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Ray Dunakin
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Ok, here are some photos and details, starting with the Hubley/Gabriel kit. It's a 1912 Ford Model T depot hack; most of the parts are zinc alloy castings but there are also some plastic parts. I bought it on ebay shortly after I started my layout, with the idea of someday converting it into a railcar. Originally I thought I would use the body more or less "as is", but since then I've decided I want something more unique. Also, the metal parts are quite heavy, so scratch-building most of the vehicle will reduce the weight.



The chassis unit out of the box, includes the running boards and fenders:




I cut off the running boards and the rear fenders. I also enlarged the motor opening and cut out another opening, to reduce weight:




To save myself some trouble trying to construct a drivetrain entirely from scratch, I'm using the rear wheel unit from a large scale Bachmann RGS railcar. This includes the differential and universal joint. The wheels are spoked, which is another plus. For the front wheels, I'm using a pair of replacement wheels from a Bachmann "gandy dancer" handcar. (I've been told that these are the same wheels used on the Bachmann 4-6-0's pilot truck.)

I made axle bearings for the front wheels out of 6mm brass tube and some .020" thick brass strip. The tube is a pretty close fit, so I had to sand the axles down a little to ensure a it would roll freely. One mistake I made was cutting the tube to the width of the mounting plate -- now I have to find a couple washers to keep the wheels from rubbing against the sides of the frame. If I'd made the tubes just a little longer I could have avoided that.



BTW, I drilled the holes in the bearing's mounting plate by hand, using a pinvise. I dipped the tip of the drillbit in some light machine oil periodically to reduce wear on the drillbit.


Here's a shot of the front axle bearings mounted on the styrene frame:




The metal chassis unit presented a bit of a problem. I needed a wider chassis, to fit the rear wheel unit. I also wanted to lengthen the chassis. I could easily scratch-build one and forget about using the kit parts, but what about the front fenders? Those seemed too daunting to attempt at this time, so I wanted to use the fenders from the kit. To do that, I built a styrene frame that the metal chassis drops into. Here's a shot of the front wheels attached to the styrene frame:



I decided against trying to build any sort of suspension on the front end. The rear wheel unit includes simulated leaf springs. I'm not really fond of them because they're nearly flat, rather than arched, but they'll do. Cutting them off and building something different would have created another set of problems. Here's how I mounted the rear wheel unit on the styrene frame:






Here's the more-or-less complete frame with the wheels mounted and the metal chassis installed:




The radiator from the kit consists of three parts: a "brass" frame, a "brass" insert representing the core of the radiator, and a metal insert that goes into the rear of the radiator. The fake brass insert has the Ford logo embossed on it. This would be fitting for a new Model T straight out of the factory, but I'm building something that is much older and has been heavily rebuilt. A shiny brass logo on the radiator core would be out of place. So I sanded the core texture and logo off of the insert, and cut a piece of O-scale, photo-etched brass roofwalk material to fit into the radiator frame. The insert was then pushed in, followed by the metal rear insert, and it was all glued together. Here's how it came out:



And with a little black primer:




Here's how the chassis looks with the radiator and engine hood temporarily in place:




That's all I have for now. Next I'll work on getting the motor mounted, and decide how to handle the joint between the hood, which will be attached permanently, and the body, which will be removable. Then I can work on designing the body.

W C Greene
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GROOVY! MORE MORE MORE!!!

Woodrow

Herb Kephart
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LOOKING GOOD!


Herb 

Bernd
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Oh O, I'm in trouble. Having finaly decided to stay with just one scale Ray has to post this.

Here's why I'm in trouble.




Not wanting to hi-jack your thread Ray. I don't remember when I got this or how old it is, but I had the same idea but never got around to it because I didn't know the scale. I had it figured for something close to 1/24.

I'm going to have follow this thread close and perhaps built a "Shelf Queen" with a little scenary.

Bernd

teetrix
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Great work so far :thumb::thumb::thumb: !

Maybe I would allow the front axle to swing (without suspension, like to see on many tractors) = better running on track and better current pickup, if you don't use batteries.

