(RhB) Kk-w Niederbord Engineering Wagon (Upgrading the LGB Model)

Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#1
So with the P10135 now finished, and myself having recently had extra time free up, I decided I needed a new project to focus on. Not something as intense at the Sersa HIAB car, or the Xk 9089 (which is still waiting on the final parts from Germany to finish that one up), but still in keeping with the theme of a more fine scale approach to the RhB, and if possible, maintenance themed as well.

As luck would have it, browsing eBay last week I ran across an LGB set of RhB low board (niederbord) wagons #49090. These Kk-w cars are fairly common, and this set was just a tad under the going rate so I grabbed them not thinking much about what I do with them once in hand. Truth is, as produced they are bit too “old fashioned” for my tastes, as my focus on the RhB is as modern as possible, or at least from the 2010’s or so forward.

Well, the postman brought a nice brown parcel today and after a bit of unboxing, I decided I needed to come up with a cunning plan!

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I turned to both haribu.ch and railpix-ch.startbilder.de for inspiration and possible prototype candidates. Boy was I not disappointed!

Turns out that while the Kk-w series certainly has been around for a while, some not only got the beloved maintenance yellow paint scheme, but several cars were even shifted to dienstwagen service (and still in use today)!

Candidates include Xk9029, Xk9360, Xk9370, as well as the later years of Kk-w's 7319, 7331, 7341, and 7337.

A few visual aids:

From Haribu:

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From Railpix-CH:

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Right, so with more than enough prototypes to shoot for, my next step was to get the ol’ scale rule out and my copy of Schweers + Wall volume 2 and see just how far off the mark LGB was with this one! Surprise, surprise, after double checking, the LGB Kk-w as manufactured is very close to prototypical length! In fact, had LGB modeled the correct, longer RhB buffers on the end versus the short squat angular ones it comes with, I dare say the model might be dead on!

Next was wheel base. After a bit of maths I determined that while the car is correct length, the wheel base is wrong. Oddly, the wheels are not symmetrically situated under the frame. One axle is further in from the end frame than the other. After a bit of planning, and I think I know how I’ll address this in the “rebuild.”

After that, just visually checking the LGB model to reference photos and I think there is a quasi-finescale model in her just waiting to be unleashed! ;)

So, step one, tear the sucker apart!

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For those of you that might be following along at home, this first step simply required a screw driver and some elbow grease. All I’m really doing is separating out all the individual parts of the car so I can reuse, respray, or both when it comes time to rebuild.

Next step will be major surgery on the frame. I’ll haul out my Xacto saw on the weekend and with any luck, I’ll have an update for you Monday!

Cheers,
Josh
 
Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#2
So with a little free time before dinner I sat down and tried to flush out my game plan for the frame. I started by laying out the car’s disassembled parts.

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Based on the dimensions in the Schweers + Wall book, the axles on the stock chassis are a tad under a half an inch too far apart. Leaving the non-platform end of the car’s axle as the fixed location, my goal is to shift the platform end axle half an inch towards the other, narrowing the space between them.

Studying the model, I plan is to start by sawing off the platform-end end plate. Then I’ll take the remaining distance from the end to the axle (a), and measure that same distance on the opposite side of the axle and add the half inch of extra distance I need to cover (a+b) and cut again. Then it’s simply a matter of flipping the piece 180˚.

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This should shift the forward axle back, and the Niederbord box should cover the splice and patch underneath it.
I’ll have to build a new platform, but I was going to anyway as the LGB one was too narrow.

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At least, that’s the plan!
We shall see.
 
mike

mike

Moderator
Staff member
GSC Moderator
24 Oct 2009
49,188
3,222
Rossendale
www.lazygrangebay.co.uk
#3
So with a little free time before dinner I sat down and tried to flush out my game plan for the frame. I started by laying out the car’s disassembled parts.

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Based on the dimensions in the Schweers + Wall book, the axles on the stock chassis are a tad under a half an inch too far apart. Leaving the non-platform end of the car’s axle as the fixed location, my goal is to shift the platform end axle half an inch towards the other, narrowing the space between them.

