Discovering the Possibilities of Etched Brass Part 4 – With Sound

A few weeks ago I shared with you the etched brass Additions for my EMD DD35 kit, which you can find here.  This week I wanted to share with you some more work-in-progress pictures, this time with the etched brass Additions for my Baldwin DT6-6-2000 kit as shown below.

DT6-6-2000 Additions Set

Below is a photo of a DT6-6-2000 using the stock 3D printed handrails.  An interesting point was raised recently by a fellow modeller who also adds a lot of custom etched brass details to his British OO locomotives and rolling stock.  He said that he has stopped putting the details on all of his stock that he takes to shows because after a few trips the brass details start to get damaged through handling so he is limiting it to just the stock he keeps at home.  Because of points like this the 3D printed hand rails will still be provided with the kits should you wish to use them.   DT6-6-2000 Finished 8 As with the DD35 Additions kit the DT6-6-2000’s handrails can cut out of the brass plate with a sharp craft knife and simply glued into place.  Below are some work-in-progress shots taken by Brian Stewart of one of his DT6-6-2000s, the brass stands out well against his black paint work.

DT6-6-2000 WIP(Brian Stewart) 3 DT6-6-2000 WIP(Brian Stewart) 2 DT6-6-2000 WIP(Brian Stewart) 1

The other DT6-6-2000 shell in the background will be the two tone green Baldwin demonstrator engine.  Brian painted the handrails after he installed them as shown below finishing the locomotive ready for use.

DT6-6-2000 WIP(Brian Stewart) 6 DT6-6-2000 WIP(Brian Stewart) 5

The difference between the 3D printed and etched brass handrails is very noticeable and looks very realistic.

These etched brass Additions are made from 8 thou brass and are very thin, this makes them very flexible and also very easy to bend and misshapen by accident.  Now that I and others have had a good chance to work with them I think that the next sets of brass etched Additions, which will be for the Baldwin RT624, will be made from 10 thou brass and the handrails will be about 0.2mm wider.  This doesn’t sound a lot but it will add more rigidity to the handrails without losing the realistic look they achieve.

When working with very thin etched brass details there are a few things that you can do to bolster them.  A simple method is to add several layers of paint, this will round off the brass giving it a thicker look but will not add any strength, plus it may also cover up small etched details.  Another option is to strengthen the rails by adding solder.  Solder takes very well to brass and is the prefered method of joining brass kits together.  The trick with details like handrails is to coat the rear surface of the handrail with flux.  Then when the hot solder is added to the handrail it will run out over the flux evenly thickening up the brass.  This adds a lot of strength to the handrail but can be tricky to do.  Another option also using solder is to dip the parts in a solder bath, then all the surfaces get an even thin coat of solder which greatly increases the strength.  However by simply making my future etched brass Additions out of thicker brass will solve the issue.

Sometimes having kinks in the handrails can be desirable if you want to make your model look used and tired.  On one of Bob Norris’ DT6-6-2000s he has used a mixture of rust colored paints making the handrails look like they have been soaking up too much of the California sea air.  I particularly like the patterned neckerchief on Burt the driver.

DT6-6-2000 Rusty Rails

DT6-6-2000 Driver

This particular unit also come with sound.  Bob has fitted a Digitrax SDN144A0 DCC sound decoder which is a ‘drop in’ decoder for the donor chassis, an Atlas C-628.  The only changes Bob made was to lengthen the LEDs and change the speaker for a ‘Sugar Cube’ speaker made by Zimo.  This speaker is only 12mm long, 8mm wide and 8mm tall and fits nicely on the chassis where the C-628 cab would have been.  The speaker is much louder than the stock speaker and here is a short video so you can hear it for yourself.

I still have some DT6-6-2000 etched brass Additions left so if you require some for your 3D printed shells please drop me a message using the Contact page.

This coming weekend I will be at the Bearwood Groups running meet with the Poole & District Model Railway Society’s N-trak layout so I will have some photos and videos to share with you from the day and if you are in the area it would be nice to see you.