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Made some more progress this weekend on my Lehigh Valley Baldwin VO-1000 3RS project.  Pilot shims and Kadees are now installed.  I also replaced the missing rear coupler cut lever and brackets with the scratch-built ones I showed in my earlier post (above).

I got really lucky on the coupler pockets.  Something told me to try one of Mario's GP7/9 pockets (ordered from Shapeways a while back for a future project) just to see if it would be close to the right size.  I was thinking maybe it would work with some modifications.  As it turned out, it fit like a glove in the existing pilot opening...not a bit of filing or filling needed!!

I also added pilot grab irons and a lantern-hanging bracket on the front grill per the prototype.

Next up will be my first attempt at making and installing full-length handrails, and installing pilot brake lines/air hoses/glad hands.

Here are some progress photos.  It looks like crap right now with all the green putty and bare metal, but she'll clean up nicely with some LV Cornell red!!



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Last edited by CNJ #1601
suzukovich posted:
CNJ #1601 posted


Nice work. I have used Lionel gp 7/9 mounts on several different MTH engines with little or no mods and all at the correct height.  His revamped mounts are a perfect fit on The MTH SD24, GP30, GP35 and the SD40 mount with a shim worked great on the Lionel U30C. Used an Atlas GP35 mount in a Atlas SD40 and was also a perfect fit.

Suzukovich, I've been following all your threads and posts on this subject, and that's what gave me the idea to try the GP7/9 coupler mount on my thank you!!

CNJ #1601 posted:
suzukovich posted:
CNJ #1601 posted


Nice work. I have used Lionel gp 7/9 mounts on several different MTH engines with little or no mods and all at the correct height.  His revamped mounts are a perfect fit on The MTH SD24, GP30, GP35 and the SD40 mount with a shim worked great on the Lionel U30C. Used an Atlas GP35 mount in a Atlas SD40 and was also a perfect fit.

Suzukovich, I've been following all your threads and posts on this subject, and that's what gave me the idea to try the GP7/9 coupler mount on my thank you!!

Thanks. I glad I helped in some way. The reality Mario puts out some great stuff. Which is a good place to start.   Kadee just put out an Long draft gear box. Looks very similar to what Mario did a while back. Finally started on my back log today and finished up my Atlas CB&Q GP35s. I will finish up the RS11s after installs on CB&Q GP7/9s and GN GP30s. That what happens when you take a break from things. I might have some pics tomorrow.

Thanks for sharing, Suzukovich.  I've noticed that you don't add pilot spacers to most (or all) of your 3RS conversions to give the appearance of "fixed" pilots.  Any particular reason, or just personal preference?  I'm guessing it has something to do with maintaining the ability of your locomotives to negotiate tighter curves.

Last edited by CNJ #1601

Well, after many "practice" attempts and quite a bit of music wire (good thing it's inexpensive!), I've managed to make a complete set of full-length handrails for my project loco.  This was my first try at forming/bending handrails.  I even made the tiny "brackets" to mount the railings to the front of the pilots.  Here are some photos of the results...



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Last edited by CNJ #1601

Nice, piano wire. Out of box solution.

  To answer your other question, Originally I was running Atlas 081 curves. Swapped them out for 090. The issue was the curves especially into the sidings of the yard and only so much room to work with. So that's why I went the route I did and didn't fix all the pilots.  New planed layout will give me more room to work with and allow for trains to run into the yard rather then now they are backed in. Current plan is to start fixing the pilots on the GPs , U25/30  and SD24. When I did the install, I did it in a way that all I have left to do is put the inserts in and the pilots are fixed. When engines are on flat surface the gaps are hardly noticeable. I don't like the look of the long shank couplers. Its just about working within my limitations.  It sucks but it is what it is.  Layout buld has been pushed back due to my truck restoration. 6500.00 and counting. Hopefully when it come out of the shop all that will be left is cosmetics. Front end rebuild/Drivetrain and wiring issues have been costly.


Though not entirely sold on Kadees due to remote uncoupling issues related to freight operations, I thought that my recent conversion of an MTH camelback to Kadees might be of interest to someone else out there in O-Gaugeland.  Not having found any posts regarding the subject, I had to invent my own method and would be happy to share the particulars with anyone interested.


The conversion is quite simple, if you don’t have to invent it.  Only basic hand tools are required, plus a Moto Tool, one or two Dremel cutting bits and a bench type drill press to act a milling machine.

Note to SIRT: Intent on modelling the Staten Island Rapid Transit of 1945, freight and passenger, I will remain loyal to “The Claw” for good and valid reasons.  However, upon learning that SIRT steam era passenger equipment (pre-1925) used Janney narrow gauge couplers, I decided that “The Claw” is just too crude for use on period equipment.  This particularly since I am putting considerable effort into replicating some of it, thanks to the Ed Bommer's terrific article in OST #43.  With this inspiration, I’m even considering butchery of a Labelle kit.  Prayers requested, in advance.

Note to MTH: Ppppuhleeeze, Mike, give us another camelback… electro-couplers, fore and aft, would be a nice touch.  The tooling for this CNJ knockoff must be plumb wore out, by now, and there are those of us out here who yearn for other wheel arrangements and road prototypes.  The success of the CNJ version, evidenced by it's many reissues over the years, proves that there is a camelback market.


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K-line F3s: new Lionel fixed pilot, Kadees, and walthers diaphragms.


Atlas Milwaukee Road Erie Builts: (before and after) remove lobster claw and install fixed pilot with coupler door and body mounted ladder steps.


Lionel scale GLA Hoppers: (before and after)  Kadee couplers


Video on how I installed Kadees on the GLA Hoppers.



