Stop me before I kitbash another locomotive!

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trailrider

Well-Known Member
I think I have an addiction problem. I have a "thing" for kitbashing and assembling Mantua HO steam locomotives, especially from leftover parts! Although there will be periods of time when I do other things not related to model railroading, eventually I get the urge...again! Where I can, I will find and install gear boxes and can or coreless motors to improve slowspeed performance. Finding parts for the Mikado and Pacific's is getting harder and more expensive. I just ordered two pilot assemblies for $30 each! (Ran out of my own scrap box pieces.) Currently, I have no plans to install decoders, as I can run either DC or DCC on my layout. Problem is I don't have any more room on the layout, the display racks on the walls of the train room, and I have a storage track on unused book shelves in the basement....full, and I have one more in progress! Sell them, you say? Difficult to get anywhere near what I put into these recent hawgs! Shipping would also be prohibitive individually or in bulk. What to do...what to do! Is there a locomotives annonymous?
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Even God likes to kitbash! Just look at the duck-billed platypus. I think God had some spare parts left over and thought "Hmm. I wonder what I can make out of these?"
And don't annoy him, he can kill you. There are claws on his rear legs that are poisonous.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Um... Trailrider or the platypus?
Guess we’re no help so keep on keeping on and post pics!!
The Platypus. Males have highly venomous spurs on the inside back of the rear legs. Extreme pain and treatment needed urgently. Feet have claws
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trailrider

Well-Known Member
Give me a day or so. have to take the cockapoor in for a bath and a haircut. Got the phone company coming out for the third time to try to find out why one of my three landlines are not working. Then I will take some pictures and post them. Working on another Mikado "right now" Just got a bunch of CalScale details from Bowser. Waiting on a pilot from another seller...one that doesn't have the compressor shields on the pilot deck. So, I had to cut/file space on the fireman's side of the walkway for an air compressor, add a whistle on one side of the steam dome. Not stretching the Mike this time. Also have to find a tender in my parts box. Have a couple of heavy diecast ones that I might use. Would prefer a plastic one, but I'm all out and I don't feel like spending what they are asking on ebay! Need to fix the coupler pocket on another plastic tender I was using on a light Pacific. You know, I've heard a lot of criticism of the Mantua/Tyco Mikado boilers as being straight topped. They should look at Burlington Route/C&S O-2's and O-3's as well as MoPac Mikes. Anyhow, I'll post photos as soon as I can.
Stay well and safe!
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
I've done a couple of smaller articulateds using Mantua Prairies. The problem I ran into was getting the drive shaft through the second set of cylinders to the front engine. As a result, I left the front engine unpowered and used a traction tire on the rear driver of the rear engine. I"ll try to take some pictures and post them. Don't know if I could get that monster around 18-20" radius curves. Besides which, I don't model C&O ;)
 

beiland

Well-Known Member
I was sort of figuring that by the time I got around to that project,...some manufacturer would decide to do a production model of it.
That's what happen to me with the cryogenic tank cars. Of course Bobby Pitts (tankcarsrule) did a great job kitbashing these cars before Broadway finally brought them into production.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
1624111527870.png

Thanks! Burlington O-5a (4-8-4) drifts downhill at the head of a manifest freight, while an E5A/B lashup climbs up with the Denver Zephyr. The O-5a is a kitbash using two Mantua Pacific frames, the front end from a Mikado boiler and the rear from a Pacific boiler. An all-weather cab and various details complete the project. Note: If you compare the model with the prototype there are some discrepancies. But with a gearbox and coreless motor, and Soundtraxx Tsunami decoder, who cares? That much a perfectionist I ain't!
1624111979527.png

Here is a rough re-creation of a Burlington F-3, where the "Q" tried turning a Mikado into an 0-8-0 switch engine by removing the lead and trailing trucks. Apparently, the experiment wasn't too successful, as only one locomotive was ever converted. I need to do something under the firebox to simulate the framework left when the trailing truck was removed. The actual locomotive worked around Centralia, Illinois, but I happened to have decals for the tender that were used on switchers in the joint yards around Denver between the Colorado & Southern (Burlington subsidiary) and the Santa Fe.
1624112931634.png

My attempt at an articulated 2-6-6-2 before Mantua came out with their loggers. This one combines two 2-6-2 Prairies. Because of the way I connected the boiler to the chassis, I couldn't power the front engine. The rear driver has a traction tire, but I don't run this very often. The "G.G.&W" is my Grashhook, Galesburg & Western Division of the "Q". I have a few others in work, just using up some spare parts and pieces. One of these is "just" a Mantua Mike with a can motorized chassis I bought on ebay. When I got it, I discovered the cylinder block was the wrong one, being meant for a Pacific, though it ran fine. I used one of my parts-box Mikado blocks, and it works fine. Changing the cylinder blocks on these models is a real PITA, as you need about three hands to line up the crosshead guides, piston rods and valve gear rods on both sides simultaneously! Now waiting for the paint to dry on the cylinders. I was tempted to cut the cast-on headlight off and install a CalScale on top of the boiler front, but I don't have a builder's plate to insert in the middle of the front. I also am running short of tenders, except for a couple of really old Mantua's that are cast metal and heavy as all getout! Well, that's all for now. Just shows what you can do if you want to take the time and have a bunch of parts left over from other projects.
Stay well and safe!
 

