Scratchbuilding the "Made Marion" Steam Shovel
By Henry Townsend/photos by the author
I have a great fondness for large, awkward equipment that works hard and well even though it looks like it shouldn't work at all. Consequently, the steam shovels made by the Marion Steam Shovel Company of Marion, Ohio, as well as those made by the Bucyrus Equipment Corp. have long held a spot in my heart. Over the years, there have occasionally been plans for these beasts in various modeling magazines. In addition, there have been models offered in HO/HOn3 (Rio Grande Models) as a kit, or assembled specimens in Sn3 (PBL) and in On3 (Precision Scale, and Wiseman Model Services, I believe).
On the other hand, it is possible to make up a pretty respectable replica, especially if you follow the line of building a model of a steam shovel that has been dramatically re-worked and rearranged during its working life. I'm sure that some rivet counters and rip track detectives can find fault with poor old "Made Marion". If so, I hope that they'll turn to, and glue, solder, epoxy, and screw together a more prototypical model that we all can admire.
My own view is that something is usually better than nothing (unless it's bird droppings in the soup), so I decided to build an On30 steam shovel constructed to:
1. Create a model of a fascinating piece of equipment where there wasn't one before
2. use an array of "mostly" prototype bits and pieces to create an overall impression of a piece of equipment that could dig a hole or rust on a sidetrack
3. place heavy emphasis on handwork and creativity and minimum impact on finances
4. provide me with a lot of pleasure and satisfaction.
5. be unique.
With these ideas in mind, I decided to use a minimum of commercially available components, try new building and fabrication techniques to solve fabrication problems, and also, build in enough inherent strength to withstand a lot of handling during and after the old girl was completed. With the concept of strength in mind, please note that there are at least four versions of a steam shovel that can be made from the working drawings provided.
1. Fully roofed, fully enclosed sides and rear end
2. Roof and rear awning
3. Short roof/full roof and sliding door panels
4. No roof and no side or end covering
I chose to build a "sliding panel" version because I dreamed up the idea of fabricating the sides out of strip wood reinforced with truss rods. Note that there are two sets of tracks on the bottom side of the car body so that panels can be opened or closed to improve ventilation as desired. This approach really complicates construction so you may wish to simply use scribed siding for the side and end panels. Another approach is to assume operations in southern swamps where side panels are not really needed. In truth, however, every photo of a steam shovel I have seen has shown side panels although some of them are fairly skimpy. Note that the "sliding" panels are actually cemented in place.
Another parameter is the nature and construction of the roof. Since most steam shovels were fired with wood or coal, a protective roof to prevent setting the machine on fire is pretty much required. From that it follows that a sheet metal roof would be the most practical approach.
Finally, although many steam shovels had squared off rear ends, it seems to me that a more practical approach would be a "fireman's porch" with a small supply of chopped wood or coal readily at hand.
A few words on materials. First, I want to mention God's gift to scale modelers: Coffee Stirrers. These basswood strips are approximately 21' long, 9" wide and 3" thick in one forty-eighth scale. They take stain, oil-based paint and acrylic-based paint beautifully. A box of 3K stirrers should cost about $5.00 to $6.00 from a restaurant supply company. I use them to plank ships, build ammo and K-ration boxes for military models, and for structures, car loads, etc., as well as railroad cars.
Throughout this article I'll provide a materials list of other odd ball items and materials. Let me stress that if something doesn't appeal to you or work for you, substitute whatever does. Also, don't be afraid to rip out something that doesn't please you. The whole idea is to build what you like.
All equipment is a collection of sub-assemblies joined together to create a unit. Even a lawn rake is composed of various metal and wood parts joined with metal fasteners. The steam shovel represented here is composed of the following sub-assemblies:
Car body (base) -Flatcar, Trucks, and coupler(s)
Weather Shelter (car sides, roof, back, porch
Steam Boiler-Steam Engine/Hoist Machinery
Lift Arm (boom) with Base Plate, and Tackle
Dip Stick/Bucket Assembly
If you choose to build the version illustrated (simulated sliding side panels) the following steps apply. If you prefer a conventional enclosure, go to the section labeled "A" below AFTER reading through this section AND finishing the steps below as appropriate.
1. Remove the trucks, mounting screws and brake gear and couplers from the Bachmann flat car. Place these parts in a zip-top baggie and include a file card or paper scrap that lists the parts. Carefully mark off a distance of one scale foot (1/4") from the actual edge of each side of the car. Do NOT measure from the edge of the stake pockets. Draw or scribe a line parallel to the actual edge of each side of the car and cut off the 1/4" section using a model saw or hot knife. Truss Rods go too. Use a sanding block or mill saw to level and finish the edges.
Measure in to a point equidistant between the truck mounts. Cut a 1/2" long by 1/4" wide slot in the deck (See Photos). This opening will accommodate the drive chain assembly below the car.
Prepare two car side channels 30 feet long (7- 5/8") from Plastruct WHITE 1/4" wide U-Channel stock (Use the white stock-the gray colored stock is ABS and is difficult to glue to styrene). Cement the flat sides of the pieces to the sides of the car body and flush with the car end that has the brake wheel /shaft fitting. The channel pieces should extend 6'(1.5") beyond the opposite end of the flatcar. Remove the brake wheel shaft casting with a knife, file or by sanding.
2. Cut strip wood or styrene to appropriate length to deck the area between the channels (Accuracy check: The flat car is just at 8' wide before cutting; The channels add back just at 1'. The modified car body is therefore 7' wide including the added deck strips.)
