Re: Durable Stirrups?

Richard Hendrickson

On Nov 9, 2010, at 9:15 AM, wabash2813 wrote:

I've been communicationg with a manufacturer recently about the
delicate HO stirrups on their freight cars. He is of the opinion
that there is no alternative and still keep them to scale size. It
seems to me that after market parts are much more durable and we do
have some flat wire versions that are scale and durable. And I
believe Details Associates makes some out of a flexible plastic
material? He is going to send me spares on a sprue but I think in
the long term I would rather replace them with something more durable.

Folks what are your thoughts on this?
Victor, all of my HO scale rolling stock is designed to operate on a
diorama and to be handled periodically for maintenance, etc.
Mercifully, I don't have to deal with the ham-fisted bozos who seem
inevitable on most club layouts, but in my experience plastic sill
steps that are molded on or cemented in place are either grossly
oversize and out of scale or so fragile as to be vulnerable to even
reasonably careful handling. For that reason, my long-standing
practice is to replace them wherever possible with A-Line metal steps
(which, incidentally, are less expensive if purchased in bulk than in
individual retail packages). I heat each step to a dull red with my
resistance soldering tool and then quench it in water; this makes it
easy to bend the step to whatever exact configuration may be required
without breaking it. I then blacken it with a chemical blackening
agent before installing it, as the black coating takes paint better
than bare metal and tends to prevent unwanted shine from the metal if
the paint gets rubbed off. The A-Line steps are slightly over-scale,
but not much, and look quite realistic as well as being resistant to
any damage that might result from a derailment, etc. Worst case
scenario is that they get bent, and - having been annealed before
installation - they can easily be bent back into position and touch-
up paint applied if necessary. FWIW -

Richard Hendrickson

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