Already curious about the next photos...

Michael

W C Greene
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Those old HUBLEY kits were "box scale" or some such...they seem to work for 1:24 to 1:20.3 since I have seen them on layouts in those scales. In any scale, they look great and are timeless.

Woodie
***BTW-there is a nice 1:32 Depot Hack around, my thanks to old friend Byron for finding me one! ***

pipopak
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Those Ford Ts are about 1/22 scale. There is enough flash in those parts to make almost another kit!. Jose (who is slowly building the whole set.. VERY slowly!).

Ray Dunakin
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Time for an update!

I made the motor mount from styrene scraps, and shaped a brass strip to hold the motor in place. I used some tiny screws (with mismatched heads) from my box of "junk". Here are top and bottom views of the motor installed in the vehicle:






Next I added the deck, made from .040" thick styrene sheet, with some fake cross members attached on the underside:






I decided to make this into a small railbus. The design combines some features from a couple different real-life vehicles. The open cab was inspired by a 1920 Model TT bus. The body is wide and covers the rear wheels, with sheet metal sides, slightly curved inward along the bottom. This was inspired by a Model T railbus used on the Tennessee, Kentucky & Northern.

I started building the rear half of the body out of styrene strips and sheet:




I also added a sort of "flange" to the hood, and cut a piece for the firewall. The firewall fits over the flange on the rear of the hood. The hood will be permanently attached to the chassis, and the rest of the body will be removable.




Here's a shot of the components temporarily in place on the chassis:




Next I added the side panels. I curved each panel by placing it on the extruded aluminum track of a sliding door, and pressed against it with a dowel. After those were attached, I started building up the front seat, floorboards, dashboard, windshield frame, and side window frames:



Here's how it looks so far. I put in the upper side panel on the driver's side, but haven't done the other side yet. At this point I'm trying to decide if I like the way it looks with the combined features (wide body/open cab). What do you think?

Bernd
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Lookin' very good Ray. I like the way that's turning out. :2t::thumb::2t:

I'd think any way you make it it would look good. It's just something about railcars that you can't goof up.

Bernd

Herb Kephart
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Nice work Ray.

Styrene construction usually (almost wrote "always" but I can think of some horrible exceptions) looks very "crisp".

Hard to remove paint from, if you mess up a paint job though.

BTDT

And it's so quick, compared to brass.

This is going to be a great addition to your railroad.

Herb 

Sullivan
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The build looks really well done thus far. I look forward to your updates.

Ray Dunakin
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I just posted a video to YouTube, showing the first test run of the railbus. I wanted to make sure everything worked before getting too far into the build. It runs very smoothly and quietly. Top speed isn't very fast but is acceptable, and it's probably pretty accurate for a heavily-loaded Model T.

http://youtu.be/FX1Yo4twbOU

I'll post some more details of the build soon.

mwiz64
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Gosh, Ray... I think it looks pretty darn good!

Mike

Last edited on Fri Oct 26th, 2012 10:10 pm by mwiz64

W C Greene
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I just wish I was 1:24 scale so I could ride in that neat thing around that wonderful layout! Excellent...

Woodie

Sullivan
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That little jewel runs spiffingly well. Just outstanding. Looking forward to the finish work.

Ray Dunakin
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Here's the latest update...

I finished the side panels on the cab, the ones with the curved opening. I had to redo the first one four times before I got it to come out right. Anyway, then I installed the trim and bracing on the inside. The trim around the curved part was cut from sheet styrene. The other parts are from strips:




This is how the body looks so far. I beefed up the windshield frame, finished the side and rear window frames, added interior bracing, and some exterior trim:




The firewall and windshield frame are now thicker and more detailed:




Inside the firewall/floorboard area, I created a slot-like structure which will be used to hold the steering column:




The rear of the body, with the new window frames and trim. I still have to make hinges and handles for the rear door:




The steering column had to be modified due to the fact that the cab must be removable. I used brass tube to replace the kit's steering column, bending it at an angle. The upright portion will be glued into the firewall, leaving only the angled portion visible. You might wonder why a railcar needs a steering wheel at all. It doesn't, however the steering wheels were often kept in place and used as brake wheels.)