3. Cut four (4) sections of 1/16" wide white Plastruct U-Channel 30' (7-1/2") long. Make two pairs of door tracks by cementing two pieces of channel together per track set When the track sets are thoroughly dry, cement them to the car sides, open side UP. That is, you should now have an 8' wide flat car with a "W" shaped double track on each side.
4. Cut a section of Plastruct 1/4" wide U-Channel stock 6' long (1-1/2" long) and cement it flush with the channel ends on the extended end of the car body. No modification is required for the opposite end. (Leave the endplate in place.) Set the car body aside for the cement to set-up completely. Probably at least one of the channels has popped loose by now, so re-cement it in place.
5. By now you should have located two toy motor cycles equipped with chrome plated sprocket/chain components Carefully remove the chain/sprocket units and arrange them so that the large sprockets are next to each other and the chain small sprockets face away toward the ends of the car body. Place the car body bottom-side up, arrange the sprockets so that they are in the 1/2"X1/4" opening, prop them up vertically and cement them in place with cyanoarcrylate cement (Crazy Glue). Refer to the photographs of the bottom of the car body.
Be careful to position everything so that you don't cement the carbody to the work surface. It is difficult and frustrating to chisel the assembly loose! I strongly recommend using a gel rather than a liquid form of cement as it allows a bit of time to re-position wayward parts. After initial set-up, move the entire assembly to a quiet part of the work bench and let it cure at least overnight.
NOTE: before final cementing of the sprocket/chain assembly in place, fix it temporarily in place with carpenters white glue, and place the trucks in place to make sure that the assembly clears the track with the trucks in place. Adjust as necessary and then use the quick-setting cement to finish the job. (You can trim off the top of the sprockets a bit if necessary). Put the trucks back in the baggie
6. The final construction set for the car body involves installing anchor points for attachment of the Car Sides. Refer to the drawing that shows a side view of the model. Note the points at which the three vertical beams of the Car Sides attach to the Car Body. Six standard Code 100 rail joiners are required. Using pliers, press the rail joiners flat. Drill a 2-56 size hole in the center of each rail joiner half way to its' middle. Use the pliers to bend the rail joiner into an "L" shape, flat side on the outside of the "L". Cut away 1/8" section of the "U" channel double track at the points on the sides of the Car Body where the columns attach and cement an "L" piece in place so that the portion with a hole is on top. (See Drawing) NOTE: Use Gorilla Glue or epoxy.
Weather Shelter - Car Sides, Roof, Back Porch
If you prefer to simplify the job, especially if you are having trouble finding a suitable engine/gear assembly, (see Boiler/Eng. Sec.) sides can be made from scribed wood or styrene sheet.
Sheet styrene or scribed wood - Cut side panels to the dimensions on the drawings, and cut/frame out windows and doors. Most photos show a window near the rear of each side approximately half way between the top and bottom of the side. A large sliding door is usually installed approximately 2-4 feet from the front of the car side. The door appears to have been approximately 7' high by 6' wide. Cut an opening in the car side, install the door and add a strip wood track above and below the door, or cement the door onto the car side in the closed position.
Styrene/wood single strips.- Prepare a frame of 1/8"X1/8" strip wood or styrene by positioning and cementing a front, center, and rear vertical beam to an upper and lower beam. "Plank" the side out of individual boards. Cement the completed sections on AFTER the internals are installed on the car.
Construct a rear panel with an upper and lower cross member, planked as the sides. A rear door, sliding or side-hinged, closed or partially opened is recommended.
If you chose to take this approach, you will be spared the excitement of making up and installing the truss rods for the car sides, but to me that's part of the appeal of good old "Made" Marion. It's up to you.
Sides the "Fun" Way
The sides illustrated represent a frame kept in alignment by a combination of vertical beams and diagonal truss rods. There are three vertical beams per side. The beams also support the roof and the rear beams have the rear panel of the enclosure tied to them. Cut six sections of 1/8"X1/8" balsa or basswood stock 2.1/8" long (8'-6" in 1/4" scale). Cut 2 sections of the same size stock 5" long (20' in 1/4" scale). Cement two of the vertical beams to two of the horizontal beams to make two rectangles. Cement the third vertical beams half-way between the end beams. Use carpenters glue, Ambroid Cement or some other strong wood cement. NOTE: As seen in the picture of sub-assemblies, there is NO bottom beam on the sides-only a top beam and 3 vertical braces.
From paper index card, .005 styrene sheet, or an aluminum can make the following parts. Using the triangular pattern in the drawings, cut 12 triangular shapes using tin snips, or heavy household shears. Cement a triangular shape in each of the four corners of the two rectangles. Cement a triangle point down on the top, point up on the bottom of the center beam where it joints the horizontal beams.
NOTE: Cement the triangles, now called gussets, on the INSIDE surface of the side frames, i.e., when finished, the sides of the steam shovel will have sliding outside panels and truss rod/gussets inside facing the boiler/engine assembly.
If, as may well happen, you have two sides, both with gussets on the same side, turn one side around, and you'll be in good shape. Take a break.
