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7.2 Finishing jobs

At the end of any project there are always small jobs left. Sometimes it was logical to postpone these jobs until the loco is virtually complete. Sometimes I simply forgot something and on project closedown inspection I found these jobs still remained.



One of them was the flexible connection in the soundpipe between the front unit and the boiler unit.

First I cut the sound pipes back to the desired length and chamfered them a little.

I took electrical wire and pulled out the wire and kept the insulation. I warmed and stretched the end of it until I could slide it over the ends of the sound pipe. Then I stored it. It will be glued to the boiler side after the painting of the locomotive.

Soundpipe funnels


The other two were the soundpipe funnels, which I had left off for two reasons:

  • They are white metal parts on a very exposed position, so very prone to damage,
  • cutting the soundpipes to length and fitting the funnels in the correct height could best be done if the loco was really complete.

They were drilled first. It demands a bit of accuracy as the hole leaves about 0.2 mm of white metal standing!

They are "a bit smallish"

Another job done

Cab windows

Another small but pretty time consuming job was making the windows. From my NS 6200 project I had learned that making the windows in advance, when the window sills are still safely in the etch frets is a wise thing. You can then draw pretty exact on the transparent plastic. That lesson came too late for the AD60, I had already assembled the locomotive. I used another trick. While airbrushing the wheels I had observed that a wheel leaves a very graphic shadow of itself on the paper behind the wheels that catches the overspray. I used this to get a reasonable approximation of the windows.


I took some old business cards, cut them to fit in the cab and sprayed the cab from the outside with my airbrush. Of course I quickly cleaned the locomotive while the cards dried. Now I had a set of cards with more or less the size and shape of the windows painted on them. I then cut the windows from transparent plastic using these cards as a template. It didn't work quite as well as I had hoped for but it certainly helped to get the windows roughly to size and shape. From there I started cutting them slowly to a good match so they would fall into place. Then I glued them on scraps of card with photo glue and stored then until after painting.

Windows 8

I had to make eight but in the end I decided that making the windows in the rear of the cab was too fiddly. The white metal comes so close to the etched window sill that there is no room to put the glass behind the sill. So there I will use MicroScale's Kristal Klear to fill in the windows. The same will be used to glue the other six window panes in place.

Numbers on the cab sides

I ordered brass cab side numbers at Casula Hobbies, Sydney, Australia.

  • 1 x AM01 NSWGR ETCHED Standard Brass Locomotive Cabside Numbers HO (AM-1) = AUD$8.35
After ample time waiting for the brass numbers to arrive I finally could "name" the locomotive

Putting letters or numbers on a loco is never easy. They need be perfectly aligned  horizontally, the spacing must be even and they must be perpendicular. This is absolutely critical as our eyes are very sensitive to any fault in alignment or spacing. So much so that any superbly built locomotive is spoilt by misaligned numbers.


Putting brass numbers on the cab side was a new challenge for me. With decals you can move around until you are satisfied. Brass numbers however must be in the correct place before they are fixed. First thing to decide is with what to affix them to the cab. There are three fixing methods, in order of (my personal) preference:

  • soldering;
  • glueing with expoxy;
  • or glueing with cyanoacrylate?


In this case epoxy is in the disadvantage.

  • it is difficult to apply in exactly the right quantity and surplus is hard to remove;
  • when still liquid it has a certain viscosity, toughness. The numbers will have a tendency to bounce back when you move them, making it very hard to position them accurately, and that is exactly what I need to do!

So no, in this case I would prefer CA over epoxy, that is if I would glue the numbers at all.


CA has the advantage over epoxy of its capillary action, which sucks the glue under the number. Put the number in place, check, check, check, hold the number down with a tooth pick or so and then add a tiny bit of CA on the top of a pin. It will flow under the number and if you estimated the quantity right there will be no residue to clean up. All seems well but epoxy has two major setbacks

  • Undoing a fixed number without damaging it is next to impossible. The numbers are extremely delicate and pushing a blade under it to remove it from the cab will without doubt distort the brass. So with CA you have only one chance to get a number right.
  • CA becomes brittle over time and it isn't half as strong as soldering. So after fixing there is always a greater risk of a number coming off than with solder.



  • results in the strongest and most durable bond 
  • is the most controllable method
  • is reversible, if it goes wrong you can unsolder the number without damage.


After some good thinking I worked out a way to solder the numbers and I though I'd have a go at that before reverting to CA.

I cut the numbers out of the etch. Be very careful, the brass is only 0.2 mm thick. Filing is out of the question. I used emery paper to sand the etch tabs away. It tinned the back side of each number with 80C solder (for white metal) with a small temperature controlled electronics soldering iron.

Cleaning the cab side with glass fibre pen, especially after laying about for such a long time, is essential. I scored a very thin line with blade on the cab side. I warmed a big 60W soldering iron to about 200C (188C solder would just melt) and carefully put the number in place and sweated*) it onto the cab side with this large iron. That large iron is necessary because the cab side absorbs a lot of heat. The heat would simply be sucked out of the electronics soldering iron, so I used the standard iron which was temperature controlled by a simple and cheap household plug dimmer (see my tooling section).

After soldering the cab side was cleaned with glass fibre pen. The scored line then disappears (if it was not too deep).


*) Sweating is the soldering technique whereby the solder is between the two work pieces and the soldering iron heats up one of them from the without getting directly to the solder.


60 obviously for the class  and # 06 because it was the sixth kit I will finish.