To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sunset NSL Silverliners #9A – Assembly of Rear Coach of Train

A quick observation – the last 1/3 of work on a model requires 2/3 of your resources.

The parts of the puzzle are starting to fall into place with regards to the 2 coaches. The interior and exterior of the coach has to be cleaned. All the brass filings have to go. Be careful not the scratch the glazing. Wipe the glazing in only 1 direction using a moistened soft cloth or tissue. If there are pieces of brass on the cloth or tissue use a new one.

The 2 trolley pole locations have to be wired up in accordance to whatever wiring plan you desire. Below is a drawing of how my rear coach is to be wired. Please excuse the condition of the drawing. Some of the lines were erased and redrawn many times. If you click on the drawing it should be easier to see.

Dallee sells plugs and jacks separately to match those used with their adjustable power supply. Some of these were purchased to finish the wiring of the car. I always try to have electrical connections of the plug and jack type to make it easy to take apart and reassembled the car without unsoldering and resoldering of wires. In a later post you will be shown how to wire a coach for pole reverse.

A light stick has to be made starting with a full size drawing of what the 3 light sticks should look like. All landmarks are marked on the drawing. This will show if there are any overlapping features such as bulbs, mounting holes, bulkheads, etc.

My light sticks are made from 1/16" x 1/2" bass wood. Copper foil is ACC'ed onto the back. The 1.5 v bulbs are pushed through the holes and their lead wires soldered to the copper foil. After the light stick is built a layer of tape to insulate the back is added.

I prefer to have the bulbs straight down and not on their sides. When placed on their side the light of the bulb goes to the side and front, often in a direct pattern due to the lens like end of the bulb. Very little if any light goes toward the wire end of the bulb. This can cause lighting irregularities.

Another reason for having the bulbs point straight down is the effect achieved by placing short pieces of clear styrene tubing over the bulbs. Another interesting effect can be achieved by lightly brushing liquid plastic glue over the clear styrene. The styrene dissolves giving a milky white appearance. The light from the bulb is muted. Very small holes drilled in the clear or milky white styrene can give a chandelier effect. Try these to see what happens. Older trolleys with formal dinning areas did have special lighting fixtures.

I'm not sold on the use of the LED's for a couple of reasons. The color of the LED's is not like the color of the bulbs used in older interurbans. The color of the LED's lends itself more to new light rail vehicles. Yes, the LED's can be painted but trying to get a uniform finish when you don't do the coloring very often is difficult. Secondly, the LED's are too bright. Again, painting the LED's will reduce the light. Some modelers place thin opaque plastic over the LED’s to diffuse the light. I have not tried this but with LED’s. Why add more steps to the lighting process?

Attach the wire leads to the light stick. Mount the light stick with the same mountings and screws provided by Sunset. Continue wiring the car.

The base of the rear markers can be ACC'ed in place. The bulbs are installed but not glued in place. Insert the wires through the holes provided in the dash. Now solder the wires to the light stick.

Here is the interior rear of the car just before the wires for the marker bulbs are soldered in place. I forgot to take a photo after the wires were soldered to the stick. The reason the last part of the stick was cut off was, the entire light stick was too long. So, the vestibule light part was cut off and reattached in reverse. This gave the 2 copper tabs for the marker lights to be soldered to.

The bulkheads are installed next. The power truck has to be readied and installed. You will notice the wire is different from the prior post regarding the trucks. To protect wire from mechanical rubbing use short lengths of heat shrink tubing. Any wiring to or from the power truck has to be secured to the power truck itself. This will prevent wires from flexing too much at the soldering joints and de-attaching or breaking. Use plain ordinary black sewing thread. Double the thread and using your magnifying glasses to see, attach the thread with double or triple looping at the point of attachment. Tie a surgeon's knot in the thread. A drop of ACC will secure the knot. Please excuse the blurred photo - it's the best I have to show the heat shrink tubing and tying.

Just in case I forgot to mention, the power trucks are held in place with nylon 2-56 screws. A brass 2-56 nut backs up the threads in the trucks bolster plate.

The Dallee adjustable power unit was "glued" inside of the lavatory. I set mine at 1.25 v. The 2 clear windows in the lavatory were frosted over. The 2 steel assembly blocks are weighing down the frosted material while the adhesive cures. Now, the car is ready for assembly.

