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gavino200

M-497 "Black Beetle" - Jet powered train

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gavino200

I'm working on the side skirting. Studying the Kato Kobo model (see below) it seems that Kato add the skirting to the chassis/motor unit, rather than to the shell as I had assumed. I haven't decided for sure but I think I'll follow the Kato example. Making accurate cuts in styrene pieces this size is tough. I think oversize and then file/sand is the only way I can do it accurately. Even the blade width and the amount of plastic that is "crushed" by the cut is an important factor. 

 

http://www.lestrainsdedaliplumes.com/image/RDC-Jet-2.jpg

 

On the positive side....I previously had been thinking of the First RDC shell as one extra chance to practice. But actually I can paint and strip as many times as I want until I get comfortable with the technique, before moving on to the final model. 

 

On the less positive side....I put the shell back on to trial fit the skirting. I realized that the "floor" of the chassis, isn't actually the floor of the RDC. Rather it is just at window bottom level, with little bumps to simulate the very top part of the seats. This means that it will be much harder to hide wires than I expected. I may use connectors in the "no windows" part and try to run all wires under the roof. 

 

 

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chadbag

After you glue it in you could use modelers putty to fill in the seam and then sand.   Or something like that.  The real modelers in the group can fill in the details.

 

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gavino200
22 hours ago, chadbag said:

After you glue it in you could use modelers putty to fill in the seam and then sand.   Or something like that.  The real modelers in the group can fill in the details.

 

 

Thanks. I used modelers glue. I actually have three kinds and am trying to work out which one I like best. If you look at the filled-in door, you can see there's a step-off at the top of the door. That's a problem with not sanding/filling enough, rather than a gap. The funny thing is that I didn't really notice it until I posted the picture here. That's one of the advantages of posting stuff here. The pictures are very unforgiving and highlight a lot of imperfections. I think I can improve on that, when I do the actual piece (this is the practice shell).

 

I did notice last night that I did some thermal damage to the plastic floor of the RDC. I thought that wouldn't be noticeable. But unfortunately it is, so I'll have to swap it out with a part from a "non-runner" that I purchased last night. 

 

The skirting issue is different. The main shell and the "skirting" are all one piece on the prototype. On the Kato model they're split up and the extra skirting is glued on to the side of the motor unit, so there is a necessary small gap where the upper shell lifts off. I'll try to minimize this but I won't be able to eliminate it. It's fairly subtle. After all, I didn't even notice it until now, and I've been staring at pictures of this thing for quite a while now. 

 

Not sure if I already mentioned this here, but it just struck me that I can practice the masking and painting over and over on the same piece (stripping it down each time) until I get it right. That makes me a bit less nervous about the painting.  

Edited by gavino200

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gavino200

The jets are finished. I applied clear coat this evening. Pearl for the silver casing and gloss for the red jet bits. I'll leave it to cure for a couple of days and then transfer it to the electrical side of the operation. It's going to be powered from the decoder motor outlet using a circuit provided by @kvp. The lights will be off at rest and increase in intensity as the loco speeds up.

 

Fixing this to the loco roof will be project in itself, but I'll deal with that later. The rough plan is to sculpt the base to the contour of the roof then fix it in place with some tiny lag screws and a suitable glue.

 

 

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Edited by gavino200
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gavino200

I did some work on the side skirting. This is basically a practice study to see what the main issues are. I didn't make too much attempt to make the bevel at the bottom of the skirt even. As Jeff pointed out above that's probably better done before cutting the strip as it's easier to handle as a sheet. I also didn't sweat about centering the skirt between the two bogies. Lastly it's not a 'real' paint job. It's just a spritz of grey primer, force dried with airbrush air flow, followed by a thin coat of flat aluminum also force dried with no time to cure. You can probably see fingerprints.

 

Problem 1. Cutting the circle radius parts. I used a divider (compass with two metal points and no graphite) to scratch the circle outline. Then I rubbed over that with pencil so I could see the line. Lastly I tried to cut it out with a hobby knife. It's very hard to cut a smooth arc at that size, even with loupes. I got the final curve by filing with a curved micro file. But its' not very precise or predictable. 

 

There's got to be a better way. I have a compass cutter (hobby knife on a compass) that I've never really used. In this case the minimum possible radius is to big. But the concept is a winner. Will look for a smaller one. Also good would be some kind of hole punch set. I'll look for one.

