I was assuming that the bands were removable like Roundhouse ones that have nut and bolt joiners under the boiler.Add removable bands to which the hand rails are mounted? The removable bands could rest on top of the real bands with gravity, and/or could be mounted to the walking plates on the sides.
If you can it is best to go with the Boiler curve, bending over it if you can. Then put the bends it towards the cab after you have got the curve to your satisfaction. Needles to say leave sufficient either side i]of the bend to get to the cab then cut those both off. But that is all best done with softer material. You can harden it after bending.A little of an aside but it is handrail related.
How do you judge exactly where and by how much to bend the rail?
The smokebox curve and especially the returns along the sides of the boiler are the areas which have put me off attempting it on several occasions.
I used "hypodermic tubing" from Amazon (snagged some 36" lengths for $3. Must have been a fire sale. However, it is only $10 per 60", and I'm sure you can find a source locally.) The hypodermic is steel and will not snag. An added advantage is that you can run wire in it for the headlight!If you had some hi-tensile steel for the hand rail, couldn't you locate one end in the smokebox and the other in the cab?
The nature of the steel means it shouldn't sag along its length and the non-load bearing intermediate brackets could be attached to the bands by glue or whatever. Just a thought. And yes, the loco looks brilliant!
Why do you need to bend it? It usually runs straight from the cab to the front of the smokebox. I've only ever had one loco with a curve.How do you judge exactly where and by how much to bend the rail?
Hm I think with respect that you may need to look at some more pictures. Yes few with curves running from front to round the Smokebox, but many curved down at the front to the footplate and some with a circle round the Smokebox so certainly options requiring curved metal handrails.A USA loco would not have the curve along the front over the smokebox door.