Those builds helped me realize it's better to attatche any doors to the side before attatching the side to the carbody...
Roberto has etched the sides AND doors with the proper locating holes for the grab rails...it's much more difficult to line up the corresponding holes in the doors and side once the sides are attatched to the carbody. It's much easier to do this while the side is on the workbench. I used some .008 brass wire, inserted through the holes in the door and side to align the door exactly when applying the CA; this way the door and carbody handrail holes were aligned exactly.
Then I attatched the sides to the carbody after applying CA to the exposed carbody sides...
Like all his other projects, Roberto's work on this new RPO is beautiful.
Thanks for looking!
Bruce







"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2012, 09:32:27 PM »
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precious little time to model these last two weeks, so just a little progress here and there...
started removing the detail from the Microtrains roof; the molded roof vents and detail must come off in order to fit the beautiful etched brass clestory window pice that Roberto supplies with this set...
Here are pics of the roof with the detail removed and sanded; I'll fill the existing holes before attatching the window pieces...









as you can see, the MT roof is molded in a clear plastic, just like the rivarossi cars are done...
Thanks for looking,
Bruce
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2012, 06:46:01 PM »
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Just as in the roof details for the 70' baggage, this part isn't very glamorous, but it will make a difference.
I'm plugging all the roof openings revealed when removing the molded vents that come on the MT RPO. The Cleastory part of this roof needs to be completely flat and smooth; the brass etched window strip will be applied after this is sanded smooth and any lost rib detail is added.
I just used scrap styrene to plug the holes, attatched with a liberal application of Tenax7r; the Tenax helps to soften the strip sufficient to allow the slightly oversize styrene to be pushed into the openings, completely filling the gaps. Once completely dry, I'll scrape and sand the areas smooth and add lost rib detail.





Thanks for looking,
Bruce
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

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Iain

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012, 02:53:12 PM »
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Where's the "Like" button?

Dude, this is going to look nice.
Thanks much,
Mairi Dulaney, RHCE
Member, Free Software Foundation and Norfolk Southern Historical Society

http://jdulaney.com

arbomambo

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Re: Modelling an ATSF heavyweight RPO using M&R sides
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2012, 10:36:47 PM »
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Hello all...
have FINALLY had a little time to model...this RPO is one of the projects I want to complete soon...
before adding the roof etchings, end grabs, steps and ladders, I needed to glue the new bolsters to the underframe -I used metal washers to provide the correct 'standoff' spacing and also provide a little weight.
Trucks were 'robbed' from a couple of Athearn/MDC-Roundhouse wood on steel frame express reefers. Wheels of Time has announced that they are re-making their 2 axle heavyweight trucks (I'll get a number of these to replace the one's I 'borrowed'.
Basic MT 1015/1016s mount to the pad supplied on the underframe (I redrilled holes a bit further in to give a more prototypical spacing-the diaphragms touch each other on the small-15" radius-inner curve, but have a little 'daylight' showing on the straights when the slack is taken up...

I'm satisfied with the height of the car-fits right in with the other cars bashed with Rivorossi cars.
Next will be the final detail bits before paint.
Thanks for looking,
Bruce





"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
NTRAK Board of Directors
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

[/ur