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Peter's Model Railroading | The Layout | Equipment | PRR H21a
Construction: Conclusion


I weighed the model and it comes to 4.3oz (170g), so it is still 1.6oz too light. I added that via the load by attaching some weights to the bottom of the load. Another solution could be to glue some more lead shot in the bottom of the car's interior, thereby keeping the center of gravity low, since the load will be "permanent" in this car.

This is a list of things I need to improve on for the next model. I have made so many obvious mistakes on this first model that I am actually kind of embarrassed to have this article published here. But, we all have to start somewhere!

  • The side sills can be made out of C-channel strip, thereby making the frame more square and straight.
  • The brake equipment (valves, reservoir) needs to be put closer to the end sill to clear the sloped sheet.
  • The air reservoir needs to be installed on S-curve channels.
  • Move the brake levers closer to the bolster, to allow more room for the trucks to swing.
  • Make the sloped sheets out of a single piece.
  • I forgot to make and install the vertical wall under the sloped sheets.
  • Make the outside body panels out of 0.030" styrene sheet, and other panels out of 0.020".
  • The external brake gear needs to line up with the gear on the "inside" of the model.
  • The poling pockets need to be made out of a much larger-diameter tubing.
  • I didn't add the strips of styrene to "super-detail" the doors. I'm still not sure its worth the effort, unless the model is intended for competition.
  • I am going to start using Archer's rivet decals on the future cars; I completely ignored the very prominent rivets on this car.
  • I REALLY need some scale drawings! These have now been ordered from the PRR Technical & Historical Society. Once I have them, I will report on their usefulness here.
I really enjoy scratch-building in general, and I had a lot of fun building this car. I am definitely going to build more. After this one is finished, I am going to build two more in a mini assembly line, as soon as I receive the scaled drawings and have thoroughly studied them.