Messing with a Mogul
  Contents       Click on most of the images for a larger view

 The Starting Point

 Why alter the Loco?

 Front Coupling

 Chassis Alterations

 Cab Alterations

 Body Details

 Tender Modifications

 Painting and Finishing 



The Starting Point

Any one who has one of Bachmann 0n30 super new 2-6-0's cannot fail to be impressed by this superb model. Not only do they look good they run superbly.

Power is supplied by a large quality motor driving a large worm which has some flywheel properties. This drives through a chain of gears on to the rear axle. Power is picked up on all driving wheels by phosphor bronze wipers. To help with power collection the center wheelset is sprung with a small amount of vertical movement to ensure it stays in contact with the track.

A Bachmann Easy Mate knuckle coupler is provided on the rear of the tender. This is compatible with Kadee couplings and works well even if it is a little less robust than the Kadee equivalent. The loco does not have a working front coupler, instead a moulded dummy coupler is included in the detail of the cow catcher.

Already there are a number of versions of the loco available. The changes have been both cosmetic and mechanical. The differences currently seem to be between the loco's supplied in the complete sets and those supplied separately.

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Mechanical Differences

The most obvious change is the engine to tender drawbar arrangement. On the original locomotives the tender has an arm and vertical pin which hooks in to a slot under the rear of the cab. This is reputed to have caused problems when engines are reversed through reverse curves although the one engine I have with this arrangement has not caused a problem when I have run it.

The modified arrangement has a bar pivoted under the rear of the cab with two holes in to which a pin under the front of the tender drops. The two holes give options for close coupling or tight cornering. This is a better arrangement and one I will probably fit to my original engine when it goes through the works.

The other mechanical difference I have spotted so far is a change in the pony truck spring. The original has two slots in it in to which two raised mouldings on the truck itself locate. Again mine has given no trouble but it is possible when handling the loco for the spring to come off these pins. The new version has a T shaped spring which slots into a larger recess on the pony truck.


Cosmetic Differences

My original C&S loco from a set has additional air receivers on top of the boiler with the bell mounted on top of that. The sets were available in a number of liveries to match the coaches. I think these were Colorado & Southern, Pennsylvania RR and the Christmas liveried Wonderland Express.

The loco's available separately do not have the air receivers atop the boiler. This loco is available in a number of liveries and a painted, but undecorated, finish.

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Why alter the Loco?

The loco as it comes is an excellent out of the box model and will look good on any layout. I now have four of these moguls and I chose to alter one of mine for the following reasons: -

Practical reasons

Starting my own layout is some way off as it involves extending the house first so for now my engines run on the Henmore Dale Light Railway at exhibitions.

Henmore is a UK based fictional railway in the style of the Leek and Manifold Railway and the fiction is that during a locomotive crises the railway bought some American surplus equipment to work the growing stone traffic. Park Road station has a turntable which the standard mogul barely fits on, and the storage cassettes in the fiddle yard only hold a standard engine and three wagons so the idea of shortening the loco emerged.

A front coupling is also a must!


Cosmetic Considerations

Whilst the standard engine looks good they all look the same and the level of detail is governed by cost and practical consideration for a ready to run model. As butchery was on the cards to address the length issue the opportunity for cosmetics alterations was seized. In the following areas: -

  • Tender - to me it looks too low and long.

  • Cab - doors crying out for opening and internal detailing

  • Boiler - more pipe work, air tanks etc

  • Front Pilot - the cowcatcher is a bit too much for the HDLR

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  Front Coupling

The standard engine has a quite nicely detailed cow catcher and a rather crude non working representation of a knuckle coupler.

The HDLR requires a working front coupler and being fenced does not need the cow catcher. More importantly given the desire to shorten the loco the cow catcher is 25mm of length that could be saved.

The cow catcher can be prized off by forcing a blade or screw driver until the super glue breaks. On another engine this was a bit stubborn and I used a few spots of cyanoacrylate debonder. This leaves a rather bare front buffer beam.