Studying the model, I plan is to start by sawing off the platform-end end plate. Then I’ll take the remaining distance from the end to the axle (a), and measure that same distance on the opposite side of the axle and add the half inch of extra distance I need to cover (a+b) and cut again. Then it’s simply a matter of flipping the piece 180˚.

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This should shift the forward axle back, and the Niederbord box should cover the splice and patch underneath it.
I’ll have to build a new platform, but I was going to anyway as the LGB one was too narrow.

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At least, that’s the plan!
We shall see.
Realy looking forward to seeing it progress ..
 
Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#4
Well, as they say, the first cut is always the hardest!
(Just a quick prayer to the railroad gods, and the Xacto got to work!)

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Truth is, the above was all of a two minute job, and thanks to the cut being flush against the car end, it was simple smooth.

With one down, time for the second!
This time, the maths came in to play.

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Sure looks like the cunning plan works. Now just to check it against the car body…

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And bingo! Next I’ll set about splicing and reinforcing the chopped frame.

But first, while I had the parts accessible, I went ahead and sawed off the opposite end's rectangular buffer.

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Easy!

Frist I dug out the old box of scrap Platruct, and found a few bits of angle. Trimmed them clean.

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Then glued them to the platform end.

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(Note: the drilled holes are from the test fit of the body. The Niederbord body’s ends have removable wall sections, and as such have guides that “slide” into the deck or car ends to secure them. The holes were needed to allow the guides to penetrate the floor. They don’t need to be pretty as they’ll be covered before the model is finished!)


Once dried, I then glued the Plastruct to the second half of the frame. Using the inside of the molded LGB frame I was able to get a nice, true surface to affix the angle to.

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Finally, I flipped the sections over and again using bits from the scrap box, added a splice plat on the top side that will end up being hidden as it will be sandwiched between the frame and the Niederbord body.

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Next up, it’s time to focus on rebuilding the end platform.

Cheers,
Josh
 
Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#5
Next I attacked the platform.

I started by laying out some long styrene square tube that will ultimately be mounted under the car body and form the full length car frame. Using these as a guide while simply resting on the under body, I was able to then cut-to-fit styrene sheet. From there it was just a matter of adding a some shims to make the platform’s perimeter flush with the LGB stock frame, and the liberal application of glue!

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I also took a moment to drill out the "B end" of the car’s frame. This is where the angular buffer was sawed off earlier. Rather than using the buffers that came with the car, I’ve scrounged a pair of RhB round buffers from a parted-out LGB van.

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I then turned my attention to lower frame (the square styrene tube).

I laid the tubes in place and then trimmed them to fit the newly mounted platform.

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I then added small brackets at the ends to help provide further surface area to glue these to the existing LGB frame.
(It’s important to mount these to the frame, rather than the underside of the Niederbord box - as they will be painted separate colors. Ultimately, all of this will glue together in the end, but to aid in construction now, it needs to be built in separate pieces.)

I also added a section of angle styrene that was mounted to the underside of the car body that serves as a guide to keep the frame tubes snug against the LGB molded hinges on the outside of the car body. Otherwise, the styrene bows inwards and ruins the illusion that the frame is connected to the car sides.

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Quick test fit to see how it looks.

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More to come.
Josh
 
Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#6
With the frame glued, I still needed to fabricate the car end and attach it to the frame.

I started by trimming a piece of thicker styrene sheet to the correct dimensions (I copied those of the "B end” end-plate that is still stock LGB), and then I glued that to a section of angle stock to assist in mounting the end plate to the frame. I also added a smaller section of sheet to simulate the buffer mounting plate.

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Next I cut some pieces of square styrene tube to mount to the end plate to provide guides for the the car body end walls.

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After these pieces dried, I glued the assembly to the frame.

While waiting for the car’s main assemblies to dry and cure, I turned my attention to the underbody details. The stock piece from LGB leaves a bit to be desired. Their air tank looks more like the shadow of a treasure chest, than anything that would be functional under a rail car!

To start, I cut the “tank” off of the single, molded part LGB provides.

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Next I trimmed and sanded the part clean, ensuring that it sits flush.

