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

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunset NSL Silverliners #7A – The Roof

Working on the roof of a model is one of the sections where every effort has to be taken to protect the paint finish of the cars. There are items to be removed from the roof. But 1st, the location of the trolley bases was check and found to be correct. The trolley hold-down hooks as well as the 4 trolley boards are also correct. However, everything else on the roofs of the coaches has to be removed.

As a side note – When my models were completed, one of the trolley hooks had been mashed down so many times it cracked in 2. At this point all the trolley hooks were replaced with Q-Car B150 Tall Inside trolley hooks and painted. To remove the old hooks, with small pliers twist the hooks at the base and pull. The solder joint is easy to break.

Something to consider is if you are planning on wiring your models for pole reverse. This is the time to work out how the trolley hooks are to be insulated from one another. It may be best to replace the roof boards with ones made from styrene. More comments are coming regarding roof boards when the roof of the 415 is worked on. There will be wiring diagrams in future posts including pole reverse.

The items you need to remove from the roof include, the horns, the vent above the lavatory, roof mats on the ends of the car.

· On the model the horns are located on the roof boards. On the prototype they are mounted on the roof mats.
· The vent above the lavatory is too small and is located too low on the roof.
· The roof mats have too many slats and are under size.

Now the question is - do I unsolder the parts off the roof or grind them off with a cut off wheel in a Dremel Tool. If you decide to unsolder the parts, an extremely hot iron is required. To melt the solder and not destroy too much paint, a hot iron is the only tool to use. An iron without sufficient heat will only heat up a larger and large area of the roof. Heat the part and yank it off. If pins were used to position the part there will be holes to fill in. The filling the holes can be a problem. Something has to be used to back up the hole(s) in the thin brass roof. A thin layer of brass can be soldered underneath. This requires heat being used and the chance of more damage being done to the model!

If you decide to grind off the part and don't have a light touch, you'll have to fill in the damaged area of the roof. I learned to gain a light touch when repairing a patch welded into the aluminum body of a 1953 Porsche convertible. I have kept my extremely light touch. Today I use 2" Gyros cut off wheels If you order cut off wheels from Gyros, place the order by phone. You need to also purchase the correct mandrel for the cut off wheels. The individual taking your order will assist you with this.

Hold both the model and the tool firmly. Don't press down too hard and stop when you see the solder used to attach the part. Then gently sand and/or file the area. This is how the roof of one of my models looked after the lavatory vent was "ground off”.

The horn was removed by unsoldering and at the same time pulling the horns. The roof mat came off with a combination of grinding-off and pulling-off the casting.

Regarding the blue tape. I wasn't too good in protecting the sides of my models, especially the fake corrugations "painted" on the silver part of the sides. When the tape was removed some of the decal came off. More on this problem later

This is the style of vent found on the roofs of the Silverliner cars. I call them the Darth Vader style for those who have seen Star Wars. The vent is not entirely tear drop shaped like the helmets in Star Wars. Instead they are flat on the sides. The foot-print of the vent looks rectangular in shape in the photo below. However, they are squarer in actual shape. From measurements taken from the CERA plans for the Silverliner coaches, this style of vent is about 15" square. The part of the vent near the center line of the car is attached to the interior of the car. The part going away from the center line is open on the bottom. As the car is in motion air is drafted out of the car.
Curt Seeliger Jr. Photo, Greg King collection

This style of vent can be made from a Utility vent. The box end of the Utility vent is filed down to make it more streamline in shape. Just be careful not to alter the edge of the casting. While it may not be the absolutely correct size or shape but it's probably as close as you're going to get. The drawings below show how the filing alters the Utility vent. Although the drawing was taken from the Q-Car Co. web site, either Q-Car or Current Line Models utility vents can be used. If the measurements don't work out you may need to add 0.005" thick brass under where the vent should be open to the air. Then something like Squadron green or white filler can be applied to build up the vent from the top and reshaped using sand paper. You will need 3 for each coach and 2 for 415 for a total of 8.

My vents didn’t have a “pin” for mounting them to the roof. For this reason, holes in the roof were not required. Note the "guide post" for locating the lavatory vent. ACC was used to glue the vent in place. Note the solder and brass pins left from grinding the old vent off. Also notice the nice louvers in the vent in the equipment locker and the way the window replacement is inset into the exterior wall of the car. Close-up photos are great. If you're ever in doubt about something, with the immediacy of today's electronic cameras, take a close-up photo and look at what you need to know about on your model.

The next sets of vents are not as easy as the lavatory vent. They are over the vestibule of the car where the end roof mats are located. Therefore let's take care of the junction box located over the #1 end electrical cabinet. This junction box is used to bring, make than bend, the 600 v. electrical cable from the trolleys down into the car itself. The junction box is a lost was casting available from Eric Bronsky. This is what one looks like.

It's a nice casting but the BIG sprue is a pain in the tush. The sprue is just where a delicate lip is located. Even though I managed to cut and file the sprue back, a hole had to be drilled in the roof. Start with a small hole and enlarge it with a round file. File the hole larger as needed in the location (direction) as needed. I used ACC to secure the casting in place. Of course it doesn't sit down on the roof. The curvature of the roof is not correct - or is it? Remember my comments about shop workers altering prototype cars from manufacturers' specifications over time. The same is true here. Your shop men need to do some alterations. Apply some Squadron green or white body putty around the base of the casting where it rests on the roof. When dry; gently, slowly sand the excess body filler away. Apply more body filler as required and repeat the process. Here's what the junction box looks like when mounted. (It looks like a corner of my casting was eaten away by a dog.)

In the photo above the roof mat had aready been removed. We'll get to them soom.

The cars’ air horns are to be soldered onto the roof mats. Gluing won't work out as well as soldering. The horns take too much abuse. Plus, now is the time before the mats are applied to the model. I'm reusing the roof horn supplied with the models. The model horns come on a small tab with 2 pins for mounting. I pulled the horns off the mount. (The mounting was ground off the roof boards.) After filing the bottom flat, the horns were silver soldered in place (I use a 6% silver solder, not the real jewelers' silver solder.) A protective hoop was formed from 0.010" x 0.030" brass and soldered on. The protective hoop is required to protect the horns from errant trolley poles. Errant trolley poles will get you every time!

This topic was too much to post as a single post. To be continued.


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