Re: random questions

Richard Hendrickson

Because I was out of town over the weekend, I'm a bit late getting to this
particular party, but I do want to add a couple of notes to Byron Rose's
insightful and very useful comments. Byron is a superb modeler with vast
experience, so his advice is well worth taking seriously. At the same
time, we need to bear in mind that Byron models freight cars as highly
detailed static display models, the way other people model aircraft, ships,
motor vehicles, and such, which sometimes leads to a "take no prisoners"
approach. Those of us who build models to operate on layouts or dioramas
may feel that .008 grab irons and .007 X .020 brass sill steps are a bit
over the top, and simply too fragile to use on models that must sometimes
be handled and may even (perish the thought!) get derailed. (Please note
that in saying this I am NOT arguing that operating highly detailed rolling
stock models on a layout is a waste of time or that freight cars will break
and shed pieces unless all the details are oversize and molded on a la
Model Die Casting; I have no sympathy with those who argue that models are
good enough if they look okay from three feet away or who can't get a well
detailed model on the track without breaking it.)

In light of the above, I unrepentantly admit that I routinely use oversize
wire grab irons and A-line steps, I don't model brake rigging and other
underbody detail unless it's visible in profile, I leave the uncoupling
rods on my couplers because the staging tracks on my diorama mandate
magnetic uncoupling, and make some other minor compromises in the interest
of durability and reliable operation. I can only hope that Byron doesn't
turn out to be the gatekeeper at the model railroad equivalent of Valhalla.

By the way, Byron, it's easy to make sharp corners in A-line steps without
breaking them. I hit 'em with a quick jolt from my resistance soldering
tweezers until they glow a little, then plunge them into water. Thus
annealed, they can be bent into any shape you want. Just don't overdo it;
too much juice for too long will melt (or, in the extreme case, vaporize)

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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