I have owned both of my RDC for many years now knowing they would be completed for the PRSL someday. Since I own the website for the PRSL Historical Society, I had to represent the RDC in some manner. There was lots of procrastination for a long time for many reasons. The first and biggest factor was not knowing how to handle the fact that the silver paint was easily rubbed off the nickel plating.
I spent considerable time fitting the shells with brass tubes for the lights – 8 light bulbs total. I decided to not light the numberboards so they had to be blocked off. Since the 2 motors were very noticeable in the middle of the interior there would be no people or seats inside. Lots of black paint stops most from looking in the large windows!
I found out about Alclad paint and painted them in 2010 but that wore off too! I had no good artwork so I did not have decals. When I got the cars DCC was not mainstream for at least 15 years. I actually had them wired for just a motor decoder for a few years. The solution sort of all came together in the past year or so. I found out that there was a RDC sound decoder. A friend made the decals for me.
It was just time to finish them.
In 2010 I put a shell in the blast booth and went at it. No turning back now – I was committed. The blast booth stripped the silver paint and all but took the nickel plating off.
This was the first time I painted the shells with the Alclad paint. They turned out pretty good – actually much better than the second time I painted them. But it was quickly pointed out to me that the PRSL RDC did not have the snow plows/pilots in the 1950s. When the stainless paint started to instantly and very easily wear off they went back in the box for about 3 years.
In April 2013 I decided the pilots HAD to come off at the same time I knew I had to repaint the shells. The Alclad paint was BRUTAL for stripping and getting back to the bare brass. Even with a stripping dunk in lacquer thinner and another trip through the blast booth it was hours of clean up.
These photos are after the blasting of the first Alclad paint job. You can see in the right photo I removed the pilots. I thought I would just unsolder the pilot and maybe fill some small holes – easy! I never would have imagined that the pilot was all a part of 1 huge casting with both steps, cab floor and the coupler pad – essentially the whole end of the car. It required delicate cutting to remove and extensive wet sanding in very tight places to make the step sides look smooth and original like there were no pilots.
This is the second Alclad paint job. You have to paint the car black first. It is very strange paint to use. I used too much flash on 1 photo of the car painted black and it looked like it was the stainless color!
I used the same procedure as the first time for painting but they somehow appear to be a bit darker. I learned after I bought more paint for the second paint job that a glossy gray paint would have worked as the first coat and it would have made the stainless color look brighter. But the biggest difference with the paint this time was I picked up a lot of dust and schmutz in the paint. Just my luck. There were actually 3 coats of paint before decaling – the black, stainless and a gloss clear since I was decaling the car. With every wet coat is a change for more dust problems. If I fixed and redid every problem nothing would ever get completed. I had to move on.
The decaling was pretty straightforward. I just looked at some photos and got it done pretty quickly. The “I” in “Reading” is centered on the car but the lettering is NOT centered on the length of the car.
Glass & Finishing
Much of the wiring was competed from when I had a NCE motor decoder installed. I unplugged the NCE and plugged in the QSI. But programming the QSI decoder proved to be a real challenge. After 2 calls to QSI tech I sort of got it, but the lighting is still not what I want. All lights including the markers lights are directional and go completely off when I stop. This all can be changed with programming. I have heard programming the QSI is easy with their programmer but I am not getting one. I don’t plan on using more QSI decoders any time soon. The incorrect lighting issues will be addressed at some point.
For 20ish years I have been using real glass exclusively but for this I thought about using an acrylic for the windows as a long strip. Plastruct makes .030 canopy plastic for airplane models that is really nice – it has the shine of glass. After some not so good tries with the plastic I decided to go back to the glass. It was hours of cutting glass. The glass broke many times especially after trying to put the “blinds” on. It is really Scotch 218 plastic auto masking tape. But trying to get everything straight and pulling the tape off many times broke lots of glass. It was all really trying my patience! All of the electronics and speaker is stuffed up and taped in the arch of the roof. I used a 4 wire Miniatronics plug to disconnect the shell from the drive in what I call “power up – motor down”. The plug makes it much easier to work on to disconnect the shell form the drive.
Completed on the layout
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