No announcement yet.

On The Workbench...

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • On The Workbench...

    Lately I've been working on several projects for my proto/free lanced Kansas City & Gulf theme. As I waited for a BL2 and an RS-3 to return from the Sound Guy I use for decoder/sound installation, I thought: What next for a pair of engines to be sent for sound?

    Decided on possibly getting my P2K FA1 and FB1m up and going and ready for sound. Now, I have one FA1 in service already, but it's an FA1m that the KC&G's Magnolia Shops re-powered with an EMD prime mover back in the mid-late 1950s. Here's a pic of KC&G FA1m #203 (wearing one of the KC&G's rare simplified schemes, no less):

    Click image for larger version

Name:	kcg_203a.jpg
Views:	146
Size:	154.7 KB
ID:	995686

    At this point, I do not foresee another FA1m (though there are several on the paper roster), instead, my past purchases allowed for a "plain vanilla" FA1 (one of the few left on the KC&G still with its Alco innards). SO, I thought I would bring along the Alco powered FA1, and the EMD powered FB1m. Here's a look at the in-process FB1m:

    Click image for larger version

Name:	KCnG_FB1m.jpg
Views:	124
Size:	120.7 KB
ID:	995687

    And here's the "in process" FA1:

    Click image for larger version

Name:	KCnG_FA1_AlcoPwrd.jpg
Views:	125
Size:	121.2 KB
ID:	995691

    Given I was going to go with this FA1/FB1m as my "next ones", I began the process of disassembling the FA1's mechanism for cracked axle gear replacements and removing the cankered grease and re-lubing. To shorten this phase of this novelette, suffice to say I was very underwhelmed with the running qualities of P2K's FA1 mechanism. The cleaned/lubed trucks rolled awful. (Rolled fine until the side frames were pressed into place, then stiff as a board.) The flywheel's are also lighter than found in the P2K GP7's, and lastly, the motor cogged badly. The end result is that I would probably spend inordinate amounts of time in the fool thing making it run better, and still not be pleased with the results.


    The FA1/FB1m are getting Kato'd.

    I decided to pull one of my surplus Atlas/Kato RS-3's to donate it's innards to power the FA1. However, I soon saw that the Kato RS-3 trucks were NOT going to fit into the available frame space and still have room for coupler boxes. (The RS-3 trucks have a long enclosure for the gears.) Well wouldn't that knock yer hat in the creek.


    Remembering that the Atlas/Kato RS-1 uses different trucks, I pulled out one of those that I had intended to use under the Stewart AS-16 I built some time ago. (Putting an RS-1 mechanism into the Stewart frame was going to be a lot of trouble. It proved to be quicker to find/purchase one of the Kato-powered Stewart Baldwin RS-12/AS-16's as a donor, which I did.)

    You see, the RS-1 trucks and the RS-3 trucks are two totally different animals. Though they look the same when under an engine, the two have completely different configurations for the gears and bolster mounting. The result is the RS-1 trucks are shorter in overall length (needed for the FA1/FB1m) than the RS-3 trucks, as well as being pin-oriented for bolster mounting as opposed to the "bowl" arrangement the RS-3 trucks use.


    After a bunch of grinding using the Dremel with a steel cutting tool mounted... I then had a rolling chassis using Atlas/Kato RS-1 trucks:

    Click image for larger version

Name:	052522_1.jpg
Views:	123
Size:	105.9 KB
ID:	995688

    Modifying the trucks:

    The trucks in the Atlas/Kato RS-1 mechanism has a kingpin atop the truck bolster. Once fitted, I saw that they set way too high (which I expected). This means the underside of the frame bolster will have to be milled about .035" for the frame to sit at a more correct height. To adapt the RS-1 trucks to receive a kingpin from the frame bolster, I had to chisel off the kingpins on the truck bolsters and drill holes thereon. Then locate and drill a hole on the frame bolster for new kingpins.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	052722.jpg
Views:	124
Size:	161.3 KB
ID:	995689

    The frames:

    When I snapped the pic below, one frame still needed to be hogged out with a Dremel. That's was done yesterday morning, and I also needed to drill the new holes in the frame bolsters to later be tapped 2-56 for new kingpins for truck mounting. As of lunch time yesterday, all the Dremel work was finished, the kingpin holes drilled, and the pair of frames are ready to head off to the machine shop come Tuesday morning:

    Click image for larger version

Name:	052822.jpg
Views:	128
Size:	187.8 KB
ID:	995690

    Re-powering a P2K FA/FB frame to receive a Kato mechanism is a whole lot of friggin' trouble and a ton of frustration therewith, but when finished, my crappy running P2K FA/FB's will "run like a Kato"!

