A New Set of Shoes

The Weaver RS-3 has been sitting on the shelf awaiting replacement wheelsets from Northwest Short Line. That arrived while I was out of town and I got started on the installation.


I got as far as removing the drivetrain from the chassis. (That foam cradle is sure coming in handy.)weaveroverall

The next challenge is one I am still wrestling with: getting the sideframes off the bolsters. These trucks have sideframes which hold the wheelsets in via the axle ends so this is a mandatory step as far as I can tell. There is a semi-circular “pivot” projecting into the bolster from the sideframe that one is apparently supposed to “pry gently” to allow the frame to be pulled away from the bolster. I suspect this is old hat to those who have received the lore but it makes me nervous to do experimental prying…

Here is the problem site:weavertruck


I haven’t done much modelling of note in the last two weeks although there has been moments of spiking but I did acquire a used Weaver RS-3, somewhat discounted due to a failure to proceed on the hobby shop test track. I have never owned a Weaver product but this locomotive, decorated for the PRR, looked like a good starting point for a second locomotive. Initial examination showed that it had the correct deck top mounted hand rails and the earliest center town drive. (There were three variants with the third being the two vertical motor “China” drive much derided as having side mounted hand rails and other 3-rail comprises to accuracy.)

This weekend I got around to getting the shell off to see what I had to work with. I also removed the hand rails to preserve them from mishandling. A project box was started to contain all the loose bits because even I can learn if the lesson is sufficiently painful!

Here is what the bottom of the loco looks like with the fuel tank off.RS3drivebottom

This photo also features the debut of my new Micromark foam cradle. I added one to my last order even though I have been reluctant to get one in the past since it is seven dollars for a piece of foam and surely I could make something. That never happened and things have gotten banged up that shouldn’t have so I bit the bullet and got one. It certainly came in handy for getting at the bottom of the loco to unscrew the shell.

I am a rank beginner when it comes to working with loco drive mechanisms but even I could see what was probably the root cause of the drive chain coming off. It looks like the gear on the motor shaft has worked itself away from where it should be.rs3misaligned

I have ordered a set of Proto:48 upgrade wheelsets from NorthWest Short Line. Once I have those in hand, I will consider drive upgrade options. P&D Hobbies sells Weaver upgrade and replacement parts including a kit to convert the drive to the second version with drive towers in the trucks.  Finescale360 also sells drive tower upgrades for the second version so I will have to make enquiries about what the best course is.

Also on the list will be etched brass grills since the shell has solid ones molded in and I want to put speakers in this loco as I did on the SW-8.

Motive Power

In the not too distant future, Comstock Road will have some rails that a locomotive can run on. I have an Atlas SW-8 converted to Proto:48 with drop-in NWSL wheelsets. This unit will be the only loco for the near future although I will probably acquire at least one more of a different class that CN might have plausibly run in Scarborough in the ’70’s.

The before photo reveals a few minor tweaks needed.sw8before

I am neither an experience locomotive detailer nor an expert on CN locomotives so I expect this project to be a learning experience in many ways. I have begun making a list the things that will need to done to produce a plausible CN SW-8. I am looking at photos on sites such as CNR Photos to get an idea of what needs to be done.

  • DCC decoder and sound.
  • Paint (duh) – the yellow paint looks very thick to my inexpert eye. The louvers and hinges may be decently molded under all that paint.
  • Decals – fortunately, the simple paint scheme does not require a special decal set. If I can find CN “wet noodles” in the appropriate size, I am class labels, GS-8a, and unit numbers, 7100 series, away from done.
  • Maybe louvers and hinges depending
  • Spark arrestor – this is probably the most distinctive feature on CN switchers.
  • Headlight/number boards
  • Side handrails – outer ones on stanchions, not ones on the hood. Some holes are going to need to be plugged.
  • Remove MU drop steps
  • Air hose but no MU hoses.
  • Sinclair antenna on the cab roof
  • Horn – seems to vary from unit to unit, will have to pick a specific one. None match the current model one, of course
  • Those bay windows – extended view?
  • Sunshades
  • Flush windows – the Atlas ones are highly inset – there is/was a kit for these
  • Replace all the grabs and handrails with scale sized wire.
  • Windshield wipers

Stretch goals:

  • The roof and cab wall are massively thick compared to the prototype. A replacement cab out of sheet brass would look much better if I can pull it off.
  • Cab interior.

Phew, this might take a while. I will either need to resort to an initial quicky re-paint and do the detailing incrementally, get a second loco to use while this one is all over the shop floor in pieces or be resigned to having an unpainted, partially detailed shop escapee handling the switching chores.