With the floor is in place check for truck swing. Remove any material on either the truck or the body of the model for adequate truck swing. Now is the time to touch up any painting!

Again clean up any brass filings. Use the Sunset provided screws to attach the power truck floor to the body of the car. Attach your couplers. Since couplers often have problems with paint chipping off, I treated my couplers with chemical blackening solution. This doesn't always leave all of the metal black, some painting over the chemical blackening is required. I've found the paint tends to adhere better with less chipping. Graphogen is an automotive product to help lubricate the areas where the coupler shank runs over the coupler hanger.

If you ever looked at the prototype NSL cars you may have noticed the amount of grease on this part of the car and coupler arrangement. The coupler has to swing very easily from side to side. The Graphogen does just that on the model. After the couplers are installed, install the pilots. Again, paint any areas requiring both painting and touch-up.

Now the models is assembled with the exception of the marker light bodies. Paint the base with the bulb and the body of the marker light an engine black. Make lenses if you do not have any. I color the lenses with permanent markers both inside and out. Glue the lenses in place - 2 green on the sides and red to the rear. Glue the marker light body onto the base All the glue mentioned is my fovarite bath tube caulk.

On my model I noticed one of the trolley hooks had been crushed so many times it broke off. Both trolley hooks were replaced with brass castings from Q-Car and painted.

Attach the trolley poles - test run your model! Don't forget to add grease to the gear box of the power trucks and oil any bearing surfaces.

My model ran for about 90 minutes by itself while I ran errands. The pole remained on the wire and the car was still running when I returned.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sunset NSL Silverliners #8B - Ends & Sides

On page 147 of C.E.R.A. Bulletin 107, Route of the Electroliners, is a brief discussion of the rebuilding of cars into Silverliners. There is a nice drawing of the "Solid Vestibule Passage". Diaphragms were added to a number of NSL passenger cars whether they were rebuilt into Silverliners or not. This is not the time to get into how the diaphragms were used on the North Shore. However, for the passenger, passing between cars of a moving NSL train could be quite an adventure without the diaphragms.

What the C.E.R.A. Bulletin does not tell you is how the diaphragms were attached to the NSL cars. If you look at the end of a NSL passenger car without a diaphragm you'll notice the numerous rivets in the metal around the end door doorway. To the motorman's side of the doorway are the hand/foot holds used to go to the roof. The attachment of the diaphragm requites a flat smooth surface. To accomplish this, the NSL attached a wood frame to the metal doorway first. The hand/foot holds were reworked into "V" shaped metal work pointed toward the motorman and still attached at the doorway. The wood frame had cup shaped gouges for the rivets and appropriate gouges for the hand/foot holds. A educated guess would be, the piece of wood use for the frame would be approximately 2" x 4" (0.040" x 0.080" styrene strip).

I am not planning to remove the Sunset supplied diaphragms on my models. Greg King told me he is planning on replacing the Sunset diaphragms with epoxy castings available from Eric Bronsky a long time ago. This is a photo of one of Eric's diaphragms. I've used them on other NSL models I have. (NOTE – Eric no longer has the diaphragms available.)
Eric Bronsky Collection

If you do replace the diaphragms or for that matter remove and reuse the Sunset diaphragms and install the styrene "wood" frame, a styrene frame thicker than 0.040" is not recommend. When the diaphragms were installed, when not being used, they were latched in a closed position so as to not obstruct the motorman's vision to the left.

For all 3 models there are 4 hand/foot holds to go to the roof and the 2 grab irons with chain inside of the diaphragm to be installed on or near the diaphragm.

A supply of grab irons were made from 0.020" brass wire. The grab irons are a scale 18" long. Brass chain of 24 links per inch was chosen. The 0.020" wire will pass through the end links. A 24 links per inch chain is available from BlueJacket Ship Crafters . This vendor has other interesting small parts which may come in handy in model traction models.

If you order the chain be careful. I misread the pricing and ended up ordering 95' of chain - that was not 95 scale feet of chain but an actual 95'. Someone from BlueJacket called to inquire about my purchase. In ordering 95', I must have ordered more than they sell in a year!

A large number of hand/foot holds were made from 0.019" nickle-silver wire trolley wire. The nickle-silver wire was chosen for its ability to hold its shape after being bent. Note one leg of the hand/foot hold is longer than the other. The plan is to drill only the top hole for these. The longer leg will be installed in the hole. Each leg was carefully cut to length. For the prototype hand/foot holds both legs were mounted on the car.