    All fer now!


  • #2
    That's an ambitious project, Andre. Kato's are sweet runners, so it'll be worth the effort.

    That's nice bit of weathering you've done on the A unit.

    Flying is the 2nd greatest thrill known to man. Landing is the first.


    • #3
      Originally posted by George_D View Post
      That's an ambitious project, Andre.
      Hi George! Thanks for the input!

      I'm a bit anal about diesel performance. Smooth, slow "prototypical looking" performance is very important to my "immersion" capabilities. Over the decades I've re-powered many locomotives, several with Kato mechanisms. Previous to Kato's entrance into the HO field, I've even went so far as scratch building brass sheet chassis and using Sagami motors.

      I don't intentionally seek to re-power a model, it's more of a "last resort" type thing. Seems lately there's been a rash of such when dealing with some of the P2K engines I've had stockpiled for years.

      Another example: Here's a Kato powered P2K BL2 chassis I completed a few weeks ago...

      Click image for larger version

Name:	042722_6.jpg
Views:	113
Size:	115.2 KB
ID:	995771

      Aside from having to modify the frames and drive shafts, the above was fairly straight forward. I used a Kato-produced mechanism that came out from a Stewart F unit.

      Kato's are sweet runners, so it'll be worth the effort.

      Indeed a Kato is typically a sweet runner. Kato revolutionized the term "performance" for diesel power when Atlas released their Kato-produced RS-3 back in the mid-1980s. It took the other mfg'ers quite a while to catch up. Kato has pretty much been top of the line performance ever since. I also begin to use their mechanisms to re-power "problem" children.

      That's nice bit of weathering you've done on the A unit.
      Thanks much. I built that old thing back in the mid-1990s. It was supposedly built when the KC&G was still a viable concern. (mid-late 1950s). In today's world (I model my KC&G theme set in the autumn of 1964), such is not the case. The bankruptcy/re-organization changed all that.

      KC&G FA1 #203 It started life as an old "Frateschi" FA1. For its time, that model was one of the more prototypical looking FA1's available. However, the Frateschi mechanism was awful. Basically a toggle switch. SO... I gutted it and installed a Kato mechanism from an Atlas/Kato RS-3. Been a great runner ever since.

      When P2K came out with their excellent looking FA1/FB1, it immediately "dated" Frateschi's version... but the little model compares favorably enough beside a P2K that I intend to continue to use it in service on my "Kansas City & Gulf" theme.

      More drivel to follow...



      • #4
        This past Saturday, I received two of my engine projects back from the Sound Guy. (I commission a chap to install and map/program the sound decoders.)

        First I'll discuss the P2K/Kato BL2.

        BL2 #140 has the distinction of being the last remaining BL2 on the KC&G, and has just recently been given "it runs now" release from the Magnolia Shops after those improvising fella's down there pulled it out of the weeds over on the dead line, patched it up with parts from other dead EMD's thereon, and got it running again. It was then sent up to the mountain town of Ozarka to be used as the Ozarka Switcher, as well as available for other duties out of Ozarka as needed.

        Here's #140 at rest down at the Ozarka engine house:

        Click image for larger version

Name:	052922_1.jpg
Views:	124
Size:	83.6 KB
ID:	995775

        FWIW: I threw on just enough details on the BL2 so it wouldn't look so sparse and then put it into service until the time comes for paint.

        That horn as GOT to go. Seems WAY oversize. The thing has really bright head and rear lights, and of course, it sounds great. Oh, and with Kato power, it runs excellent.

        Also in the pair of engines I got back from the sound installation was a yellow box Atlas/Kato RS-3:

        Click image for larger version

Name:	052922_2.jpg
Views:	116
Size:	109.2 KB
ID:	995776

        As you can see, this is one of the few KC&G RS-3's that was equipped with a steam generator. (KC&G's steam generator equipped RS-3's were #267, #268, #269.) Unlike one of its sister engine's (#269), #267 has retained its steam generator. In fact, #267 is occasionally called upon to handle what's left of either the Gulf Coast Flyer or the Mountain Maid.


        Pictures are very telling.

        Just as that photo of BL2 #140 helped me to "see" that the horn is too big on the BL2, so to, I see that horn on #267 is perched way too high.