 

Problem 2. Cutting styrene in general in these dimensions is difficult. The with of many marking and  cutting devices is very significant as a proportion of total size. I used a caliper to set the length and then set the divider to the caliper length. Then I used the divider to score the styrene. Then I made a score with a hobby knife at the divider score. Next I used a pencil to rub over the knife score, so as to make it visible. Then lastly I cut carefully along the line with the hobby knife under loupe magnification. This is tedious but works for straight lines. But I wonder if there are better methods or helpful devices.

 

Problem 3. The surface area for gluing the skirting onto the chassis isn't great. I should see about using putty to create a larger flat surface for it to rest on. 

 

Overall, the styrene is easy to work with. I like it.

 

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gavino200

The skirting is on hold for a bit. I'm waiting for a few styrene cutting tools to arrive. So I'm going to think about the front piece a little. 

 

Things to do.

1. I need to work out a good way to make an antenna. The pointy red thing that sticks straight out of the front of the loco. The base (small dot marked below with the blue arrow) is 1 mm in diameter. The antenna would be best fixed if I drilled into the front piece so the antenna was partially set into the face piece. I'll have to rummage for a rod that is the right diameter. Even more difficult is that the antenna tapers to a fine point. I don't know how to sculpt or machine a taper in a piece this small. I'm going to look through my misc. sprues and plastic parts bin looking for something that's already a suitable side and shape.

 

2. The glass parts. Two windows and a small piece for the ditch light (red arrow). This is tedious, but I've done something similar to this before. I'm planing to carve and sand them out of clear plastic jewel boxes.

 

3. I need to settle on a color for the dark gray part. I was originally going to custom mix this. But if I end up painting the structure in parts, it would be better to used a pre-made paint so I can keep the color as uniform as possible. 

 

4. I need to start thinking about what kind of glue I want to used on the final build. I don't want it to fall apart easily. but I also don't want something that dries instantly as I'd like to get the positions as right as possible. I'm thinking about an apoxy.

 

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Edited by gavino200

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gavino200

Based on what I currently have, the leading contenders for the antenna are this Kato platform part (red circle) and this brass rod (blue arrow). I'm favoring the metal as it's a lot more rigid. 

 

Neither have a taper or step-off as wished. But perhaps, I could make make a slight step-off like the Kato model has by wrapping the proximal part in tape. Or maybe better, I could mask the thinner end part and paint the proximal part (that I want to be thicker), with a few coats of thick enamel paint.

 

Xqb7TPC.jpg

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cteno4
12 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

The skirting is on hold for a bit. I'm waiting for a few styrene cutting tools to arrive. So I'm going to think about the front piece a little. 

 

Things to do.

1. I need to work out a good way to make an antenna. The pointy red thing that sticks straight out of the front of the loco. The base (small dot marked below with the blue arrow) is .12 mm in diameter. The antenna would be best fixed if I drilled into the front piece so the antenna was partially set into the face piece. I'll have to rummage for a rod that is the right diameter. Even more difficult is that the antenna tapers to a fine point. I don't know how to sculpt or machine a taper in a piece this small. I'm going to look through my misc. sprues and plastic parts bin looking for something that's already a suitable side and shape.

 

Check out microblading needles. You can cut the bundle apart.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Microblading-Semi-Permanent-Makeup-Manual-Eyebrow-Tattoo-Curved-Blade-16-Needles/223087277354?hash=item33f109b52a:m:md3Ib9SjcxaUWtIVI5KCgbg

 

With styrene you can also heat a chunk of plastic sprew over a flame then pull apart to get fine thread that tapers.

 

12 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

2. The glass parts. Two windows and a small piece for the ditch light (red arrow). This is tedious, but I've done something similar to this before. I'm planing to carve and sand them out of clear plastic jewel boxes.

 

Check out the lhs as you can get thinner clear styrene strip stock that may be easier to trim down. Heavy acetate sheet can also be easier to carve, it’s softer than clear stryene.

 

12 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

3. I need to settle on a color for the dark gray part. I was originally going to custom mix this. But if I end up painting the structure in parts, it would be better to used a pre-made paint so I can keep the color as uniform as possible. 

 

Mix up a small bottle of your custom color to store and use more later?

