Bringing the flatcars back to earth

After no small amount of hemming and hawing, I decided to take a mulligan on the body bolsters for the three flat cars. There is no point in finishing a model that you’re not satisfied with. So, off came the too-high bolsters, and I get to make some fresh ones in the next day or two.

The bolsters were glued on with CA, which is to say they were barely affixed at all. However, pulling them apart with brute force would have lead to an undesirable level of destruction. To remove something that has been glued with CA, I take advantage of two properties of the glue. First, there is a solvent that dissolves it. Second, CA is strong in tension, but week in sheer.

To remove these parts, I delivered small amounts of CA debonder (I use an ancient bottle of H&D, even though I use LePage CA) to the joints, especially those for the brake rods. After letting the debonder work its magic for a few minutes, I gently wiggled the brake rods until they came free. Then I found one end of the bolster that was looser than the other and gave it a gentle wiggle by prying with a screwdriver. I’d fortunately not glued every stringer, and the other end of the bolster came free by rotating the bolster and sheering the joint.

After all that hemming and hawing, the actual operation only took a few minutes per car. I found one of the brake rods wasn’t glued well enough (or perhaps at all), but the others are all still tenuously hanging on by their clevises. I’d better get the new bolsters done before they break.

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