Author Topic: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board  (Read 982 times)

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Lemosteam

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PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« on: February 14, 2020, 09:55:02 PM »
+5
Throwback time:

Backstory- It all started with a Minitrix Decapod repower.  I was content to have a repowered Minitrix Decapod in my fleet and then I started pondering; "why would I want a pseudo I1sa with the same size boiler as a Minitrix K4?"  The I1sa boiler was substantially larger.  I had already built a GHQ L1s and knowing that that pewter shell was so much larger than my Minitrix K4, I realized my answer was right in front of me. Use the repowered Decapod to make an L1s with the same size boiler as my fleet of Minitrix K4's! (bear in mind that the Bachmann K4 was years away from reality), after all the LIs and K4 shared a boiler design (all but dome placement, etc.).

The Atlas thread sparked a minor Pennsy debate about the GHQ sell and why it was so large, which is a story in itself.  I digress.

With that as a backdrop, I will begin with the repowering:

Decapod with one of my trusty LifeLike 5 pole motors grafted from many a lead sled carcass.  I hand-reamed the original Minitrix worm to fit the LL motor and used red loctite to secure the worm.  The motor is actually a bit too short for the chassis but the front motor mount had to have the pilot diameter milled to fit the LL motor bearing pilot. You can see the gap at the front of the motor to the forward motor support.  I later created a nylon shim to push the motor forward and using the original screw holes, drilled and tapped holes into the LL motor housing and secured it with short flat head screws.









Note the cast and shaped lead weight up front- a spinoff from this lovely video:

At this point I thought I was done...



Then the L1s idea popped in and I had to get the Minitrix delta trailing truck onto the chassis, which meant the removal of the rear drivers. Here I am looking at the delta truck on the frame, but first I had a big decision to make:



This extra axle prompted me to discuss resizing the driver diameters on the OEM chassis.  On the A-Board, the driver diameter debate began.  I had just purchased a couple sets of Kato Mike drivers when they were still plentiful so I had fodder to test an idea: What if I grated the drivers onto the Minitrix axles?  I took the perfect opportunity to grind the knurling off the ends of the axles using a file and chucking the axle in my drill press.  As long as I did not mess too much with the shoulder on the axle, the drivers would be in gauge.  I started with one and then a second to see how the driver diameter would fit, but first here is a pictoral step-by-step of the driver installations:

A closeup of the plastic Kato driver center and its eight sided form after being pressed on the Kato axle. 



Next I had hoped to use the Kato axle and use a cobbled Minitrix gear and tube so the driver alignment would be easier, until I realized that the side to side quartering would be impossible due to the fact that all axles in a Minitrix Decapod are geared:



As such i quickly abandoned that idea and decided to file down the knurl on the OEM axles. Here is a before/after shot:



How I managed this ridiculousness:



Testing Shell  and brake shoe clearance from the original bottom gear cover.  Nice and tight!:





More later....





Cajonpassfan

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2020, 11:30:23 AM »
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I’d never considered the Minitrix Decs to be viable candidates for conversion to anything, mostly because of the wheels and flanges. Never occurred to me that one could change the wheels🙀
Well done, John, and thanks for reposting for us.
Otto

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2020, 11:50:15 AM »
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whoa!
Josh "John" Surkosky
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Lemosteam

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2020, 11:52:06 AM »
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Thanks Otto, this project is so old and there is much more to show.  I have actually started superdetailing the shell now.  But yeah, if you have  a stash of Mike drivers,the repowering and what not could go a long way toward the ATSF X-10-X locos.  Its actually a very good puller with the lead weight added.

wm3798

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2020, 05:48:43 PM »
+1
I just received my Trixster in the post today, and I'm enjoying its gentle chuffing now as it rolls around the Retro's 12-3/8" twists.  I had one when I was a kid, but man, I forgot how smooth that thing is.  Even with the old motor.
I will have to do a little surgery to "snub nose" it, and get the smoke box where it goes, but all indications are that shouldn't be too bad.  The trickiest bit will be getting just the right slice out of the boiler behind the smoke box.  I have a couple of round smokebox weights from my Rivarossi graveyard, so I'm not too worried about keeping the tractive effort up.
I would like to get my paws on another K4 Tender so I can scab it together with this one to make a 6 axle job.  I should be able to make that work with some Rivarossi passenger trucks with pick up wipers.

I don't expect it to be the highest tech or an award winning model, but I think I can achieve some "overall effect" modeling with it.

Lee
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wm3798

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2020, 12:40:14 PM »
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Not sure if this is the right place to clutter up with my hatchet job, but I guess you guys should get a look at how the other half lives.. the half that runs hi-rail and forgets to count rivets... :trollface:



So here is my victim.  A recently acquired Trix 2-10-0, which is in really good shape, and is running loops even as we speak.

There are two things I want to do in order to have a properly proportioned, if not properly modeled PRR freight locomotive.  First, I need to get the smokebox to move 3.5 scale feet back over the pilot truck in order to get the cylinders aligned with the stacks.  Rather than hack up a shell to do my proof of concept, I used good old MS Paint, and here's how she'll look, assuming I don't fumble the Dremel while it's doing its important work...



