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Kennebunk Models snowplow kit

From Bob Hayden
Fri, 10 Oct 1997

Hi Gang,

Thought I’d add something new to the discussion with a short report on a new kit I just built and put into service. This is Kennebunk Models’ Kit No. KSMP-514, available from Train & Trooper, which is where I got mine. Price is $29.95; see the T&T Home Page for info on shipping and other details.

The kit is made of dense, taffy-colored resin, with almost no smell. If you don’t count the Grant Line plastic brakewheel and a short bit of wire for the brakestaff, there are only 6 parts — and I only used 4 of them! So this is an easy kit, made attractive because a plow is a pain to scratchbuild (I’ve built two) because of the curves and angles. Trucks, couplers, and markings are not included.

The main plow body casting appears to be based on the blade casting of the 15-years-ago Sango plow No. 513, which is hardly a crime because the Sango kit hasn’t been available for a decade or so. Assembly consists of cleaning away some wispy resin flash, then adding three thin resin parts — a rear wall, floor, and door — to the solid main casting. This is a half-hour job even if you’ve got the TV on and it’s something interesting (not likely).

I spent more time adapting a Micro Trains No.1025 coupler to the front of the plow (the kit provides a cast-on dummy) than I did building the rest of the thing. Instead of the two-piece resin frame for an inboard-bearing lead truck (what the prototype had), I substituted a Micro Trains (it was Kadee when I bought it) N archbar truck, sans coupler, with M-T low-profile-flange 33″ wheels, which scale out to 18″ in HO. My scratchbuilt plow No. 515 has this truck, and it runs well and looks good — the wheelbase is correct.

The rear truck on my model is a Sango coined-brass freight truck with Sango wheels. These are pretty clunky compared to the Grandt sideframes, but the low sides of the plow hide the clunkiness, and besides, it was the first assembled truck I found when I went looking for one.

The finished model weighs about an ounce, which should be enough for most layouts. I added .25 oz. of lead to bring the car up to standard for my layout. This allows me to operate it behind the engine in a heavy train.

The completed model (it’ll be completed as soon as I paint the couplers and Dullcote the whole thing) is accurately scaled for HO, and unlike the old Sango plow, isn’t TOO WIDE to make it through the rock cut at Summit on my layout. One of these days I’m going to either widen the cut (plaster blasting) or strip the Sango plow down, unsolder all the parts, and rebuilt it narrower.

All in all, a nice little kit, and better yet, a quick project with a nice result. Mine was about two evenings from the box to the layout.

Bob Hayden

P.S.: A snowplow makes an ideal disguise for a track-cleaning car, since (1) the cleaning pad or roller is hidden by the low-to-the-rail sides, and (2) it looks OK running ahead of the engine. My plow No. 515 is built around one of the Centerline N gauge track cleaners — the one with the rolling paper-towel-covered cyliner between the trucks — and has been doing a great job on the C&DR since January of 1993.

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