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.



  1. This has been a great series of posts with insightful points made along the way, but where is her "glamour" shot?

    The girls deserve their moment in front of the camera in all their glory is what I say.

    1. Ashley, I was waiting so all the "girls" could get their day in the limelight. I wasn't finished with the car. She needs her hair done!

      Thank you for your positive comments.

  2. Ed,

    What did you use for the frosted glass and how did you attach it to the existing glazing?

    1. Charlie, I'll cover the glazing in the next post. That should be tomorrow.