Ok. To give you a bit of history on this unit, there were seven of them built for BC Rail in 1986 to run on the line from Prince George to Tumbler Ridge mainly hauling coal. The reason they were electric instead of diesel like other locomotives was the length of the tunnels on the subdivision. They were all retired in 2000 and all but the 6001 were sent to scrap. The 6001 is currently on display at the Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum.
To start with we used:
– a 3D model from Shapeways designed by paulburkittgray for the shell.
– a base/motor from an existing unit
– Pantographs SOM967 from Somerfeldt and from the Kato Blue Thunder locomotive
-misc photo etched and other parts
So once sourcing the parts you kinda just have to go to it. I’m not a unit painter. Jeff is an expert. Rather than wreck it by me attempting it I worked with Jeff to get it right. See Jeff’s website for other examples of his work. Below are Jeff King’s (summarized) comments:
Update 1First and foremost. This needs a base coat of primer to seal it. That also helps me see the shell better too. Once that is applied. I can go to work on sanding. Decent is the best way to describe a 3D printed shell. There just is no getting to injection molded smoothness. Not without eradicating all the detail. Use just the basic shape and go from there with scribing tools and detail parts. This is not bad even as it is. Some sanding and paint will make this something you will be able to live with. Much of the detail is either already there or provided. I think where a lot of the improvement will be obtained is using the details provided to plug holes. Seriously, they are old Con-Cor out of whack. So are the holes to mount them. Then I can get to adding wire details. I actually want to see the air vent grilles before deciding if I will use photo etched parts. I think I will. I already have the detail ordered. Thing is. Those are for E and F units. So close appearance wise, is the tradeoff for superior detail. What is most apparent now is the ride height and almost perfectly level side to side, and front to back seating of the shell. That is a pretty huge step right there. Built on a heavily modified Kato SD40/45 classic chassis. With HT-C trucks added. Ultimately the frame had to be chopped. Which is why you need a classic frame. The current ones would have nothing left if you made the cuts required. Also laid the motor on it’s side. DCC-ed it for motor control and lights which is lost when you do the chop.
Update 2Once we have a better look at this. The main problems really revolve around clean up as much as anything. The detail provided is accurate. Probably to scale. Perhaps a bit too much so. We have become used to oversize detail in N Scale to please the eye far more so than those with slide rules and rivet charts. LOL! Oddly the stuff which is hefty is so driven by the 3D print. Like the cables between resistors. The “clean up” is mainly something which can happen on the sheet metal areas. There is a lot of print lines and rough edges to remove on that alone. Which will improve this quite a bit. It is why we needed to primer it first. To even see where the bad areas are at. Also something odd about FUD. It drinks the acrylic paint. Sealing it. It also makes the surface a bit harder. Even if I could see all the fuzzy rough before? It would have been like trying to sand nylon. Which is more or less what the FUD is most like, substance wise.
Update 3The amount of work here does not look like much. Then you watch it run, and listen to it now. See it lashed up to cars working.
You probably see the work was all in refining.I also have this knack for getting ahead of myself. Working bass-ackwards at the end of a project. Or minimally sideways.Taking my time here to assure stuff is right. When I get to paint. It will be a steady and quick pace forward.
This shell is not fitted to any chassis in particular. So that has to happen on the builder’s end.That is also completed now. The noise was an issue with me shimming the motor too much. I actually sort of discovered this by accident. As it quieted way down. Then stopped running entirely. Which was a result of a dead short from the shim having fallen out. The motor casing touching the frame. The big thing was the extreme change in the amount of noise reduction leading up to the short. This caused me to look at different shims for the motor. Now that I know this works. I will have to secure the thinner shim so it stays put. One thing at a time. Also did the once over with the sanding sticks on this. Much much better. Also about as good as this gets without starting to do damage.
Reworked the belly cabinets and air tanks. Those are now more or less it.