 

12 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

4. I need to start thinking about what kind of glue I want to used on the final build. I don't want it to fall apart easily. but I also don't want something that dries instantly as I'd like to get the positions as right as possible. I'm thinking about an apoxy.

 

Epoxy works well just need to hold the parts while it sets. Have you used it much? Play with it some on some tests as it can go off on you at different points and different rates with different ones. Always good to do a little test of the tubes you are using before you go at something important as they csn change with time. Mix well, stir, fold, repeat!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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cteno4

Those seem pretty big for an antenna. What should it be in dia in the prototype? I woildgess like 2” or so Max, so would be like third of a mm dia scale.

 

jeff

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gavino200
4 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Those seem pretty big for an antenna. What should it be in dia in the prototype? I woildgess like 2” or so Max, so would be like third of a mm dia scale.

 

jeff

 

Yes. I revised my post after you had quoted it. I used a caliper the first time and pinched the little nubbin, thereby getting the smaller measurement. But when I used my loupes and looked carefully at it it realized the diameter of the nubbin/dot is approximately 1mm. Only off my one order of magnitude!

 

The Kato model uses an antenna that is wider than the prototype.

Edited by gavino200

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gavino200
1 minute ago, cteno4 said:

Still a mm is 6”. Seems awfully thick for a train antenna. The prototype photos look like about 3”. Looks like the sort of overscaled the antenna like 2x on dia and lenght. It didn’t telescope out did it?

 

https://oldmachinepress.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/nyc-m-497-tow.jpg

 

jeff

 

Agree. The Kato Antenna is giant compared to the prototype. But it looks ok on the model.

 

http://buyee.jp/item/yahoo/auction/s589493376

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gavino200

Estimating the Kato size from the photo by the following very rough method.

 

1. Save and blow up the image from the buyee sale.

 

2. Measure the size of the image off the screen for the front window slit height and the antenna width.

 

3. Measure the same window height on my resin model piece.

 

4. A little math give a kato antenna width of .6mm.

 

The brass rod is .8 mm

 

I'm more inclined to copy the Kato model than the prototype. I'm assuming that Kato tried to be as prototypical as possible but made compromises for very good reasons.

Edited by gavino200

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gavino200

The same calculation using an easier-to-clearly-measure part (the door) gives a width of .75 mm for the Kato model Antenna. Very close to the brass rod. But I'm not committed to using this material. 

 

I do think metal would be a plus. Plastic will bend and the paint will flake off.

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cteno4
6 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

I'm more inclined to copy the Kato model than the prototype. I'm assuming that Kato tried to be as prototypical as possible but made compromises for very good reasons.

 

Since you are making your own I would follow the prototype, it’s easy to do. The model looks way off. Just cause they got it wrong you dont need to. Kato one looks a bit like a unicorn.

 

jeff

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gavino200
Just now, cteno4 said:

 

Kato one looks a bit like a unicorn.

 

 

Ok, now you've gone and done it. If I use the Kato dimensions I'll never get that image out of my mind!

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cteno4

Instead of the tough name of black beetle you can call it my little unicorn...

 

sorry it just looked so big. Stop what you are thinking.

 

jeff

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gavino200
29 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Instead of the tough name of black beetle you can call it my little unicorn...

 

sorry it just looked so big. Stop what you are thinking.

 

jeff

 

I decided to bring in the jury - my wife and the boy. Their answer was unexpected. They both thought the antenna "looked stupid". Both of them - model AND prototype. But that if I must add an antenna it should look like the prototype as it was clearly the better looking of the two.

 

So I guess....no unicorn. I'll go for an itty-bitty antenna. 

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gavino200

I've been staring at this train for way to long now. But.....I just discovered something (a little bit) interesting. All the Kato M-497 pictures are not the same. There are at least three different versions of the Kato Black Beetle. Odd, as there was only one Kato Kobo M-497 release.

 

This is version one - Featured in what appear to be genuine Kato promotional material. Note the skirting is in three separate pieces. One front, one rear. and a long center piece. This uses the same center skirt design that I received from the resin guy, but the front and back skirts are made differently.

 

 http://www.lestrainsdedaliplumes.com/les-infos-des-fabricants/28-actualite-kato/61-loco-kato-rdc-nyc-m497-turbojet-dcc-n.html

 

This is version two - the one that Kato actually sold, and that appears occasionally on the market for high prices. They have moved to a one-piece skirting that is still attached to the loco chassis, rather than the shell. Seen here in this Buyee add.

