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Peter's Model Railroading | Articles | Locomotives | PRR RS-1
Construction: Body


The construction of the kit starts with building the cab. This first photo shows the five parts that go into making the cab. I found that one of the front/rear parts were slightly warped. I used a pair of needlenose pliers and expanded the side. Various tricks and methods are needed to straighten out the parts. Most need to be bent so that they lay flat on a flat surface. I did all my work on a piece of 1/4"-thick glass to make sure everything is flat.

This photo better shows what I meant to say above. The vertical "legs" of this wall piece weren't straight. I bent them out and then checked with the rulers. Note that the metal ruler is perfectly straight, but the camera distorted it. I didn't catch that when I took the photo, otherwise I would have taken the photo again.

I glued two wall sections together. The side walls have grooves in them into which the end walls fit. I did my construction on the glass piece so that the bottoms of the pieces are even. The walls were glued together with superglue.

I then glued the other end wall to the assembly, followed by the last side wall. After the superglue had dried thoroughly, I re-enforced the joints by applying 5-minute epoxy to the inside joints. This is the method recommended by people who have built this kit. The other method is to use low-temperature solder, but I wasn't that brave! Note that I always apply the glue with a tooth pick.

The short hood has dimples for the lift rings that need to be installed, so I drilled those holes using a #76 drill bit. I tried not to drill the holes all the way through the metal, because the lift rings only need to be glued in there, and having the hole drilled all the way through may make it harder to install them later on. Note that in Dick's article the hood part didn't have the dimples, but my kit did (the kit was indeed improved after Dick's review of it). There are four lift rings that will be shaped in a "U", so there were 8 holes to be drilled.

The next photo shows the parts that are needed to build the short hood of the body. Important note: the orientation of the side panels for the short hood are wrong in this photo. They need to be swapped. The molded-in rectangles in the upper left and upper right corners of the side panels are the number boards, and the number boards need to be toward the end of the short hood.

I used the same method of supergluing parts together, and then re-enforcing the joints with 5-minute epoxy.

For me, the curve of the hood part didn't match the curve of the top of the front part. I then had to file the hood part down to match the curve of the front part. It's still not a good match, but it is close enough.

The long hood has 8 holes that need to be drilled for the lift rings (near the center 1/3 of the hood). Near the front of the hood a radiator grill, made out of brass, needs to be installed. This requires four holes to be drilled. These have dimples near the radiator. There are four additional holes near the other holes, but I have not yet figured out what they are for. Since the radiator grill's legs are square instead of round, I had to use a #60 (0.040") drill bit to make holes large enough for the part.

The radiator grill shown in the photo above didn't come like that. It had some massive sprues attached to it. It took a pair of cutters and the Dremel tool with a cut-off disc to free it. Subsequent filing and straightening out the legs completed that part. The next photo shows the part installed, but not yet glued down. The thing to remember about assembling this model is, do I need to be able to get to it during painting? There is a balance between assembling the model and then painting, vs. painting and then assembling. I think the grill pretty much covers the radiator, so I believe I will glue it in place soon. The grill is not see-through.

These are the parts that make up the long hood. Again, note the orientation of the side panel by looking at the number boards, which are in the correct orientation in this photo.

The next photo shows the long hood assembled. I again used superglue followed by 5-minute epoxy to assemble the hood. The curvature of the top of the front part matched the hood's curvature, so no filing was required here.

I put the three major components that make up the body together (no glue!). This made sure the two hoods fit against the cab. After I was happy with the fit, I placed the three parts, right side up, on the glass plate and placed a couple of spots of superglue on the hood-to-cab joints from above. These have to be carefully applied so as to not mar the visible parts of the body. After the superglue had plenty of time to set up, I, very carefully, flipped the parts over and applied super glue to the inside joints. I placed the ends of the hoods on some tools to make sure they were well-supported. After the superglue dried, I came back and re-enforced the joints with 5-minute epoxy.

The next photo shows the holes in the long running boards that I drilled. The instructions state to use a 1mm (#60) drill bit for the holes, but when I did that for the first hole, I realized that the hole was too large. I used a dial caliper from then on to determine what size hole the part actually requires. I wound up using a #75 drill bit for the holes in the sides of the long and short running boards. The parts have dimples in them to mark the spots, which makes it easy. As you can see in the photo, I used a vise grip to hold the part so that I could hand drill the holes nice and straight. The material is easy to drill by hand.

Here's a photo of the short running board with its handrail holes drilled.

These are the four parts that make up the running boards. The lip on one part is glued to the bottom of the next part.

The instructions state that each set of two parts together must be of equal length. I dry-fitted them and, as near as I could tell, they were of equal length. I then glued the short running board to the long one using 5-minute epoxy only. I used a clamp to hold the parts together until the glue had set. I did the same thing with the other short and long boards.

The instructions state that, once the two halves of the running boards are glued together, they must be 0.040" skinnier than the width of the cab. I measured the width of the cab and subtracted 0.040" from that measurement on the caliper. After temporarily clamping the two halves of the running boards together, I used the calipers and found the running boards to be the exact correct width. It then glued the two halves together using 5-minute epoxy glue.

The next photo shows the parts that make up the two pilots, after the parts were cleaned up and straightened out.

This photo shows the set-up I used for gluing the steps to the front of the pilot. I used 5-minute epoxy throughout the construction of the pilots. Since the front of the pilots have an extrusion for the coupler and the steps, I placed them on two files so that they were flat. I then apply glue to the side of the steps and placed them in the correct position. A metal weight was then carefully placed on top of the steps to provide clamping pressure while the glue set.

The back plate of the pilots can then be glued to the other side of the steps. The photo shows the small clamps I used to hold the part to the steps while the glue set. I am doing this on the glass plate, because the tops of the pilots must be flat and on the same plane, because that will be glued to the underside of the running boards later on.

Here's a photo of the completed pilots.

This is the set-up I used to glue the pilots to the underside of the running boards. The back of the pilot is pushed to the lip that was used to glue the two halves of the running boards together. I used a small C-clamp and a strong metal file to clamp the pilot to the underside of the running board while the glue set. This also makes the running boards line up correctly, because mine weren't quite even and straight. I made sure to check the alignment of the pilot, because the glue may make it move. Be sure to wipe off any excess glue that oozes out.

These are the two main sub-assemblies that make up the engine's body. The orientation of the underframe needs to be flipped around, because the glue joint of the short and long running boards needs to be under the cab.