No announcement yet.

I want to build a brass loco.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • I want to build a brass loco.

    Does anyone know of any instructional material out there for learning to build brass locos? Or is that a grab the bull by the horns and fly by the seat of your pants thing?

    ( I'm not scared by that, but would rather learn from OTHERS mistakes!)

  • #2

    I looked into this myself a while back, there have been a couple series of articles in the model railroad magazines. Check the index at model railroader magazine Kalmbach also published a book on detailing steam engines that reproduced part of one of these series.

    One thing I found out is that it's NOT cheap to build locos yourself, you'll end up spending a lot of money on detail parts, wheels, etc. I looked into it because I wanted a particular engine that's not available commercially. There are old brass models on ebay sometimes, and I found that building one would cost more than buying the brass import.


    • #3
      Our Modular Club has a good library with MR dating back to the 30's and 40's . The old mags had lots of articles on this sort of thing ...seems like a bit of a lost art these days . Since I like working with brass ( On30 loco tutorial ) I've been ' Googling ' the last few days for Brass Forums ,brass modelling , articles and such . I would suggest you check out Google for some info .



      • #4

        I purchased some Model Railroader magazines a while back on eBay.

        One issue from October 1982 has an article by Gorden Odegard on handcrafting A USRA Mikado in brass.

        I only have the first article as this was to be a series.

        The article talks about tools needed, finding drive wheels, gears and gearing, motors, frame design and more.

        The next article in the series was to start the actual construction.

        If you want the magazine PM me your address and I will send it to you.

        It is a 6 page article and looks well written but of course 1982 was a long time ago and things have changed.
        <img src="" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.


        • #5
          In terms of building the chassis for brass locos I have found the book "Locomotive Kit Chassis Construction in 4mm [scale]" by Iain Rice an excellent book.

          It deals with British prototype locos and 4mm scale (OO scale) but everything is applicable to HO scale. Although it is titled Kit Construction the book covers bringing kit chassis up to the standard that one would expect from a competition winning scratchbuilt model and seeing as everything is written in terms of generalisms rather than dealing with specific kits as is generally the case with books and articles written in the Model Railroader Magazine it is a lot more helpful.

          It runs to 160 pages and covers topics such as:

          fundementals of real loco chassis

          the correction of bad kit chassis

          chassis construction techniques and tools you can make that are usefull

          dealling with the construction and springing (both vertically and laterally) of pony trucks and bogies

          adding compensation to lococ chassis (possibly the best idea in the whole world to aid reliability of electrical pickup and track holding)

          wheeling up and quartering (without the aid of a feindishly expensive quartering jig)

          building cylinders and valve gear

          selecting motors and gear boxes with different ways of orientating and mounting these to get the most satisfactory appearance

          making pickups, testing the hassis and trouble shooting

          and finally detailing and painting the finished chassis

          All great fun and quality information.

          The best source for wheels is the UK, where there are many more people engaged in scratch building locos, and most kits are not supplied with wheels. Alan Gibson offers a multitude of different wheel sizes, spoke numbers and spoke designs - but I'm getting ahead of myself what scale do you work in?

          The Model Railroader ran a series from October 1997 by Stephen Anderson on how to build a HO brass NYC F12e 4-6-0 which was alright but the chassis was very basic and technically questionable (the motor was in the cab and drove the front powered axle so the drive shaft was visible when the loco was on the tracks) and in common with a growing number of MR articles was rathr specific to making that exact model and of less use if you wanted something different.

          Whew. I think i'll shut up now.



          • #6

            Originally posted by HotShot

            Does anyone know of any instructional material out there for learning to build brass locos?

            I have Gorden Odegard on handcrafting A USRA Mikado in brass and Stephen Anderson on how to build a HO brass NYC F12e 4-6-0 if you want them.
            Rod Hutchinson

            Growing Old Disgracefully



            • #7
              I have found, in scratchbuilding seven steam locomotives, that one must consider the flanges on HO drivers are larger than those of the prototype, and allowance must be made for that in calculating driver-centers for bearings. If you plan to add brake hangers between the drivers, additional space will also be required. Too, in constructing the steam chest, it should be slightly over the prototype dimension, as the side-rods and Main rod are thicker, proportionally, than the prototype. Model Railroader magazine in the 1950's had several articles on building steam locos; Odegard's article was the "last gasp" on brass loco scratchbuilding. I posted some pictures of my locos some time ago; they may still be in archives. I would be happy to offer other suggestions, if you contact me by Email.


              • #8
                Here are the links to the photos of Wallace's scratchbuilt locos:




                • #9
                  Thanks for all of the input fellas.

                  Jeez, I think I may be getting ahead of myself for the moment.

                  I think I had better look into a kit and get a little experience

                  under my belt before I take the big step.

                  Maybe look for a mech. and build a cab and boiler on top of it.

                  Thanks again for your replys.