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  • Espee's T28 4-6-0

    Model and photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 6 width=

    by Stan Harris

       With the introduction of the Harriman type 4-6-0 HO locomotive construction kit, Model Die Casting, Inc. has provided the basis for a number of interesting Southern Pacific ten wheelers. With minor modifications, the kit can also be used to build representative models for the other "Harriman" roads such as the Union Pacific, Illinois Central, etc.

       This article will deal primarily with changes and improvements, including added detail, to provide a model of the Southern Pacific 4-6-0 T-28. At the conclusion of the article, information will be given on how to adapt the kit to build the 69" drivered T & NO version (sometimes referred to as the T-29); the T-31 version with 63" drivers and outside valve gear, and the T-32 model with 69" drivers and outside valve gear.

       In building the standard T-28 from the kit, the first step should be to assemble and test the mechanism in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Perhaps you will be fortunate and will obtain satisfactory operation; however I didn't, and I understand that some kits contained defective drivers. In any case, the drivers are not of the correct diameter and can be replaced with Tyco or Bowser 62" drivers. These look better, being plated instead of the unfinished brass shipped by MDC, and are the correct size, allowing for the fact that even NMRA flanges are oversized. I used Tyco drivers at first, because I had them, but would recommend Bowser since they can be ordered with the correct sized counterweights, and look better.

       If replacement drivers are used, it will be necessary to remove the gear from the front MDC drivers and install it on the new drivers (light counterweight pair). It will simplify keeping the drivers "in quarter" if you will scribe a line across the hub and axle end before removing the uninsulated driver. The gear and then the driver can be pressed-fit back onto the axle keeping the scribed marks in line, but make sure that the crank-pin holes are in correct relationship. After carefully checking the gear location on the axle and the gauge of the drivers, they can be locked in place with Aron Alpha cement, making sure that none gets on the axle bearing surfaces. Test the fit of the drivers and gear in the mechanism before cement is applied.

    Model and photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 7 width=

    Model and photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 8 width=

       Make up the two pilot deck braces from .030" brass wire, and mount them in two holes drilled on an angle into the pilot deck lugs alongside the frame. The upper ends of the braces tuck in to the space between the front running board steps and the boiler.

       Lubricating the axles with LaBelle grease instead of oil improved operation, and using an extra pair of side-rods I was able to eliminate any binding by cutting the side rods into four pieces, so that the side-rods hinge around the main driver crank pins.

       In an effort to reduce the "whine" from the motor and reduction gearing, after correctly determining the shim needed under the rear of the motor, and the correct position for the motor mounting sub-frame, both were assembled with screws, but with Goo between the metal surfaces. This deadened much of the sound.

       With the 62 " drivers the pilot clears the rails OK, but there is interference between the frame and the lead truck. The underside of the frame was grooved using a Dremel and grinding wheel to give clearance for the lead truck wheels, and a sheet brass arm was drilled and fitted to replace the plastic arm used to mount the lead truck. Flat head screws were used to replace the round head screws provided, and this solved the lead truck clearance problems. Leading truck brakes were applied using Aron Alpha and parts from Bowser's Kit No. 9006.

       In order to obtain correct directional operation, it is necessary to unsolder and reverse the power feed-wires to the motor brushes. At the same time, a metal drawbar was fabricated to replace the fibre one supplied. The motor lead was soldered to a brass washer which fitted over a plastic slave on the mounting screw, as did the metal drawbar. A spring holds them in contact, compressed between two insulating washers.

       As a word of caution, protect the drive gears whenever you are drilling or grinding, because if a small metal chip gets in to the gears, you will probably strip a tooth.

       Using a No. 74 drill, holes were drilled behind each driver near the top of the mechanism frame, and Kemtron No. 1491 brake shoes were cemented in place, Two brake cylinders were mounted on top of the frame just behind the cylinder block.

       Suitable holes were drilled, and after carefully bending them to face downwards, the Kemtron No, X96 blow down mufflers were mounted near the rear of the frame.

