Schuyler Larrabee recently shared interesting photos of a tool he built to help him with model building. We asked Schuyler to share more details and he sent the following notes.
I did a lot of complicated and fairly delicate work on the underframe and brake gear on this model. It is the 2018 Shake’n’Take project; an ERIE double-door, 40-foot boxcar. Based on prior experience, I was concerned that I’d damage the installed details while I worked on detailing the upper parts of the car. I wanted a way to be able to put the model down on the bench other than installing trucks, temporary or otherwise.
I happened to have a conveniently-sized strip of wood, about 1½ x ½-inch (window molding, I think) and I cut off a piece about 7-inches long so it would protect the couplers as well as the ends of the car. I drilled two #44 holes spaced to match the car’s truck bolsters in order to clear a 2-56 screw. Two pieces of .030” plastic tube (Evergreen) cut to 3/8”long provided the stand-offs and cleared all the underbody detail. With 1” long screws, slightly countersunk into the bottom of the wood, I had a good solid base for the model.
As Greg Martin points out with Shake ’n’ Take projects, a block of wood inside the car body gives the plastic body some strength when you are scraping off rivets or making other modifications to the sides of the car. I found that when I put a spacer block underneath that wood block, I could then pick up the model in one hand and completely avoid actually touching the model at all. The wood pieces inside the car are not anchored.
I could also, as shown in the photos, stand the model on end, and could also chuck the wood in my Panavise when I needed to have it stable in an odd attitude.
An unanticipated benefit was revealed when I began to apply strips of Archer rivets directly adjacent to the molded rivets to create the ACR pattern for this car. Since the standoffs were exactly the same length, I could use my small adjustable square against the bottom of the wood base to get a perfect vertical alignment parallel to the seams molded into the model, and a good reference line to make sure those rivet strips were straight. Worked for the ladders too, which were a substitute for the kit’s ladders, and will improve my alignment of grab iron ladders in the future (a chore I have a very hard time accomplishing!)
Since the truck spacing for this model is pretty conventional, I expect this new tool will come in handy for future projects. I plan to make additional holders for those models with different bolster distances in the future.
We thank Schuyler for sharing his cool tool idea. I’m sure a few of us will be making something similar to ease upcoming freight car kit construction.
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