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Scratchbuilding a side discharge rotary snow plow

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  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 19, 2022 11:35 PM

There will be a short pause in my plow posts starting Tuesday. Dianne and I are headed to Sault St. Marie Tuesday morning, and on Thursday we are booked aboard the Agawa Canyon Tour Train! My cousin in Wawa said the the colour change had started about a week ago so hopefully the scenery will be great. I'll take lots of photos and some videos to share.

We are back on Monday, Sept. 26th.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, September 29, 2022 8:26 PM

Hello once again. I have done some work on the plow since we got back from Sault St. Marie, Ontario. Unfortunately it has been more of the same '...one step forward, two steps back....'.

I had glued the stationary vertical front blade to the shell but it came off because I had forgotten to scrape the paint away from the mating surfaces.Dunce It is now firmly re-attached thanks to the addition of some extra braces.

I ran into another problem with the rotary blade enclosures. The styrene has cracked in a couple of places and that has allowed the enclosures to distort. I'm in the process of repairing those.

One of the rotary blade mounting bushings had come loose so the blade was wobbling all over the place. Apparently I didn't have enough solder in the joint. That was actually a hidden blessing because I had brush painted the blades red and the paint job was a mess. I didn't like the colour either. In order to re-solder the bushing I had to strip the paint off so both blades are back to their shiny copper base. The soldering job was successful and I have reinstalled the blades and balanced them. I did have to move one spacing washer from one side of the worm gear to the other to eliminate some occassional chatter. The blades operate very quietly and there is almost no wobble.

On the plus side, I got a bunch of rivet decals applied to the stationary blades. I'm actually getting good at it! I should have the rivets finished tonight.

The next step will be to re-paint the shell and the frame.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, September 30, 2022 3:49 AM

Here are the new front blade rivets:

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by BATMAN on Friday, September 30, 2022 9:45 AM

YesYes

This certainly has been a riveting thread.Whistling

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, October 2, 2022 12:07 AM

Hi gang,

I thought I had finished all of the rivet decals so I started to work on the electronics. I want to make the trucks removable so I am going to install micro plugs in the wiring close to the trucks. Figuring out where to mount them on the frame was a bit of a head scratcher, but I think I have sorted it out. The plug for the rear truck will simply be glued to the frame members, and I carved out a space for the front truck plug in the stationary blade structure. The rear truck plugs will be visible but any other options would seem to be very complex.

I had to grip the frame quite tightly when I was cutting away the material to make the mounting space for the front truck plug, and unfortunately my tight grip loosened some of the rivet decals along the the sides of the frame. Actually it wasn't the decals that came off, but the paint they were on let go. No big deal! I have tons of rivet decals left so it will be an easy fix.

I have another problem. I paid a custom decal supplier $65.00 USD for decals for the plow in early September and I haven't heard from him since. He said he would have a proof to me within a week. Apparently not. I'm going to politely chase him down now to see what his excuses are.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, October 2, 2022 7:28 PM

hon30critter
I have another problem. I paid a custom decal supplier $65.00 USD for decals for the plow in early September and I haven't heard from him since. He said he would have a proof to me within a week. Apparently not. I'm going to politely chase him down now to see what his excuses are.

I got a very prompt response from the decal supplier. He apologized for messing up the order. Apparently he had marked the file as 'completed'. He said he will have the proofs to me on Monday and he will print and ship the decals as soon as I approve the proofs.

Stuff happens.Sigh

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, October 3, 2022 10:52 PM

No proof from the decal supplier yet.GrumpyHmm

I spent part of the evening installing the power feeds from the trucks to the decoder. I had to remove a bit of material from the frame to get the plugs mounted. The damage won't be visible when the plow is finished. The current unfinished paint makes things look pretty messy, but once covered up and painted it will look fine.

This is the front truck plug:

This is the view from the top. I had to remove the material in order to get the wiring low enough to clear the drive train. In the process I did some damage to the rotary blade enclosures but it won't show once the blades are installed:

This is the rear truck plug. I cut it into the frame on an angle to make it easier to get at. I'm not going to worry about the cosmetics of having the plug visible. Once all the brake gear and the air resevoir are installed the plug should blend in:

Of course there had to be a couple of steps back. I managed to scratch off a bunch of rivet decals along the side of the frame so the rest of the evening was spent replacing those. My hands were shaking which made the job really frustrating.

The original plow didn't have a headlight but I'm seriously considering installing one. I think it would add some interest, especially if I dim the LED down enough and give it a coat of yellow paint. I have a Precision Scale brass casting of an 'old timer' kerosene headlight which would suit the era quite well IMHO.