Update 4This is probably about what can be done with this. Short of using the shell as a cobbling platform. That would be very inadvisable. Given this was a unique locomotive when real. If anyone ever did it as a model? It surely wasn’t N Scale. Meaning the 3D print stuff is not only the best option. In many cases it might be the only option. As is. I trashed all the 3D printed grabs. Plugged the holes for them. Then bent wire. 2 reasons why. Closer to scale diameter, then less likely to break. This is still an issue with the real railing. Although it should be rigid enough once glued in place. The main trick will be not bumping it… too hard anyway. I looked around at Delrin handrails from my parts bin. Nothing matches the super wide anti-climber, or has 6 stanchions.So not up for bending wire and soldering stanchions for this. I am at best mediocre at that anyway. Then only on less complex shapes. This needs a jog to bend all those turns in the railing and not end up looking worse than the 3D printed stuff. I actually do have some end railings from the Kaslo kits. Although those have the reverse problem of being dimensionally flat. Look silly. Only have a slight advantage because they probably are not as prone to breaking. The roof details are not what i would call delicate. They will not however survive a fall or even a rough bump. When I did my test model last year. I was looking for insulators even similar to all the ones on the roof. To see if it was possible to replace them with something else.
All in all. Caution is on order handling it. But that is not going to be hard to accomplish. Tons of places to grab onto all over the sides. Which are essentially flat and free of anything delicate. Oh yes. Any deviation on side railing lengths vs prototype owe mainly to clearance issues with the trucks. Dropping the door and rear deck vertical grabs to the proper level off the ground. Would almost certainly render this model as un-runnable. Off to paint it goes.
Update 5OK. Having tested the waters on this model previously. If you had suggested this could turn out this well. I may have questioned that.
I think the designer did more than a fair job researching this and drawing it very well in CAD. It just did not feel like a model drawn by a modeler. I would have saved the extra FUD material for the grabs, which adds cost. Just provided modest pilot holes for bent wire.Although a point can be made that inclusion of the details provided some stuff that would be very hard to source otherwise. Wonder if he realizes this is also the case with the pantographs. Which could be printed well enough. To be something. aka, better than nothing. Anyway. This is the not quite complete, and clean as delivered version. Model wise.Other than resolving the pantograph issue. The rest is just free lance weathering and a few common details to add.Windows, couplers. Lenses for the lights.
Update 6 – Choosing a pantograph
Ok there was a bit of differing opinion between Jeff and I on this one. We really are limited by our scale as far as the Pantograph goes. The first is the Kato one, the second the Sommerfeldt one. Neither is perfect, nor even close. In the end we did a Frankenstein version of both using the Kato for all but the shoe. I wanted to cut down the length of the base to better represent the actual unit but it was decided that the pantograph probably wouldn’t survive. Here are some of Jeff’s comments on it:There can be no disputing the overall quality of the Sommerfeldt pantograph. That is not going to win it for this one. In almost every single respect. It is wrong.The base is the wrong shape and way too bulky. It sits too high when extended. Then of course the Y arm, vs single arm.
I am not even all that enamored by the superior pickup shoe when you see it on this model. The Kato part wins hands down in ever respect. Oddly. The less than precise scaling sort of fits the overall model. Which itself has out of dimension handrails and grabs. Actually think the plastic “bulk” works in it’s favor on this model.
The single level arm will not transfer to the Sommerfeldt pantograph. Because of the pivot point being entirely different construction. The twin single arm levers of the Kato have distinct male and female ends. So the single arm slips into a U joint at the end of the lower arm. Whereas the Som Y arm wraps around the single lower arm.
It is also highly questionable given the totally different dimensions (height / length of the arms). That swapping the Kato upper arm into the Som would result in a pantograph you could collapse. The arms on model pantographs clip onto a lip on the base. The object being to have reasonable accurate representations of stuff. We suffer our scale sometimes.
The final version… not perfect but as representative as we could do in scale. Slight fade and weathering were chosen to show “in use” rather than “new” or “museum” stage of the unit’s lifespan.I believe weathering, then windows, wipers, light lenses and couplers will finish this.
Now what everyone always asks is the cost. I’ll break it down to what I paid (approximately) though this could be done for less, ie. using a used loco and Tomix instead of Kato pantograph
Base loco and Kato pantograph- $125 (Jeff and I did a bit of a horse trade on this one but overall cost stayed about the same)
3D shell from Shapeways with shipping – $60
Jeff’s parts/time/paint etc – $200
Sommerfeldt pantograph – $25
Shipping to Canada – $25
Total – $435 USD