        SO, next time I'm at the workbench, I need to fit a blooper horn from a Stewart F unit (smaller with finer detail) onto #140. I also need to countersink the hole for the horn on #267 so the stem can sit further down into the roof.

        SO... the above "tell tale" nature of a photo is one the reasons I take pics of my engines!

        All fer now!



        • #5
          Already got the RS-3's high water horn snuggled down. Looks much mo' bettuh!

          Click image for larger version

Name:	053022_1.jpg
Views:	108
Size:	86.5 KB
ID:	995791

          Addressing the BL2's horn issues will take a bit more time. Going to have plug and smooth the existing holes, then re-drill to receive a different horn. Might not do that today.. then again, maybe I will?



          • #6
            Went ahead and fixed the horn issue I had with my BL2. HATED that gargantuan horn P2K used on the nose. I cabbaged onto the smaller (correct for the prototype) P2K supplied horn for the side of the long hood. After filling/smoothing the holes that were cored for the larger horn, and drilling new holes, I mounted it in its place. I used a smaller Stewart F unit horn for the horn on the long hood side.

            I'm far more satisfied with that horn instead of the way oversized one that P2K supplied.

            Here's a pic of the finished result:

            Click image for larger version

Name:	053022_2.jpg
Views:	109
Size:	97.1 KB
ID:	995798



            • #7
              Do you have a paint scheme worked out for your BL2?


              Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin


              • #8
                Hi Mike!

                Nothing final. Typically I use line drawings of the locomotive in question and trace the proposed scheme onto the sides, front, and rear. If I like what I'm seeing I then mock it up using cut masking tape. If that passes muster, then it's time to create accurate and symmetrical (for any radii) templates to use for tracing to tape and cutting the final tape masks.

                The BL2 will be in one of the KC&G schemes using KC&G's "Gulf Coast Blue" and "Mountain Mist Gray" colors.

                I've decided to talk about my roster a bit over in my "Meet The KC&G" thread. So, I'm off to create that post.



                • #9
                  Wow! excellent "on the workbench" builds here brother! I love the nice pictorial here with the awesome workmanship! The weathering you have going on with several engines is really cool! I'm digging these builds.

                  I rebuilt a couple of Alco brass FA1's and FB2's in the past to smooth runner statis, so I feel your pain brother. Looking forward to seeing your next posts.
                  Thanx Thom...


                  • #10
                    Hi 'ya Tom!

                    Thanks for the kind words!

                    Ah yes: Brass. Look great. Runs awful. (Typically.)

                    Way back in about 1970, I got all enthused after being onboard with a crew an entire shift on a Frisco switch job (night trick) that used a Baldwin VO1000. As soon as I could get to the local hobby shop, I purchased a Hallmark bras VO1000 that I had seen there. All excited, once home with it I sat it on the track...

                    Looked great... ran awful!

                    It sat unused in the box for about two decades. However, when Kato supplied the running gear for the Con Cor NW2, (early 1990s) I had my answer: Re-power it with a Kato drive! That I did, and of course... once finished it ran like a Kato!

                    All fer now!



                    • #11
                      That's some great work. Sorry I haven't commented earlier but I'm glad I saw your thread. I'm impressed by your complete drivetrain swaps when many modellers would only swap the motor.


                      • #12
                        Hi Glen!

                        Glad you found it!

                        I seem to have migrated to my "Meet The KC&G" thread (in the "Mid-Scale" forum) for my ramblings. Buried therein is another post about a re-power project. I'll re-post it here for posterity's sake:

                        Still got my head down an' diggin' taters.

                        Just finished my first P2K FA/FB chassis re-powered with a Kato drive. Tight fit... kind of like tryin' to pound 10 lbs of sand into 5 lb bucket, but I got 'er done.

                        LOTS of little piddly stuff to trim/file/adjust in order to get that Kato RS-1 mechanism into that small frame. (And that's with Kato's RS-1 that uses their smallest Kato AAR-B truck!)

                        Wanted to retain the control stand thingie along with my modified (de-hatted his China-hat) P2K engineer, but it's so tight I had to do some surgery on the engineer to get him to sit like I wanted. Shame 'bout his leg.

                        Click image for larger version  Name:	061122_1.jpg Views:	43 Size:	86.0 KB ID:	997107

                        The end results hunkers down on the frame right nice an' proper.

                        Click image for larger version  Name:	061122_2.jpg Views:	41 Size:	118.6 KB ID:	997108

                        Of course, it runs like a Kato!