Locate your long-lost spool of insulated solid core copper wire, approximately 1/16" thick. Mine is labeled: H.O. FLEX-1. Measure the distance from the center of the gusset at each end of the side frame to the center of the gusset in the middle of the opposite side (top or bottom). The distance should be equal. Using side cutting pliers or snips, cut eight sections of wire. Pull the insulation off each section. Use a #11 model knife/blade to cut three 1/4" long sections of insulation. Slide one of the sections back onto the wire and center it, and then slide one section onto each end. Make eight wire pieces this way. Cement a section of wire from opposite corners of the side frame with ACC, Ambroid Cement or Gorilla Glue.
Position the center insulation pieces so that they are above or below each other. These are your turnbuckles and you couldn't adjust them if they were on top of each other. Be consistent in spacing the turnbuckles, i.e., put upper turnbuckles above the crossing point and lower turnbuckles below on both side sections of the two sides.
Go back to your coffee stirrer lumberyard. Select enough straight pieces with common thickness to create 26 sections, 2-3/16" long. (8' 9" long in 1/4" scale). Decide if you want your steam shovel to be: RED (Fresh or Faded), NATURAL WOOD (Fresh or Faded), Any Other Color. Paint or stain the pieces accordingly. When the pieces are thoroughly dry, assemble two panels of 4 pieces, and one of 5 pieces per side by cementing them together with carpenters glue. When the cement is thoroughly dry, Cut enough stock to make horizontal braces, two for each panel, paint these pieces in the same or contrasting colors, and cement them horizontally across the vertical panels
NOTE: The side panels will be mounted so that two panels are seated in one bottom track and the other ones seated in the other. Fasten the cross braces close to center low on two panels, and high center on the opposite panel so the braces clear each other.
When you have figured all this positioning out, review the pictures, consider the position and spacing of the boiler, cylinders, boom gear system, operator's deck and other stuff, and decide how to position the side panels so that they "hide and seek" these components. When you decide on the best arrangement, cement the sliding panels to the frames. Cement them flush with the top of the frame, 1/16" projections below so that the bottom frame beam is flush with car deck and the side panels rest in the tracks. Don't cement the side panels to the carbody. You have a lot of work to do on the boiler, transmission, etc. that is almost impossible to do well if the sides are in the way.
If you wish to add an extension to the rear of your model it is easy to do. It also enhances realism by providing a handy work area for the boiler operator behind the boiler with room for a few hours supply of coal or firewood. Following the pattern on the drawings, create a rectangle 8' wide X 4' long (2" X 1' in 1/4" scale) from aluminum stock or .005" styrene. Then cut a strip 5/8" wide (2.5' in 1/4"scale) long enough to make a side panel for two sides and the rear. Bend this side strip around the deck panel and cement the two pieces together. When the cement has cured, cut two strips of 1/4" wide styrene Plastruct "U" channel or "I" beam 1.5" long (6' in 1/4" scale). Cement these pieces to the bottom of the back porch on edge (flanges up/down) centered and far enough apart to cement a Kaydee coupler box (or equivalent) between them. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Because steam shovels were frequently operated on narrow roadbeds with steeply sloping or unstable road beds, it was necessary to provide supplemental lateral stability. Also, the sideways movement of the boom/bucket assembly destabilized the unit even on level ground. Outriggers were needed to prevent the shovel from tipping over. Permanently mounted outriggers that could be swung out and adjusted forward or backward to stabilize the unit as required were the most common approach to this issue.
In addition, "strong points" were installed near each end of the car body on each side to allow chains or wire rope to be attached to trees, rocks, or other anchoring points to stabilize the equipment. The installation of outriggers improves the appearance (and stability) of the model.
Construction-The outrigger system is composed of a lateral support that runs under the bottom of the car, and two supports which are composed of a baseplate, elevating shaft, and a leveling wheel fitted to a leg or outrigger. The baseplate and the leveling wheel are made up from a set of clothes snaps, the shaft is a 0-90 machine screw, the leg/outrigger is a section of plastic picnic spoon or fork, and the support frame that passes under the car and up close to each side is a section of .013" brass wire. A section of plastic tubing (Plastruct 1/16" tubing or similar) is cemented securely to the inner end of the leg so that it can be slipped over the wire frame allowing the outrigger to swing 180 degrees along the car side.
Cut and bend a section of .013 Brass rod to the shape and dimensions shown in the outrigger detail drawing. Cement this lateral support across the car body at the point indicated on the overall car body drawing using Gorilla Glue.
Cut two sections of equal length from the plastic tableware stock and cement a section of 1/16 " tubing to the car body end. Let the parts cure thoroughly and then slip them onto the lateral support verticals. Drill out (by hand) if necessary. Drill out two sections of tubing large enough to pass a length of 0-90 screw through them. (NOTE: Cotton swabs sold under the trade name "Sentinel", marketed at Dollar General Stores are a perfect material for these end castings as an alternative to the tubing.)
File the inside snap portions flat (the ends that snap together). The "male" end, which has oblong openings, is the baseplate; the "female" end, which has a rim and a spring inside, is the leveling wheel. Use a pair of pliers to remove the spring. Snip or saw two lengths of the 0-90 screw to the length shown to make the shaft. Remove the screw head as well. Slip the shaft through the outside tubing of each leg and cement the shafts in place with cyanoarcrylate glue. Use a needle file to open the holes in the center of the base plate and the leveling wheel big enough to accept the shaft and cement them in place on the shaft with cyanoarcrylate glue.
