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Locomotive build number one: SD-50F in CN livery.

Progress to date.

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After reading Astotrain64's comment on Thursday, I deviated from the instruction sheet and did a soap water bath for the shell completed up to that point and parts yet to be attached. Through the tooth brush scrubbing, a couple of the etched pieces did come off requiring some repair work after everything dried.

The instructions did list this as step #21 followed by cleaning with alcohol. I think the reason this step is listed so late into the build (just before applying paint) occurred to me after continuing. Most people are lazy at heart so they only want to do things once (if at all). If the cleansing process was the first step, most people would assume the parts are clean. With the amount of handling I have done since the bath (and I'm far from completion to the paint stage), I am transferring skin oils onto the project. This would hinder the paint taking properly. I will still follow step #21 when I get there to avoid this issue.

I have come across a couple of issues with the instructions. Step #6 is to drill out all the #80 holes for the grab irons, handrails and lift rings (lift rings not included), but does not show where all these locations are. I didn't have any lift rings at the time so I did not drill out these holes. They are not indicated on the shell. Most of the drill locations do have very small dimples to indicate locations so this is unusual.

The next step is to install all the grab irons, which I did. Except for one on the nose top that I have since found the dimples for. After referring to the photo's I'm using as a guide which showed this particular grab iron. I have found reference photos are critical as the instructions do have a few gaps in them. At no point is there reference to the installation of the handrails except the front and rear deck mounted ones which are supplied as an etched metal part. The handrails beside the doors at least have the drill location dimples indicated but have to be fabricated. The nose to stair mounted and rear hood to stair mounted handrails have no dimples. No where in the instructions does it say to fabricate these hand rails nor does it say when to install them. These hand rails are formed using .010" brass wire which fits into a #80 hole nicely.

So what have I completed since my last blog entry? Thought you'd never ask. The grab irons are done, including the one I missed on the top of the nose. The radiator fan screens, the intake fan screen, exhaust grill and dustbin grill are mounted. The radiator grills were formed with the included jig and worked well for me. These were also installed but I just had the right side come off from the handling while doing hand rail fabrication. I'll reattach after I finish the handling.

MU hoses are attached and I used the snow plow from the donor shell to finish off the pilot. The classification light etched pieces are also glued in place. I have fabricated the nose mounted hand rails along with the 2 sets of hand rails for the cab doors. They show up nicely in the attached photos. The sinclair and EOT antennas are mounted. The kit comes with spares for these 2 components which is fortunate. The first EOT antenna is somewhere in the house.

The intake grills in the Draper Taper behind the cab was something I had to refer to the photos and determine proper locations. The instructions are a bit vague for this step. The Draper Taper accent pieces above the grills are applied after the grills and do need to be trimmed to fit. I trimmed a little bit too much off so I have a slight gap on both sides. The CA has also caused me a few issues in a couple of areas which will probably become evident when I do the painting. The Micro Scale Liquid Decal has been very good in securing some of the really fine details such as the antennas.

I still need to fabricate the rear hand rails, apply the deck rail assemblies, drill and install the lift rings I picked up last night along with sun shades, winterization hatch with details, the bell, jack blocks (which I have lost one), rear light housing, horn, and the ditch lights. Then I'll be ready for painting. Then comes the windows and fiber optics for the lighting. I'm thinking of scratch building a cab detail to hide the fiber optics going from the board to the nose lights through the cab. But it is only in the maybe column right now.

Just to qualify the final product, this is my first attempt at doing an engine. My previous experience was a couple of Intermountain rolling stock kits before this. A box car and a grain hopper. Those did not fully prepare me for this challenge but so far I am happy with the progress outcome.

That's it for today.
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Comments

  1. astrotrain64's Avatar
    Your progress has inspired me to consider joining you on this journey. I have yet to open the boxes on my SD50Fs but seeing your progress has made me consider it. I just know I have several work projects coming down the road and, before you can have a hobby, you need to have some money. I appreciate the detailed discussion of assembly. It will make it easier for other (including myself) to get better results in the future.

    I do have a contact who has a lot of experience with this kind of kit. I will see if he is willing to share his experience with you.
  2. Silent1961's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by astrotrain64
    Your progress has inspired me to consider joining you on this journey. I have yet to open the boxes on my SD50Fs but seeing your progress has made me consider it. I just know I have several work projects coming down the road and, before you can have a hobby, you need to have some money. I appreciate the detailed discussion of assembly. It will make it easier for other (including myself) to get better results in the future.

    I do have a contact who has a lot of experience with this kind of kit. I will see if he is willing to share his experience with you.
    Thank you very much for your kind words. Surprisingly I am enjoying the project. I was discussing some of the frustrations involved in dealing with the very small detail pieces with a co-worker. The response I got was "and you do this hobby to relax?". I can't say I relax doing this but I have a better understanding of how complex N scale actually is to create instead of just "run" out of the box stuff and complain about this or that little detail being wrong.

    I've always wanted to do some detail work on my locomotives but always put it off for fear of botching the job and destroying an otherwise good piece of hardware for the layout. Now I feel like I missed the boat in regards to enjoying the hobby more fully and wished I started this sooner. The next projects I have lined up will seem easy in comparison to this as they are not as extensive in nature.

    My hope is that some others that have been putting off something similar, or afraid to add on just a detail, may be inspired by this blog. And by my capturing the challenges experienced by a novice as they happen can help someone avoid a pitfall or two. In the end, I'll have at least a static display for the engine house or the engine shop on the layout which I can say I created with my own hands. Or I might have a slave engine for a consist when I'm done which will be prototypical of something I saw in action years ago. It provides me with an opportunity to try out some new techniques and experiment with things such as applying SMD's for ditch lights but not jeopardize an existing loco. When all is said and done, I'm having fun!