Next holes were drilled between the door frame of all the models – coaches and 415 -and the diaphragm. This wasn't an easy of task. Sometimes the diaphragm is well soldered to the body and other times not. A "tool" was made to keep the distance from the roof the same for each set of holes. For the hand/foot irons, only the top hole was drilled. (See explaination and photo above.)

All measurements were taken from a drawing of exact size for O scale. This helped to speed up the work. Also, holes were drilled from the longest to shortest distance from the roof. This meant the "tool" was shortened as the drilling progressed.

The final holes to drill are those for the windshield wipers. A hole on the right side (looking out from the interior) of the motorman’s window will hold the base of the windshield wiper. I prefer using Cal Scale #190-3017 Windshield Wipers. They are available from Bowser . You will need 3 pairs. At the same time you can order Bowser’s Foam Work Cradle #24 you don’t have any. After painting the windshield wipers put them in a safe secure location. They will be the very last items installed on the models.

When all the holes were drilled, the handrails inside the diaphragms were mounted. But, first the chain was cut the length. Then the chain was chemically blackening with a solution for this purpose. Chemical blackening was chosen over painting because paint tends to fill in and block individual chain links. Chemical blackening does not fill in chain links and at the same time leaves the chain flexible. Chemical blackening makes it easier to put the grab iron through a chain link to hold the chain in place.

This is a model with the handrails and chain in place.

This is the end of a model after the handrails, chain, and the hand/foot holds have been install with partial painting. Note the smaller hand/foot hold in front of the motorman's window.

This is the handrails and chain after painting.

There are other details on the diaphragms such as latches to hold the diaphragms in a closed position or when in use to another diaphragm. There are pins and holes to position the face of the daiphragm to another diaphragm when in use. These details will be skipped.

I know the trolley retrievers look out of sorts - too this and too that. I didn't have the guts to do anything with them other than to paint them a dull black.

There are more items to be done to the exterior of the cars. These will be done after the 415 is finished.

Next is the assembly of the coaches.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunset NSL Silverliners #8A – Ends & Sides

In this post on the sides and ends, work will be done on the 2 coaches as well as 415. It’s easier this way. When working on 415 you will not have to recall what and how the reworking was done.

There are some deficiencies in the side of the Sunset models which will not be corrected. These relate to the profile of the sides of the cars. If you run your fingers over the sides of the cars you will notice the sides are relatively smooth from the top of the letter board to the bottom of the car sides. The prototype cars are not like this. There is a small “drip rail” at the bottom of the letter board. The windows have more depth from the outside. The storm sash “clips” are missing. If you desire to see these take a look at pages 34-35 of the Spring 2009 issue of First & Fastest.

The Silverliner NSL plaque on the sides of the cars was painted silver and red, not the gold and red on the Sunset models. These will not be changed. However, Eric Bronsky at one time had plaques made of tooling epoxy to attach to Silverliner models.

To attempt to add the drip rails, screen attachments, plaques, etc. involve painting the additions. Also, trying to add the items might cause problems and damage to the models. The additions will probably not increase the “WOW factor” of the models. The decision was “not to go there”. There are enough other items to take care of to increase the visual effects of the models and the 3-car train.

Now is the time to choose the lead and rear cars of your 3-car train. You can do this by deciding which of the two coaches has the best castings for mounting the rear markers for the train.

On the end post and on the belt rail just below the end windows you'll notice some brass castings added to the ends of the cars. The castings on the end post are the flag holders used for marker flags. The castings on the belt rail below the end windows are for the marker lights (kerosene lighted). In this casting should be a small vertical 0.020" hole. Test this hole by inserting a piece of 0.020” brass wire. Pick the coach with the best castings for the rear markers to be mounted on to be your rear coach of the train.

The headlight has to be removed from the trailing coach of the train. The headlight on my rear coach didn't come off easily by twisting the headlight. Don't try to pull it from side to side. You might ruin the entire end door.

Instead, pop out the headlight lens and push out the LED used for the light. Save the LED and its electrical board for other uses. Using machinist numeric twist drills, clear out the hole where the LED was mounted starting with the next size larger than the hole. Once the hole was cleaned out, the next larger size drill was used to clean out the hole. Continue the cycle of larger twist drills until the headlight casting comes loose.