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It's been over two weeks since I've had time to work on my VO-1000 switcher project; however, with a brutal cold snap reminding us that it's still winter here in New England, I stayed inside last evening and all day today and got back to work.

Last evening I installed the pilot brake lines & hoses and primed everything for final painting.  Today I did some final sanding and then painted the pilots, steps, handrails, couplers and hoses.  About all that's left to do is to apply one more coat of Safety Yellow to the handrails...and weathering, of course!

Here are the latest progress photos...

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After final painting:IMG_2171IMG_2168IMG_2165IMG_2167


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Another brutally cold weekend up here in New England so I had time to weather the MTH Lehigh Valley Baldwin switcher that I recently 3RS'd.  The project is now completed.  

It was only my 2nd try at building fixed pilots.  A lot of trial & error, quite a bit of time and a little bit of frustration...but a LOT learned along the way!  Hope it gets easier (and I get better!!) with a few more under my belt.

So here we go.  LV #135 went from this...


To this...



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 Joe that came out great. Modifying the handrails really makes a difference as well as the more pronounced added grab irons. Your right about making the spacer. Lot's of trial and error. I have one more engine to do. I just picked up another RS1. A NYC. Almost thinking of bringing a master to a local CNC machine shop and seeing what it would cost to make a batch of them out of aluminum. My earlier efforts are good enough to get the job done. But could have been better around the step area. The other thing is. The NYC has stripes applied to the chassis and the pilot. When the spacer is placed between them. Not sure how it's going to look or how to fix it just yet.

Dave C. & Malcolm, thanks for the compliments!

Dave, I like your aluminum least until Mario gets around to designing pilot spacers for EVERY engine on the market...LOL!!  Making them out of plastic stock would be fairly simple if it weren't for those dreaded (and very delicate!) fingers or wings that form the top of the steps!

I can see where the pilot stripes on your NYC RS1 will present a challenge.  How are your masking/painting skills?  Re-painting/re-striping the entire pilot may be the best way to go.

Malcolm, I have that LV book too!  A matching LV caboose to go with my "new" engine is next up on my 3-rail scale "to-do" list.  In fact I already started on it yesterday.

 Joe, with the spacer in place. I'd probably have to paint the spacer white. Then add the black. The thing is. I'm not even sure the stripes on the chassis and the pilot would even form a continuous straight line. I'm thinking of painting over the white lines on the chassis and just going with the stripes on the pilot. Thinking that may look better than a sloppy paint job or a break in the lines. The only other option is decals. If they make them for that application.

 Yes the aluminum is some work. One mistake and an hours work goes in the trash. A friend who is into model planes had a large aluminum sheet in one of his kits with parts cut into it. You just broke them free and cleaned them up with a file. The same format I think would work doing this. The aluminum works great at least on the RS1. Drill 4 holes and tap 2 of them. Do these correctly and at least it will work. All the filing and trimming is basically to make it look good and access the body mount screws. It's a fairly popular engine and there may be some interest in doing a small run. I found a local shop that does the design work as well as the machining. Looking at a dummy now that I hope can be bought cheap. For nothing else than to present the idea to them with a blank chassis so they can see the end result of the work.

Next up for 3RS'ing is an MTH Premier Lehigh Valley "Northeast-style" caboose to match my recently-completed Baldwin VO-1000 switcher.  I started this project yesterday, and as you can see in the photos below, have made some good progress already.

The car has been completely disassembled, the underside has been painted (Rust-Oleum Camo Brown), the "claw" couplers have been removed from the truck assemblies and the Kadees have been installed. 

This is a fairly recent MTH offering, so it came with Kadee mounting "studs" molded into the underside of the car body and end platform/step assemblies.  All I had to do is add the appropriate number of spacers (I use the ones from MicroMark) to achieve the correct coupler height.  Next up is installation of some brake line hoses, and then weathering of course!



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Last edited by CNJ #1601

Joe nice work on the LV VO1000. Love the weathering job. Looks like most of the pics in my LV books. Great work!

 Here's my latest contribution, just weathered this MTH Chessie gon, went light with it because of the shop date of 10/79. I base my weathering off of those numbers for the most part tho it doesn't always hold true. The load is handmade concrete wire remesh rolls. Just used some window screen material and banded them with 2 single strands of copper wire. I'm pretty thrilled with how it came out. 





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Ben Snyder posted:

Knocked out another one today, this time my first try at a tank car.


Nice, Ben!  How difficult was it to mount the Kadees onto the tank car's frame?  Maybe you can take a photo of the underside so we can see how you mounted them?

Thanks for the complements on my Baldwin switcher project.  Much appreciated!  And nice job on the Chessie gon and wire remesh rolls, too!  Glad that you're contributing to this thread.

Thanks for the compliments Joe. The tank cars aren't too hard. I actually think the newer ones with the mounts are more difficult if that makes sense. Here's what I did to these cars, I have 7 MTH tankers done this way. Only one has broken so far but in all fairness I was being a bit rough with the train.


I made a shim from sheet plastic that was as big as the area in the frame that is hollow. Scrape the paint from the frame and cement the shim to the frame, don't forget to angle the edges of the shim at the end to match the frame.  Thick epoxy or gel super glue works too. 


After the glue is dry I just drilled and tapped the shim itself as it's plenty thick. Then paint the assembly to match. Later weathering hides all this anyway. Here's another view of the weathered ELCOR car.


When you have the whole car dissambled it's also a good time to paint the ridiculous silver railings, they look so much better black. 

I'll keep posting in this thread as long as it's here as it's a much more focused thread for those of us who model this way. I'm glad you started it.





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