       To obtain sufficient bottom clearance, remove the bottom frame plate and carefully file off the bottom of the protective gear housing. It is not necessary to file clear through. Carefully clean and remove all filings.

       Similarly, the two plastic steps that mount on the pilot are easily bent, and I replaced them by soldering short pieces of .040" brass wire to small squares of brass etched (Kemtron) running board material. These were cemented in to the mounting holes provided on the pilot.

       With a little ingenuity you should be able to fit the coupler of your choice to the pilot. Bend up the coupler throw rigging from brass wire and use the brass stanchions supplied to install it on top of the pilot beam. Install the pilot air hoses (Cal-Scale AH-3 20).

       The mechanism can now be set aside and work started on the boiler. Since the cab is plastic, it is easily damaged and should not be installed on the boiler until the model is nearly complete, as it can be detailed seperately.

       In preparing the boiler, the first step is to remove the cast-on detail that you intend to replace. While you may decide to use the plastic parts supplied, such as headlights, number boards, etc., I preferred to replace them with the more detailed and durable Kemtron and Cal Scale castings. The cast on bell and generator, and the mounting lugs for the number boards and marker lights were removed with a jewelers saw and file. Drill holes to take the mounting lugs of the cast replacements. Using a small grinder such as a Dremel, and a file, carefully remove the cast on injectors, feed water piping, and sand piping. Unless you want to drill it clear through and illuminate the headlight, plug up the hole in the smoke box front with epoxy putty, and drill new holes for mounting the cast headlight and mounting bracket.

    Model and photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 9 width=

       The compressed air piping will be made from .020" brass wire and holes about 1/8" deep should be drilled into the center of each end of both air tanks to receive this piping.

       To install the Kemtron No. 514 boiler washout plugs, two No. 57 drill size holes are drilled into each side of the boiler above the injector location. These holes are 1/8" below the hand rails, and are 3/8" and 7/8" forward of the face of the cab. Cement the plugs in place.

       The fire box on this series of SP engines was rectangular in cross-section and was mounted on top of the frame between the drivers. This is difficult to duplicate because of the size and location of the motor with the resultant increased width and thickness of the fire box already cast on the boiler.

       I chose to compromise, much the same as Westside did with their brass import T-28. First the rear lower portion of the cast fire box was sawed off flush with the forward portion.

       The remaining cast-on fire box was then ground down to taper inwards at the bottom. The Altoona Works etched brass fire box side was then cut to fit under the running board and cab and extending down to the top of the frame, and was bent as shown in the sketch.

       It is necessary to make a semi-circular cut-out in the lower portion of the etched fire box side to clear the rear driver. The fire box side is cemented with Aron Alpha to the outside of the tapered down cast on the fire box.

       Drill two adjacent holes in each side of the sand dome and two holes into each running board. Bend up the sander lines from .020" brass wire and cement in place connecting the holes.

       At about the boiler centerline and just to the rear of the sand dome center, drill holes in each side of the boiler for the feed-water check valves. Bend to shape from .030" brass wire the feed-water lines to the check valves. They should be soldered to the check valves before the valves are cemented in place, as the heat from soldering will affect the cement. Position the injectors and bend the steam lines to fit that run from the front of the cab to the top of the injector. Drill two holes through each running board beneath the injectors for the water supply line from the tender, and the overflow line. Install the injectors and solder brass pipe extension to the water supply and overflow lines, bending them into position.

       Drill a hole into the top of the auxiliary steam dome to the right of the pop offs and install the Cal-Scale No. GV314 pressure release valve, and install the Kemtron No. 358 whistle on the left side of the auxiliary steam dome.

       Cut off the mounting lug on the Cal Scale No. 4417 air compressor, then make up a dowel pin and cement the air compressor to the mounting boss in the left running board gap. The steam line of .020" brass wire to power the compressor can now be installed from the cab face to the upper rear compressor high pressure steam cylinder. The double governor valve in the Cal-Scale kit should be installed with the "fingers" upright in the horizontal run of the steam line atop the boiler. The steam discharge line, of .030" wire should run from the upper left compressor steam cylinder along the top inboard junction of the running board with the boiler, and terminate in the smoke-box.