This photo shows the headlight still mounted on the door before starting to use twist drills to remove it.

This is how the door looked after the headlight was removed.

The panel in the door has to be filed out and made square using larger and larger mill files. Mill files can be obtained from jeweler supply houses. Clean out the rectangle for the panel. This is the door after filling the door panel out.

A new panel has to be made to fill in the panel with the hole. My panel was made from 0.020" thick styrene. Two of Q-Car brass cast headlight mounts were glued to the styrene.

Paint the styrene with Humbrol #220 gloss Ferrari Red with 3 drops of Humbrol gloss black added. This color is the same or extremely closes to the color the manufacturer used. You may have to try different numbers of drops of black. Not all drops contain the same volume.

Glue the panel in place when dry. Please excuse the poor photo work. The paint I initially chose doesn't seem to be the correct shade of red. I didn’t discover the Humbrol paint until later.

The North Shore used kerosene pots to light their markers. The only exception is the Electroliners which originally had kerosene pots but changed to electric markers. On the NSL markers 3 lenses were used, 2 green to the side and 1 red to the rear. The brass markers available from Precision Scale Co (PSC) #40229 are best. The PSC markers have 4 lenses. This means one of the lens openings has to be removed and covered over.

The bottom pieces for PSC castings have a stud which is normally used to install the markers onto a model. However for the NSL installation this stud is not appropriate for the installation on the Sunset cars. Instead a piece of wire sturdy enough has to be soldered to the bottom casting. I was able to use 0.019" nickel silver wire. The same wire as the trolley wire on my layout.

Once the wire is soldered to the bottom, the PSC mounting stud can be filed off. The mounting wire is bent 90 degrees and cut to the appropriate length. When you test fit the wire-bottom casting to your model you'll notice they stick out away from your model. This is a rather fragile arrangement. Since there are more things to be done to the exterior of the models, it is prudent to wait for the final mounting of the rear markers.

A hole for the wire of the bulb inside of the marker needs to be drilled in the dash below the windows and just below the marker casting. A hole about 0.060" in diameter will do.

The body of the marker needs to have one of the holes taken care of. Pick the hole that seems to be too small/large, odd formed, etc. Solder a piece of 0.005" brass inside of the marker body. The excess solder will be used to fill in the hole. Next file all remnants and the excess solder off the exterior of the marker body.

The little notch you see in the body of the marker lamp was an imperfection in the brass casting. It will be hidden with paint and proper positioning of the casting on the base.

Place all of the parts of the rear markers in a save, secure location for mounting later.

It's time to take a break. The next post will finish the ends and sides.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sunset NSL Silverliners #7B – The Roof

Note - Some of the photos used may appear to be out of order for the work being explained in the post. The best photo for the work being done is used regardless of the order in which the photo was taken.

There are the 2 items I expected to find but could not on the roofs of the Pullman Silverliners. They may be there but I was unable to see them in photos. Almost all of the cars operating on the "L" which had trolley poles had a roof mounted fuse. This included the "L" cars themselves as well as the CNS&M and CA&E cars! This is the roof fuse available from Current Lines Models.
Current Line Models Drawing

Another item sometimes found on the roofs of NSL cars is a lightening arrestor. None was found by me on the Pullman Silverliners from what I can tell.
Current Line Models Drawing

What is important regarding not finding the roof fuse or lightening arrestor is, I did not find them in photos of the cars I was modeling #738 and #739. Always build to the photo of the prototype car you are modeling!

Next is the mounting of the roof mats. Check with Eric Bronsky for these. The roof mat has to be bent to conform to the end of the roof. You'll find this is not an easy task! The roof curvature of the Pullman built NSL cars is not the same as the other cars in the NSL fleet of cars. Do the very best you can.

The reason the mat cannot be bent to conform exactly to the curvature is the outer wooden (on the prototype) mounting rails prevent the slats from being bent more round. The mounting rails are normally mounted in the roof 1st with the mat slats mounted on top of them. The rails can be cut, but you'll have to clean-up any rough edges after the mat is glued to the roof. I have a better solution to any gaps between the roof mat rails and the roof.

Here is what the original roof mats looked like when they were "pulled" off of the roofs of the cars. The outer mounting rails were cut off with a grinding wheel. Note the mounting rails (the part going up 90 degrees to the slats and forming a V-shape). These have to be added to the brass roof mats.