Slip the completed outrigger legs over the vertical uprights of the lateral supports. They should swing freely along the sides of the carbody, fore and aft. Remove them and put them in the baggie with the trucks and truck screws for safe keeping. (NOTE: When the model is complete cut a number of 1/8"X1/8" wood strips approximately 1" long for baulks or support beams to be placed under the outriggers. These should be stained varying shades of gray and have "chewed up" areas in their centers. They should be placed on a flat car along with tools, spare chain, and other supplies. Another project involves building a flatcar with an old tender body for water and fuel as well as these materials.
Easy Way- Using the roof drawing, cut five strips of 1/32" thick by 1/8" wide styrene or strip wood to lengths shown. Cut six strips of the same material to the width shown and cement the cross members to the length wise "timbers". When the resulting frame is thoroughly dry, bend it around a concentrated soup can.
If you are using strip wood, moisten it lightly before bending the Frame. Cut a rectangle from 0.10" styrene for the roof cover. Remember to cut out a square or rectangular opening for the exhaust stack and another opening at the front of the roof to clear the boom. Some versions of steam shovels had "V" shaped fronts. If you like this look better, change the roof shape accordingly. If you take this approach, make sure the boom angle/side height allows a proper angle of the boom. I really think the front cut out is easier to manage.
Harder Way- You can use strips of tissue bonded to the roof with white glue and water to simulate tarpaper or canvas. If you do, be sure to add a spark arrester to the boiler exhaust stack. A much more interesting model results if you use Campbell Co. pre-formed aluminum siding. Cut the siding into 2' X 4' 1/4" scale sections and cement them in place beginning from the lower edge of the roof. For accuracy, keep flipping the roof over to align the panels with the longitudinal and transverse frame members that such metal panels would be nailed to. Also, make sure that each corrugated panel overlaps the one below it.
Cut two longitudinals from 1/32" thick X 1/8" wide. Cement One to each outer edge of the roof just far enough in allow them to fit snugly against the sides. If you have kept close to the dimensions as you built the roof and car sides, you have a removable roof and automatic fascia strips.
Painting with Built-in Weathering. If you can find them, the following three acrylic paint colors made by Apple Barrel Colors, Plaid Enterprises, Inc., Norcross, GA will allow you to do some of the best painting and weathering you have ever seen: 20504 Black, 20561 Orange, and 20577, Barn Red. On a scrap piece of plastic or heavy cardboard squirt a dollop of black paint about the size of a quarter. Squeeze a similar size amount of orange right next to it. Use a 1/4" wide soft brush to mix the two together, leaving some black and orange on the edge of the mixing area. Paint the mixture onto the top of the roof. Mix a touch of water into the paint as you go. A cruddy, rusted, weathered finish emerges as the paint dries. If you decided to clad the roof in canvas or tarpaper, use a mixture of black and a trace of orange and red to get a dusty, sooty roof. color. Use Barn Red on the car body sides and end. Apply the red to bare wood, and a touch of water to expose grain and imperfections. Use a heavy touch of red to cover cement on joints, etc. When the red is nearly dry, use a very wet brush touched with red and black to wash the finished surface. As the surface dries, work in some streaks of the straight and mixed colors, let the surface dry thoroughly, and then spray on a coat of Testor's Dullcote or similar flattening agent.
There are two options for fabrication of these integrated components. There's scratch building the boiler assembly and "kit bashing" the cylinders, base and connecting rods and the eccentric wheels fitted to the gear drive assembly. Or you could use a small HO gauge locomotive boiler assembly with the cab removed and the cylinder set reversed so that the valve gear and connecting rods can be attached to the eccentric wheels of the drive gear assembly. Each approach has certain benefits and liabilities but both approaches provide a satisfactory result.
The plans show the first approach whose main benefit is close fidelity to the prototype. This method also allows the position of the steam turret, smoke stack, firebox door , injectors, whistle, etc. to be located per pre-planning. Also, 1/4" castings can be used.
In this method, the firebox is made from a .012" styrene sheet cut to the pattern shown, embossed with rivets using a ponce wheel or clock gear fitted with a handle and rolled to shape. The firebox is then cemented to a heavy cylinder. (I used the core of a roll adding adding machine tape.) I covered the front 3/4" of the boiler with a piece of index card to create the smokebox section. The rest of the boiler with covered with two layers of index card to make it the proper thickness. The smokebox face was made by making a mold of a brass smokebox face casting using MOLD BUILDER Liquid Latex Rubber made by Environmental Technology, Inc. I bought this product at a local craft store. When the mold was thoroughly cured I "cast" the part from a completely mixed 5-minute epoxy. Obviously, you can use a part that fits the boiler instead of making a copy if you wish.
The firebox back was made from three pieces of 1/16" styrene sheet. I cemented the pieces together and sanded a rounded edge around the rear of the pieces. Prior to cementing the pieces together I embossed "staybolts" on the rear panel. I then cemented the rear panel into the firebox sanded everything to shape, and added a Precision Scale firebox door with a foot pedal casting into place on the firebox rear panel.
I completed the firebox and boiler component by adding a section of 1/4" square brass stock as a front boiler support, a smoke stack made up of a 9mm automatic cartridge casing (primer side down), an ancient HO steam turret casting, and a set of Cal-Scale brass casting injectors, one on either side of the boiler. All of these parts were cemented, one at a time, using Gorilla Glue. TIP: Gorilla Glue dries SLOWLY, and drips a lot while curing; it also expands as it cures. I find that placing a blob on a piece of clean scrap like a cut up credit card and allowing it to partially set-up allows a small portion to be applied to the pieces effectively. Be sure to check the cemented parts frequently. They delight in slipping out of position and then curing permanently out of the desired position.
