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Author Topic: RS-3 narrow gauge conversion  (Read 31924 times)
finescalerr
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« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2010, 01:39:12 PM »

You are transforming an Aristo-Craft toy into a model. I have never understood the fuzzy thinking of most large scale manufacturers. They repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot and then wonder why they walk with a limp. -- Russ
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Malachi Constant
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« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2010, 08:39:54 PM »

Ray --

I agree that you're doing a superb job of elevating the detail level on this (re)build ... at the same time, I feel that I'll be sorely disappointed if you don't fill that air tank with the clear domed ends with little tiny gumballs!  Grin

Cheers,
Dallas
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Philip Smith
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« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2010, 08:43:52 PM »

 Grin

I thought I was the only one who entombed my patterns!

One hell of a tranformation Ray!

Philip
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Ray Dunakin
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« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2010, 12:57:00 AM »

Time for another update...
 
I ran into a little snag with those new air tanks.  Although they're the same length as the originals, they're wider and are designed to mount more realistically. The originals are flat on one side and mount up under the edge of the frame:
 
 

 
 
Mine are intended to mount on the frame, like the real ones do. Trouble is, they foul the sand lines on the front truck:
 
 


So I had to order new, elliptical domes to replace the hemispheric domes. This reduces the total length of each tank by at least a quarter inch, more than enough to clear the sand lines. It also makes the tanks more accurate, as most of the RS-3's I've seen have tanks with elliptical ends:
 


 
While I was waiting for those new domes to arrive, I started work on the front pilot. I had hoped to be able to use most of the stock parts, but decided that too many changes were needed, so it was simpler to scratch-build. I did retain the rear portion of the pilot, since this has the tabs and such needed to mount it to the frame.
 
I began by cutting off the poling pockets. Then I glued on styrene extensions to widen the pilot. I also used a Dremel with a small carving bit to lengthen the slots that support the steps:
 
   


Then I decided to mount the steps differently, so I filled in the slots. This would have been easier to do if I had not already added some bolt details. I also sanded the poling pockets smaller and glued them back on, in their new positions:
 
   


I couldn't find anything better suited to represent the steel grill used on the steps, so I reused the original steps from the model. However, I sanded them to about half their original thickness:
 
   

 
I built up a completely new front section of the pilot. This was glued to the rear section, rather than being attached with screws as the original parts were. I changed the position of the steps, to fit the now-wider pilot:
 
   

Here's how it looks on the frame:
 
 

   

I had to take some liberties with it, particularly at the coupler pocket, but I think I captured the essence of the prototype pretty well. I still have to add some more details, such as the air hose, MU cables, grab irons, lift bar, etc.
 
 
.
 
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« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2010, 01:30:55 AM »

Are you sure it wouldn't have been easier to build the whole thing from scratch? -- Russ
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gnichols
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« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2010, 04:23:51 AM »

Ray,
  Got any new overall shots of the mock-up?  I've got several of these 1/2n42-ish things to make (complete, actually) so I'm getting a kick out of seeing what you are up to.  But mine won't be so detailed.  One is based on a seriously shortened USA SW with a fixed single truck from some other little gizmo, and the other will be a USA centercab GE with the cab enlarged.  And a Tommy York box cab kit, too, some place around here.  I got SO many unfinished projects.  Gads.  Gary
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« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2010, 01:33:35 AM »

Ray,

I always enjoy seeing what people do that is out of the ordinary.

I grew up with SP late steam and early diesels in my backyard so I have always like that transition era.

I bought an S scale SW-1 in SP Tiger Stripes and had it narrowed down to run on my On30 layout.

It fits right in in my mind but is far from being prototypical.

Interesting to watch your 1/29th to 1/24th conversion.

Party on, Dude!

Darryl Huffman
Anchorage, Alaska
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« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2010, 11:30:48 PM »

Progress has been a little slow this week, but it's getting there. Here's the latest update...
 
I decided to mount the air tanks to the fuel/water tank assembly, rather than mounting them directly to the chassis. I used some small screws from an old camera:
 




 

Both the front and rear pilots are basically finished. The brake hoses are from Phil's Narrow Gauge -- I modified them slightly for this application. I still need to make some MU cables. The handrails and associated stuff will be added later:
 


 
I put the whole thing together temporarily just to see how it looks:
 






 
That's it for now. Currently I'm working on the cab interior... more updates to come.
 
.
 
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« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2010, 01:51:29 AM »

I've finished the cab interior details. I didn't bother trying to include every single detail of the prototype. I just wanted to include enough of the major features, enough to give the impression that it's all there. As it is, much of what I did include will be difficult to see anyway. Here's a shot of the control stand under construction:
 
 

 
And here's the complete interior assembly. This assembly slides up into the cab from below. The floor was made to look like old wood with worn paint, as seen in some RS-3 pics I found:
 





On the fireman's side, I added a toolbox and grease bucket. These were cast from molds I made of originals I found on ebay. Everything else in the cab is scratch-built. The toolbox and bucket help support the end panels:
 


 
Oops! I made the seats a little bit too tall. Fortunately that's easy to fix. The seats are not glued down, they are secured with screws. I'll just remove them, cut the seats off the posts, shorten the posts, and glue the seats back together.
 