 

https://buyee.jp/item/yahoo/auction/s589493376

 

This is version three. Featured in a model railroad magazine article, linked to on the KatoUSA RDC page. It's a slightly different version of skirting close to but different from version one. This uses the design I have for the center skirting. I got no instructions on how to do the front and rear skirts. They seem to be a mix of styrene and modeler's putty. I believe this was made by the person who sold me the jet, nose piece, and decals and I'm fairly sureI he made them himself.  Interestingly he uses a more prototypical Antenna design than Kato. But oddly this version is lacking the pin-stripe decals, and has a different jet that what he sold me. 

 

http://www.katousa.com/N/RDC/

 

Finally, the holy grail. The picture that reveals how Kato made their production skirting, and shows how they put it all together. It's the underside picture in the ebay that Kiha originally posted here.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Super-RARE-Kato-Kobo-Custom-Exclusive-JET-POWERED-RDC-DCC-with-SOUND-/153092350738?hash=item23a503e312%3Ag%3A9wAAAOSwUqBbQup2&nma=true&si=1wpMa%2B3HsQnN1wmvrgG%2FTfwdgJQ%3D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

 

 

 

 

Edited by gavino200

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cteno4

Ha, glad the executive committee approved. That’s a tough committee I bet. No unicorns on the layout.

 

it just dawned on me that this might be best built with some micro turning.

 

you can put a nice small hardwood dowel or toothpick in your roto tool and then clamp it to the bench and spin the dowel. You can thenuse a #11 blade tip to turn the dowel down to your desired size and shape. Make a little stand to rest the knife blade on while cutting. If you have any disposable scalpel blades from work like #61 or 67 or 67m they are great too as micro chisels. Just like turning candle sticks ona regular wood lathe.

 

I think you might be able to get it small enough.  

 

You can do brass a bit like this with files and blades as well, but you have to be very slow doing it.

 

its quite fun and you can make tiny tiny things. I made an ho scale wine glass (or an n scale challis) out of clear acrylic and flower pots with saucers down to about 9” dia n scale.

 

this chap (who I learned this from) made a 1/144 scale chess set this way!

 

https://nanotray.com/

 

seems like something you might enjoy doing. It’s a very zen experience and your professional skills would fit right in!

 

cheers,

 

jeff

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gavino200
3 hours ago, chadbag said:

It appears from the Buyee photos that the "antenna" is really a pitot tube:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitot_tube

 

 

Thanks Chad. That was interesting. I always wondered how airspeed was measured.

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gavino200
4 hours ago, cteno4 said:

it just dawned on me that this might be best built with some micro turning.

 

you can put a nice small hardwood dowel or toothpick in your roto tool and then clamp it to the bench and spin the dowel. You can thenuse a #11 blade tip to turn the dowel down to your desired size and shape. Make a little stand to rest the knife blade on while cutting. If you have any disposable scalpel blades from work like #61 or 67 or 67m they are great too as micro chisels. Just like turning candle sticks ona regular wood lathe.

 

I think you might be able to get it small enough.  

 

You can do brass a bit like this with files and blades as well, but you have to be very slow doing it.

 

its quite fun and you can make tiny tiny things. I made an ho scale wine glass (or an n scale challis) out of clear acrylic and flower pots with saucers down to about 9” dia n scale.

 

this chap (who I learned this from) made a 1/144 scale chess set this way!

 

https://nanotray.com/

 

 

Thanks. You're right. I do think that looks like fun. In fact after reading the first paragraph, I said to myself "Hmm, I doubt that will work for this, but it looks like fun so I think I'll do it anyway".

 

I'm also going to think about trying clear acrylic for the windows. That's just plexi-glass right? I'll make a cast of the inside tonight to see what I have to aim for. 

 

Another thing - I'm beginning to have a better understanding of how the nose piece was made by the modeler. I've been fascinated by the process ever since I first saw the article. He gives the name of the product. It was "sculpt-it" or something similar. I'm going to get some and play with it. Perhaps I could use it in a different project where I hope to make an 80s Irish loco. Basically, it's a substance that can be modeled like clay but can be baked hard in a regular kitchen oven. Then sand, build up, sand, repeat. 

Edited by gavino200

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