With the Aus7 Forum coming up next weekend, and with the Easter long weekend available for a little modelling, I thought it was time to set to and get the 20 operating. My friend Bruce probably thinks I’m playing some cagey game with our wager over who gets their model operating first. However I can assure anyone who reads this blog that the real reason I’ve made no posts is not to keep my progress secret but because there hasn’t been a great deal of progress to report.
I’ve reached the stage where a crew needs to be installed and that means two tasks need to be carried out:
- A crew needs to be selected and painted.
- A way of securing the figures needs to be settled upon.
I love the white metal figures available from various sources in 1:43.5 that can be used in these modelling situations: the quality of the figures is one of the reasons I model in this scale. However I’ve never been very happy with the methods I’ve employed to secure them in place in the past. I always drill a hole in the base of the feet of my figures and insert a length of .7mm brass or NS wire which I use to hold the figure during painting. This wire is then inserted in a hole I drill into the floor of the cab of the loco I’m working on to allow a modicum of mechanical connection between the loco and the figure. I then glue this arrangement in place with the most appropriate adhesive. In most instances two-part expoy.
However just recently I’ve had a couple of figures come adrift even though I’ve used fairly aggressive glue and the wire is there suposedly to hold things in place and I decided with this loco that something more was needed. I was installing a wooden floor into the cab of the 20 (as per the prototype) and I was far from convinced that a white metal foot would want to stay put on a real wooden floor, no matter what glue I used. Soldering wasn’t an option without stripping off some paint so I decided that a different approach was needed.
This morning I chose the two crew figures I was going to use from among about 6 I had on hand. I drilled a #54 hole in the base of the foot of both and tapped a 10BA thread into these holes. I dipped the tip of two long 10BA brass bolts into some super glue and screwed these into the tapped hole in the base of the figures’ feet and then snipped the heads of these bolts off. After installing what was now threaded rod into my figures I scraped and cleaned the figures by going over them with a blade and files and giving them a good scrub with some Jif cream cleanser and an old tooth-brush.
This afternoon I drilled two #50 holes through the wooden cab floor I’d installed. These holes went right through the floor and through the NS base of the cab so that when the crew was positioned I could use two 10BA nuts to secure the figures firmly in place. This had the added advantage that it ill help retain the wooden cab floor which is only held in position with a bit of glue.
In spite of the size of O-scale locomotives it is quite deceptive to think that it’s easy to install everything you need into a loco like this.The DCC install for this loco has a lot of components and wire to fit into a very confined space. Just like the phenomenon where the cost of your lifestyle has a tendency to rise to meet your income, the size of the DCC components used in an O-scale loco tend to grow to fill the available space. If you look at the top photo you can see the multi coloured strap wire I’ve used to connect the lights in the rear of the loco to the decoder, which will be housed in the boiler casting. One end is connected to the circuit board (designed and made for me by my friend John Parker) to allow the lights to operate in the rear end of the loco and the other end will plug into the decoder. Concealing the run of this strap wire from the rear tank to the boiler successfully has taken a fair bit of planning and extra work but the payoff will be that it allows a neat wiring job and the operation of two dual coloured maker lights, a rear headlight (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms) and a small cab light.
Running this wire under the wooden floor was logical but this then restricted where I could drill through the floor to place the crew. If you look at the lower of the two photos you can see the multicoloured strap wire emerging near the motor on the right but the nuts and bolts are well away from and above the wire run. A better place to position the fireman’s foot would have been right where the wire was running but I didn’t have this option.
The loco will still run even though the fireman has to swing round the driver to shovel coal 🙂