BTW, the seated figure is from SLM, and will be serving as the engineer until I get around to sculpting some custom figures for this loco.
 
 
.
 
 
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« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2010, 12:14:06 PM »

Ray --

Excellent!  That assembly will certainly give the right impression as one peeks into the cab ... very neatly done.  (Well, maybe all that "grime" doesn't look so "neat" ... but it looks good!)

Of course, that SLM guy will have to go ... he's gotten all of his railroading experience on Gn15 critters and can't be trusted to operate the larger loco!  Cheesy

Cheers,
Dallas
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« Reply #40 on: November 27, 2010, 11:30:02 PM »

Finally, another update!
 
One of my biggest concerns when I started this project, was how to do the handrail supports. They need to be tough and rigid, slightly flexible but not brittle, and they need to be removable. I also wanted them to be as close to the prototype as possible. I considered using brass rod, but it's round, and the real thing is made of flat slabs. Brass bar stock might work but is not easy to find in such a small size. Brass would also be tough to work with, especially drilling the holes for the handrails to run through. And brass doesn't spring back if it gets bent over.
 
Then I hit on a solution: Rectangular carbon fiber rod! These are sold by Midwest Products and can be found in many hobby shops, in a variety of sizes. It's a high strength composite material used in aircraft. It's very rigid yet somewhat flexible, and extremely hard to break.
 
I used some carbon fiber rod that measures .019" thick by  .118" wide. As tough as it is, it can be split lengthwise, so I laminated some strips of .010" thick styrene to it. I was then able to drill holes through the supports without splitting the carbon fiber. I also added brackets and simulated bolts/nuts made of styrene. Here are some pics:
 

 
 
 

The handrail supports are designed to fit into slots in the deck and frame of the engine. This presented another problem: How to create deep, narrow slots? I have no tools capable of doing that. So my solution is to drill round holes, fill them with epoxy putty, then use a homemade tool to press the slots into the putty. Here's a photo of the tool I made, and a chunk of scrap styrene used as a test subject:
 

 
 
This worked just fine. The top surface of the putty came out a little rough on this test piece but I think I can do better. Most of it will be hidden by the bracket anyway. Here are a couple shots showing how the support fits into the slot on the test piece:
 
 
 
 
 

Now I just have to drill holes in the deck, add the putty, and form the slots for the model itself.
 
Meanwhile I also did a few other small things... I decided that the smokestack needed to be taller, to look right with the new larger cab, so I built up a new stack around the old one. I also created a bracket and air ringer for the bell, and made the metal "cabinets" on the deck behind the cab. I don't have pics of these changes yet.
 
.
 
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« Reply #41 on: November 28, 2010, 12:22:15 AM »

Ray, all I can say is 'wow'...that is shaping up to be a fantastic model!

I love old Alcos, and had the privilege of getting a cab ride in an old RS-3 on the Magma Copper line between Ray Junction and Mammoth, Arizona back in 1982.  The cab interior looked just like what you have modeled...I seem to remember the floor was steel.  Your finish on the cabinets and control stand has nailed the dirty, scuffed, workaday patina the aging loco had.  Thanks for reminding me of a pleasant day...   Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2010, 06:42:43 PM »

Haven't had as much time as usual for modeling lately but I am making a little progress...
 
I finished the handrails along the sides of the engine. Here are a few shots with the handrails temporarily installed. (The fuel tank, air tanks and a few other items have been removed.):
 

 

 

In this photo you can see the "cabinets" that form the raised part of the deck, behind the cab:
 

 

I still have to make the handrails and other details for the ends of the pilots:
 

 
 
I used brass tubing to make "sockets" for the handrails to plug into where they connect to the pilot:
 

 
 
Here's a close up photo of the new, larger smokestack, and the bell with air ringer. The bell has already been painted but is not yet glued in place:
 

 
 
Well, that's all for now. It's getting close to the finish line!
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« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2010, 10:24:09 PM »

Hi Ray,
I don't know anything about diesels, but then I guess I don't have to, the craftsmanship and care in your build is obvious to even a casual observer. 
Don't you just love/hate this point in a build?  The end is so close that you can just taste the finish, but the last nagging details to finish just keep on coming.  If your like me the end is also bitter-sweet.  As I/you sit and look at the finished model and think about all the things that could have been done differently and/or better but we have to save all that for the next build.

Great model.
Rick
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« Reply #44 on: December 05, 2010, 10:45:04 PM »

Thanks Rick!

Yeah the home stretch on a build like this can be kind of frustrating, there are always finicky little details that have to be attended to before it can be officially finished. And in this case, after all the modeling (the fun part) is finished, then I have to installed the electronics (yuck), which is the part I dread.




 
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