I'm also going to light the interior but not the cupola. I have already made up a lamp to go on the backhead by the gauges. I'm going to put a couple more interior lights in as well. I have two working Utah Pacific kerosene lamps which I think would look appropriate, although they are a little on the large side.

I have made the decision to not add power pickup to the tender at this point. If the plow doesn't run smoothly on its own two trucks I can always add power pickup to the tender later. I will put a micro plug in the back of the plow now so that adding tender pickup later will be relatively easy.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 6, 2022 1:36 AM

Still no word from the decal supplier.Grumpy I'm going to give him until next Monday and if he hasn't sent me a proof, I will ask for my money back.

I got really sick and tired of replacing the rivet decals that my clumsy handling had knocked off (multiple timesGrumpyGrumpyGrumpy) so I did a final inspection of all the rivet decals, filled in a few missing bits, and then brush painted all of the decals with Humbrol Gloss Clear Coat. The Humbrol Clear coat is rather thick which wasn't a problem for applying it with a brush, but it will have to be thinned for use in the air brush.

My next step will be to figure out what my next steps are!?! I had said that I would repaint the shell and frame, but I want to make sure that I'm not doing that prematurally. I'm feeling a bit bogged down because of all the problems with the rivet decals so I feel a need to make some real progress, and more importantly, try to avoid the 'one step forward, two steps back' that has hampered the project so many times to date. This project has been going on for eight months!Bang HeadEmbarrassedTongue Tied I want it to be finished in less than a year. Once I have figured out the remaining steps I'll post a list of what I'm going to do soon.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 6, 2022 11:56 PM

The decal supplier finally sent me the proofs on Thursday morning. They look good so I told him to go ahead. Hopefully there won't be too many more delays.

I got the first coat of paint on the rotary blades tonight. I used Ford Engine Red from Model Master, and it looks good. It will take another coat or two to make the colour even.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Water Level Route on Friday, October 7, 2022 5:44 AM

Good news on the decal supplier coming through.  Can't wait to see this painted up and decaled.  It's going to look great!

Mike

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, October 8, 2022 12:12 AM

Here are the painted blades. The paint looks fine to the naked eye but the camera shows that there are still some irregularities so I will give them a third coat:

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, October 8, 2022 12:23 AM

Water Level Route
Can't wait to see this painted up and decaled.  It's going to look great!

Hi Water Level Route,

I can hardly wait too. This project is dragging on a bit. I made a list of about 20 things that I still have to do on the plow and the tender so I have a ways to go.

That list doesn't include installing sound in the locomotive. I want to use a real recording from the Toltec and Cumbres rotary plow in operation. That is going to require a bit of research to figure out how to transfer the sound from a Youtube video to the Loksound decoder. I have a LocProgrammer. I hope I can find a video on how to use it to record custom sounds instead of just using the manual. I haven't looked yet.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 12:01 AM

No progress to report. I have been busy with hosting Dianne's family Thanksgiving celebration (Canadian eh!), and I spent tonight refinishing an antique dough mixing bowl which has been in our family for generations. We had neglected it for years. I gave it a thorough sanding and then soaked it liberally with mineral oil. I will let it sit for a few days to allow the oil to be fully absorbed and then I will give it a second treatment. The first coat soaked in almost immediately so I know it could use another application.

Sorry, Off Topic

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Track fiddler on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 10:40 PM

Good Late evening

 

hon30critter

No progress to report.

Rightfully so Dave, especially when you were posting on Canadian Thanksgiving Day eh!

The machine is looking quite impressive! Yes  As far as I'm concerned you've been kickin butt on that scratch build you've been custom crafting one piece at a time.  I think you deserve another break after Turkey Day so have one of my favorite ice cream treats I had at the Mall of America the other day.

Hope you're as excited about that big treat as I was when I got it.  It's called the Double Brownie TowerLaugh  Seriously, ...I ate the whole thing except for the M&M's stuck to the side of the glass I started picking offLaugh

 

She sure is coming along and you should be proud as hard as you've been working it.  Really like the rivet detail you came up with and can hardly wait to see it painted.

Thanks Dave for keeping us posted with your well detailed Plow Tutorial so far.  I look forward to seeing the rest of your progress as she starts coming together here.

 

 

TF

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 11:00 PM

Track fiddler
As far as I'm concerned you've been kickin butt on that scratch machine you've been custom crafting one piece at a time.  I think you deserve another break after Turkey Day so have one of my favorite ice cream treats I had at the Mall of America the other day.

Hi TF,

After Thanksgiving I didn't think that I would be able to look at another dessert for months. One of our family members brought five large pies! There were only 11 of us including two children!! Despite eating more than I should have for supper, I managed to have two large pieces of pie, one blueberry and the other strawberry/rhubarb. They were delicious!!!