The cylinders were made up like this. I made a mold from MOLD BUILDER of both sides of a white metal industrial cylinder in a set of scrap/junk sold by SS Limited. I then made a copy of the cylinder sides and cemented them together with Gorilla Glue. This copy had the exposed internal piston rod on the same side, so I simply turned the casting upside down so that the opening with the piston rod showing was on the outside, cemented the two cylinders to a rectangle of brass stock with Gorilla Glue and the Boiler/Cylinder set was complete.
Immediately in front of the cylinder set on the deck of the flat car is a 4' 6" wide X 4' long platform composed of 9" wide planks on a frame of 3 - 6" beams. Three sets of control levers are mounted in the center of this platform. An operator controlled the swing of the boom and raised and lowered it from this position. (See Drawings). I used a 1/4" casting of a Johnson bar for the center control lever. I made two more control levers from plastic stock and a section of brass wire. When they were cemented in place and painted black, they made a convincing control console. If you prefer, buy three Johnson bar castings and use them for your model's Boom controls. Cement the beams parallel to the Car Body, and cement the control levers positioned between the beams.
Beginning with these components, some innovative building techniques and materials will be introduced. Despite their unusual nature, they DO work if you follow these suggestions carefully. On the other hand, if you see a way to use alternative methods and materials, feel free to do so.
After studying photos of the prototype equipment and other models, I decided that the "hairpin" steel beams that bolt to the car deck and support the boom/dipstick/bucket assembly could accurately be fabricated from HO Gauge rails. Also, it would be possible to mount the rail sections strongly to the flat car body using a combination of rail joiners and .090 nuts and bolts. On the working drawings you will note drawings of the front and back frame components.
Here is the way I made up the two components required. Remove the rails from two sections of Code 100 snap track. (Use a razor saw to cut down the middle of the plastic ties). Grip a piece of rail in the pliers and heat it in a gas ring to red hot. Let it cool in ambient air. Prepare three more pieces the same way. When the pieces are cool, place one over the drawing, web side down (the bottom of the rail section), and, using the pliers bend the rail to match the shape of the drawing. Bend your way down the rail section so that the opposite end is the only place that needs to be cut off. You should end up with two sets of "A" frames, one front and one back.
Install rail joiners on rear ends of each rail section just as you would to join track sections together. Use pliers to mash the rail joiners flat. Drill holes in each rail joiner on the end that will be fitted to the deck of the flat car. Position the hole approximately half way between the rail end and the end of the rail joiner.
Following the drawings, cut a piece of brass shim stock as a spreader and solder it between the top of the beams to create "hairpin" "A" Frames. I used a HO Gauge brass casting of an Elesco feed water heater because I had a couple on hand. You can use a similar fitting. Also, Gorilla Glue can be used as an alternative to soldering. Refer to the drawing to locate the position of each "A" Frame on the flat car body. Mark the locations and drill the necessary four holes in the flat car deck to allow you to bolt the frames to the deck with the bolt inserted from the top and the nut underneath the car. Position the frames so that they are aligned evenly on each side and meet together behind the Boom/Dipstick Assemblies. Check for interference with the Boiler, Hoist Assembly and Operator's Platform. Don't attach the "A" Frames at this point. Instead, take a break!
Lift Arm (Boom), Base Plate, Stress Rods
Block and Tackle Model Railways/Model Expo,Inc. Convenient Bucket Suspender
Sew-on Snaps Dritz (or similar), 80-1-1,3,4 Conversion Source, Pulleys
3/4" X !" Gears (2) Elec. Appliances, toys, etc. Drive System, Bucket Hoist
Flat Washer-1-1/8" Hardware Store Base Plate, Lift Arm
Flat Gear - 1-3/16" Toy, Clock, Appliance Drive Gear under Base Plate
Metal Eye Glasses Prescription/Sun Glasses Frames Only (No Lenses)
Plastic Picnic Cutlery Various Boom Side Beams
Black Plastic Hot Cup Lid (2 Minimum) Burger King Boom End Components
1/2"X1/2"X1/4" Styrene or wood block Boom Hinge Block
1/16" Steel or Brass Wire (10") Stress Rods
The materials and construction materials involved are pretty unusual, so this section will begin with a "Shopping List" of recommended supplies and materials. The Lift Arm (Boom) is composed of two parallel beams mounted at its' base to a knuckle or Hinge Block mounted on a Base Plate/Drive Gear, which is mounted on the front end of the Flat Car. The front of the Boom has a double sheave Pulley from which the earth moving bucket is suspended. There are two additional single sheave Pulleys mounted on the top of the Boom. Steel bars (Stress Rods) are connected on either side of the Boom and are fastened to the "A" Frames.
The Dip Stick passes between the beams of the Boom, The Bucket is fastened to the front end of the Dip Stick. A Rack is mounted on the bottom of the Dip Stick. The Rack runs back and forth over a Drive Gear mounted approximately in the center of the Boom. The Bucket is suspended from a continuous length of chain, which runs through the Pulleys on the boom into a Fairlead (round tube) which passes through the Base Plate.
The chain runs to a drive system under the Flat Car. (Not actually installed on the model).