    Close-up of the left side of the locomotive showing boiler details. - Model and photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 10 width=

       All the compressed air lines are fanned of .020" brass wire and can be modified if you are modeling a particular locomotive from photos. I first rilled two holes in the running boards at the break where the insulated boiler meets the smoke-box, then pre-formed and cemented the air line that connects the fronts of the two air tanks and runs over the top of the boiler.

       A hair-pin cooling coil was formed which carries air from the compressor discharge (lower left cylinder) forward under the running board and then back to the rear of the left side air cylinder. Mounting brackets for the coil were cemented into holes drilled in the space between the top of the air tank and the bottom of the running board. The mounting brackets were made of thin strips of shim brass bent around the hair pin coil and soldered.

       The air receiver tank and equalizer valve are cemented into holes drilled in to the cast on cab floor and cab support, beneath the right side of the cab. A .020" wire air line is formed to run from the rear of the right side air tank forward, then along the underside of the running board to the air receiver tank. Run additional air lines forward on the right side from beneath the cab and from the equalizer valve. These can be fastened and end behind the right side air tank although they would actually go to the air brake cylinders and to the train air hoses on the pilot.

       Drill holes and install the generator, bell, number boards and marker lights, plus any other details you may wish to add.

       In detailing the cab, first install the roof hatch as supplied. Then install the cab rear ladder handrails and the handrails extending along each side of the cab roof. The small curying hand rails that extended from the cab rear to the roof overhang should be formed from wire and cemented in place. You may feel as I did that the cab "awnings" were rather weak and fragile, so I cemented wire reinforcement beneath them. Most cabs had a re-inforcing angle running down the center of the roof top from front to rear. This can be represented by filing a "flat" on a piece of .020" wire and cementing it in place.

       From shim brass cut doors to fit the door openings in the front of the cab and cement them in place. The cab can then be installed on the boiler, and the boiler hand rails put in place.

       The cylinder block can be improved by adding a small shim brass access plate on each side, and the condensate drain cocks beneath each cylinder. I fabricated each of the latter from two Tyco handrail stanchions soldered to a piece of brass wire.

    Left and right sides of the completed locomotive. - Model and photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 11 width=

       The tender was assembled per the kit instructions; however, the plastic cast on handrails were carefully removed with a knife and file, and were replaced with brass wire handrails as shown in the photos. Note that the handrail along the top walk-way has a different shape. Stanchions and a coupler throw bar were added to the tender rear beam. Water and air lines can be run along the tank bottom, and re-rail frogs should be hung beneath the running board on each side. Mount the rear headlights, if you plan to use the engine in freight service, and install the tender air brake cylinder beneath the frame center. Rear train air hoses, brake rigging etc, can be added if you wish. A Kemtron 6056 oil hatch can be cemented at the center top of the tender oil tank.

       To improve electrical pick up, a thin brass strip was installed along the bottom of the tender with holes drilled at each truck bolster so the trucks ride on this strip. A brass pin was soldered to the forward end of the strip to complete the electrical circuit to the locomotive draw bar.

        The model was spray painted first with Floquil zinc chromate primer, then with Floquil Grimy Black, except for the fire box, smoke box, and smoke box front which was painted with Floquil Gun Metal. You may prefer to paint the smoke box front silver. Various brass fittings that would have oxidized reddish from the heat were touched up with Floquil Box Car Red. Champ decals were used and the completed model was sprayed with Walthers DDV. Clear jewels were installed in the marker lights and the number boards carry the locomotives number as an Extra. Head light lenses (M.V. Products Ll73-17) were installed, and the main and side rods darkened by weathering or can be touched up with silver paint.

       If you have exhibited patience and modest skill in perfoming the work, you should find that you are rewarded with a well detailed model that compares favorably with the better imports and is a rarity.


