Monday, September 25, 2017

Modeling Monday: P-11 Flatcar Crates & Stake Pockets

Pretty good weekend finishing up installing bill boxes, train registers, and even some $1 throttle pockets. I even redid some of the paperwork to make it easier to manage. But I needed to get back to the flatcar I started on Friday.

After removing all the flash from the major parts of this kit, I next needed to tackle the cast stake pockets - all 27 of them(!). These things are teeny tiny and need to be removed from a sprue - and yup, they need to be de-flashed too. Here are the tools I used for the task:

  • Medium sanding stick - to remove as much flash as possible while the parts are still on the sprue.
  • Sprue nippers (a loan from Pete since I - inexplicably - cannot find mine): helpful for removing tiny parts from sprues, although I used a single-edged razor blade as well.
  • Old contact lens case, to hold the teeny tiny parts (and protected them from sneezes - ask me how I know).
  • Jewelers/needle file - to remove flash from inside the pocket, as below:

It just so happened that the thickness of the file fit the pocket perfectly. The needle file also helped me remove the remaining flash from around the pocket and square off the back.

It was, as you can imagine, a fairly tedious job - but listening to old-time radio shows with the missus passed the time nicely (we're currently on a Nero Wolfe kick).

Before starting actual assembly of the car itself (the next step would have been to start gluing on all those pockets!), I decided to work my way up to it by building the shipping crates that came with the kit. It's a good thing I did . . .
(I have to admit, I've been pretty smug proud of myself that I've been able to keep my ACC nice and liquid for I-don't-know-how-long. After I use a bottle, I make sure that the nozzle is perfectly clear, then I cap it, then I place it in a Ziploc bag, squeeze out all the air, and seal that, and then I wrap a rubber band around the whole thing. As I said, these bottles of CA (one medium, one thin) have lasted for at least a couple of years. 
Or so I thought. I went to use the thin CA to assemble the crate and couldn't get anything to stick. I tried a few times (remembering to sand/file away any CA residue before trying again - CA doesn't stick to itself) and still nuthin'. 
Thankfully, I'd purchased a bottle of thick CA a couple months ago. I'd opened it back then, but stored it in my same OCD way, so I used that. Thankfully, that did the trick.)

I'm just glad I tried all this out on what are essentially boxes. They were pretty straightforward to assemble - just be sure to follow the instructions: glue ends to top first, then sides, then bottom. The sides in my kit had to be sanded/shortened by about 1/16-3/32" in order to fit.

Since I still wasn't quite ready to tackle the pockets, I decided to drill & tap the holes for the truck mounting screws. To do this, I used my dial caliper to find the center point of the bolster, then used a push-pin to make a guide hole at that point.

Then I decided to use my drill press (for the very first time!) to drill the holes (click here for how I mounted this press to a plastic work table). Since I'd be tapping the hole for a 2-56 screw, I used a #50 drill bit (tap bit) to make the hole.

Once I ran the tap through and confirmed that the screws would work, I couldn't put off the pockets any longer. Thankfully, once I thought through how best to tackle them, they went on quicker and easier than I thought they would.

For me, the key was to have the car secured on its side and, using my tweezers, I would dip each pocket into a pool of thick CA and then place it on the side of the car.

This is very steady-hand work: you don't want to dip the pocket too far in - just touch the glue. Otherwise, you risk getting it on the tweezers.

I did 3-4 pockets at a time (there's 12 per side), looking at them from different angles to make sure they were straight. Once they were where I wanted them, I touched each of them with a microbrush dipped in CA accelerator, which made for a quick-cure joint.

And there you have it - hopefully the hardest part of this build, done. I decided I'm not going to bother with brake rigging & underbody - I want/need to add a lot of weight to the underframe and besides, the side sills would hide it all anyway.

Next up, need to do some more prototype research and gather some photos (I'm comin' for you, Eric Hansmann). I have to do the grabs and such and the kit is a little light on location information and such.

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