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Building the Brick Price FM diesel kit

From Dave Frary, Fri 17 Apr 1998

Brick Price diesel
You may wish to ACC the model together if you don’t like to solder.
I would really stress that soldering produces a sturdier model that will better withstand life as road engine. Soldering is a skill that definitely improves with practice.

Remember, I built the pilot model without written instructions or diagrams. I did have a color snapshot of Brick’s pilot model. Instructions and a photo will be included in the kit.


THE TOOLS I USED:

  • An American Beauty resistance soldering station with tweezers, sold by Micro Mark (a good quality 25 to 40 watt soldering iron would work as well).
  • Flo-Temp non lead soldering paste. Comes in a small plastic tube from the hardware store. (Several modelers have asked me where I bought Flo-Temp. My answer today is I don’t know — I’ve called and visited all my usual hardware haunts but know one seems to stock it. I’ll keep trying and keep you informed.)
  • Tix low temperature solder and flux. (This is listed in the Walther’s Catalog and may be sold by Micro Mark.)
  • A pair of surgical scissors.
  • Square nosed pliers
  • Needle nosed pliers
  • A set of jewelers files
  • A flat bastard mill file
  • 1 foot square of old toweling
  • A tuna fish can of water
  • Several toothpicks.


PREPARING THE PARTS

I started by cutting all the major parts from the surrounding brass with the scissors. (Whatever you do don’t try to remove the parts by
bending them back and forth.)

With the flat mill file I smoothed the all the edges to remove the brass “sprues” and to reduce the knife edge that’s produced by the etching
process.

At this point I had to study the parts to determine where the bends were (all bends have a groove etched on the opposite side of the part). I bent several of these “tabs” in the wrong direction and had to bent them back after the part was assembled. This is not fun! And, the more you bend the brass the greater the chance of the tab breaking off.


ASSEMBLING THE CAB

I started with the cab because it’s the easiest. I bent the tabs on the bottom of the cab sides inward with the square nosed pliers and folded
the four corners to make the box. I also folded the engineer’s arm rests down and the rear frame up.

Using the towel on my hand as a heat shield, I held the cab square and the joint aligned. I applied a thin bead of Flo-Temp solder to the
inside of the joint with a toothpick. Using the soldering tweezers I tacked the joint in several places and held the joint together until the solder solidified. To cool the cab I plunged it into a can of water and dried it with the towel.

Because Tix solder melts at a much lower temperature than Flo-Temp I used it to finish the joint. Holding the cab with the towel I applied the Tix flux to the inside joint and laid several small bits of solder into the flux and heated the joint with the tweezers. The Tix flowed to fill the seam.

This “tack and fill” technique was used on the rest of the model so I won’t describe the steps again. The tweezers really speed up assembly by
giving me another hand. I can hold the parts together, apply heat, after the solder flows I shut off the heat, and hold the parts together until the
solder sets. It actually took longer to write about how I assembled the cab than it took to build it.

I rolled the cab roof over an X-acto knife handle to form the curve. I bent it too much but it sprung into place with I pushed it down onto the cab sides. The roof hatched was added after the roof was soldered on all 4 sides.

On the rear of the cab is a rectangular box. On the real FM’s this is used for sand or batteries. On the model it allows extra room for chassis with large motors or body weights. This has three folds and is attached to the middle of the cab rear. It sits on the rear frame section.

On the bottom of the rear frame section I soldered the end sill. It has a step which must be bent outward before its sides are folded in.

The cab magically became very sturdy at this point. All the finishing it needed was a little dressing-up with the jewelers files.


FITTING THE FRAME

I chose the Life Like SW-1200 as the chassis. To prepare it I had to remove the cab and hood but leave the plastic frame and running boards in place. The frame contains the contacts for the wheels and they are best left in place to assure proper pick-up from both trucks. I did snip away
the end sills and steps to make the frame shorter. Be careful here — if you cut too close the frame will become two pieces. Remove only enough of the end sills so the brass frame clears them and sits flat on the plastic frame.

Brick’s brass frame is a tad too narrow to drop over the SW-1200 motor and weights. Some of the brass on the inside of each side of the frame has to be removed. Brick has provided two etched grooves running the inside length of each side of the frame. I cut away two slivers of brass on the inside edges of the frame using the grooves as guides. This widened the frame enough to let it drop over the motor and rest flat on the plastic frame.


BENDING THE HOOD

The top of the diesel hood has to be shaped to fit the curve of the front grill. This means slightly rounding the outer top edges of the hood before folding the sides down. I used my fingers to roll the brass over a fat X-acto knife handle. I tried to roll it evenly working the brass with my fingers. The hood should be shaped to fit the top of the front grill.

The tabs on the front and rear of the hood should be bent inward.

There’s a tab running along the length of the bottom edges of the hood. To fit the SW-1200 these have to be bent outward. These tabs will be soldered flat onto the frame so that the inside edge of the hood is flush with the inside edge of the frame.

I tacked the front grill to the U-shaped hood being careful to keep the rounded shape at the corners. When I was satisfied with the fit I flowed Tix all along the inside seam.

Tix is also a good gap filler and was used to fill the opening at the top of the radiator where it met the top of the hood. I put a fat blob here so I could file it to the correct shape.

Last, the top radiator vent grill was soldered in place as was the front sill.


FINAL ASSEMBLY

It was time to attached the body to the cab. I wrapped both pieces in the towels, checked the positioning, and tack-soldered them together. At
this point I checked to see how the engine sat on the frame. The fit looked good so I finished soldering the pieces together.

There’s no headlight included with the kit so I used a Cal-Scale #327. It was the only one Charles Ro had in stock that looked like the headlight on the original FM diesel. I mounted the light on the front of the hood making sure it sat square.

Brick told me that the grab rail holes etched in the body are spaced for staples to fit into. This is a good idea! The staples I had on hand were a little fat and didn’t quite fit but I’m sure a thinner wire would work. I made my handrails from brass wire and soldered them in place.


FINISHING

I gave the engine a good scrubbing with a toothbrush and a little Ajax cleanser. I rinsed it with plenty of water and let the body air dry. I never touched it with my fingers until after it was primed and painted.

I primed the body with flat black auto primer from a spray can. The next day I airbrushed the diesel a light green (bad choice of color — it blends into the scenery). After several hours I gave both sides a light spray of Dull Cote, waited about 20 minutes and applied the decals. Later that day I gave the sides another light dusting of Dull Cote to seal the decals. Weathering was a wash of burnt sienna in mineral spirits and the usual dry brushing with white after it dried. I added the clear styrene window glass last using Testor’s new cement that dries clear. It’s made for airplane modelers but works as well on structures and rolling stock.

I added four little styrene blocks on the underside of frame to align the body with the chassis. At this point I haven’t added couplers but it looks like there’s plenty of room for them.

Total assembly time was 3 hours. Plus another hour or so for painting, adding decals, and weathering.

Have fun!


Additional note, 25-Oct-2001

I use the soldering tweezers for everything. I own the probe but have never used it.

To install a headlight — tin both surfaces with a thin coat of paste-type solder, set the headlight in place, and place the tweezers so that one tip is on the headlight base and the other touches the boiler. Then apply the heat — it can be adjusted while the current is flowing. After the solder melts and the flux boils out let go of the foot switch while still holding the part in place. When the solder changes color (sets) you can remove the tweezers.

I hope this helps,
Dave

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