       If you are interested in building other SP Ten Wheeler classes that can be made by modifying the basic Model Die Casting Kit, the following may prove helpful.

       T&NO T-29. Just as these 12 engines (T&NO No. 388-399) were originally T-28's that were rebuilt by adding Walschaerts valve gear and 69" drivers, they can be modeled by making the same changes. Bowser can supply both the valve gear and the drivers; however, you will have to make the valve gear hanger in the T-32 section below.

    Left and right sides of the completed locomotive. - Model and photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 12 width=

       SP T-3l. These engines were similar to the T-32 for which a more detailed description follows; however, the T-31's had 63" drivers (Bowser) while the T-32's had 69" drivers (Bowser). Both had cylinder blocks with vertical sides.

       SP T-32. A Tyco Pacific cylinder block (part No. 2651) can be used; however, the inside cylinder front corners will have to be notched to provide swinging clearance for the lead truck front wheels. The saddle will require some filing down so the boiler sits level. Drill holes in the rear cylinder faces for the lower crosshead guides. Tyco Pacific main rods can also be used (Part No. 7097 and 7098) but will need to be shortened at the crosshead end approximately 1/16" and must be redrilled.

       The crossheads and Walschaerts valve gear parts for a Bowser Consolidation were used, but the eccentric rods (part V-986) had to be shortened approximately 1/8". The MDC side rods were used, but with Tyco crank pins.

       The other major changes are to the running boards and to the cab, and fabricating the valve gear hanger from ni-silver HO rail. This is done by first bending a "U" shaped piece as sketched. Reinforce the bent corners with solder and file down the outside rail flanges so they aren't so pronounced.

       From .040" wire form two oval rings and solder them to the lower front corners of the hanger.

       Solder a piece of rail as a crosspiece beneath the hanger 1/8" from the open ends, and drill a No. 75 hole 1/2 " from the open end of each side. The valve gear links will be fastened to the hanger here with optical screws. Bend a brass mounting bracket and solder it to the front of the hanger. Drill a mounting hole and screw the hanger on the top of the frame. Assemble and mount valve gear and test run mechanism.

       To modify the running boards, remove the rear 3/4" of the right side running board, and the entire left side rear portion behind the air compressor mounting lug. This can be readily done by making razor saw cuts about 1/4" apart down through the running board to the boiler. Grasp each section firmly with pliers and flex it up and down, and it will break off cleanly. File away any residue. Replacement running boards as shown on the model and photos are fashioned from sheet brass or Kemtron etched stock. They are cemented in place with Aron Alpha.

       So the cab will maintain proper relation to the running boards, it is necessary to extend each cab side down wards approximately 3/32". This was done by cementing a 1/16" thick styrene "floor" beneath the cab and then a short brass bottom plate which overhung slightly on all sides. The joints were carefully sanded out and disappeared when painted.

       Should you choose to model several of the SP Harriman engines, an other interesting variation can be made by lengthening the MDC Vanderbuilt tender. The tender as it comes is about right for the early days when the engines were built, but later they were given larger tenders and tenders were lengthened.

    Model and photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 13 width=

        By either ordering the parts (footboard, body and underframe) from MDC, or a spare tender kit , you can com bine the parts from two tenders into one longer tender.

       The tender that I modified is longer by one tank section (11/32"). It was made by cutting two frames into a forward section 2-5/16" long and a rear section 2 1/16" long by making vertical cuts across them with a hacksaw. Matching 1/8" diameter dowel holes were drilled into the cut faces and the two frame pieces were epoxied together using nails for dowels.

       The two tanks were carefully cut to the correct lengths with a sabre saw, cemented together with Aron Alpha and the joint lightly sanded. The two footboard pieces were cut and cemented together so that the tender now will have two water fill hatches. The remainder of the assembly follows the standard MDC instructions, except that brass wire handrails replace the cast-on hand rails. It is surprising what a change this tender makes in the appearance of an engine.


    Article Details

    • Original Author Stan Harris
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date February 1980

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