Well FINALLY, here she be! My Backdated MDC Roundhouse 2 Truck Shay Kit!!1!
I was able to power up my camerar after rigging 2 AA batteris to it.
So anyway, here I present future Empire River & Western Shay #11, "Chelsea". For those of you who are or are not familiar with the MDC Shay Kit's reputation, they are contankerous kits to work with. Usually the end result is one of two extreams, the model turns out to be a beautiful work of art, or the locomotive is a total nightmare! A good resource is the "MDC Shay Handbook". Unfortunately it's no longer printed and VERY rare! Thus when one does find a copy be prepaired to pay a whole lot of $$$ for it!
But when I got the kit I gave into temptation. I opened the box and started working on it. Now most of you know I'm more of a TOC (Turn of the Century) modeler. So if the boiler and domes look different that's because they are! A long while back I had bought a "Shay Backdate" kit from Wiseman Model Services. Now the locomotive has a Strait Boiler and fluted domes, placing the locomotives cunstruction somewhere before 1915.
Now when it came to the model's construction it was fairly clear as long as you paid VERY close attention to what you were doing! One of the key things in building is the gearbox! If you mess up there your screwed! All the gears are plastic and there are a few burs that need to be takend care of. Also I noticed that the bottom of the gearbox came alarmingly close to rail height. So there was the possibility of the model fouling up or snaging at grade crossings or swithces. So I hacked a portion of the bottom off. If it snags now it would have to be some REALLY God Awfull track work!
Overall, it wasn't that hard to put the thing together. Let alone to get in running condition. The first time I ran her on a circle of EZ Track she ran BEAUTIFULLY backwards! But when going forward was another story. The rear truck seemed to bounce and shake a bit, not to mention that overall performance was harly smooth. The solution was a simple matter of swaping axels. The result is remarkable, but now she doesn't perform quite as smoothly. So performance is the big thing left right now. A while back I joined a MDC Roundhouse Yahoo group so I'll turn to them for advice.
Oddly enough, the most trouble and frustration came from the backdate boiler kit! It is supposedly designed specifically for the MDC kits. Roughly where the firebox would be located the boiler is hollowed out so there's room for the gearbox. funny though that I had to trim parts of the gear box exterior to get it to fit and it still wasn't right! Then I found the culprit, the forward end of the electric jumper bar was in the way. I couldn't do anything with the jumper bar so I went for my Grand Pa's rotary tool. I used a milling bit and carved out the area to make enough clearance. And in the process injured myself when the bit got a REALLY good grip somewhere and spun off into my left index finger! Fortunately the wound was minor. A dab of Neosporin and a band aid and all better.
Now with the boiler fitting the way it should I focused on something else. The headlight, I don't know about you but I like WORKING headlights. And this kit is so old it's not even intended to have them! So I took a power drill and on an agle drilled a hole from where the headlight would be to the bottom of the smoke box. Then using a spherical milling bit, carved a channel for the wires to go through. Then it was off to paint.
The end beams were fun to do, I'll admit! I took an exacto knife and "weathered" them to give them a well used and beaten look, common to many a Shay. I used very rough modeling sand paper to add "Wood Grain" detail and used the hobby knife to add rain where the sand paper couldn't reach. Then I painted them and left to dry.
Aslo while I was on my road trip, the same one where I got ther Shay Kit, I bought some brass detail parts. Two of which can be seen in the photo. A Bell and Headlight, I don't care too much for how the headlight turned out paint wise. So I'll soak it in thiner and try again. The bell I'll worry about until the time comes. No number plate yet, I do have one but I'm not at that point quite yet.
Also you can see the result of my bashed smokestack! I think the end result is fantastic and more pleasing than the supplied Large Diamond one. I'll post a comparisen photo or two later. Also you can get a glimps of my scratch built wood load. I hand split twigs and sticks into scale firewood and then glued each one together one at a time. LOTS of pacience required.
Really all that's left is the performance tuning and detail work. Unfortunately all the piping is not pre-shaped or supplied, persay. Some small gauge wire is included and the builder has to hand bend, shap, and cut to make the desired part. Luckily thought the instruction have scale diagrams for all the major piping details. I've done the feed water pipes for the right and left sides. Sadly I can't add hand rails or sand lines until I can get extra small drilling bits. The ones I have available are just too big in diameter. But all the air and feed water pipes I can do.
Well I hope you like the result of my efforts thus far. I have worked VERY hard on this model. It figures, the very first locomotive kit I build would have to be one of the worst ones!
Anywho, I'll be posting more pics of her. Both as she is shown above and in furture progress. Hope you all like her!
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