O Scale UP Water Tenders for the Excursion Trains

Back in December last year I shared with you my designs and 3D prints for a pair of O Scale Union Pacific Water Tenders for the excursion trains. You can find the post here.

In this week’s post, I wanted to show you how the finished tenders came out and tell you where you can get them.

The computer models for these tenders, as shown below, are based on the HO version of this tender I had previously released.  The main differences being that the handrails are part of the main body and details such as the ladders and steps have been thinned to make them look more realistic.

UP Water Tender 2007-Present O

The trucks and chassis were also not 3D printed this time, unlike the N scale and HO Scale kits, but came from Lionel.  They are spare parts for their Union Pacific Water Tenders: you can find the parts here. The reason for doing this is explained in the December post.

O Scale Tender - Lionel Chassis

The kit, as shown below, has everything required from the chassis up to complete the tender.O Scale Tender - KitOnce all the parts had been cleaned up, in the photo below, they were ready for spraying.

O Scale Tenders Cleaned

The first coat was done with Pollyscale’s (Floquil) UP Armor Yellow paint.  These paints are perfect for spraying 3D printed models made for Shapeways’ Frosted Detail and Frosted Ultra materials as it’s an acrylic paint.  Enamel paints do not dry properly when applied directly to the material and some other brands of acrylic paints don’t spray so well.  Sadly this paint is no longer available.  Straight out of the bottle it was a bit too yellow so for the second coat I added a spot of red into the paint which brought the right amount of orange tint to the color.O Scale Tenders Spay 1

Once dry the yellow areas were masked off and the remainder of the tenders were sprayed with UP Harbour Mist Gray also made by Pollyscale.O Scale Tenders Spay 3

Then, with the mask removed the tenders were ready for decals, well almost.  I had a bit of gray bleed through onto the yellow which had to be brushed out.  This was because a section of the mask had lifted. The trick with spraying is 95% of the time should be spent in preparation, the actual spraying part is really quick.

O Scale Tenders Spay 5

The trucks that come with the Lionel chassis are black so I stripped the parts down, then sprayed them with a basic silver.  Again I used acrylic paint but as all these parts are metal I could have used an enamel paint.

O Scale Tenders Spary 7

I regularly like to do test fits as I go to check things are okay, and below you can see the assembled bodes and chassis with some of the detail parts laid out in front.

O Scale Tenders Spary 6

The yellow in the picture above still looks way too yellow for UP colors but this is a bit of an optical illusion due to the lights I have in my work room.  Also once the red decals are applied it will greatly change the look of the color.

The next stage was to apply the decals.  The lettering and flags where again supplied by Circusdecals, the red lining decals I made myself.  The flag on the sides of Jim Adams is just about the same shape as the flag plate which is provided with the kit.  This plate is very thin and I recommend gluing it to the tender before you apply the decal as decal setting solution will cause the plate to bend if unsupported. Wet slide decals also like flat surfaces to adhere to and these tenders are covered in rivets.  Cutting out the decals as small as you can and then test placing them on the model is a good idea.  If there is still a rivet detail under the decal I recommend carefully cutting that one-off with a sharp craft knife to create a flat surface.

O Scale Tenders Decal 1

I find taking pictures as I go also helps me check what I am doing. In the picture below you can see I had just finished setting the PACIFIC as the side of the tender is still wet.  Looking at the photo I noticed I had the O in UNION rotated by 90°. As the O decal had not been down long I was able to lift it off and rotate it.

O Scale Tenders Decal 2

Once all the decals had dried I sprayed the tender with Testors Dullcote.  This seals the decals to the tender.  The last stage was to glue on the final details such as the tool boxes, ladders, cut levers and brake wheels.  The cut levers and brake wheels were also spare parts ordered from Lionel.  Below is an image taken halfway though this step.  The tender in the background is a HO model.

O Scale Tenders Details 1

Once complete the last thing to do was fit them to the chassis and take some photos.

O Scale Tender Shells Finished 1 O Scale Tender Shells Finished 2 O Scale Tender Shells Finished 3 O Scale Tender Shells Finished 4 O Scale Tender Shells Finished 5 O Scale Tender Shells Finished 6 O Scale Tender Shells Finished 7

And finally all three size tenders together;  N, HO and O.O Scale Tender Shells Finished 8

The O Scale tenders are available in two kits and in both FD and FUD materials from Shapeways.

