Friday, 13 January 2012

CNS&M 457: Build Part 1

I'm currently off work with laryngitis. No seriously, my work made me take the time off sick as they felt I couldn't do my job properly. So feeling a bit miserable, as I much prefer to be working rather than sitting at home when unwell, I picked up my soldering iron and waved it all over my brass MTS Imports Sacramento & Northern GE steeple cab. Bought for me as a birthday present many years ago by my partner.

Oh dear the horror...

My soldering iron really doesn't have enough thermal capacity to handle the job, so I had to pre-heat the areas I was working on with a miniature brazing torch. Unfortunately, as a result the roof fell off as I was working on it. Oops! And as can also be seen the hood and the retaining plate too. You can't see it here but the other retaining plate also lost alignment too.

No matter though as it can be soldered back on. I discovered that it was handed in the process. By handed I mean that it fit better one way round and not the other. Things that look quite precisely made are often not as precise as one would thing. However, this is a sign that the model was a craftsman build, rather than machine built.

Various other bits fell off too. Including one of the hood covers and both the fixing plates to attach the body to the chassis.

Reassembled and looking like it has gone through the wars at this point. I took the opportunity to realigned the window frames to match the #457.

And here she is after a clean up with methylated spirits, a dip in the sonic cleaner and some going over with a fibre glass brush.

Big oops on the hood soldering now readily apparent as a gap has appeared. Oh well this is only stage one; she had go back into the soldering shop as two of the seams on the other hood that join it to the cab have broken.


  1. The best way of removing powerflow flux is with boiling water. Just put the model in a suitably sized container, boil the kettle and pour the water over the model - and you can make yourself a cup of tea at the same time.
    Powerflow is just an acid mixed with a soap so everything in it will dissolve in water.

  2. I'll remember that Bill, for next time.

  3. Hi there-Are you familiar with using heat sinks while soldering? I figure you probably are but I will mention it anyway-areas of the brass model that you don't want to get hot from the soldering iron are wrapped in damp paper towels, concentrating the heat in the areas that you are working on. BTW, I built a home made resistance soldering unit from plans I found on the web, was cheap to build and a lot easier to use than an iron.

  4. I am, but in this case I was having the opposite problem of not enough thermal energy in the iron, and just tipping the balance too much by using my micro brazing torch. The parts on the roof were quite chunky castings, and when they fell off so did the roof, and the hood, and the keeper plate etc. Good thing I don't panic easily!

  5. I have one of the old Model Engineering Works Sacramento Northern steeplecabs, but it came without either a box or pantograph. All of the HO pantographs I have looked at on Ebay or other sources have a "footprint" way too large for the mounting braket on its roof, or look too European. Do you know of any sources of the type of pantograph used on the SN steeplecab?
    Roger B