The Boom is built up as follows... The two parallel beams are prepared from four plastic picnic forks or spoons. Select a design with a flat base that tapers to a smaller diameter point just below where the utensil flares into a fork or bowl shape. Also, select an "I" beam shaped utensil so that your beams will have a "I" shape in section. Cut off the fork end just below the flare. File or sand off the base (big end) of the two tapered beam sections so that they fit flush against each other. Make sure that the most pronounced top and bottom cap shape is on the outside of the beam. Cement the two tapered beam shapes wide end to wide end. You should have one beam shaped component that is widest in the middle and tapered on each end. Repeat the process to end up with two beams.
Make sure that the beams are both flat, and will be parallel to each other when assembled into the Boom. Cut out four pieces of 0.10" pieces of styrene sheet, emboss rivets around the edges of each piece and also emboss an "X" line of rivets across them. Sand to final shape and cement these brace plates on either side of the beam where it joins at its center.
Find a small gear from a toy, Plastruct, or Western Scale Models gear assortment, similar to that of a striker wheel on a disposable lighter. Drill a hole in the center of the brace plate on each beam, Shape with a file until the striker wheel axle ends fit snugly in the holes. Put the striker wheel aside, but keep it close at hand.
Drill, file and sand the Boom Hinge Block to the shape shown (flat on the bottom, straight on the sides and curved top.) The opening through the sides should be 2-56 size. Drill a 2-56 size hole through the bottom end of each beam so that the beams can be fitted to the Boom Hinge Block. Cement the striker wheel into the hole in the center of the brace plate, make sure it is perpendicular to the Beam and let it dry thoroughly.
When the Beam/Striker Wheel assembly has thoroughly dried, cut a 2-56 size bolt to a length long enough to pass through both Beams, the Boom Hinge Block and allow a 2-56 nut to be attached snugly to it's bottom end. Apply cement to the unsecured end of the Striker Wheel, and fix it to the remaining Beam. Place the bottom of the Beam against the Boom Hinge Block, run the 2-56 bolt through the two Beams and the Boom Hinge Block, and thread the 2-56 nut finger tight onto it.
Examine the Black Plastic Hot Cup Lid. Note it resembles a "Smiling Face" when the lift tab is positioned at its' top. The area that resembles the center of a mouth is used to fabricate the top end portion of the Boom. Carefully cut out the "canoe" shaped portion of this area from two Lids. Cut around the shape so that edges remain. Cut the piece in half so that four shapes, each with a pointed end results. Drill a 1/32" hole accurately spaced in the center of the pointed area, 1/8" in from the tip. Make up two pieces by cementing two halves of the shape together and then cement one set on each of the two beams. Obtain several Lids so that you have spares to work with as cutting and drilling the very thin plastic is tricky as is cementing the halves together and to the beams; Area involved is part of the lift tab which can be popped out of lid. This makes cutting and shaping easier.
Cement the Flat Gear to the Flat Washer so that its' teeth project around the outside of the Washer. Cement the Flat Washer to the Boom Hinge Block using Gorilla Glue or epoxy cement. Wipe away excess cement before it dries and check frequently as cement cures to ensure that the Boom Assembly dries perpendicular to the Washer/Base. Re-examine the Flat Car Body front end to verify that all traces of the coupler pocket top and the brake wheel base have been COMPLETELY removed so that the Boom will fit true and level when it is attached to the car later.
Prepare four Pulley Stand side pieces from the ends of Plastic Picnic Utensils (2 sets). Be sure to cut and file/sand these pieces to the same height, and drill 1/32" holes in the center of each piece, 1/8" from the top. It is easier to measure, mark, and drill the holes before cutting the pieces from the utensils.
Preparation of Pulley/Sheave Assemblies-Remove a Dress Snap, size 80-1-1 from the sales card. Unsnap the parts and file a flat surface on each protruding center knob. Drill a 1/32" opening through both knobs. Cement the flattened knobs together, prepare three of these assemblies.
Cement a set of Pulley Stands to the upper Boom sides at the two locations shown on the drawings. When the Stands are completely dry, place a Pulley Assembly between the sides of each Stand and slip a section of 1/32" wire through the Stand Sides and the Pulley as an axle. Place a dot of Crazy Glue on each side of the axle and snip off with a side cutting pliers.
Locate a Pulley Assembly between the tips of the top of the Boom, insert a piece of 1/32" wire of the proper length and cement with Crazy Glue.
Place a dot of Gorilla Glue or epoxy on the Boom Base directly behind the Boom Hinge Block, and attach a section of 1/8" tubing. A 3/16" long section of plastic coffee stirrer is recommended. Place the tube upright / vertical. It will serve as the channel or fairlead through which the hoist chain runs from under the car up the Boom to the Bucket.
Stress rods-These are the two braces that run from the "A" Frames top section to the end of the Boom. Their function is to distribute the stress of the weight of the Bucket throughout the weight bearing structure of the steam shovel. The Stress Rods (2) themselves are formed from 1/16" brass rod stock. The "eyes" on each end of these pieces are simply bent with pliers. However, the base plates into which they fit are unusual. Wire or metal frame eyeglasses have hinges welded or soldered to them to which the side-pieces or temples are fastened with rivets, screws, or nuts and bolts. They are considerably easier to use than what can be scratch built. Also, most people have several old pairs of broken eyeglasses in desk drawers, etc. around the house.
Use a pair of strong side cutting pliers to snip off the hinge portion of the fittings and epoxy them to the end of the boom and the upper end of the "A" Frames. Cut two pieces of the stress rod stock long enough to join the two sets of components, including the "eyes" on either end. The Stress Rods are installed after the Boom and "A" Frames are installed and lined up.