Jim Adams

Joe Jordan & Jim Adams

The chassis and parts are available from Lionel here.

The decals are available on request from Circusdecals.

The price for Ready-To-Run models are available on request, please contact me through the contact page.

The new owner of the two O Scale tenders has promised some pictures and maybe some video of them running on his layout with big steam and I will share those with you in a later post.  But for now there are more photos of this pair in the gallery.

In next week’s post I will bring you some photos and videos from my visit to the Southampton Model Railway exhibition which was held at Barton Peverill college in Eastleigh.

A Baldwin RT-624 for the Pennsylvania Railroad in XHD

Towards the end of last year I shared with you my designs for a Baldwin RT-624 for the Pennsylvania Railroad, you can find the post here.  In the post I said that the RT-624 would be the first of my kits to be available in the XHD material.  In this post I want to show you how some of the XHD parts came out.

XHD stands for Extreme High Definition and is a term 3D Systems use for their 16 micron layer thickness setting on their Projet 3D printers. The majority of my 3D printed parts are printed by Shapeways in their Frosted Ultra Detail material.  FUD is also printed on a Projet machine at a 29 micron layer thickness, 3D Systems call this UHD or Ultra High Definition.  With 3D printing layer thickness, the lower the number the better the quality of the print.  But that does come at a price, with a smaller layer thickness the 3D model will take longer to print.

My first order of XHD prints was for four RT-624 kits as shown below.  The shell in the middle is a Shapeways print in their FUD material and the shell on the left has a set of  brass Additions train phone antenna test fitted in the roof.  The four XHD shells are shown here as delivered from the printers.

RT-624 XHD First Print 1

The first thing you notice is that the XHD prints are blue, whereas up untill now all my prints have been white. They are not blue because they were printed at a 16 micron layer thickness but because they were printed in a different material.  Shapeways use 3D Systems’ VisiJet® M3 Crystal material for the FUD prints but my 3D printer in London uses 3D Systems’ VisiJet® M3 Procast material.  The main difference, apart from being blue, is that the Procast is designed for lost wax jewelry casting and is perfect for very small details.  It is still as permanent as the Crystal but it has a slightly lower tensile strength and higher tensile modulus, which means that it is just that little bit more flexible and therefore less brittle.

The main question is how much better is the 16 micron layer thickness compared to the 29 micron?  I must point out that the FUD shell used for this comparison has not been cleaned as thoroughly as normal; it still needs some of the powdery residue cleaning off.  Below are the kits in both layer thickness. Initially they look pretty much the same.  The Shapeways FUD model has all the detail, everything fits perfectly and it has been used to make some fantastic models, please see the RT-624 Gallery here.

RT-624 FUD Kit RT-624 XHD Kit

It’s only when you get very close that you can start to see any differences. Looking at the two images below the roof of the locomotive is curved and in the FUD the curve is not quite as smooth as in the XHD.

RT-624 FUD First Print 1 RT-624 XHD First Print 2

Orientation also plays a big part in how well a 3D print comes out.  The top of the print will always be the best finish and any area that comes into contact with the support material also runs the risk of a slightly rougher finish.  These XHD prints were printed as if they were sat on the locomotive chassis.  This is the most expensive way of doing it because, just as if you were printing an upside down bath tub, the whole of the locomotive shell had to be filled with support material to print the top.  The benefit of this is that all the detail on the top comes out very clearly.  In the photo below you can see the lifting brackets and bolts around the exhaust stack are crisply printed. The details are still printed on the FUD model and are just as visible but they are just a little bit fuzzy. Don’t forget these details are tiny, the lifting ring is only about 1mm (0.039″) wide.

RT-624 XHD First Print 3

With smaller parts such as the fuel tanks, as you can see in the image below, it is very hard to see the difference between the FUD and the XHD prints.

RT-624 XHD First Print 4

With the trucks the two differences I could see were firstly that the XHD had a better definition on the tiny springs cast into the frame, and secondly the FUD has a better overall look. Both printers have heads that move over the print and the higher the definition, the more any offset calibration will show up in the print as vertical lines. So although the XHD print has better detail, the lower definition FUD print doesn’t show these vertical lines. Both prints show the horizontal lines made by layering the material as they print and the XHD layers are much smaller, but it has the added vertical lines from the moving print head.