It appears that the best location to make the slice is directly behind the smokebox/stack, which is an actual seam in the plating, and remove the entire 42" back to about where the bell sits.  As you can see, the bell is a player to be named later, and I'll figure out where best to put that when the surgery is complete.

The trickiest bit, apart from keeping my hands steady during the cuts, will be working around the cab signal box and walkways.  I'm hoping I can get through the cuts without the need of a second shell to restore those details.  Once I have the shell truncated, I really like the chunky proportions of the shorter boiler over all those drivers.  The best part is I can use the existing mounting screw in the steam dome to hold it all together.

Assuming getting the shell to look right, the next step will be getting it fit right on the chassis.  That will be a discussion for another time.  I had the shell off briefly, and looks like with a few nips and tuck it should go back together without much fuss.  Getting a light back in it might be another tale, but that's a bear we'll have to cross.

Next, I turned my electronic X-acto knife to the tender.



My goal here again is to get the feel of a long-distance tender, not necessarily a prize winning model.  With a few judicious slices, and the use of some surplus 3 axle trucks I have laying about, I think I can get this to fly.  The tricky part here will be getting clean cuts that won't require a lot of putty...  In a pinch I can get some of those rivet decals, but in the end, I'd rather get good clean cuts and solid bonds that a simple coat of paint can cover.  Wish me luck there.  Anyway, the plan will be to basically cut one tender in half, and trim another shell from the ends and bond together the three shell bits to get one longer car.  The intricacies of maintaining the electrical pick ups and attaching the trucks and draw bars will be a mystery I'll have to solve when I get to that point.  I'll probably also add a doghouse to the back and maybe a rear facing headlight.

So, with enough confirmation that the visuals can be pulled off, I think I can... I think I can... I think I can!



Ever onward!  The SPF's among us may now pass out from dismay.
Lee
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 12:45:28 PM by wm3798 »
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Tom Todd

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2020, 06:16:29 PM »
0
I am setting up at a train show in Washington State. In front of me is a Camden & Amboy kit for a modified I-1 shell with long distance tender. If you are interested I can buy it and forward it to you for my cost plus shipping. Anybody interested?

Tom Todd

wm3798

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2020, 06:38:49 PM »
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YES.  PM me and let me know what it costs.  I'm so tight I squeak when I walk but if the price is right, I'm all ears!
That's a cast metal boiler isn't it?  Imagine... a retro retrofit kit for a retro engine!
Lee
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

Tom Todd

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2020, 07:17:20 PM »
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It is a cast resin shell

wm3798

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2020, 08:21:26 PM »
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Beats a stick in the eye! 
L
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 08:23:48 PM by wm3798 »
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Cajonpassfan

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2020, 09:12:35 PM »
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It would seem I have a complete tender, lettered Pennsylvania, and an original shiny boiler shell numbered 4638. At one point, I was going to build an L1 mikado that went to the Santa Fe, on a Kato mechanism, but that’s not on my list any more.
PM me if interested.
Otto K.

Lemosteam

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2020, 09:23:17 PM »
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OK Back on track with the old build (please take this convo to the Trading post or PM...):

Next I had to determine the trailing truck placement on the chassis and determine a method to attach the old Minitrix Delta truck:


Here is the frame after removing the material for the fifth axla and inserting a pice of brass with a 2/56 hole for the delta truck mounting pivot:


Here is the delta truck mounted on the frame:


And a follow-up look with the un-modified Trix shell pre cylinder alignment and lengthening to cover the motor back up.


this prompted me to study the image above against the PRR diagram for the L1s.  This taught me a valuable lesson though- that these diagrams are not dimensionally accurate- the numbers are right but one might not be able to trust the lines, especially after I fashioned the trailing truck position from locomotive images.....


As such I was forced to add styrene spacing just ahead of the Belpaire shoulders to cover the motor after aligning the cylinders:


It turns out that the GHQ L1s tender shell fits the Minitrix tender chassis oalmost perfectly and after building it I added some brass "frames" and slid it onto the chassis:


Up next the initial detailing spurt...









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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2020, 09:44:19 PM »
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Very interesting and clever conversion.
But in my bluntness I also like to mention that what really sticks out here  is the crudeness of the siderods (crank pins) and valve gear.

So much work custom work is being done to modify the overall look of the model to match the prototype, fine Kato drivers are being used, but the siderods and the rest of the valve gear looks like it came from a toy train made in the '70s!  Wait, that is exactly where those came from!   :D
But seriously, are there any plans to make the side-rods and valve gear more to scale?

To show a example of what I mean, here is the actual Kato Mikado (right side up), and even older Kato Japanese prototype loco.  Both feature much finer and better detailed siderods and valve gear.  No thick linkages, giant rivets, or huge linkages here. 



Compared to

« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 09:47:10 PM by peteski »
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Lemosteam

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2020, 09:57:43 PM »
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Yes and none of which represent a proper PRR Laird slide either- I already did that on a kato mike that will be used for my PRR I1.  Not to mention that a Minitrix shell will not fit on a Kato Mike.  as previously mentioned a GHQ boiler casting it 20% too large for an L1.

So oh well.

wm3798

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Re: PRR L1s from a Minitrix Decapod- resurrected from the A-Board
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2020, 11:03:26 PM »
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A bit of weathering hides a world of sins, but close up digital photography rats you out every time.
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