Note that there is a small wire brace on each side of the top of the Boom. The braces on either side of the Boom are fashioned from the wire pads that support eyeglasses frames against the nose. Snip them off, remove the pads, straighten the ends of the wire and cement one of the resulting fittings onto each side of the boom. When the fittings are dry, cut a piece of wire to run between the boom and the fittings on each side and cement it in place.
Drive Gears- The Boom Assembly is completed by adding the gears that move the Dipstick up and down. Search your supply of gears for two approximately 3/4"wide X 1/8" thick identical gears. Cement a gear securely on the outside of the Boom Assembly in line with the Striker Wheel. (The Gears and the Striker Wheel should appear to be mounted on a common axle that runs through the Boom). Locate a spur gear approximately 1/4" in width, mount to an axle and cement it to the top of the Boom right behind the Gears/Striker Wheel parts. The axle for this part should extend approximately1/16" on either side of the Boom.
The Dipstick/Bucket Assembly
Check your plastic utensil collection for a pair of spoons or forks that look like "I" beams. They may be slightly tapered, but it is best if they have parallel edges lengthwise. If nothing looks good, use two pieces of Plastruct (white) 1/4" wide by 3" long "I" beam or the shape with one side flat. Put these parts aside.
The Rack- A critical component, the rack is a nuisance to make, but there are some possible shortcuts. The rack section required is only 1- l/2" - 1 3/4" long. I used a part from a plastic toy that had a rack shaped strip to pull a friction motor. You can file a series of teeth into one edge of a 1/8" wide by 1/16" thick strip of basswood or plastic. You can cement several thicknesses of the serrated metal edge of a waxed per carton. Whatever approach you choose, drill three holes 3/4" apart, beginning 3/4" from the bottom of the two beams and the rack. Cement the rack to the bottom of one beam, align the holes, and cement on the other beam. Press a common pin through each of the holes and snip off the projecting pointed end flush with the beam side. Place a small dot of carpenters glue over the cut off pin. It will dry to form a simulated rivet head opposite the pinhead on the other side. NOTE: Make sure that the rack is thin enough so that the entire Dipstick assembly will slide inside the Beam.
The Bucket- I was inspired to begin this entire project by finding a suitable bucket on a child's toy in a Dollar Store. I strongly suggest that you look for a similar shortcut. Believe me, you will have plenty of time to find a suitable bucket while you're building all the other stuff. If you don't find a suitable bucket, it can be built since it is basically a rectangle with side and bottom reinforcing strips.
Suspension Frame-This is nothing more than a section of Code 100 railroad track. bent into a "U" shape. A #68 drill is used to drill a hole in the center of the frame. The hook on the bottom of the "ScRRatch Stuff" Block & Tackle is passed through the hole in the frame and squeezed shut with pliers.
Chain-As soon as I decided to build this model I started looking for suitable chain. I found chain in ship model sections of various model catalogs, and railroad model suppliers like Walthers. However, the best source of chain available is the costume jewelry displays in discount houses, flea markets, and garage sales. I chose chain with round loops, approximately 16 loops to the inch.
Two things to remember are first the chain drive used on this type of equipment had unique sprockets and specially shaped sheaves in the pulleys. Second, the model requires only 2 pieces of chain: one piece comes out of the Base Plate at the rear of the Boom, up the Boom, over the Pulleys, down through the Block and Tackle, back to the Pulley on the end of the Boom and then down to the Bucket. The other section of Chain runs from under the Operator's Platform, through a Pulley on the Deck, around the Drive Gear on the Base of The Boom, Back around another Pulley on the Deck and is cemented back under the Operator's Platform. Only about 24" of Chain (or less) is required. Of course, 8'-10' of chain laying around in the way of things and underfoot always looks good on a model of this type.
Putting it All Together
You should now have a pretty impressive collection of sub-assemblies scattered around your work area. Before they start to creep away or get broken up, start putting them together. Here is the sequence I recommend: Locate the Sub-Assembly positions, and verify that none of them block or obstruct other components. Compare components, photos, and drawings and make adjustments.
Car Body, Boiler, Cylinder Set, Gear System, Engine Operator's Platform
Position the Boiler on the rear of the Car Body. The firebox should be even with the back of the deck with the firebox door extending about 1/16" past the edge of deck. Mark the position of the Boiler on the Car Body using a mechanical pencil. Also mark the position of the rectangular front boiler support. Cement the centered Cylinder Set so that its' brass strip base plate touches the back of the Boiler front support. Make sure that the cylinder is set positioned so that the piston roads face forward.
Cement the Boiler Assembly in place. Cement the Gear System in place with the eccentric wheels on the REAR of this assembly.. Fabricate connecting rods to reach from the Cylinder Set crossheads to the eccentric wheels on the Gear System. NOTE: Make sure that the connecting rods are attached so that they are positioned with one fastened to the top of one eccentric wheel, and the other to the rear center of the other (Look at their relative position on one of your steam locomotives). Finally, cement the Engine Operator's Platform in front of the Gear System.
"A" Frame Assembly
Test fit the Front and Rear "A" Frames. They should straddle components on the deck of the Car Body and provide necessary clearance from the location of the Car Sides. They can be bent easily as needed. Make sure to keep them straight aligned over the mounting holes, and then bolt them in place with the bolt heads on top and the nuts under the Car Body.
