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Nigel's Workbench - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2014 05:06 pm
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Joined: Sat Oct 19th, 2013
Location: Reston, Virginia USA
Posts: 3426

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Bachmann 56xx – some Kadees and the “not the heap of coal” bunker.

Having finished rewiring for DCC sound and still not able to get over to the lumber yard I decided to make a start on detailing the Bachmann 56xx. First job was replacing those tension hook couplers with Kadee couplers. Bachmann provide NEM pockets, Kadee No. 17NEM  knuckle couplers are a direct replacement. Not sure about the front one, as there is supposed to be the ATC shoe where the NEM box is. This took all of 30 seconds. I like Kadee's automatic decoupler system (under-track magnets, hidden from site), which is ideal for running around movements, although the hand from the sky approach is probably better for shunting where decoupling does not take place at the same spot every time.

Kadee No 17 at the front. Not sure about that vacuum pipe, the real thing was corrugated. I'll have to find a replacement. The lamp brackets are a bit oversize, replacement or reduction is called for.

The coalbunker was next. Not all 56xx’s had the raised lip over the inset protecting the rear lamp post and lamp from coal, and most pictures I have of this class show it running with less than a full bunker.The 56xx's  were used in both directions, the 2 rear wheels resulted in a smoother ride when going backwards. Consequently, rear vision through the windows or bunker doors was highly desirable; a large heap of coal would not have been welcome. I do have a picture of one in BR days with a coal heap higher than the cab, presumably going out for the day and nowhere near a coaling bay.

I binned the Bachmann coal molding (a push fit) as it looks like anything but coal, and fabricated a replacement using 10 thou’ styrene sheet, layered so that it would give the impression of a slight depression towards the font (rather than a heap!) as coal was being burnt. I roughly smoothed the transitions with a file and emery paper. This was then painted black with acrylic paint (lamp soot black, which I thought highly appropriate), and then dusted with real coal using white craft glue (Weldbond) diluted with water 50:50 v/v as adhesive. I obtained a lifetime supply of coal for modeling (a 56 lb bag) one day driving through northern Pennsylvania when I stopped for fuel; it takes a lump hammer to break into small pieces. More anthracite than soft coal.

Bachmann coal. Not sure whoever did the tooling knows what coal looks like.

The replacement, using styrene strips stepped to give a slight depression. Doesn't need to be perfect, it's going to be covered with coal.

Coaled-up. More of the inside back and sides showing (which need to be weathered down with black). Those window grills are a bit oversize, I have some etched ones around somewhere.

Kadee No. 17 at the back. The lower representations of lamp brackets and the over-size upper one will be replaced with brass ones.

For those interested, the paint was Americana brand from Michaels, comes in matt and shiny, costs around $1.25 US, and there is a sprayable version as well.

Next up will be the blower pipe from the cab to the smoke box and some replacement lamp brackets for the rear of the bunker. One thing that happens when a bit of detailing is started is that the list suddenly starts to get a lot longer as deviations from the prototype become apparent. With all the work a respray in GWR green is looking probable.

I have to start thinking about that ATC shoe at the front.  I did a quick search, nothing I can see in 4mm scale, so it looks like a scratch build. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated, as this is an essential part of the layout.


©Nigel C. Phillips
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