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I then took thin strips of styrene and glued them to the “barrel” to help give the piece some shape, and add just a little bit of detail underneath.
(Studying photos, it appears some of the Kk-w’s have reservoirs with 5 bands around them, others with 3. Given this is going to live in shadow and mainly out of view, I figured that three band treatment was enough!)

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And then once the piece was dry, I hit it with some black primer.

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Up next - the first round of primer!

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Once dry, I'll do a test fit just to see how everything looks - photos to come!
 
Last edited:
Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#8
Right, so - test fit time!

A couple of notes here:
  • This is all primer - I suspect the yellow will deepen as will the grey on the frame.
  • Still need to sand down some splotchy bits on the body
  • Currently, other than the new bits of styrene, everything you see is original minus the buffers (LGB from a goods van) and the wheels (LGB solid metal vs. spoked)
  • I still need to install and pipe the underbody, as well as add a few details parts.
  • The journals are likely incorrect. Kk-ws did have this style, but they were upgraded along the way to a more modern, round journal box. I did consider (and may still do) cutting and replacing them, but for now, I wanted an easy build.

I’ve (temporarily) added back on the grab irons, end wall hasps, and replaced the wheels - just to see how this is looking.

Next step is a trip to the model shop this weekend to pick up wood to re-deck/over-deck the faux wood on the model.

Additionally, I need to fabricate a new brake stand and brake wheel, new steps and supports, and install brake lines. (The LGB brake staffs are all wrong, so I need to find new ones from a donor. I can order from Germany, but that will takes weeks if not a month and if this build proves anything thus far, it’s that I’m an impatient person!)

I also need to decide if I’m going to try and fill/sand the pillar arm holes in the side walls, or simple fabricate new, finer-scale pillars.


First look:

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Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#9
So back at it!

Today I made some more progress on the Kk-w upgrades. Still waiting for paint to come in that is holding up the body/box from progressing, but I figured I might be able to get the frame finished up while I wait.

So to start, I attacked the brake lines. As I need to drill out mounting points on both car ends for the hoses, and until I do that, I won’t be able to finish painting (and sealing) the frame, this has become a major hurdle.

My challenge is that the hoses that came with the LGB original are just super wrong for the RhB. LGB does make an appropriate hose, but it’s rather hard to come by as a spare. I dug around in my parts box and came up with a series of hoses that were originally intended to mount at both the top and bottom to a car body. With a little experimentation, I was able to cut away the lower mounting tabs, and then hold the hose over a candle, reshaping the profile to something more appropriate for the RhB.

This photo shows the stock LGB hose next to the style I used (left) and the before and after of the candle experiment (right)

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With all four hoses reshaped, I was able to drill and test fit them to the car ends.

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The other bit that still needed to be addressed on the chassis was the brake wheel and brake staff receiver. These cars (after their rebuilds) were designed to function with both a traditional brake staff mounted to the platform end railings, and when large loads necessitated it, to run with no railings at all. As such a side mounted brake wheel was added so that with or without a brake staff present on the platform, there was always a brake wheel. LGB does make this little bit on some of its latest, and more detailed, RhB cars, but a spare is almost impossible to find - so I fashioned one from scraps. I hacked up a toy train coupling and added some styrene rod and square tube and presto!

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Next I turned my attention to the under frame.

I needed to add a shim to level the rebuilt tank. I also cut up the reservoir’s frame to fit around the remaining chassis to better position it under the car. It’s not 100% correct for this style of RhB wagon, but when viewed from the side and/or above it’s pretty convincing. (Also, it’s worlds better than the disaster the stock LGB positioning is.)

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Time to head to the paint shop again! The frame got a second spray to blend in the new parts, while a small group of detail bits were painted individually so they will match when applied after the major car assemblies are glued together.

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NOTE: unlike previous builds, I am still using the Testors Spray Paint Grey Primer, but for this car I have gone back over the model with a wash of Testors Spray Paint Flat Dark Aircraft Grey #1226 as this better matches the RhB’s grey on this car series.