Boom /Base Plate Assembly
Test fit the Base Plate. Approximately 1/8" of the Base Plate should project over the front end of the Car Body. Pencil in the correct location of the Base Plate. Two Pulley Assemblies are required on the Car Body Deck, approximately halfway between the Engine Operator's Platform and the Case Plate. Drill two parallel holes in the deck, prepare two single sheave pulley assemblies and cement them to the deck with a piece of wire inserted through each as an axle.
Intermediate Paint Work
Before installing the Side Walls, Roof, Dip Stick/Bucket, Rigging, and the Rear deck, it is easiest to paint those components now in place. I recommend using acrylic paints diluted with varying amounts of water or Rubbing Alcohol to created worn or weathered results.
Car Deck - A dilute mixture of tan, burnt umber, and brown should be brushed onto the Car Deck. Black, with traces of orange and brown should be built up around the base of the boiler and the Cylinders and the Hoisting Gear Box.
Boiler/Smoke Stack - A mixture of black, orange and a trace of brown should be applied to the Boiler
Cylinders - A similar mixture to that applied to the boiler should be applied to the Cylinders, except the Connecting Rods, which should be natural metal.
Hoisting Gear Box System - Apply the same mixture as used on the Boiler and Cylinders, with predominately black on the gears, with rust emphasis on the gear enclosure
Operator's Deck - The same colors used on the Car Deck are appropriate.
"A" Frame - This assembly can be left natural brass or natural silver, or painted black as desired
Boom and Pulley System - A mixture similar to the one applied to the Boiler, Cylinders, and Gear Box, but emphasis on orange and brown rust on the Boom and Gear Towers. Sheaves and Pulley parts should be black. The Boom Base should be rusty with black grease streaks. Paint the Dip Stick and Bucket the same colors. Add piping along and vertical from the boiler and run out to the "A" Frame front end.( as shown in the drawings and photos)
Carefully drill 2-56 size holes in the bottom of the three vertical supports on each side assembly. If you feel squeamish about drilling causing them to split, use a No. 62 or No. 63 drill bit and open the hole up gradually with a Swiss file. Make each hole approx 1/4" deep. Insert a 2-56 Bolt approximately 1/4" long into the rail jointer fitting on the sides of the Car Body, position the Car Side in place and snug up the bolt, being careful to place one set of doors in the inside bottom track and the other set into the outside track (If you chose to build scribed wood sides, cement them to the Car Body sides). Cut three 1/8"X1/8" pieces long enough to make the distance from outside edges of Car Sides 2" apart and the Roof will fit snugly over them. Don't forget to paint them the color of the Car Sides.
Dip Stick/Bucket, Operator's Seat, Rigging Chains - Slip the Dip Stick between the sides of the Boom, Move it up and back until the Rack is over the Gear Drive and move it to a position you like. Place a couple of drops of Crazy Glue on the Rack with a tooth pick and glue the Rack at the angle and distance through the Boom that looks best to you. Salvage one of the seats from the motorcycles you cannibalized for the under body chain drive. Trim away the pointy backrest, drill a hole in the side of the seat or cement a piece of scrap stock to it, scrape away the paint on the side of the Boom, and cement the seat in place. Paint it to match the Boom.
Boom Traverse Drive - Take a piece of chain approximately 10" long, pick up the model in your left hand (right hand if you're right handed), hold it vertical, drape the chain over the front of the Boom Base Plate, move it over the inside of the Pulley on the Car deck and down under the Operator's Platform-Using a paintbrush handle or some such thing, move the chain over the inside of the opposite Pulley and drop it under the Operator's Platform. Adjust the length of the chain as necessary, put a healthy drop of white glue on one end of the chain, repeat what you just did, put a healthy drop on the other end of the chain and drop it under the opposite side of the Operator's Platform. When it sets up, put a few drops of white glue around the front of the Boom Base to hold the chain in place there, let it set up and use a paint brush and water/detergent solution to wash away the excess and any drops on the Car Deck. When everything is dry, touch up with black and silver paint.
Bucket Elevation Drive Chain - Bend a 3/4" piece of soft wire into a loop. Slip the loop onto one end of a 12" section of chain. Slip the loop over the top hook of the "ScRRatch Stuff" Block and Tackle assembly. Use pliers to squeeze the top hook/loop together. Run the chain up to the Front Pulley on the Boom. Loop the chain over the Front Pulley from the front and drop it down to the Sheave of the Block and Tackle. Pass it through the pulley from the REAR and run it up to the Pulley on the Front of the Boom. Pass it over the Pulley from the Front of the Pulley, pass it over the two Pulley assemblies on the top of the Boom, and drop it into the round tube at the rear of the Boom. (Put a drop of "Crazy Glue" on the chain where it passes over the various Pulleys. When the cement has set, trim the chain so that its' end falls straight into the tube and put a drop of "Crazy Glue" into the tube to hold the chain in place.
Bucket "Pull Lever" - Bend a piece of soft wire into an "L" shape as shown on the drawing. Cement the short end to the center of the back of the Bucket; cement the long end to the right inside of the boom approximately1/8" above the bottom edge.
Figures are up to you, but they "dress up" the model. You can find suitable people in 1/4" airplane kits (mechanics, and ground crew) A liberal supply of hand tools, pick-axes, crow and pry bars, sections of line (rope) and chain and buckets arrayed on the deck help too. (Note the sledgehammer leaning against the Boom on the right side of the Boom Base Plate) and the dog standing on the deck behind the Boom). This is not a particularly easy model to make but it is a very rewarding one. Also, as I said at the beginning, if you mess up anything, you can re-build it very inexpensively.