Sunday 4 February 2024

Fowler Exterior Detailing

With the Fowler locomotive finally equipped with remote control and moving along the track on my little layout I have now begun fitting details to the rather sparsely detailed model. I have planned to do this in two major stages: the loco's general exterior and cab interior. I decided to do the exterior detailing first. 

The Fowler pulling out of the gravel works heading east with four skips.

I wasn't aiming for all out fine scale detailing, but wanted to add an extra level of detail to the loco as it looked rather bare in its out of the box condition. I added the following parts:

  • strapping on bonnet and gear box cover
  • bolt heads on radiator
  • L-profiles with bolt heads under footplate
  • bolt head detail on frame sides
  • hand rails and handles on bonnet doors
  • bolt heads on jackshaft cranks
  • adding horn and brackets for jack

Exterior detailing in progress. Metal strapping in the form of plastic strips fitted with AC glue. Behind the Fowler a for-fun Lada Niva project is just visible in black primer.

Strapping was added with plastic strip and L-profile superglued in place. Where needed I added bolt heads from slices of hexagonal plastic profile. Small gaps were filled with Vallejo plastic putty and sanded smooth. Bolt head details on the frames were added using the same hexagonal profile. 

Handles and hand rails were made from 1 mm NS wire AC-glued in holes drilled in bonnet and gearbox cover. I used flat nosed pilers to get 90 degrees bends on the hand rails and a small drilling jig to get the correct distance between the holes I drilled for mounting the hand rails.

Most trains at Nystrup Gravel experienced derailments now and then and a jack, some blocks of wood and a length of rail was standard equipment for derailing work. Archive images of the Fowler in service shows a large jack positioned on the right side of the bonnet with wooden blocks being kept ready under the cab floor on the left hand side. I fitted a large former German Army issue jack in a bracket on the loco's right side. Bottom plate and bracket was cut from NS plate and bent in appropriate shapes. 

The jack placed in its bottom plate and bracket locked in position with a piece of bent wire. The jack was built from a whitemetal kit in 2019 originally meant for another project, but judged far too big.

The horn is a brass casting from the trade supplying ship modellers with parts. There are quite a few nice items from that area of modelling that can be put to good use in large scale railway modelling. The horn was mounted in a hole drilled in the cab roof. I mounted it in a crooked angle to illustrate the loco's age and well used condition in the beginning of the 1950's.

The horn glued in place on the roof of the loco. The slight crookedness is a sign of many years of service and some worn bolts working themselves loose during running on the line's uneven track.

In total no less than 98 exterior detail parts were added, by far the majority being bolt heads. The details may not be particularly obvious once the model is repainted, but I think it adds to the overall appearance of the model.  

View of the unfinished loco's right side. I removed the Essel Engineering's building plates from the cabsides. One of them will be fitted out of sight inside the loco. 

With the main exterior detailing finished I assembled the locomotive and took it for a ride on the layout. Next task on the Fowler is the cab interior that will include brake, regulator and gear levers, basic instrumentation and sand boxes. Oh, and the bolts on the jackshaft cranks that I forgot to fit.

Shortly before bedtime I couldn't resist taking the Fowler for a little running on the layout. Just to keep the appetite for a completely finished model intact.

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