Pilot Grab Irons
One of the challenges he pointed out are these pesky curved, upside down, angled, Alco pilot grab irons. He used the ones from the Kato RS-2, and I have enough of those to use if I want, but they are otherwise sold out and I think it's highly unlikely Kato will be doing another run of the RS-2. Atlas has some better ones on their RS-1 models, so those are an option now as well. I haven't checked to see what they have in stock.
But I wanted to give a try at bending them from wire by hand. As you can see, I've already scraped off the molded on grabs and uncoupling lever (could probably use a little more cleanup).
To start, it looks like you're making a paperclip.
I measured the bent part against where the molded-on one used to be and marked with a Sharpie where I would start the next bend.
That makes the basic oval.
Then you just need to bend the legs...
The tool I'm using is a needle holder, like these. They are designed for holding a suturing needle. The main reason I like them is they require much less effort to release than sprung tweezers. You squeeze them to lock them, and then squeeze them to release. I got them to use for installing grab irons on models, since I don't send them flying with them.
I have a pair of beading/jewelry pliers (like these), which have circular ends for bending wire. However, in this case I found that the needle holder had a smaller tip. Even better, once I marked where I wanted the bend to start, I could lock them on the wire. The downside is that it will make a sharp bend at the edge if you aren't careful. I found I could rework that by locking it with the curved part facing the sharp bend, and use another pair of needle nose pliers to squeeze it over the curve.
The sharp bend, however, is exactly what we want to make the legs.
My pair of beading pliers has a nice flat section that I used to both flatten the bent grab, and angle the legs.
One down, and 3 more for this locomotive. I'll need to make these for at least five other locomotives, since they are used on the S-1, S-2, and the early RS-3 locomotives as well. Here's another look at the finished one.
As good as these look, I should add the nbw castings and model the attachment point as well, something that wouldn't be necessary with the Atlas ones. However, it also looks like the S-1 and S-2 will require slightly smaller ones, so the RS-1 grabs might not fit all of the models anyway. More importantly, I think being able to make more complex bent wire parts like this is beneficial for other projects, so it's worth the practice I think to do these myself.
I'll get to the rest of the pilot in a future post, let's move onto the body shell.
Nose Grab Irons, Steam Generator Stack and Intake, Door Handles
I had to rebend the Cal Scale grabs for the larger grab irons on the nose of the RS-2, as seen here:
While I'm happy enough with them that they will stay, I could have made more accurate ones by bending them myself. I did flatten the one on the right because it was not a drop grab on the prototype, and repositioned it since the dimples were positioned for a drop grab. I drilled out the dimples anyway, so I could fill them with .020" styrene rod.
I painted the grab irons with a black Paint Pen. It makes it super easy to paint or touch up the grab irons (and the horns and brake wheel).
It has a broad tip and a fine tip, I'm using the fine obviously. I got it at Michaels. I think this is more of an ink than a paint. I did try painting the grab irons first, but that under heavy handling it rubbed off. I haven't had a problem with that with the normal handling since they've been installed, though. A true paint pen/marker might have been a better choice.
A few other visible details:
The brake wheel is from the Athearn RS-3. It looked better than the P1k one.
I scratch-built the steam generator intake by sandwiching a few pieces of styrene and filing the edges. I could have used the same Custom Finishing ones that Chris did, but I only had one of the correct size, and once I had made one, I figured I'd do both the same way. I hand-painted it (along with the lift rings and door handles) with Tru-Color New Haven Warm Orange. It's not a perfect match, but very close and will blend in fine with weathering.
The steam generator stack is also from the Athearn RS-3. I used it because it's styrene, it has two attachment pins, and already matches the curve of the hood. It was a little tall, so I installed it, marked it, then cut/filed it shorter. I simply took them (along with the brake wheels) from the undecorated models I already had, and will order replacements. It's hand painted with Citadel Chainmail.
You can also see the Cal Scale door handles. I think these are from their forthcoming RS-3 model. They are tiny and fragile. Also, at least one was damaged in each package I got, and there are exactly the right number in the package for the RS-2. So it took 3 packs to get enough for two locomotives. It really wasn't worth getting them to replace the damaged one, since I knew I was going to lose a couple anyway.
Subtitled: More Fun Using Power Tools On Your Models!
I also decided to try KV Models radiator fan screen. This came about in part because I have three RS-2 models, and found that I probably only need two. So I had an extra shell...
I found a 5/8" paddle bit is a perfect fit.
The biggest challenge, of course, was keeping it straight. I drilled in short pulses to not go too far, and also so it wouldn't start melting the plastic. If you look carefully, a little less than 1/4 of it bent out slightly. Probably fixable, and I may end up detailing this one eventually anyway since I didn't kill it.
In the end, I wised up (chickened out) and opted for a 1/2" bit (that was the next smaller one I had on-hand), along with cleaning up the remainder with the Dremel. The small drill bit was used to drill the initial guide hole.
Oops, I didn't use the styrene spacer they mentioned on their page...
I used Citadel Boltgun Metal for the fans, the black paint pen for the fan supports, and brush painted the grill with the Tru-Color paint, then applied a little Pan Pastels for weathering.
I do wish Walthers would release a new road number for this model, but it's great that the two Life-Like originally chose are the assigned numbers that Chris (0510) and I (0503) need.
For the classification lights, I used the Cal-Scale ones, which are a perfect match for the New Haven. The struggle was finding jewels/lenses that fit. I found the best option was the Custom Finishing 1mm ones. MV had some that were designed for it, but they are virtually impossible to find now.
The second issue I had, though, was whether to light them or not. By rule, the NH did not light classification or marker lights except at night. So I decided that I didn't need to. But the problem is, the jewels are still very bright because of the reflective coating on the back. Utah Pacific sells some without it, but they were too large. I tried finding another source for jewelry making, but was unable to do so.
Instead, I sanded the reflective coating off of the back. I also drilled out the holes in the hopes that light would shine through just a little bit, but it doesn't seem to. So I'm not sure it came out exactly as I'd liked, but I do think it's better than the bright, reflective jewels as packaged.
I've seen photos of marker lights on the RS-2s painted black, as well as those painted the Warm Orange of the hood (on the delivery units). I liked the contrast of the black, and used the paint pen to color them. I might decide to redo one of them in the Warm Orange.
Anyway, that's enough for now. Normally I might have split this into several posts, so I need to go do some more work so I'll have something for the next one!
Parts used in this post:
The model is a Life-Like Proto 1000 (now Walthers Proto) RS-2
94111 RS-3 Brake Wheel94112 RS-3 Steam Generator Stack
Cal Scale (order direct from Bowser)
190-280 Marker Light Small Switcher and Hood Unit
190-512 Small U Bolt .012 Wire
190-731 Door Handles
Citadel Colour Paint (available at local Hobby/Role Playing Gaming stores)
Boltgun Metal (now Citadel Base Leadbelcher)Chainmail (now Citadel Base Ironbreaker)
Custom Finishing Models (order direct)
127 1mm Jewels/Clear
Details West (order direct)
AH-174 Air Horn "Wabco" Type 'E' Single Chime
KV Models (order direct)
Tru-Color Paint (available at local Hobby/Model Railroad stores)
TCP-036 New Haven Warm Orange
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