Sirfoldalot

Curse You, Red Baron!
Staff member
Marvelous work! That 2-6-6-2 is the 'cat's meow'!

How do you join the frame pieces together? AND the boilers?
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
Marvelous work! That 2-6-6-2 is the 'cat's meow'!

How do you join the frame pieces together? AND the boilers?
Thanks! With the articulated it is just a matter of making a brass extension to the rear of the front engine, and making a pivot with a piece of brass tubing and a screw. On an earlier one, the boiler was simply the plastic prairies cut and cemented together. The one shown is actually a couple of Pacific boilers that follow the same method as with the rigid-frame locomotives: On those, I locate where I want to cut the two halves of the frames and the boilers, based on the length of the additional side rods to be added to the driver sets. Fortunately, Mantua side rods are separate pieces, not one continuous piece like some other makes. The ends overlap and the hex-head screws have shoulders on them that allow the two pieces to pivot up and down slightly. This is handy for one of the things I do to allow the longer wheelbase to negotiate 18" radius curves.

When I am sure where to cut the frames, I splice the cuts with a new cover plate made out of brass with the additional screw holes located and drilled. I might make another splice plate to go on the top side of the frame, but haven't really found it necessary, as the boiler keeps the frame rigid.

For the boilers, I make the cuts for the two pieces using a very precision method...stick each original boiler in my bench vise, leave a little extra that can be filed to fit, and grab my hacksaw! I'll screw each piece to the frame, filing the joint until they fit snugly together, then take them off and drill a small hole in the ends of each side of one piece the right diameter to hold a small nail with the head cut off. The trick on the second piece is to drill a slightly larger hole for the other end of the nail so you don't have to be quite as precise in locating the matching hole. Then, I mix up some two-part epoxy, preferably some that has metal particles in the matrix. Devcon Plastic Steel is what I used for the first ones. JB Weld is also fine. Pack the epoxy into the holes where the nails go and along the mating faces. I then screw the boiler to the frame and let the epoxy harden for at least 24-48 hours. Then, file and sand the outside of the joint, and add whatever details I want.

Now for the dirty little secret on how to get a 2-10-4 around an 18" curve: Turn the locomotive on its back. Remove the cover plate. All but the earliest Mantua's have brass bearing inserts that the axles ride on. Remove the front and rear drivers and their bearing. Cut a small strip of .010" brass sheet that fits in the slot in the frame. There is a locating pin that keeps the bearing from sliding around, so you have to make a hole in the strip. Place the strip in the slot over the pin and put the bearing and the driver back. Now make a piece of brass that will go over the middle drivers, leaving a slot for the drive gear. Drill holes where appropriate to accomodate the screws that hold the main cover plate. The end (flanged) drivers are now shimmed downward .010", while the center driver are shimmed up off the rails .010". The purpose of this is to prevent the blind drivers from catching on the railheads as the locomotive come out of the curves. You can't tell the blind drivers aren't resting on the rails unless you get right down at eye level with a light behind the locomotive! With a gearbox and a can or coreless motor and driveshaft replacing (unless one of the original engines came with it instead of the direct drive open-frame motors), the weight of these beasts is sufficient to pull a bunch of cars up a 2-1/2 percent grade with curves at each end.

For my B-1a Mountain 4-8-2, I just used a Mikado frame and spliced on the front end of a Pacific. The boiler is made from two Pacific's.

Hope this longwinded explanation isn't too much for the forum. The main problem nowadays is that the components are getting scarcer and most expensive. I just paid $30 plus shipping for a plastic pilot without the air pump shields cast on! (The "Q" mounted their cross-compound compressors under the walks. WARNING! Following the above procedures could be HABIT-FORMING! :eek::cool:
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
I stopped kitbashing when I realized every time I do it, they bring out the model.
Not many (probably not enough) people model the C.B. & Q. steam to warrant new models being produced. At the prices models are going for these days, I couldn't afford them anyway. But I was kinda toying with the idea of creating a UP 4-12-2, just to see how tight curves I could get it to negotiate. Of course, the UP had problems along those lines with the prototype. Uh, oh... :eek:
 

Sirfoldalot

Curse You, Red Baron!
Staff member
But I was kinda toying with the idea of creating a UP 4-12-2, just to see how tight curves I could get it to negotiate. Of course, the UP had problems along those lines with the prototype.
That would be a very interesting project!
When are you planning to start?
 




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