After a bit of cure time, I brought the car back inside and unwrapped the masked bits and resembled the car for a test fit. You’ll see in the following photos that I was able to blend the brake lines into the car body with paint, while leaving the “hoses” themselves masked so they remained black. (In my opinion, this is one of those details that takes just a few extra mins when preparing to repaint a car, but is worth it’s weight in gold. It's one of the easiest ways to help elevate an LGB car from “toy” to “model.”)

As you can see I also began gluing in the underbody appliances.

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Overall, it’s starting to feel pretty good. I still need to spray a round of dull cote and seal the frame. As soon as that’s done I can glue in the buffers on either end and hopefully after that the new paint for the body will have arrived so I can try and finish out the car. With any luck, she may be ready to roll sometime this weekend!

Cheers,
Josh
 
Henri

Henri

refuses to grow up
6 May 2016
1,186
991
51
Hoeksche Waard - Netherlands
#10
I love these step-by-step articles!! Thanks for sharing, very inspiring! The gray for the chassis is very nice!

What do you do with the moulded in pivot point for the bogie? It doesn't fit anymore now you've relocated one of them?

And what kinda glue do you use to glue the chassis?
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
13,371
2,939
70
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
#11
With the frame glued, I still needed to fabricate the car end and attach it to the frame.

I started by trimming a piece of thicker styrene sheet to the correct dimensions (I copied those of the "B end” end-plate that is still stock LGB), and then I glued that to a section of angle stock to assist in mounting the end plate to the frame. I also added a smaller section of sheet to simulate the buffer mounting plate.

proxy.php?image=https%3A%2F%2Fpreview.ibb.co%2FhCgXK8%2FPlatform1.jpg&hash=7dd72e05dc0a4f488cda74758e3156ea


Next I cut some pieces of square styrene tube to mount to the end plate to provide guides for the the car body end walls.

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After these pieces dried, I glued the assembly to the frame.

While waiting for the car’s main assemblies to dry and cure, I turned my attention to the underbody details. The stock piece from LGB leaves a bit to be desired. Their air tank looks more like the shadow of a treasure chest, than anything that would be functional under a rail car!

To start, I cut the “tank” off of the single, molded part LGB provides.

proxy.php?image=https%3A%2F%2Fpreview.ibb.co%2Fn5h6e8%2F1.jpg&hash=eac4b7c4d30adc5fd54c6e6312770365


Next I trimmed and sanded the part clean, ensuring that it sits flush.

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I then took thin strips of styrene and glued them to the “barrel” to help give the piece some shape, and add just a little bit of detail underneath.
(Studying photos, it appears some of the Kk-w’s have reservoirs with 5 bands around them, others with 3. Given this is going to live in shadow and mainly out of view, I figured that three band treatment was enough!)

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And then once the piece was dry, I hit it with some black primer.

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Up next - the first round of primer!

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Once dry, I'll do a test fit just to see how everything looks - photos to come!
Great to see some serious bashing, cutting and modifying. A real Modeller bites the bullet to get what he wants. Superb
 
Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#12
What do you do with the moulded in pivot point for the bogie? It doesn't fit anymore now you've relocated one of them?

And what kinda glue do you use to glue the chassis?

Hi Henri

Good question on the pivot point. So the last photo upstream is misleading (my bad) - I placed the chassis on the body/box, but in that photo, the frame is 180˚ backwards. The body is actually symmetrical, but since I shifted the wheel base, the frame is now asymmetrical and only fits one way on the body.

As to the pivot point, I simply drill out the molded horn until it's flush to the surrounding area. I then just clean any flash with a blade. Because I'm still using the stock LGB frame that immediately surrounds the single axle bogie, the bogie is captured forward/reverse and side to side. The bogie is also sandwiched between the frame and the body's underside as standard on the car from the factory.

This is the third car I've modified like this, and in my experience the missing pivot is negligible to performance. The most I've noticed is the bogie "hunting" a mm or two more than usual.

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As to the glue - I use cyanoacrylate (CA).