RT-624 FUD First Print 3 RT-624 XHD First Print 6

Again with details like the cab interiors and horns it is very hard to tell the difference between XHD and FUD as you can see below.

RT-624 XHD First Print 7

RT-624 XHD First Print 8

Another advantage with specifying the XHD orientation is the quality around the sides is uniform, that is to say it is the same on all four sides.  Sometimes with the FUD prints one side can be rougher than all the others if it was on the bottom next to the print tray.

As with the FUD prints the XHD has to be cleaned to remove the waxy material left over from the print process.  Below is a shot showing a FUD print, an XHD print in the middle and a cleaned XHD print on the left.

RT-624 XHD First Print 9

The cleaning process has taken some of the blue colour out of the print, here are some more shots of the model after it has been cleaned.

RT-624 XHD First Print 10 RT-624 XHD First Print 11 RT-624 XHD First Print 12

As you can see in the photo above the XHD can still suffer from roughness under overhanging details, and as with the FUD this area will need a little scrub.  I find a toothbrush does this nicely.

So all in all is the XHD print better than the FUD? Well, I think it comes down to personal preference as well as your budget.  Currently the XHD prints are about three to three and a half times the price of the FUD prints. The really fine detail is sharper on the XHD but once painted the difference may not be so clear.  The XHD has the advantage of having a uniform finish on the sides but it can still suffer from rough areas which come into contact with support material and under overhangs. The calibration of the particular print machine can affect the quality of the 16 micron print head, causing vertical lines.  It may also depend what you want to use the 3D printed shell for; on smaller, more personal layouts where you are closer to your trains it is important to have as much crisp detail as possible, whereas on larger layouts when you are at least a few feet away from the trains such small detail may not really be visible.  RT-624 XHD First Print 13

I think the detail on the XHD prints is superb, and I’m really excited that 3D printing is able to offer such high definition, particularly for us N-scale modelers. However, in my particular layout the cost of these prints is a little high compared to the FUD which is still a very good print. I anticipate that this level of XHD printing will become more viable to mid-budget modelers like myself in the future. If you have the budget, I would recommend these XHD prints.

If you would like any of my products printed in XHD please contact me through the contacts page and I can give a quote.

In next week’s post I will be sharing with you the finished O scale UP excursion train tenders and letting you know how to get them.

A Dummy Chassis For an Atlas C-628 or C-630 Shell Part 3

This weekend I was at the Gosport American Model Railroad Group’s running meet and we set up several layouts including most of our N scale modular layout, Solent Summit. This gave me the perfect opportunity to test out my new 3D printed chassis and trucks for my spare Atlas C-628 shells.

The new chassis, as pictured below, has been designed to fit under either a C-628 or C-630 shell made by Atlas.  I now have a few of these spare as the powered chassis have been used for my 3D printed Baldwin DT6-6-2000 and RT-624 (DT6-6-2400) shells.

Alco C-628 Dummy Chassis Render 6


I also designed the chassis so it could be used as a simple dummy without any working light or electrics. Alternatively it could be used with custom power pickups to supply the original lighting board or maybe a sound decoder.  The power pickups, as shown below, are axle wipers and are made from 1mm wide phosphor bronze strips. They fit into the groves and guides printed into the underside of the trucks.

Alco C-628 Dummy Chassis Render 10


In addition to the axle wipers a circuit board mount has been 3D printed to hold the original circuit board in the correct place.  This are the white parts you can see in the first two photos above and they fix into the chassis using sprung hooks.  There are holes in the chassis at the hook locations so the parts can be removed by pushing the hooks from the other side with a small screwdriver.

The chassis shown above is the third version I have developed.  For the first I used parts that I had already drawn for another dummy chassis but this put the bolster pin, which is the swivel point of the truck, in the wrong location. This meant as the chassis tried to negotiate corners the trucks swung out too far and fouled on parts of the shell which hang down beside the trucks.

