I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

primed wedge

The holidays have slowed progress on the tank car. However, I did manage to finish the frame and prime it.  Most of the time was spent with the little details like installing the staff and ratchet for the hand brake, retainer valve, retainer airline and the tank support that sits on the frame at midpoint.

primed sideview

I also built four stirrups for mounting on the frame.   These were formed out of .010″ x.040″ brass strip.   They are mounted to the side channel with short lengths of wire to simulate bolts.   They look delicate and hopefully will survive layout use.   I have found that using a small vise to hold the partially completed stirrup allows me to make the last bend ensure same length of either side of the stirrup.

tank stirrup

The next installment will cover decal rivet installation and final tank finishing.   Hopefully it will be wrapped up by 1 January.



  1. Happy Christmas, Gene.

    I agree about Trevor’s blog, but yours is one I regularly turn to for inspiration, too.

    My personal experience with attaching small metal parts to styrene is that the joint is strengthened if pinned as well as glued. You have drilled the stirrup and inserted a piece of wire to represent a bolt, all that is required is a matching hole on the frame, and the wire can then pass through both. I recommend soldering the wire to he stirrup, and using AC as one would normally – brass lace pins are an alternative to wire, and the head can be filed to a hexagonal shape if you really want to: this is aided by holding the pin in a pin vice, with a nut pushed onto the handle. A few strokes against a file laid flat on the bench, and the pin can be rotated 60 degrees for the next side of the nut/bolt head. It takes about a minute per pin, so this not an onerous task – you only need 8 of them!

    These are not my ideas, but those of other modellers who passed them on to me years go (the late Norman Pattenden for the first, Jas Millham for the second). In fact, I ignored the idea of drilling a small hole and soldering a pin the first time round, and ended up doing this to replace a part lost via a side-swipe!

    Best wishes,


    • Simon I used brass rivets and brass wire to attach.   The rivets are available from  I have used your technique on occasion. I would have tried to build the frame in brass or nickel silver if I had a source for structural shapes.  I used buy some beautiful shapes from a little shop adjacent to Kings Cross station.   That was in the 1970s.  


      Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  2. Gene, a return Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    I consider your blog a year-round Christmas present. This series on the tank car is your best yet.

    Bill Bear
    PS. the lead-in photo is great as there is nothing like a steam locomotive operating in sub-zero temperatures.

  3. Great modeling. People wonder why I work in Proto48, this level of work is why! I get ideas and inspiration every time I visit your blog. I’ve used mylar for stirrups, bend but don’t break.
    Happy new year to all!

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