First job was to mount a Kadee coupler on the underside of the front apron. This is easiest if the apron is removed from the loco by undoing the single small screw above the pony truck.. I have now done three loco's with Kadee couplers and have used two different types. Choice has been dictated by what I had in stock. Points to consider are  using a coupler with a small draft box and with the rounded rear and to mount it as far forward as possible or the front truck will hit it as it swings

Removing the cow catcher leaves a rather bare front buffer beam to which I added a piece of scale lumber from the scrap box. Some framing from brass strip and angle and some NBW detail scavenged from the scrap box. To finish it all off the wood was weathered "weather it" solution, the brass was primed with an etch primer and then painted black


This can be done easily with an EDM models kit now

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Chassis Alterations

Very little was done to the chassis. There is no need as it runs so sweetly. Whilst the body was off I did weather it with a Rustall kit and some dry brushing of various gungy colours. As I intended to fit tender pickups I did drill two small holes through the Phosphor Bronze tracks on the keeper plate and then poked two wires through from the outside and soldered them to the tracks.

These wires were run back along the keeper plate and across to the tender when it was permanently coupled up at the end of the job.

So far these wires are the only thing on the loco to give any trouble. They are not as flexible as they might be and at the first exhibition one of them snapped off where it connects to the copper strip I had fitted to the tender. I need to find either some very flexible wire or I may experiment with the guitar string connections used on my larger K36.

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Cab Alterations


The main part of the standard cab is a singe piece moulding in black styrene. The roof ventilator is a separate piece and there are four separate pieces of glazing. As the cab is modelled as fully enclosed with the front and rear doors shut detailing within the cab is reasonable but limited.

To my eye the doors were begging to be cut out and modelled in the open position although I started to change my mind as the work progressed. Removing the cab is reasonably straight forward with care. The cab front is a tight fit in a slot in the boiler barrel and the sides have a tab that passes through the footplate and secured with super glue. When I tried to remove the cab one the bond on one side broke easily with some gentle persuasion from a knife and a small screwdriver. The other side was persuaded to give up the unequal struggle with a drop of debonder.

With the cab removed there is some scope for detailing the cab pipe work and controls and to add a driver. The cab as it comes has a representation of the manifold, regulator and reverser all coloured in satin black. This is not bad but it can be improved upon. Using a drawing in PSC's catalogue, photos in various books and my own observations of the real thing I added extra plumbing, a couple more valves and a brake stand.

A driver was made by surgery on a 7mm scale Phoenix driver who is a bit big for this engine. He is thinner and shorter than he used to be. The brake stand in the front of the cab and an air cylinder in the rear of the cab hide the fact that he has no legs below the knees.

Once the detail has been added all can be improved by a paint job to highlight the detail. First the controls and pipes were painted using standard enamels to highlight them. The firebox and surround were given a light wash of a very thin white to highlight the raised detail. Finally, the entire firebox was washed with Rustall. Several applications were made to the backhead of the firebox being allowed to dry between applications until the stay heads were fully highlighted and the flat areas had taken a rusty colour. A final coat of the black wash in the Rustall kit was applied to add a bit of shadow around the stay heads.

Once the cab has been removed the glazing pieces can be popped out by pressing or prising them out. These were saved for possible later use but in the end I didn't use them.

 The next job was to cut all four cab doors out. This was done by drilling a small hole in each corner and then joining them up by repeatedly scoring the plastic between them until it broke through. The scoring was done just to the inside of the moulded doors edge. Once the bulk of the door had been cut out the hole was cut out to the full size and finished with files.

The new doors were made by laminating a frame of Evergreen styrene strips on to both sides of a clear plastic core. A strip of plastic rod was glued along the hinge side of the doors and overlapping top and bottom by about 2mm to strengthen the bond where the doors were glued to the cab. The doors were painted before fitting to the cab. Coach green was used for the insides and dirty black for the outside. The lower clear panel was painted to appear as solid.

The doors were glued to the cab in various states of between open and closed with super glue. Care has to be taken with the rear doors to ensure they won't foul the tender on the tightest curves. Obviously the larger your curves the less the problem. With the doors on, the next job was to glue the roof ventilator on in a partly open position.


