Skip to main content

On some engines I will see a detail part placed in the wrong spot (eg, bell above the smokebox when it should be on the boiler) for a given roadname. In other cases I would like to add a detail (eg, grabirons) to help the model better represent the prototype. In some cases I likely would also want to remove details not present as well.

Is it possible to cleanly pull off a detail part from a locomotive without leaving behind an eyesore? Or is it just better to leave well-enough alone? Edit: forgot to ask if there is an ideal means of adding extra details - any recommended glues? I have heard of people using epoxy to put damaged pieces back together, wondering if I could use it in a similar fashion here. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by 0-Gauge CJ
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

It takes practice, but with a Dremel tool, a healthy dose of patience, a good selection of soldering irons, and not worrying about making mistakes you can fix just about anything on a die-cast or brass locomotive.  I used to heavily modify HO locomotives when I was younger to match prototypes I was seeing in photos. 

I currently have a Weaver brass 3 rail G1 Pacific that I want to modify into an early CNJ Pacific and convert to two rail.  The only thing outside of my skill level is turning the wheels on a lathe to convert them to two rail.  The rest is just as you suggest.  Moving a headlight, changing out a few appliances, and a decent paint job.

I enjoy this kind of work, but my full time work has me too busy these days to actually dive in.  Should you decide to go for it, best of luck to you!!!

On an all brass model you would need a soldering iron but better to have a resistance soldering tool if the part is on the boiler. All depends how large it is that will determine how much heat you need. Then you might be left with a hole you have to fill somehow. Similarly a brass part on a diecast boiler is likely epoxied on and will leave a hole. Some areas you might get away with just a touch up brush, others might need a complete respray.


I used a small torch on a Weaver boiler and it worked great until I got it too hot and a lot of details fell off, so be careful with the heat.  I haven't started putting it back together yet, but I'm going to try a 120 watt soldering iron and hope that works.

For diecast boilers (like Lionel) do you just file if off then carefully patch the hole?  The dome I want to remove is cast in, but if I remove it there will be a large hole in the top of the boiler.

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.