A year ago I bought a K-4880B Pennsylvania Brunswick Ltd 15" Heavyweight 4-PAC. I like it and enjoy it and its short length fits in well with my 14x10 foot layout. But the set does use a good bit of current and there is no interior seating/passengers ... the 4-car set uses silhouettes on all of the side windows.
I opted to reconfigure by upgrading to LED lighting and adding passenger seating and passengers. A month ago, I sought out OGR member advice on buying a ready-made seat kit that would fit right into my K-line passenger cars. No one offered such a ready-made solution and I haven't found one upon further Googling either.
After a couple of weeks of looking at a variety of ways to reconfigure, I opted to:
- Use GRJs ready-made LED lighting regulators via do-it-myself soldering to LED strip lights that I already had plus reuse of the existing quick-disconnect connectors between my passenger car top shell and the chassis.
- Use Scalecitydesigns ready-made 11 inch long Pullman-style seat stock and cut to single 7/8 inch long Pullman seats to install in my passenger cars.
Tried adding a 1/16 inch thick balsa wooden floor on top of 1/8 inch thick strips to mount on the chassis metal floor to cover the 3/16 inch diameter electric wire that runs the length of the car. However, that raised the level of the seat bottoms up to where the 1:50 scale seated passenger heads were up level with the tops of the window openings. Didn’t want that, so compromised and just left the passenger car floors bare and hot glued the seats directly to the metal chassis. The floor and the electrical wire are painted black and obscured from sight by the small car windows … so I think that worked out ok.
A few notes:
- I bought ‘warm’ LED light strips, but when hooked up, they were still too white for my tastes. I opted to dab a couple of coats of Tamiya clear orange acrylic paint on them and am pleased with the warmer appearance as compared to the original whitish look.
- With the addition of the Tamiya orange, I raised the LED regulator to full setting and like that look/brightness.
- First time that I’ve used hot glue … used an inexpensive hot glue gun to set the seats in place and to set the passengers on the seats. Slick … and easy to remove if/when needed.
- Pondered how to facilitate quick disconnect of the passenger car chassis wire harness to/from the car top shell where the LED regulator and LED lights are located. Finally opted to desolder the wire harness used for the incandescent bulbs in the car top shell then resolder its leads to GRJ’s LED AC-DC converter/regulator. That worked out well so I just plug that connector into the existing chassis wiring harness quick disconnect.
- I was able to remove the original silhouette plastic strip from the window openings using an X-Acto knife. For a clear replacement widow, I used 0.005 inch thick Dura-Lar clear film cut to the same size as the silhouette strips and put a couple of dabs of super glue to hold it in place inside the car top shell.
- I opted not to paint the light colored wooden seats as what little bit that shows through the small windows appears ok to my eyes.
Bearing in mind that these K-Line passenger cars were bought inexpensively via E bay, I am satisfied with the process and final appearance of the seating / LED mod of my first modified car. Three to go.
SIDE NOTE: The Observation car that I have has some nice lighting at the rear and two small rear side marker lights (5th photo) that are AC powered via the incandescent ceiling bulb printed circuit board. I don't plan to convert those special light elements to LED ... don't want to screw 'em up. I plan to let that AC incandescent circuit board and wiring harness intact (6th photo) when I add my LED ceiling strip lighting and the GRJ LED regulator. Plan is to tape the LED strip to the printed circuit board just to the side of the incandescent bulbs. Will see how that looks when both LED strip lights and original incandescent bulb strip are powered. May revisit pending outcome. Or may just abort doing the LED strip all together for the Observation car in order to preserve the nice rear end lighting. We'll see.
Some photos of in-progress and final installation follow. The 3rd photos shows one of the original silhouette cars on left and a modified car on the right.