Here is a new roof mat with the missing mounting rails glued in. The missing mounting rails were made from 0.020" and 0.030" styrene strips. ACC was used for glue. Even though the mat is shown upside down, the missing slat for a toe hold can be seem. It was removed after the styrene rails were installed.

Now the roof mat is ready for gluing to the roof, but not until the roof vent located over the vestibule is taken into account. This is an unfortunate photo of a wreck on the NSL. The vent over the vestibule can be seen along with the cut out of the roof mat. Along the roof boards to the right can be seen the roof mounted fuse. It is mounted at an angle. The open part of the box holding the fuse is over the roof of the car.
Chicago Tribune Photo, John Giove Collection

Here is a roof mat already been glued in place. You'll be shown how to keep the mat in place while gluing later. A portion of the mat has to be cut for the vent to fit in place. Cut out the notch before gluing the mat in place.

Be sure to read this and the following paragraphs before attaching the roof mats to the roofs. In the photo above you may have noticed white showing at the outer most mounting rail. This is a 0.010" and 0.030" styrene strip wedged in place to take up some of the gap between this rail and the roof.

Holding the mat in place while you are trying to position the mat and at the same time applying gap filling ACC is a TASK! You don't have enough fingers and hands. After some thought this "Rube-Goldberg" apparatus was used.
The brass tabs are held in place used the 2-56 trolley base screw. A paper clip holds the United States Postal Service (USPS) supplied rubber band. This device is installed on both ends of the model at the same time. The USPS supplied rubber bands are held together under the model with another paperclip. Apply some gap filling, slow curing ACC and allow it to "dry" for 24 hours or more. After the ACC has cured the rubber bands can be removed.

Now the 0.010" x 0.030" styrene strips can be wedged between the roof and the mat. More gap-filling ACC should be used to hold the styrene strips in place and at the same time fill any gaps. If one of the prototype metal rub rails for the trolley rope break off. A piece of 0.010" x 0.030" brass can be attached with ACC. I broke off this piece and had to do a repair. Here's what the repair looks like.

Once the mat is firmly in place and any repairs completed the vent over the vestibule can be mounted using ACC. A metal strap to protect this roof vent needs to be made and installed. For the strap 0.010" x 0.030" brass was used. ACC was used to glue it in place.

In preparation to painting the roof(s), wipe the roof clean. If simple wiping won't work try using a clean soft rag moistened with isopropyl alcohol. The isopropylRustoleum Automotive Primer. It’s gray in color. Never apply finish paint on bare metal.

After 24 hours drying time, Floquil Weathered Black was sprayed on. You should have a nice smooth finished. When a car was fresh out of the NSL paint shop, the roof of the car would be a shiny black. Over time as the car was in service the roof would take on a dull lightened black color. My models will have been in service a while therefore the Weathered Black color was appropriate.

Now that you have the roof of your coaches finished, it's time to look at the trolley poles. In any photo of the Pullman made 737 to 751 coaches, you'll notice 4-spring horizontal trolley bases. The cars were supplied by Pullman with this style of pole base. NSL did not change the trolley bases. You need to change the poles supplied by Sunset to the correct trolley base. Select your favorite supplier of trolley poles.

Attach your selection of trolley poles to your models and hook the poles down. According to the car drawings in the CERA Bulletin and photos, the trolley shoe should not extend much beyond the roof line of the car. If they do, you'll need to shorten your trolley poles. I had checked my poles before painting the roof. Here's a photo of the final check of a trolley pole.

By happenstance there were 4 Q-Car 4-spring horizontal trolley poles in my supply of unused poles. The shoes of the poles were changed to the original Wagner style. These are now available from Jim Osborn in Ohio. Jim Osborn can be contacted by telephone or USPS mail. Information on Jim can be found at the bottom of this page – lower right. The Wagner shoes for some reason tend to hold the trolley wire better and make for "more" contact with the wire providing better running of the model. Don't forget to blacken the poles where needed. One hallmark of the NSL was the silver sock painted on the pole near the trolley base and the shoe. On the prototype this was done with rust retardant paint to make it easy to remove the pole from the base or the shoe assembly from the pole. Paint a 1/4" aluminum stripe at the base and shoe of each pole.

Remove the poles and place them in a safe place. Next are the sides and ends of the cars.