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  Body Details

  The first thing I felt had to be done to stand a chance of getting away with the loco being imported by the Henmore Dale RR was to make the chimney look a little more British in its appearance.

z-Chimney -1.JPG (31522 bytes)If I was doing this again I would probably replace the chimney with either an American one from Coronado scale Models or with a British one. I have seen one engine with a 7mm Standard Gauge brass chimney from Alan Gibson's range. The truth is that I started doing the loco bodywork over the Christmas holiday when a new chimney would have held the job up until after the holidays.

What I actually did was plaster the square base with a load of car body filler and then, by sticking a screw driver up the chimney, stuck it in my lathe and filed it to shaper whilst turning it at a medium speed. A second application of finer filler and some wet and dry paper finished it off.

z-Drivers Side loco - 5.JPG (69569 bytes) As previously described the cab was removed to have the doors detailed but it was temporarily fitted whilst the rest of the loco was detailed. The drivers side of the loco was modified with a stepped running board over an air receiver with the condenser/cooling pipes on the outside. The air receiver and the pipe work are PSC parts bought from Coronado Scale Models in Phoenix AZ. This bit of detail was inspired by the K series engines both real and the 0n3 models I already have. More pipe runs were added with assorted brass wires and some fuse wire for the finer runs.

  z-Firemans Side loco - 1.JPG (57307 bytes)The fireman's side of the loco was inspired by a photograph of C16 No 223 Narrow Gauge Pictorial vol. XI . The loco has two compressors and these are cross connected with an assortment of pipes. The second compressor came off one of my other Moguls so it is without a compressor at all, although a friend is rebuilding a mogul as a vacuum braked engine so I have got my name down for his compressor. To accommodate the extra compressor the running boards had to be modified with extra cutouts.

  z-No 29 Loco Air receivers.jpg (112342 bytes)For the extra pipe work I wanted some pipe that was lagged so I stole an idea I had used in larger scales (on my G scale Shay) and wrapped a single strand of copper wire stripped from a piece of electrical flex around the 0.9mm brass wire and painted the whole thing with solder paint. A quick waft with my mini blow torch and I had a solid piece of lagged pipe. It's a bit over scale but it conveys the right impression.

The pipe from the front of the cab to the steam generator in this view is an example of this technique

z-Complete loco DS - 2.JPG (61638 bytes)

This view shows the completed loco prior to any paint work being done.


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  Tender Modifications 

22 on the TT.JPG (76890 bytes)As previously mentioned the complete engine was too long for regular service on the Henmore Dale RR and, ideally, about 30mm needed to be lost. Removing the cow catcher was the locomotives contribution to the shortening so the rest had to come out of the tender. The standard tender irrespective of prototype looks too long and low to my eyes so this was ripe for butchering. The tender comes apart quite easily, one screw removes each truck and then two screws release the tender body. 

Shortening the chassis was tackled before doing anything to the body. First job was to cut off the rear tool boxes on the top of the z-Unpainted tender.JPG (66564 bytes)chassis with a fine saw and then file it smooth. As I wanted to keep the rear coupler pocket, the bogie pivots and the front detail of the chassis was shortened by removing material in three places, between the rear coupler pocket and the bogie pivot, between the bogie pivots and between the front bogie pivot and the coupler pin. This can be seen in the  picture of the completed tender as the filler used is visible. As much material as possible was removed but the rear truck still had to clear the coupler pocket, the trucks had to avoid hitting each other and the front truck had to clear the pin. More material could have been removed by changing the bogies but I got enough out by this method. The tender body was shortened by simply removing a slice out of the middle joining it back together and then making good the join with car filler. The jammiest bit of this job was when I put the body back on the chassis the fixing holes in the chassis still lined up with those on the body so fastening them together was simply a case of screwing it back together.

z-No 29 Tender RHS.jpg (83585 bytes)The low height of the tender was addressed by adding greedy boards to increase the coal capacity of the tender. These were made out of brass square and some real wood I happened to have. They were assembled away from the engine over a drawing I did on the computer. The brass rods drop in to holes drilled in the top of the tender. The wood was weathered with "weather it". I then added some additional air receivers made up from PSC parts again got from Coronado Scale Models and soldered on to a brass frame. Brass wire and pipe runs from the air tanks along the body and chassis to disappear in to holes in thez-Tender Air receivers.JPG (57362 bytes) chassis. Again pictures of the C16 were the inspiration for the idea for the pipe runs. 