I added throttle and spark levers, made from thin brass rod:




Here's a shot of the underside of the body, showing the attachment points. Small screws will go into these points from the underside of the chassis, to hold the body in place. Also, to the left of center you can see where I cut away some of the partion so that the space under the front seat can be used to fit the battery:




This is the chassis deck, with mounts for the r/c receiver. There are two sets of holes in the mounts because I needed to move the receiver forward from where I had originally placed it. I also put up a styrene "fence" around the electronics area to prevent the wires from getting pinched between the body and the chassis. The large opening is for wiring to pass through. The smaller opening is for the on/off switch:




Here's the chassis with the receiver and battery installed:




The on/off switch has no mounting brackets, and was just hot glued into the Losi r/c car. I cut it loose, and hot glued a styrene angle to it so I could screw it onto the chassis:




Here's the on/off switch installed on the deck of the chassis:






Finally, here's an overhead shot of the battery and receiver installed in the vehicle:




At this point I'm kind of stumped. I have to find a way to put in seats and passengers, with the electronics taking up the space where their feet should be. I also need to keep it accessible. And I have to figure out how to attach the roof of the vehicle. I'd like to permanently attach the roof but I'm not sure if that will be possible. It'll depend on how I solve the seating/passenger issue.

Herb Kephart
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Ray-

My railroad has hauled lots of legless passengers, who suffered amputations in the interest of having motors in the cars, which stuck up above the inner floor level. Looking through the windows, it's almost impossible to tell--and I think that they are afraid to complain--after they get to ride for free--

Herb   

Ray Dunakin
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Time for another progress report!

I decided that the passenger seats will be held above the electronics by a simple styrene frame. I can easily glue the seats in place after the interior of the car has been painted. Same with the passengers, who will be cut off just below the knees. Then I'll attach a piece of material painted black or dark brown, to the underside of the seat frames, so as to hide the electronics.




I knocked out the seats pretty quickly. The base is made of styrene strips. The seat back and cushion are made of 1/8" thick sheet styrene, sanded to shape:





The seats were just placed temporarily for these photos. Looking through the window, you really can't see much below the seats. Once the passengers are in place, you'll see even less:




With that settled, I started on the roof, beginning by gluing the ribs in place. The ribs at the end and on the partition were cut from sheet styrene. The other two were made from strips, bent to shape by hand. Each of those ribs is made from two strips. First one is glued in place, then a second strip is glued on over it. Then I sanded away any excess, as needed to match the curves on the solid ribs:






The roof itself is made from styrene, V-grooved siding with approximately .1" spacing. The rear half was easy to apply. The front half has compound curves. At first I thought I could cover it with one piece. I figured I could heat it, then press it over a form. I tried heating a piece of the siding over the stove, but it crinkled. Then I tried heating it in boiling water, but it warped, and I never could get it to go over the form.

So I just applied the siding to the front half of the roof in two sections, and this turned out surprisingly well. I used some of the slightly warped siding that I'd boiled, and this might have helped but I think it would have turned out just as well if I'd used it straight out of the package. Here's how it looks:




I used strips of .040" square styrene to trim the edges of the roof:




I also added some more trim pieces to the sides of the car. And you'll note that I changed my mind about mounting the hood permanently to the chassis, and instead glued it to the body:




Next I made the "cow-catcher". It needs to be strong enough to withstand frequent handling, bumps, and potential derailments, so I constructed it entirely from brass. Soldering is not my favorite subject and my skills in that area are pretty weak, so I wasn't looking forward to soldering such a complex structure. But sometimes you just have to leave your comfort zone! Anyway, I had a pretty good idea of how it should go together, and I didn't have much trouble with it. However, I was so involved with it that I neglected to shoot any progress photos. Here's the finished product:




The one problem was, after I finished it I discovered that I'd made it too short! I had intended to have it fit over the top of the end beam on the front of the chassis frame. You can see where I created an opening in the top, center, for the Model T's starter crank to fit through.

