Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Soldering handrails


The biggest problem with this model locomotive were the missing bonnet side handrails. On the real loco they are pretty prominent so I couldn't just pretend their removal wasn't an in service modification.

Worse, the things are exposed and vulnerable, which is probably why they were missing. As bought they are moulded in plastic. Without access to an injection moulding machine, I knew it was time for some wirework.

Normally I make handrails for 4mm scale models from 0.45mm brass wire. 3mm scale models get 0.33mm so I guess I wanted something half way between these for 3.5mm. No chance, a quick measure of the existing ones showed that the 7mm scale wire - a whopping 0.7mm - was required.

Bending the top rail was complicated because the rails curve in towards the front steps. The verticals are complicated because the holes in the footplate and holes in the cab side aren't in line. As it turns out this worked to my benefit. I fitted the verticals leaning out and then the lower horizontal on the faces of these. The results looks pretty good as the outside edge of the horizontal rails are the same(ish) distance out from the bonnet sides.

All soldering was done with the wire in-situ thanks to the diecast body. Quick work, good flux (tried the non-acid stuff which was as usual, rubbish) and I didn't damage the paintwork. The handrails were flexible enough to be removed for cleaning in the sink followed by a blast of primer and thin coat of weathered black paint.

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