One of the new Railflyer Hood Side kits mounted on styrene and posed on my BN 2154 GP38-2 walkway module.
One project I’ve been working on for awhile, but haven’t yet posted about or mentioned much, is the GP38-2/GP40-2 Hood Side kit that Railflyer is developing. I received the kit a few months back and assembled it in a few hours over a couple of weeks in August. It’s a very interesting and well thought out way to do engine room doors, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it will work with the Railflyer hood cores currently under development.
While I liked this concept, there are still a few issues to be resolved, my notes about which I’ve passed on to Christopher at Railflyer, the next run of these should therefor be considerably easier to assemble. Essentially each side has three etched brass layers: a base layer, a middle layer and a door layer. Individual etched brass hinges are placed in sockets on top of the middle layer once the doors are glued down. Injection molded knuckle busters (kb’s) are inserted into holes in each layer and can then be attached using a plastic cement to the styrene core. I assembled each side by taping the base and middle layers to a piece of glass, once the doors and hinges were installed on the middle layer, I laminated that assembly to the base, then the entire thing to a piece of styrene, after that I attached the kb’s and then built up the remainder of the hood with styrene.
In the photo above, you can see each individual hinge which had to be cut off a fret and attached with super glue, they look a little uneven in the photo, but that is due to glue around the edges and the light reflecting off the brass. I am hoping that one of the major changes that will be incorporated into the next run, will be the consolidation of the base and middle layers, and possibly the inclusion of the hinges as etchings on either the base or door layer. I believe that would reduce assembly time to 10 minutes or even less.
On the conductors side, I also included one of Railflyers walkway lights that are installed to light the beginning of the duct on that side of EMD units, this is another very nice part that can easily be lit with fiber optics.
I assembled each side using a mixture of different adhesives. Each layer is attached with my favorite Barge thinned with MEK, the hinges were attached using CA applied with a micro brush and the kb’s were attached directly to the styrene backing with Testors plastic cement. Originally there was a lot of curl to the middle layer, but by heating it, I was able to remove the springiness and get it to lay flat. As you can see, the resulting assembly is quite straight. This is another issue that should be resolved once Christopher combines the base and middle layers.
I have to apologize for the god-awful paint job in the next two photo’s. It was hurriedly applied and is currently being stripped off so I can try again. However, it does do a decent enough job of highlighting how nice the kb’s look. They are far better than anything you’ll find in brass, and are in my opinion on par with Cannon and some of the best plastic RTR.
On the engineers side, the inspection window is etched out of the door and middle layer. I believe the kit will eventually include a gasket and “glass.” One of the nice things about this method, is the ease with which it will be possible to develop different door variations, such as the louvered style found on some Canadian units.
Just to test things, I set the Railflyer wide cab I have on top of the walkway with the hood side. It looks really good! The styrene backing I made doesn’t match the cab exactly as I had to guess at a lot of my measurements, however as these sides were just for testing, that’s ok. One can certainly understand the concept. Overall, this is an exciting development for kitbashers and scratchbuilders, I firmly believe that a multimedia approach to model railroad kits is the best way to go, and I look forward to seeing whats next from Railflyer. It’s hard to compare this assembly process to some of the other methods out there… obviously it entails more intensive construction than modifying an RTR shell, though I think it will become considerably easier once the revisions are made. I can’t say much about how it compares to Cannon, as I’ve never built a hood out of Cannon parts, but I’d say it probably requires the same amount of skill and time, though there is less cutting and measuring of styrene involved, which in my book is always a plus. Certainly the quality is on par.