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Stumpy’s Station – “Project Atlantic” Part Four

December 1st, 2012 · No Comments

Often times when I’m waiting for paint or glue to dry, I move on to another project, many times the tender of the locomotive that I’m working on.
The post-“tin tender” Atlantics were followed by the common plastic Gilbert tender. These appear to all be the same, but they are not.
The drawbars used to attach tender to loco were different lengths, and those tenders behind the “Casey Jones” engines did not have the trailing truck. Even the trailing truck set up on the drawbar changed from the three digit engines and the five digit engines. Later tenders of this type featured a shell attached by a tab at one end and screws at the other instead of a screw in each corner. These were mostly PikeMaster era tenders.
I have even run across some tenders where the rear of coal pile humps slightly above the fuel bunker sides, while on others, the coal is even with the sides. Some tenders have holes for the marker lights at the rear of the tender deck, while on others, these holes were molded flat.
The tender is often overlooked by Kit Bashers, but can help give a different appearance to the loco-tender combination. I often swap tenders form loco to loco during a project, using the K-5 or Hudson cast tenders behind Atlantics or Pacifics.
One of the easiest changes you can make is to “convert” your coal tender to oil. You start with a piece of plastic or balsa sheet 2” wide by 2 5/8” long which covers the fuel bunker top. If you have one of the tenders with the higher hump in the coal, file it down until level with the tender sides.

To make a oil fill cap, you can cut a ¼” thick or about that piece of ½” diameter dowel or plastic rod or tubing. You next cut a similar thickness piece of ¼” diameter stock to represent the vent cap. Sand these smooth and set them aside for the moment.
This next step isn’t really necessary, but I think it adds to the appearance of the “oil tank” and will show you a trick long used by scratch builders.
You’ll need a piece of thin card stock, 2” by 2 5/8.” Thin card stock is really just a plain old 3×5” “file card.” They’re cheap and I bought a pack of these some years ago and they lasted for over ten years of modeling projects!
Another investment in you box of hobby tools is to buy a Ponce wheel. You
can get them from Micro-Mark or any craft or sewing store. They are used to mark sewing projects, but we’ll use them to press “rivets” into the card!
On the cardstock, draw lines 1/16” along each edge of the card stock. Then draw two lines, each 5/8” from the sides running the long length of the card. These are you guide lines to press the rivets with the Ponce wheel.
Place the Ponce wheel’s roller on a line and then roll slowly along the line, staying as straight as possible. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure, but you must exert some. You might wish to practice on the remains of the file card which you cut the part for the tender from to get the “feel” first.
By rolling the wheel along, you will find neat rows of equally spaced “bumps” on the other side of the card stock which look very much like S scale rivets!
The next step is to glue this rivet sheet to the top of the tank top sheet you cut at the beginning. When dry, smooth the edges, removing any overhang of card over the base.
Now let’s install the oil filler and vent caps. As far as I can find, there was no uniform arrangement for these, but the best look is to place the larger fill cap between the center and “front” of the oil tank, and the vent aft of the center of the tank along a centerline of the long length of the tank top.
I cut two small strips of cardstock for “hinges” for the fill cap. To show the “bolt heads” I press these with a ball point pen in the same way we used the Ponce wheel. The pen makes a larger “head” impression. These are then glued to the cap and tank top.

You can glue this permanently to the top of the coal bunker, or do as I do and use Walther’s “GOO” or a silicone adhesive, which will allow you to remove it later if you want to.
Most oil tanks were painted black to match the locomotive and make spills less obvious. However, I have seen photos of engines where they were painted some lighter color like gray. If you chose a lighter color, this would allow you to paint black “spills” on the tank top to show usage.
Of course, with a Wooten firebox, you’d certainly not be burning oil! So you may want to skip the oil tank idea and add more scale coal to the coal pile.

Stumpy Stone

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