Now you come along with a monument to sore stomachs and tempt me all over again! I'm sorry, I'll have to hold off for a few days, or weeks, or months....Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughDinner

Thank you for your kind words about the plow. I'm just about ready to paint it (again) but I have a bunch of niggling little details to address before I can do that. I want to get the details done before the paint in order to minimize the amount of handling after the paint is applied. I am a clutz when it comes to handling delicate cars and parts.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 6:16 AM

I had a rare evening. My hands were actually steady for several hours!!!

That allowed me to get a bunch of tiny details painted like the valve handles on the boiler (red of course), but my major accomplishment was to get the engines painted. I managed to apply the Tamiya Clear Red over the yellow on the insulation slats so they look like varnished mahogany. Then I was able to paint the crankshafts silver. Then I was able to touch up the dark green parts, and the final detail that I had been fearing was to get the retaining bands on the mahogany insulating slats painted silver! There is still some touching up needed but this is what it looks like now:

My hands still seem to be quite steady so I think I will do the touch ups as soon as the previous coats dry. Who needs sleep anyhow?!?Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 6:47 AM

Wow, that looks great, Dave.  Yes

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 6:54 AM

richhotrain
Wow, that looks great, Dave.

Thanks Rich! It has turned out better than I had hoped, but, being such a fussy female dog, I still have to touch it up. I guess I'm being a bit too fanatical for my own good, but I am very happy with tonight's results.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Track fiddler on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 8:16 PM

hon30critter

After Thanksgiving I didn't think that I would be able to look at another dessert for months. One of our family members brought five large pies! 

Now you come along with a monument to sore stomachs and tempt me all over again! I'm sorry, I'll have to hold off for a few days, or weeks, or months....Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughDinner

 

LaughLaughLaugh

Mission accomplished! Laugh

It's always been my style to be kind and sweet to the ladies but always give the men a little bit of Guff. Whistling 

It's the way of a Scot. Pirate...Laugh..Wink

 

The detail in that paint job is incredible Dave.  Steady hands last night to say the least. YesYesYes

 

 

TF

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, October 16, 2022 12:22 AM

Nothing photogenic to report, but I have done a lot of touch-up work on the engines and the boiler, and I have masked the shell and the frame for the new coat of paint. I also spent some time on the tender getting the coal load cover doors to sit flat. There was some excess paint in the hinges and a bit of material that needed to be shaved off in order to get the doors to sit properly. I suspect that the hinges will need some cleaning after the next coat of paint as well. If possible, I will paint everything on Sunday night.

One of the things on my to do list is to cut the window glazing from 0.050" clear styrene. I'm not very enthused about doing the window glazing. In fact, I'm not sure that I want to do any glazing at all. I love window glazing when it fits perfectly and is clean and smooth. When I did my Algoma Eastern caboose fleet a few years ago using Athearn BB kits as a base, I used Laser Kits (American Model Builders) pre-cut glazing for the windows, and it fit perfectly and looked fantastic! I doubt very much that I can achieve similar results by cutting and fitting the 0.050" styrene myself, so I don't think I'm going to even bother trying.

Call me a wimp!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, October 16, 2022 11:11 PM

Anyone who has been following this thread will know that I have been through a number of occassions where I was taking more steps backward than forward. I have had to rebuild the gearbox a few times, the original roatary blades weren't acceptable and the front vertical fixed blade decided to break up on me because the styrene that I used was too thin. In each of those cases I just said "Oh well..." and got on with redoing the work.

Tonight I suffered another setback and this time I'm just a bit miffed. I had used Humbrol Clear Coat to seal the rivet decals. Tonight, when I applied the Rapido ProtoPaint colour coat the Humbrol wrinkled!Bang HeadBang HeadBang HeadBang HeadAngryAngryAngry.

I have let the paint dry to the touch and, while the wrinkling has gone down, it is by no means smooth enough to leave as is. So, now I have to get out the paint stripper. With my luck the paint stripper will also remove all the rivet decals so fixing this problem is going to be a lot of work. I'm not allowed to print the words that are coming out of my mouth right now!!!!! Fortunately I didn't use the Humbrol Clear Coat on the tender so it is fine.Big Smile

I'm going to do the stripping right now while the paint is still soft.

Cheers!! (I guess)

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, October 17, 2022 12:49 AM

Now I am really ticked off!!Angry

I used Testors 'ELO' (Easy Lift Off) paint and decal remover to strip the paint and it has left me with several more problems.

First, it doesn't work by disolving the paint. Instead it lifts the paint up in small areas and the lifted paint is a gooey mess.

