Request: Advice on making boiler handrails and rivets

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by ZeldaTheSwordsman, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

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    I have a few locos in need of proper boiler handrails. All the locos are British, so that you know. Anyway, they came with molded-on handrails, which will not do. I need to make my own, and I would like some advice. Also, I would like some suggestions for putting rivets on plastic models.
  2. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

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    Handrails: brass wire comes in a wide variety of guages and is easily bent. But, stainless steel wire will hold up much better. Get the SS wire from Small Parts Inc. It is shipped in a tube and is dead straight. Just make a jig for repetitive bends.

    Rivets: as many techniques are there are stars above. Dots of Elmer's glue or epoxy resin, heads of straight pins, dimpling the material with a punch from the reverse side. There was even a rub on transfer product a decade ago, alas no longer available. One other technique that I developed.

    Punch the desired rivet pattern in wax paper. Affix said wax paper to the model. Spray the paper with successive coats of flat black paint until you get a build up of paint. Remove the wax paper. Works best in small scales. I have never tried it on anything larger than 1/48 or O scale models.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    For handrails you will also need standoffs or handrail knobs. These are sometimes available in hobby shops; a really desperate modeller might make them out of belaying pins. We used to use flat or half-round wire wrapped around the handrail, run through a hole in the boiler and splayed out inside (like a cotter pin).
  4. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

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    Well, I actually think I can make the handrail pillars out of paperclip. It's the rivets that really trouble me.
  5. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

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    You didn't mention the scale. This technique works well in small scales but is quite time consuming. Stretch plastic sprue until it is quite thin. Cut 1/2-3/4 inch sections. While holding one end of each sprue section, place the other end near a heat source such as a butane lighter. The heat will cause the plastic to bulge realistically.

    You can control the size the the bulge. The problem is maintaining consistency in the size. I tackled that problem one time by carefully taping the sprue sections in a side-by-side line. I made sure the ends protruding from the tape were exactly the same length. I then placed a piece of cardboard on the tape so that it stuck really well.

    I used a common household clothes iron as my heat source and carefully pressed the plastic against the iron. The effort resulted in about 15 perfectly formed, consistently sized rivets.

    The next step is to drill out the rivet holes on the loco body and CA the rivets in place.

    Yup, lot's of work.
  6. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

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    H0/00 scale. I thought that would be obvious, considering I posted this in the H0 SCALE BOARD!
  7. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

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    Nope, wasn't obvious. I rarely pay attention to which discussion board the thread is on. If the subject or question interests me, I jump in.

    Since it's basically 1/87 scale, those rivet techniques will work like a champ on your locomotives. I have a model steam engine that I've used almost all of them on.

    I really don't like the Elmer's or epoxy resin dots. Those techniques allow too much room for error.

    Good luck!
  8. GN.2-6-8-0

    GN.2-6-8-0 Member

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    Precision Scale Co. carries a large assortment of handrail stanchions for almost any application.But you'll need their catalog in order to be sure of the correct ones.