My posts recently have been very Railflyer/second gen EMD oriented, so it’s about time I made a note of my progress on SNCT F7A #101. Not a lot has been done, but some of the major hurdles have now been cleared.
First new thing, is the addition of the nose grab irons. They’re BLMA .008” drop grab irons, which are nice, though they’ve now been eclipsed by Railflyers offering, which are closer to the scale 17” length of the prototype. I am going to use a Railflyer ladder grab for the edge of the nose, as well as Railflyer photo-etch nut-bolt-washer details. I’m still waiting to receive those though.
A view of the conductors side, notice how the steps were attached to the shell on the opposite side.
I also added the pilot steps to each side of the plow, and the stirrup step to provide access to the nose grabs. These parts were all scratchbuilt from Cannon & Company fret and brass treadplate. If you look closely you’ll notice that the pilot steps have a diamond plate pattern. The stirrup step is actually in it’s second iteration. The first one I built looked dead-on for the prototype, but interferred with the Athearn trucks swing (grumble), so I had to narrow the step somewhat. It doesn’t look as good, but it does the trick, and the locomotive will be able to take right curves. If I ever figure out how to convert a Genesis truck to scale width, I may be able to redo the stirrup.
The next phase of the project involved finding someone to mill the Athearn chassis so that I could use Hi-Tech battery boxes and hanger brackets on a scratchbuilt frame. Fortunately, a milling service was offered by a member of the Diesel Detailers forum, and I was able to get this done for a very reasonable price. It was well done too, every cut is precisely to spec.
I based my design on David Hussey’s Santa Fe F units. Essentially, .08” has been milled off the bottom and a cavity that is wide enough to allow the motor to lie on its side has been carved out. Because milling the bottom off the frame removed the fuel tank cavity where the motor had been attached, it was necessary to remount it on its side.
Here you can see how the motor will fit in the chassis. If you’re curious, or want to see exactly what was done, the plans I drew up are available in PDF form here: https://milepost15.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/f7a-milling-sketch.pdf. Next I’m going to start building the frame, and will continue adding more of the little details to the shell.