The final detail required before painting was a ladder for the rear of the loco. I spent quite a bit of time looking for one I liked and finally settled on one made up from a kit sold by Model Signal Engineering. This consists of an etch which fold up to hold the two side rails the right distance apart and parallel whilst wire rungs are soldered in place. 

z-Tender ladder - just built.JPG (12825 bytes)Once the soldering has been cleaned up the ladder is cut out of the etch frame to leave an excellent ladder with the looped handrails at the top. As the ladder is meant for a 40 foot tall signal it has to be shortened a bit to suit the tender but this leaves the scrap box with a good length of well detailed ladder. I doubt it will be in the scrap box for long.

Whilst the tender was stripped the tender bogies were fitted with additional pickups. These are not really necessary for a loco running at home but as this engine was intended for an exhibition layout every pickup helps. Fitting the pickups was quite easy. With the wheels out of the trucks two vertical slots were cut with a piercing saw. Strips of Phosphor Bronze were slid in to these and glued with some of the slow setting araldite and left for a day or so. Once set the strips were cut to length and bent so that they would bear on the back of the wheels. Fine wires were soldered to the strips and then the wheels refitted. When the trucks were fitted to the tender the wires were run up into the body


 If you want to alter your engine have a look at EDM Models Tender Kit

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  Painting and Finishing

The first job after completion was to thoroughly clean the model in soapy water. Any bits that fell off can then be reaffixed as they certainly weren't fastened on well enough. After another clean the whole engine was sprayed with Precision Paints etch primer to ensure that all the new brass and copper bits provided a good key for the subsequent paint. This also has the advantage of giving it all a base colour which makes spotting areas requiring further attention easy.

The engine was sprayed with Floquil dirty black as a the base colour. After that any other colours were applied by a variety of brushes. With the engine in its finished colours but without any weathering the decals were fitted. The custom decals used were produced for me by Cambridge Custom Transfers using artwork I supplied. They are very fine transfers and they have to be applied with extreme care. Firstly the area for the decal is coated with a gloss acrylic varnish which is allowed to dry thoroughly. The waterslide decal can then be slid in to place and dabbed dry. A softening solution is beneficial but they have to be watered down as neat they will curl the transfer up. The transfer must be allowed a minimum of 24 hours to dry. I know less won't do from practical experience. Once it is dry it is sealed in place with another coat of gloss acrylic varnish. Once sealed in matt, or satin, varnishes can give you the finish you want. Using water based acrylics is important as the spirit base of enamels will curl the decal up in short order.

With the decals on it was time to dirty it up. This is far easier to do than describe! First bits that would get rusty were treated with Rustall. This is a rusty coloured gunge in an isopropyl alcohol base. As it dries the colour is sucked in to a concentration at the last place the alcohol evaporates from leaving rusty gunge around any raised detail such as bolt heads and firebox stays. Several coats may be needed to build up a satisfactory gunge level. A final application of the black gunge supplied in the Rustall kit gives it a bit of shadow and makes it stand out all the more.

Next up was picking out the detail on pipework etc. in a variety of different shades to highlight them. Dry brushing with very light colours and white picked out steam leaks and so on. Finally, the engine was dirtied with weathering chalks to look like it had been in service for some time and was covered in cinders. Ideally the chalks should have been sealed on with a light coat of varnish but I was running out of time as the loco's exhibition debut was approaching. I figure that if the chalks get rubbed of with handling its a simple matter to do them again and then I might have time to do the varnish. 

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