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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sunset NSL Silverliners #6B – Couplers, Underbody & Steps

Before continuing with the topic, Current Line Models has the thin stamped brass radius bar available separately. Anyone who is interested in obtaining the thin brass radius bars should contact Current Line directly. They are listed at the far bottom of the blog page under "Traction Suppliers with Web Sites". The email address and phone number are on the web site.

Back to the topic at hand! Something had to be done to get the brass couplers closer to the floor of the vestibule to rectify the "giant" void. An appropriate size cut-off wheel in a Dermal Tool was used to remove the brass tab. Take care not to overheat the area. The back of the anticlimber has to be cut back so the coupler castings will fit in place. All the Sunset coupler brass tab material has to be removed.

As long as we’re on the brass tab, do not paint the area under the brass tab. Paint may get on the outside of the end door of the model. If you look closely on your model you will notice the small open space between the top of the anticlimber and the door.

With some measuring and guessing a "filler" of styrene 0.180" thick was found to be the correct thickness. To clear the end door and screws to hold the cab and bulkhead, the styrene filler was made from 2 main pieces. One was 0.100" thick and filled the entire area. The other piece is 0.080" thick (actually 3 pieces glued side by side). You can see the side of the styrene filler which fits against the vestibule floor. The screw heads hold the radius bar in place. The area to the left appears uneven. The 0.080" thick pieces originally went all the way to the left. It had to be cut back to clear the heads of the screws holding the bulkheads in place. Remember this is the test piece.

Using styrene for the filler turned out to be an advantage by insulating the couplers from the body of the car. Below is my 1st installation of the styrene filler using 1-72 screws. The floor was drilled and then taped. The 6 holes were tested. Only 2 screws are required. The actual holes used depend upon what is in the vestibule. The holes to hold the brass radius bar have yet to be drilled out.

To re-affirm the decision to use the all brass couplers, here is a soft metal coupler on the styrene filler. To bring the coupler closer to the body, the outer parts of the radius bar that curve back and are normally used to secure the coupler to the body have been filed off. Look how far the coupler still sticks out. I was starting to worry, if the radius bar was filed more, the part of the coupler where the radius bar and the hanger are screwed together would be too far back into the center of the model. It could interfere with truck swing. The other potential problem can be the clearance over the pilot.

Here is the brass coupler on the styrene filler. The ends of the radius bar have been filed. The brass coupler looks better than the soft metal coupler did. The coupler is closer to the anticlimber just like the prototype. Screw holes to secure the styrene filler and the holes in the radius bas car be seen.

This is the brass coupler from a different angle. The spacer bolts, cast into the radius bar, designed to hold the radius bar off of the floor look like they are doing something. The brake hoses have been added. More about these later.

To recap, to mount the radius bar to the styrene filler, the 2 holes in the center of the radius bar can be taped 2-56. Then short round head 2-56 screws are used to secure the radius bar to the styrene filler. This is the coupler material for the rear of the lead car - they are the radius bar, styrene filler, 2 2-56 screws, 2 1-72 screws, 1 0-80 screw and the carrier with the coupler attached.

You may have noticed numbers on the styrene fillers. For all the styrene fillers except the one for the front of the 3-car train, the holes in the styrene filler nearest to the front of the steps can be used to screw the filler to the floor of the vestibule. Each of the styrene fillers were numbered from front to rear of the train. For example, "5" is the front of the rear car of the 3-car train. For the leading coupler only 1 hole near the front of the steps can be used due to the motorman's compartment floor. The circled screws are in the holes which can be used. To prevent confusion, the unused holes have been filled in with small pieces of styrene.
The mounting of the Q-Car brass couplers turned out to be not exactly a mass production process. Couplers were mounted on the 415 while I remember what all had to be done. My Sunset Replacement Liner 3-car train is going north from Chicago to Milwaukee. The north end of the tavern/lounge is the kitchen end of 415. This is the #1 end or front of the car. I'll explain how I knew this when work of 415 is started.
Regarding air brake hoses –
· The lead coupler "F" and rear coupler “R” will have the 2 brass air brake hoses each.
· The couplers "2" (end of lead coach) and "3" (front of 415, the kitchen end) will have the wire for the electrical connection between the 2 cars. This will look like an air brake hose.
· Couplers "4" (rear of 415, the lounge end) and "5" (the front of the rear coach) will look "bald" unless something is done. However, using brass air hose castings interfere when coupling and uncoupling the cars. They can also break off! A 0.050" diameter copper wire was used to simulate 1 air hose coming from under each coupler. The copper wire is pliable enough not to break when flexed during the coupling/uncoupling process. They will be cut to the appropriate length the 1st time the 2 cars are coupled together.

Unfortunately this photo is blurry. However, how far the coupler sticks out can still be seen. When knuckle couplers are to be slid over one another, the knuckle along with the complete knuckle "hole" have to stick out and be free. Otherwise the couplers might hang up during travel over vertical curves.

From the side the Q-Car brass NSL couplers mounted on the styrene filler looks correct when compared to the Silverliner drawing on page 148 of CERA Bulletin 107.

If you are altering and/or improving upon a model and/or building a model to high standards; air brake hoses should be included on the model. A major problem with installing brass air brake hose castings on models is - the hose often cracks off if hit too hard. This can happen during taking a model in or out of the box it is stored in or by just running into another model on the layout. To prevent this when 2 brass air brake hoses are attached to a coupler or the end of a model, bend the hoses carefully so they overlap. Then solder the 2 hoses together at a point near the glad hands. This makes them stronger. Don't file all of the solder away.

I know there are air brake hoses made of plastic tubing. The air brake line valve is soldered on to the car. Then, the hose with the glad hand is slipped over the end of the valve. Over time the plastic tubing slips off the end of the valve leaving you with naked valves between cars and you fuming as you try to find them on the layout.
All the coupler material is stored away unpainted for the time when the cars are to be assembled. There are reasons for not leaving the couplers attached to the models now. Instead, wait for the final assembly of the models. Work on the roof and the sides and ends to the models may require some close handling of the models. Having the couplers and perhaps the pilot attached to the models will interfere with handling. Plus, the couplers and pilot can be damaged. Therefore, it's best to leave them off until the final assembly process.
The steps and the bottom of the vestibule floor were painted flat grimy black since they quickly become dirty. The flat grimy black is a very dark gray color. It allows the details to be seen by both the eye and the camera.
Part of the uncoupling mechanism can be seen in the photo. It's the round, almost pulley looking object inside of the step well. The hand lever is absent on the Sunset models. This lever was attached to the "pulley" and normally faced down. I did not make any effort to attach the levers. If you have the Winter 2002-03 issue of First and Fastest, read the 1st article “Never Say Never” and look at the photos. The uncoupling mechanism can be seen in the step well of the cars. Keep in mind the photo on the cover for when work is done on 415.

The next posting includes the upgrading of the roofs of the coaches.

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