The second version was reconfigured to put the bolster pin in the correct place but although the trucks now rotate correctly the brake pistons, protruding from the cylinders on the side of the trucks, were ever-so-slightly too long. These also fouled on the hanging parts of the shell on tight corners.

With the third version all the issues have been fixed and below is a trio of Alco C-628 locomotives. Two of them are dummys; can you tell which ones?

Alco C-628 Trio - x2 Dummys

The Southern Pacific Loco, No 7102 on the left is a dummy, but what about the other two?

Alco C-628 Monon Pair - x1 Dummy

The Monon locomotive on the right is the dummy. The only visible difference is the colour of the trucks; I painted the dummy trucks with a silver instead of a gray, but with a light weathering on both of them they will become almost identical.

The SP Loco No 7102 is fitted with the circuit board mount and the original circuit board.  Our N Scale layout, Solent Summit, is a DCC (Digital Command Control) layout and as such the track is powered with 16v AC.  This means that both front and rear lights on the dummy locomotive will be on at the same time as shown below.  On a DC (Direct Current) layout the lights will only come on in the direction of travel as normal.  The Monon locomotive behind SP 7102 is fitted with a DCC decoder and is currently set to the forward direction with the lights on.

Alco C-628 SP Dummys With Lights 1 Alco C-628 SP Dummys With Lights 2

For most of the day I only ran the pair of Monon C-628 locomotives with the powered locomotive in front and the dummy behind.  Below is a short video of the pair running through Priddys Yard, past Ted’s Farm and into Solent Summit station.  As you can see the dummy unit has no issues with the curves or drag though the couplings from the train.  The slight hesitation is due to a short elsewhere on the layout, the dummy loco was not phased by the jolt.

In Solent Summit the pair did some switching, and here you can see the dummy being propelled through the crossovers without any issues.

Here is another short video of the train leaving Solent Summit.

This dummy locomotive is ideal for mid train helpers, rear pusher service or for simply adding to your locomotive roster by saving your spare C-628 or C-630 shells.

Alco C-628 Monon Pair - x1 Dummy 2

The dummy chassis kit for the Atlas C-628/C-630 is available here.

The Circuit Board Mount kit is available here.

Alco C-628 Trio - x2 Dummys 2

A small bit of trivia:  The Monon Railroad ran through the state of Indiana before it was incorporated in CSX Railroad.  The Monon line actually passed through a town called Gosport at Gosport Junction so running them at the Gosport American Model Railroad Group’s running meet seemed very appropriate, even if it was in the UK.

In a future post I will share with you some videos of dummy units working as mid train helpers & rear pusher on much longer trains.

Happy New Year and a Look Back at 2014

Happy New Year!

For this week’s post, being the first post in 2015, I thought I would take a look back over the 3D printed and brass products from last year.

The year started with the completion of my N Scale EMD DD35 locomotives as pictured below with a U50 and GP38.

DD35s and U50

The kits were released in both powered and dummy versions, the powered unit uses a modified Bachmann DD40AX chassis, below is a before and after photo of the first modified chassis.

DDD35 & DD4AX Chassis

Further development of the chassis led to the central corridor also being cut out, as shown below, to match the corridor connection in the 3D printed shell.

DD35 Chasssis Mk2

This greatly improved the realistic look of the locomotive. Below is SP no. 9902.

SP DD35 9902 8

The final improvement to the DD35 kit was the introduction of my etched Brass Additions for this locomotive.  This composed of a full set of etched brass handrails, as shown below.

DD35 Additions Set

EMD DD35 With Brass Etched Additions 5

The first run of DD35 brass Additions were made from 8 thou brass and although they were made to exact scale sizes this did make them a little hard to work with.  The later sets of brass are made from 10 thou brass and look even better as well as being easier to handle.

Both versions of the DD35 can be found here, and an instruction sheet showing how to modify the DDA40X chassis can also be found here.  I have 10 thou sets of brass Additions available for this locomotive so if you would like a set please get in touch through the contacts page.

DD35 & Friends 4

To make use of the spare Bachmann DDA40X shells that were left over from the DD35 builds I also released a DDA40X dummy chassis.

DD40AX Dummy 2

The chassis kit includes trucks, bolster pins and the main chassis section.

