Dedicated to the S Gauge American Flyer Trains of A. C. Gilbert! header image 2

Stumpy’s Station – “Ten Wheeler Project” Part 4

December 5th, 2014 · No Comments

With the boiler shell/cab construction complete, we need to add a tender before running the loco through the paint shop. Probably the best tender to use to back date this engine to the “Turn of the Century” look would be the American Flyer “Franklin” tender. About the only thing you need to do with one of these is to add a coal pile in the opening left when you remove the wood pile. Many locos of the Nineteenth Century had short, low sided tenders, somewhat like the common 4-4-0 tenders. However, Franklin tenders are often hard to find.
The next “oldest looking” American Flyer tender is the one from the 0-8-0 switcher. You might want to remove the back up light, as these didn’t become common until the Twenties, but it’s not really necessary because your Ten Wheeler could have been “upgraded” during it’s years on your railroad. But again, these are hard to come by.
Next in line to give and old look are tenders from some of the cheaper Marx steamers or Lionel “027” steam locos. Look for the ones with the squared coal bunker like the Flyer 0-8-0 tender. Lower cost Marx and Lionel engines had these and they are cheap when you find them. Often you can just buy the shell, which is all you really want anyway.
This shell can be fitted to the Pacific or Casey Jones tender frame by cutting the tender chassis in half and shortening it to fit under the shell. As an alternative, you can make a floor/chassis out of plastic or wood and use American Models or S-Helper/MTH tender trucks and coupler. Just remember the tender weight must be used on any tender for good tracking and to help with electrical pick up.
The last alternative for a tender in the more modern American Flyer common plastic tender. This could be used as is to represent a later tender use dto give the Ten Wheeler added range. (This WAS done as water towers were removed toward the end of steam operations, and some small locomotives pulled tenders as long as the locomotive!) You could also back date the common tender by cutting off the fuel bunker above the main body, adding a deck of plastic sheet and building a coal box on top (it would be made to look like the 0-8-0 tender, only longer.) Shortening the tender would back date the look as well.
In the case of my Ten Wheeler, I used the Marx tender already on hand from the “Prairie Dog”.

Once you have the tender ready that you want to use, it’s time to make up a drawbar to connect the Ten Wheeler locomotive to it’s tender. I’ve had good success using craft sticks for drawbars. They are remarkably durable in use, electrically insulated, cheap, and easy to work.
Since there is no trailing truck to work around, making a drawbar is very straightforward and simple. Measure the distance between the trailing truck screw and the front screw/rivet hole of the tender drawbar. Mark where your screw holes have to go on the craft stick to connect the trailing truck screw and the rivet/bolt hole in the tender or tender drawbar, depending on which tender you’re using.
Because the craft stick wood is very hard, drill the holes and THEN cut the craft stick beyond them. This eliminates any splitting of the wood that some times happens by drilling too close to the end of a stick. Use a file to round off the ends of the new drawbar and paint it black. Test fit and you’re ready to “couple up!”
The final step is to test run the finished loco and work out any problems. Once everything is working correctly, the locomotive and tender go to your paint shop. Even though I started with the “Prairie Dog,” I sanded and primered the loco again. Then I painted the boiler and cab black. The cab roof and tender rear deck were painted boxcar red.
The smokebox and firebox were painted silver to represent a fresh coat of graphite. (Graphite was used on areas not covered by asbestos and jacketing where the high heat would burn paint off quickly.)
The bell and parts of the safety valves were painted gold to represent brass, and so were the handrails on the boiler and the grab irons on either side of the cab. As was popular in the old days, I painted the window frames of the cab red. Finally white stripes were painted on the bottom edge of the cow catcher and along the running boards of the boiler.
As is the “policy” on my railroad, a number was decaled on each side of the tender, but no other markings applied. Then the engine and tender got a coat of Testor’s Gloss Cote to give them a nice shine, as if right out of the shop. Last but not least, and engineer was placed in the cab.

The Ten Wheeler is a sharp reminder of the long past glory days of steam railroading.

Stumpy Stone

Tags: Main Line

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