Well, the bottom edge would have been 8 or 9 scale inches above the rails, much too high to be of any use and certainly wouldn't look right. So cut off the top half of the end beam, glued the cow-catcher in place, then glued in another strip of styrene above it. It's not terribly elegant but it'll do:






I also made a few detail parts. I built a handle for the rear door, and the driver's hand lever, both from brass:




And I didn't like the coil box that came with the kit, so I made a new, more accurate one out of styrene. (In this photo it's a little dusty from sanding.)




I won't be installing the interior details until after the thing's been painted. I'm almost to that point now. I still have to make some steps for the rear door, and on both sides of the cab. I also need to make and install the headlights and tail lights. These will be lighted with LEDs.

Here's how the car looks so far:










This morning I took it out to the layout to make sure there were no clearance problems with new cow-catcher. I discovered something else... when I'd run the car on the layout before, I only ran it about halfway, in one direction. I turned it around this time I found that the front wheels derailed going through switches. So I checked them and found that the back-to-back spacing was at least 1/8" too wide!

To reduce that, I had to grind the axle stubs a little shorter, and cut the plastic connecting tube a little shorter also. Then I had to grind and sand off some of the bearing supports on the chassis frame, to keep the back of the wheels from rubbing against it. Finally got it all taken care of and it goes through the switches just fine now.


That's it for now. Enjoy!

Herb Kephart
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I remember reading somewhere about a car--probably a Lincoln, after Ford bought that company-- the phrase-

"Henry took Lizzie and made a lady out of her"

I think that you have done that also.


Herb 

Basher
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Ray: Great looking Railcar. Nice work.

Ron D.

 

Sullivan
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Gorgeous railcar and excellent workmanship.

It will require an equally fine paint job. Are you thinking of doing any decorative line or scroll work during the painting and lettering process?

I may indeed just be getting ahead here...

Dallas_M
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I think it's really cute! Not in that dismissive way that our non-train friends & relatives say it ... just cute! :2t:

Ray Dunakin
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Thanks! I think it's cute too, which is what I wanted.

I'm currently contemplating how to proceed with the paint job. I want it to look a little bit rundown. A little faded and worn, but not a rolling junkpile either. No fancy line work, though.

My thinking is that this vehicle was originally used to haul section crews and has seen a lot of rough use and repairs. Later it was somewhat refurbished to carry tourists, at which time the longitudinal benches were taken out and forward-facing seats put in.

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That's a real cutie your building here Ray ! Makes my wish to do a modular large scale layout one day even bigger..keep up the good works !!

W C Greene
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Ray-when you get it finished, you can send it to me and after a few years I will maybe send it back. Now, I just have to have a vechicle like yours.

Woodie

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Looks GREAT!!!. Congrats!. Jose.

Ray Dunakin
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My Mac suffered a major hard drive crash on Nov. 11 that also wiped out my primary backup drive. The last time I'd updated my secondary back up drive was just before I upgraded the OS back in April, so I lost about six months of stuff. I just got the computer back from the shop and will be very busy for a while trying to restore/recreate everything that was lost. But at least I can get online again.

I'll try to post an update on my railbus project as soon as I can.

W C Greene
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Sorry to hear that, Ray. As Charleton Heston might say about the crash-"damn them, damn them all!"...

Woodie

Ray Dunakin
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With my computer in the shop for over a week, I had lots of time to work on my railbus project. First up was making the headlights. I built the headlight body out of styrene tubes. There are designed to open from the rear, so that the LED is accessible in case it ever needs to be replaced. Here are the headlight components:



The headlight lenses were made from elliptical acrylic domes from Plastruct. I don't know what size they are, they're just something I had on hand. They were too wide so I traced the correct size onto them, then reshaped them using a Dremel with a cutoff wheel. A sandpaper stick was used to fine-tune the shape. They were also too thick so I used coarse sandpaper to sand them thinner. This had the added benefit of creating vertical lines that simulate the look of old-fashioned headlight glass:




I added a styrene base to each headlight and then glued them to the end beam of the chassis. Then I painted the chassis, first with a coat of red primer, followed by gloss black:




The lenses were inserted into the front of the headlight casings and secured with MEK:




The LEDs were mounted in the rear section of the headlight, which slides into the headlight casing. I used 3mm Warm White LEDs. To keep the LED centered and pointed forward, I had to support it with two short, telescoped sections of styrene tube. These are removable:




Here's a shot of the finished headlights with the LED assemblies installed. I got the LEDs from modeltrainsoftware.com, and they come wired up to a tiny package of circuitry that limits the voltage and provides correct polarity no matter which way the leads are connected to the power source. I had to route the wires around the motor mount, and glued the LED circuits to the top of the motor mount:




On the underside you can see how the LED wires were routed through the chassis. I tacked them in place with a few small dabs of hot glue. If it ever becomes necessary to remove or replace the wires, it should be pretty easy to pull them loose. The undercarriage was weathered using a mottled blend of brown and black acrylic craft paints. I later applied the same colors to the wires, to camouflage them:




The tail lights were made from 1.8mm red LEDs. These have a rectangular base with a small, protruding "bulb". Although they glow red, the unlighted LED is clear. They also glow very brightly, so to tone down the brightness and give them a red lens, I painted the ends with opaque, glossy red acrylic. Then a short section of 1/8" styrene tube was glued on, and the rim sanded to round it. The exterior was given several coats of black paint, with a bit of metallic "steel" paint added to the rim. Then the LEDs were carefully hot-glued onto the undercarriage. The wires were routed into the rear of the chassis and weathered:








Here's a shot of the completed electronics and battery installed on the chassis. I painted the wires grimy black to make them less visible. The battery is held in place by a small strip of double-sided tape:




The LEDs were connected to a spare Losi power plug (A), which was soldered to the motor output terminals (red arrows). The LEDs come on only when there is power to the motor. It would have been nice to have the LEDs on when the vehicle is stopped, but I couldn't figure out how to do that, and it probably would have drained the battery too quickly anyway. The battery's power plug is at (B):




Another small addition to the vehicle was steps at the sides and rear door. I fashioned mounting brackets out of brass bar stock, held in place with thick CA glue and Ozark Miniatures NBW castings. I had to heat the brass in order to drill holes for the NBW castings. Afterwards I tried to reharden them by heating them, then dunking in cold water, but that didn't seem to help much. So I have to be careful handling the model, as the step brackets bend somewhat easily.

I made the "wooden" steps out of styrene. These were textured and painted using the same methods I've used on my buildings. After scribing simulated wood grain into the boards, they were given a light coat of white primer, then colored with several thin washes of browns and grays. When dry, a coat of Krylon UV resistant clear matte was added for protection:




I added a peeling paint effect by first wetting the boards with Testor's enamel thinner. Then gloss black acrylic was light brushed on, building it up in areas where there would be less wear:




Here's a shot of the finished rear door step. You can also see the tail lights in this shot:




Painting the car body: I started with a light coat of white primer inside and out. Next I masked off most of the cab interior, then sprayed the exterior with red primer. I tried to limit the amount of red primer that got into the rear passenger area -- a little overspray there was ok but I didn't want a full coat of it.




I wanted the exterior finish to look slightly old and weathered, with just a bit of gloss left. In the past I'd had good results on small items, by brushing on an acrylic color coat topped with a couple coats of thinned artist's gloss medium. So I tried that on the car body. The results are ok but not as good as I'd hoped. If I could do it over, I would just use gloss spray paint for the color coat, then dull the shine a bit during weathering.

The custom decals were provided by Stan Cedarleaf, with his usual excellent service. The roof was painted with silver acrylic, then weathering slightly with very thin washes of brown and gray. Additional weathering was applied later:




The interior of the car was painted in two shades of brown and a coat of thinned gloss medium. The rear passenger seats were painted separately and were not installed until after the car body was painted. As you can see, the wiring is only barely visible through the windows, so no extra steps were taken to hide the wiring:






More to come in the next post...