DD40AX Shell 4

It was designed to clip into the Bachmann shell and to utilize the spare fuel tank which clipped on to the new chassis.  This particular model also received axle wipes to collect power for the circuit board.  Below is a video of the dummy DDA40X running on the back of a coal drag with working lights.  Note the DD35 running as the third powered locomotive.

The DDA40X dummy chassis kit is available here.

My next kit to be released was my N Scale Union Pacific Excursion train water tenders.

UP Water Tender 4 (Mark Peterson)

(Modeling & Photos By Mark Peterson)

These were made available in the post 2007 rebuild configuration as shown above, then in the pre-rebuilt configuration as shown below.  Both kits include the main shell, chassis, trucks, ladders, headlights, tool boxes and bolster pins.

UP Water Tender 6 (Mark Peterson)

(Modeling & Photos By Mark Peterson)

In each configuration there are two body styles; with the rebuilt tenders this is simply the inclusion of flag plates on one of the tenders, whereas with the pre rebuilt set the piping configuration is different, as with the prototype and shown below.  The tender on the right has more piping on the roof.UP Water Tender 7 (Mark Peterson)

(Modeling & Photos By Mark Peterson)

Later in the year I also released the rebuilt tenders in HO Scale, as shown below.  As HO is lot bigger I was able to add a little bit more detail. The HO kit comes with all the same parts as the N scale ones, just bigger.

BR HO Modular Group With UP Tender - NMRA 2014 20

This then led to even bigger things; O Scale!  Below are all three scales together.

O Scale Tender - Comparison 4

O Scale Tender - Comparison 5

The O Scale kits are almost ready and will be available very soon and the N scale and HO Scale kits can be found here.

As well as big projects last year I also did several small detail items.  The first was my steel dog house kit to be used to add detail to steam tenders.

Steel Dog House 1

This design is for the dog houses used by the Norfolk and Western on their Y6b locomotive tenders as shown below.

Dog House 1

The dog house kits can be found here and are available in different quantities.

The next big project was another N scale diesel locomotive, this time a Baldwin DT6-6-2000.

DT6-6-2000 Gallery

This kit is designed to drop onto an Atlas C-628/C-630 chassis without any modifications required, except for rotating the trucks. The kit includes the main shell, handrails, engine crew with cab interiors and replacement truck side frames as shown below.

DT6-6-2000 Test Print 6

Although this locomotive was designed on the configuration used by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, some modelers have done their own thing with it.

MNF1204 By Jeff King - 2

MNF1204 By Jeff King - 1

(Modeling & Photos by Jeff King)

This kit is also offered with a set of Brass Additions which include handrails and sun shades as shown below.  This set was also first offered in 8 thou brass and has since been upgraded to 10 thou brass giving a better look and feel.

DT6-6-2000 Additions Set

Below is a work in progress photo by Brian Stewart showing the brass handrails prior to painting.

DT6-6-2000 WIP(Brian Stewart) 1

This locomotive was also further developed by Baldwin into the RT-624 or DT6-6-2400.  The new locomotive was predominantly purchased by the Pennsylvania Railroad and not to disappoint my East Coast modeling friends I also further developed the kit as shown below.

Baldwin RT-624 Kit

There were lots of small changes made to the model but a few of the bigger ones included the addition of a replacement fuel tank, new style trucks and the extra brass Additions, particularly the famous Penssy Train Phone Antenna.  The brass etched details for this kit are made from 12 thou brass and look fantastic.  Below is a work-in-progress shot of Chris Broughton RT-624 with the brass parts added.

PPR RT-624 (Chris Broughton) 2And here is Chris’ finished locomotive.

RT-624 Button

PRR RT-624 8355(Chris Broughton) 2

The N Scale DT6-6-2000 can be found here and the RT-624 can be found here.  Brass Additions for both locomotives can be ordered directly from me, please contact me through the contact page.

I also made some replacement parts for damaged locomotives last year, the first was a new drive shaft for one of my MRC/Roundhouse 2-8-0 steamers.

Sierra 2-8-0 No 28

The replacement part consisted of a new drive shaft directly replacing the original, which had been lost at an exhibition.

MDC Drive Shafts

This also led to a replacement drive shaft kit for the N Scale Atlas 4-4-0.

