26 March 2024

7th Street Shops - Rails Flanges & Gears Post 6


Saturday, March 25, 2023

Building in Brass; Pre - History Part 4

Kemtron HOn3 brass kit of the D&R G C-16

I don't know of any formal (accredited) program to earn a degree in Model Master Mechanic. It is all strictly on the job training - where one is both client and service. I thought it might be interesting to give an example of  how one might go about doing that. It's all very informal really; find a model you would like to have, build it and in the process learn more about building the next one..

Fortunately, I have a few photo examples of my early "training." Among the photos I found both 35mm and medium format negatives of the Kemtron C-16 I mentioned in part 3. I built this kit over 40 years ago after I got out of the Navy. I also found I had photos that I didn't remember taking. Somewhere along the way the Model Die Cast narrow gauge engine I sold to the modular group I was a part of happened to pass before my Mamya 645.

Model Die Cast HOn3 outside frame (C-21?)

I don't know exactly when MDC first offered the powered narrow gauge 2-8-0s - about 1974 I believe - but I purchased this outside frame kit perhaps prior to the C-16. It was an intriguing project I probably bought when I became involved with Slim Rail. I didn't have a module of my own but I wanted something to run during our shows.

Building the model was fun and straight forward and, as you can see, the C&Sng was already a strong  influence upon my efforts. I gave it my own paint scheme and fictional road name. The model was airbrushed black, silver and the masked off areas were a light sea green (Humbrol). The herald was inspired by a layout idea that I began a year or two later. I briefly described that pike in part 3 along with the white metal Keystone Shay kit. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of either the shay or the layout. I sold the Connie to the modular group when I went to school in Denver  

I've been a photo enthusiast for nearly as long as I've been a railroad modeler. I started with a Canon SLR when I joined the Service and eventually became the ships photographer while over seas. I've taken many pictures as record and many of models that help when telling this story.

Kettle Creek is located in Black Forest, CO.

The C-16 was my first brass kit. My cheap soldering iron probably came from Radio Shack and may have been as much a hindrance as it was successful but I had learned how to solder at a pretty young age; that surely helped me get thru this project. Somewhere I purchased a tube of solder paste with flux already in it - what a novel idea! It took me a while to put it together but it turns out soldering brass takes a long time anyway. It isn't the actual soldering but the preparation and jigging that takes time. I enjoyed the "doing" and was pleased with the results. I don't recall how it ran - probably not well - but that didn't discourage me. 

 D&RG C-16 with a kit-built DSP&P Waycar

 The waycar shown with the C-16 was from a kit, probably E.& B. Valley and clearly not a very accurate example of the D.S.P.& P. prototype. I don't remember when I built it as the photos were taken some time after I sold the Canon F-1 and purchased the Mamya (1981). 

Half or more of the success of any task seems to rest on a certain confidence that you know you will figure out any issues that arise. In other words, you don't lose if you don't quit. When I finished the C-16 I built Kemtron's D.& R. G. 0-6-0t with the intent of converting it to a C & S mogul. That didn't happen. 

As I described previously I became frustrated with the smallness of narrow gauge in HO scale. I finally  traded or sold off the HO stuff to purchase (as I now recall ) an O scale Denver South Park & Pacific mogul imported by Balboa. I scratch built several D.S.P. & P. freight cars to go with it. 

I scratch built this On3 Tiffany "freezer"..
By this point I had plenty of experience building kits of all kinds. There were very few if any South Park  car kits in O scale. There were plenty of drawings and photos, however, and I found it an easy and enjoyable transition into building models that came from no kits. All of the freight cars in these photos were scratch built by collecting or making the parts and   assembling them according to the available information. 

I did find a kit for the waycar offered by Don Winters but even that could be described as scratch building out of a box. The instruction sheet provided an 

elevation drawing perhaps a brief description and

... as were all of the cars in this view

these suggestions; "get a six pack of beer, look at the drawing and published photos and put the kit together." Except for the beer (which didn't seem like a good idea for this method of construction) that is what I did. It turned out to be a fun project.

However, there came a point where I decided I still wasn't working in a direction I wanted to go. The "South Park," while fascinating in history, still didn't have the attraction its grandchild, the Colorado & Southern RY. had. I took the Mogul back to

Don Winters On3 waycar; post 1911 numbering
Caboose and traded it and several freight cars for an Iron Horse Models, On3, C&S, No. 60 2-8-0 kit. This was the most serious brass project I had gotten into up to that point. There were hundreds if not thousands of

parts in the box and the kit took many evenings to complete. If I recall, I put it together more than once because I made many mistakes.

Perhaps the greatest importance of the Iron Horse kit was how much it taught me. When I finally got it put together and painted, it looked a lot like the model below that I obtained several years later. I painted and numbered the kit as C&S 62.

I also added the detailed interior
I was fascinated with the orphaned (once D.S.P.& P. mainline to Gunnison ) branch known as the Buena Vista Romley division. I later understood more about

how no. 62 - and all of the Rhode Island connies - were unique from each other. I re-worked the model yet again.

The photo below provides a good reference of the 62 at Buena Vista in 1925. The photo was loaned to me by its creator, Richard Kindig, with 

PSC On3 No. 60 was painted when I got it

permission to make a copy negative. This was the sole motive power for that branch in the final days of that portion of the railroad



Next time I'll show you what the model of 62 looked.

C&S 62 at Buena Vista in 1925

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