Second, I discovered the hard way that the ELO stripper severely weakens styrene, especially glued joints. The front vertical stationary blade came loose while I was stripping it, and then to make matters worse, the whole nose section broke off where I had added the nose to extend the length of the shell. In addition, the ELO has destroyed the truck bolsters which were part of the Accurail frame that I used as a base. They are falling to pieces. The ELO says to not immerse the object being stripped, but if you don't re-apply the solution constantly, nothing seems to happen, so in fact the styrene is being thoroughly soaked anyhow.

Third, despite my attempt to mask the shell where I didn't want to strip the paint, the ELO got under the masking tape and now the surface of the shell is slightly sticky, and the paint has started to peel away from the edges of the roof in some places.

I'm going to leave things alone for a few days to see if the sticky paint hardens, but if it doesn't then I will strip everything and start completely over. I know the question of how to strip model paint has been discussed many times, but if someone wants to make a recommendation regarding what to use, I'm all ears.

Cheers!! (and I mean it! This wee beast is not going to get the better of me!)

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, October 17, 2022 5:11 AM

hon30critter

This wee beast is not going to get the better of me!

Dave 

Well, Dave, if you get credit for nothing else, you should win The Endurance Award. I would have given up long ago. You have certainly put in your share of time and effort on this project.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, October 17, 2022 7:03 AM

richhotrain
You have certainly put in your share of time and effort on this project.

Thanks Rich,

I am determined to finish this thing and make it work properly!!

Some hopefully good news: The paint on the shell is no longer sticky. I'm going to leave it for a couple of days and then I will gently sand the rough edges where the paint started to peel back. Hopefully the paint will remain intact.

The ELO stripper removed most of the rivet decals (which is exactly what it said it would do), but a few remain. I will sand off what is left. I'm sure as heck not going to use any more of the ELO stripper. What remains of it is headed for the hazardous waste disposal site.

Thanks as always for your interest.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 2:10 PM

As best as I can recall, ELO (not the Electric Light Orchestra) is a toned-down version of brake fluid.  I once used brake fluid to strip the painted body shell of an Atlas diesel, and ended-up with a piece of plastic that was almost unrecognisable.

Depending on the type of paint that was used, methyl hydrate worked well as a paint stripper for both Athearn and Train Miniature cars, but not so well on some cars from other manufacturers.
I recently stripped a wreck crane (manufacturer unknown) for a friend, but the methyl hydrate had little effect on the model's silver paint.
After rinsing it off, I dropped the disassembled parts into a plastic container of Super Clean, and by the next day, most of the paint had been removed, while what was left around some of the details was easily removed using an old toothbrush.

I think that the loss of the rivet detail is unavoidable, pretty-much regardless of what paint stripper you might be using.

Wayne

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 20, 2022 12:49 AM

Hi Wayne,

The ELO certainly feels like brake fluid. That would explain why the styrene became fragile.

The stripping is done now, except for some sanding. I will order some Super Clean for future use.

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 20, 2022 4:42 AM

Well, saying that the ELO made the Accurail frame fragile is an understatement!! The center sill has completely disintegrated! All I had to do was touch it and it fell apart!!!AngryAngryAngryGrumpyGrumpyGrumpy The center of the bolsters also disintegrated, but the ends still seem to be reasonably solid. I'll test them again in a few days, but I think all I need to do is restore the pivot points for the trucks.

On a more positive note, I managed to get all of the messed up paint and the rivet decals off of the front stationary blades, and I have been able to remove the  rather inadequate bracing between the stationary front blades and the shell. Now I can add in much more substantial bracing to join the two pieces together.

Amazingly some of the rivet details on the horizontal fixed blade survived the stripping process! I'll take that as a bonus.Thumbs Up

Cheers everyone!! I hope all is well!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, October 21, 2022 5:28 AM

I have made some progress. I managed to get the front stationary blades reattached to the shell (very solidly I might add), and I have removed what was left of the disintegrating frame center uprights. I decided to leave the outside ends of the bolsters in place because they still seemed to be fairly solid, but I replaced the centers with styrene blocks which I still have to drill and insert a styrene 1/8" od tube into, and tap and finish accordingly.

Here is what the bits looked like:

The underside of the frame is a mess because of the partially peeled paint so I still have to deal with that.Grumpy

This time I think that I have avoided anymore steps backward, but ultimately it will be the fragility of the remaining Accurail frame parts that will determine whether I have made the right decisions. Replacing the entire frame was just to daunting a task.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, October 22, 2022 5:55 AM

I have rebuilt the spine and side braces. I will add a top plate to the side braces to make them look a bit more substantial.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, October 22, 2022 6:07 AM

Yes, that addition would look good - - and correct.

Rich

Alton Junction

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