Atlas Drive Shaft Button

This replacement kit also contained the connecting parts at either end of the drive shaft as shown below.  These were the parts which had split on this particular locomotive.

Atlas 4-4-0 3D Printed Drive Shaft - Clened

Both kits worked well and allowed me to repair my two broken steam engines.  The MRC/Roundhouse 2-8-0 replacement drive shaft can be found here, the Atlas 4-4-0 drive shaft repair kit can be found here.

Another replacement part was for my N Scale Rowa/MRC Y6b steam locomotives.  As standard these don’t have a working front coupling or pilot and I wanted to double head mine so I released a replacement front pilot which could be fitted with either a Z or an N Scale Micro-Trains coupling.

Rowa Y6B Pilot Test Fit 1

Rowa Y6b Finished Pilot N 2

The kit makes the front pilot totally functional without affecting its cornering abilities.  Below is a short video of a pair of Y6B double heading round a very tight curve.

Both the Z Scale and N Scale coupler versions of the N Scale Y6b replacement pilot can be found here.

Last year I also released some other coupling replacement parts, firstly came my fixed link couplings.

Fixed Coupling 1

These are designed to replace Rapido style couplings but leaving the rolling stock permanently coupled together as shown below.

Fixed Couplings

This is particularly useful for locomotives which are permanently consisted together such as the set of three Con-Cor E7s pictured bellow.  They all share one DCC decoder and have wires running through the corridor connections. To ensure they don’t come uncoupled and pull on the wires I have installed my fixed link couplings.


E7 Coupling 2

The fixed link couplings are available in a variety of lengths and quantities and can be found here.  If you require a different length or quantity please contact me though the contact page and I will be happy to add them to my shop.

The second replacement coupling was aimed more at the British N Gauge trains and is a short replacement Rapido coupling designed to reduce the distance between coaches to make them appear more realistic.  Below you can see two sets of N Scale Graham Farish HST coaches; the near side set have the standard Rapido couplings, the far side set have the new shorter ones.

HST's Coupling Closeup 2

The replacement short Rapido couplings can be found here.

Some of my smallest 3D printed items from last year were my N Scale super detail re-railers as shown below on the truck of a GP20 and hanging under a FA2 locomotive.

Re-Railers Type 2 On GP20 - 2.jpg

FA1 with Type 1 Rerailer - Close UpThese come in both a truck mounted version, which can be found here, and locomotive mounted versions, which be found here and are available in different quantity packs.

A replacement part was also needed for one of my favorite locomotives.  My N Scale Con-Cor 4500 Gas Turbine.  As delivered this model has a fuel tank instead of the correct battery box between the trucks so I have made available a replacement part that simply fixes on with the same screw.

Gas Turbine Batter Box - Clean 1

The battery box for the 4500 Gas Turbine can be found here.

To find out more about any of the parts and kits I have touched upon you can use the search facility at the top right of the screen at the end of the menu options.  This will lead you to all posts about a particular part or kit and you’ll find a lot more images, videos and information.

As well as all these new 3D prints I also visited and exhibited at several model Railroad/Railway exhibitions and conventions around the UK, here are some of the ones I covered in posts throughout the year.

Benson Winter Meet 2014 – NMRA (BR)

N Track Convention – Bournemouth

Fordingbridge Model Railway Exhibition – April 2014

The NMRA (BR) Annual Convention 2014 – Part 1

The NMRA (BR) Annual Convention 2014 – Part 2

The NMRA (BR) Annual Convention 2014 – Part 3

Poole & District Model Railway Society’s 2014 Exhibition

The Bearwood Group’s Running Meet

The Gosport American Model Railroad Group’s Running Meet

And that just about wraps up 2014 for James’ Train Parts.  2015 is going to be an exciting year with many new parts and locomotives coming out as well as developments in the 3D printing world in general. And there’s some great exhibitions coming up, including the NMRA(BR) Convention at the former signalling training school in Derby.

My first big project for this year, as some of you may have guessed, will be the massive Alco C-855 in N scale which I am greatly looking forward to and this engine will also have etched brass Additions and will be available in both dummy and powered versions.

Thank you for following what I’ve been up to in 2014, and I hope you’ll enjoy the New Year with me.