I like ZAP brand CA - I mainly use Thin and occasionally Gap Filling versions on the body. I find the key is ensuring there is a clean surface area. If a part is already painted or primed, I will try and sand down the area before gluing. For delicate parts, or subassemblies that need to cure faster so they can be included in a larger piece, I use a spray accelerator. Right now I'm using Insta-Set spray.

(One note on the accelerator - don't rely solely on bonds made with CA and accelerator. CA alone, with ample time to set is pretty strong. While the accelerator is great for speeding up the building process, it tends to make the bond more brittle.)
 
Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#13
Thought I'd share a test-fit photo taken this morning.

With the frame dry, I was able to add the car-order "hasps" (a pair of spare parts from LGB I picked up in a model shop's bargin bin).

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I think the grey is pretty good.
And the relocation of under frame appliances certainly help the profile of the car (more RhB-ish!).

When it clears up outside, I'll get a spray of dullcote on the frame and affix the buffers, and that should just about finish off the frame.
 
Henri

Henri

refuses to grow up
6 May 2016
1,186
991
51
Hoeksche Waard - Netherlands
#14
Ah I wonderen myself if you could do without the pivot point. The boogies are indeed enclosed on all sides.

Does the glue soften the plastic? I havent tried glueing LGB chassis plastic yet, hence my question. Tried to glue a coupling hook once but the glue used didt work on that plastic.
 
P

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
1,993
654
55
Royston
#15
Nice descriptive narrative Parkdesigner and a great build. It must take a lot of courage to attack a wagon like that
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
13,371
2,939
70
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
#16
Ah I wonderen myself if you could do without the pivot point. The boogies are indeed enclosed on all sides.

Does the glue soften the plastic? I havent tried glueing LGB chassis plastic yet, hence my question. Tried to glue a coupling hook once but the glue used didt work on that plastic.
Not sure that any glue will fix a Coupling Hook Henri. If you need to repair one then a piece of wire fused in with a Soldering Iron will work ok. Do it in a well ventilated place though.
 
Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#18
Agreed with Jon. I wouldn't expect a glue would hold up long term for a coupler.

I do use CA on LGB chassis to bond detail parts and styrene to it - but whenever possible, I also add (or reuse) a screw so that I get the mechanical attachment. If you absolutely have to use only glue on a chassis without mounting hardware - I would try to reinforce with additional strip styrene or similar where possible.

So far (touch wood) I've not had glue deform LGB parts. I did have some BMS (Accucraft 16mm) stock soften when using CA, but that's another story!
 
Parkdesigner

Parkdesigner

Registered
25 Oct 2009
72
107
Los Angeles, CA
#19
So - paint arrived, and I also made a quick run to the hobby shop to pick up more dullcote, so today was a good surge forward.


To start, I took the frame out and gave her a nice wash of dullcoate.
I also gave the interior box veneers a wash of The Army Painter Spray Primer Desert Yellow.

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Then turned my attention to the wheels.

Appropriating the solid wheels from the donor LGB van, I used a micro brush and some masking tape to add the safety markings to the tyres.

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While that was drying I started on an extra detail I decided to include last night.

Along the frame on either side, there are five eyelets/mounting rings that allow tie-down of large loads. I figured these would be a nice detail to add to the car, so I set about finding suitable scaled parts.

A quick wander in the jewelry aisle of the local craft store turned up “eye pins.” I took the package home (on sale no less!) and trimmed the pins to fit the frame.

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Once dry, I brought the frame back in and using my pin vice, drilled small through-holes to mount the cut-down eyelets in.

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I then glued in the eyelets and LGB buffers. I also installed S-Kuplix, bogies and wheels, and put the whole thing together!

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And with that, the frame is finished!


I also gave the body/box another spray of yellow this afternoon. (And then just had to see another test fit!)

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Left to do for this build:
  • Final yellow paint on the body
  • Dullcote the body
  • Mask Von/Nach black box areas and paint
  • Add above-the-frame details
  • Cut, seal, and install wood decking in the body/box and on the platform
  • Dullcote and install interior wall styrene veneers
  • Source decals
At this point the deck is going to be the most tedious part so I expect this build to run until at least the end of the weekend. That said, I think I may have to start thinking about what’s next!