Sullivan
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Once again, that is some excellent work! I think the paint job on the body looks great. I especially like the very nice effect you achieved on the weathered boards before painting them. The wear shows really nicely once painted, too.

Great job on the headlights.

Ray Dunakin
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I decided that the roof looked too plain, and that a luggage rack would really improve the vehicle's "character". The rack was formed out of brass rods soldered together. It fits into small holes drilled into the corners of the roof:






I also wanted a ladder at the rear of the vehicle. To build it, I first came up with this crude jig made from scraps of wood:




The brass rods which will form the vertical parts of the ladder fit into the slots on the jig and are held in place by two clothespins:



To make the steps, I soldered the end of a brass rod to the two uprights, using the end of the jig to keep it level I then cut off the excess portion of the rod. The assembly is then pulled 1/2" forward on the jig and another step soldered in place, repeating the process until the ladder is finished:




The top of the ladder was bent over, and a mounting bracket added near the bottom. I originally wanted to put a ladder on each side of the rear door, so I built two. After trying them out on the model it was obvious that two would be excessive, so I just used one and put the other into my parts box to use on some future project:




The top of the ladder was carefully soldered to the rack while it was in place on the vehicle. This way, I could be sure of getting the ladder positioned correctly:




The complete luggage rack, ready to paint:




The rack was painted Rustoleum gloss black (same as the chassis) and lightly weathered with acrylics. I added strips of styrene "wood" to form the floor of the luggage rack. It was then glued in place, and any gaps in the roof were filled with spot putty. The roof was then touched up and received additional weathering.




An O-scale brass bell was mounted on a homemade bracket:




The steering wheel, pedals, lever and a rope for the bell were all installed. The pedals are from the Hubley Model T kit. I didn't realize how clunky they looked until after I had glued them in, otherwise I would have made my own:




The railbus is now complete! All that remains is to make the driver, passengers, and some luggage:









I had to prop up the rear to keep the vehicle from moving, so I could show how the lights look:




I've already started on the driver and passengers, and will post pics and video when I get them installed.

Dallas_M
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That looks great! Luggage rack is a nice touch ... great detailing all around ... and the black & maroon scheme is a definite winner. Well done! :2t:

(Well, there is that sick, twisted part of me that wants to see a whole bunch of crap piled up in that luggage rack, but that's probably just my problem.) :sad:

Sullivan
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It just gets better and better.

That is some gorgeous work and the completed railbus really looks great.

mwiz64
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Faaaannnntastic!

W C Greene
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Simply beautiful! You can be proud of this, Ray, and when you run it while visiting modelers watch...keep your eyes on them and inspect any bags or boxes that they may try to leave with!

Woodie

Ray Dunakin
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I just finished the driver and front seat passenger for my Model T railbus. They are patterned after my dad and step-sister. I haven't installed them in the railbus yet because I still need to make some glasses for my "mini-dad".





Here are a couple of the photos I used for reference:






And here are some shots of the individual figures:











They're a bit rough but they'll do. I find that the more of these figures I do, the less patience I have for getting them perfect. I still need to make five more figures for the rear passengers, including a small child that will be on someone's lap. That should be an interesting challenge.

Milocomarty
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Great ! Love this in the big scales. Good looking railcar as well

Herb Kephart
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Great job Ray!

A plus is your ability to make such realistic figures.

But that roof rack definitely needs a crate of chickens--


Herb  

wahiba
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In the UK these were some Ford conversions that ran:

http://www.hfstephens-museum.org.uk/rolling-stock/ford-railmotors.html

David

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You forgot the Bluetooth device in your dad's ear. Just kidding. Those are some fantastic looking figures! Man, I'm continually blown away by the ability of the modelers here.

Ray Dunakin
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Thanks!

My dad wore that Bluetooth device so much, it was almost a part of him. In fact, he was buried with it on! So I actually considered including it on the miniature, but decided it wouldn't fit the range of eras I'm modeling.


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