Weighty matters for #10

It’s been a couple of quiet weeks here from a railroading perspective.  We have had a ton of meetings with the community association that have kept me very busy.  Still, I have managed to scrape out a few minutes here and there to tackle the weights for #10.

I think I’m pretty much there, although time will tell when I go to power it up and I find out how much I can pull out of the station.  The engine has gone from “surprisingly light” to “surprisingly heavy” although I’ve only actually increased the weight by a little over a third from 110g to 150g.

The secret is tungsten.  Tungsten and A-Line moldable lead weight.  The tungsten comes from the unlikely source of Woodland Scenics via Amazon.  Note that if you buy it from amazon.ca, the two-ounce packs sell for $45, but if you get it from amazon.com, they’re $16.38.  Even with the Canadian dollar where it is, that’s outrageous, and so, I had a friend pick them up in Point Roberts.

I started by pulling the decoder out of the smokebox, and rewiring the engine to be fully driven by the sound decoder in the tender.  Then I replaced the decoder with a ring of moldable lead, and the largest tungsten cylinder that would fit.  This, together with a little tungsten plate in the engine truck, gave me 20g (0.7 oz) in the front.

Then I had to do something with the rear end.  I cut a piece of lead to fit into the roof overhang.  The roof itself is already full of tungsten plates.  Perhaps I should have used tungsten in the overhang too, but the stuff is very difficult to work with!  There was a little room for lead on the seats too, and that was next.

With that little bit of lead, the engine was still nose-heavy, and so, I dropped a tungsten cylinder on the cab floor.  Bingo!  It doesn’t look spectacular, but perhaps the addition of an engine crew will draw your eyes from it.  That will be a project for another day.

weight in #10


2 thoughts on “Weighty matters for #10

  1. Given what you know now, was it worth building the loco so significantly out of styrene or would accommodating all of the required insulation gaps in a traditional metal locomotive still be too much trouble in P87 with a 4-4-0?


    1. Good question, Andrew. The split frame construction was only one reason to build #10 from styrene. The other was speed of construction, not that four years is exactly speedy!
      Having said that, for the next engines I want to learn how to cast metal so I can make domes and stack and other big lumps from cerrobend or something. The domes on #10 are at best 1/3 lead.

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