Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tedious 8 Tonner

I've been working on a GrandtLine 8 ton Porter for the last 2-1/2 weeks. I purchased this porter about 15+ years ago from Coronado Scale models at the same time I picked up the 2-foot gauge Merced Gold Mining version of the engine. I built the Merced engine with a bit a difficulty and put this kit away for a rainy day.

For some reason, I pulled it out and decided to give it a go. Easy and smooth sailing for the most part. I went slow and worked a little at a time, using a highlighter to indicate what I had completed in the instructions. There were a few tense moments with some of the tiny details but I managed to get most of them in there. I was quite proud up to almost the end. Then, the motor......

The motor and gearbox are very small and are supposed to sit in the boiler. Fit fine, but work, nope. The boiler was too small, pressing on the side of the motor and the motor wouldn't turn. So, free handing some dremel work, I got the motor to fit. However, the gears weren't lining up appropriately due to some side torque when going in one direction with caused them to move on the drive train. Lots of fussing later, I used a pin (literally, a cut pin) to keep the gear in question from pushing off the shaft. This part was a real pain. I could get the gears and motor running smooth and easy out of the loco but as soon as I put it back together -grrrrrr. Must have had the thing about 50 times and it's not fun putting the rear firebox back on. Then I had to figure out how to hold the motor from moving since the boiler was now widened out so the motor would work. Managed to figure out a fix with styrene.

Finally, she runs with a LookSound decoder, not hooked up to a speaker yet. The decoder and wires are visible in the cab but will be hidden in a coal bunker. Not sure if I'll use the sound decoder as she's really, really noisy going forward. Not quite so bad in reverse but the gear noise is rather audible and would likely just make sound with a small speaker worthless. We'll see. Getting the thing running has been a real trial. I wanted to have the cab removable and smashed the delicate cab. Luckily, I only had to rebuild one of the rear sides. The rebuild looks ok.  I might try to work on the gear alignment a little to see if I can get it quieted down and then decide on a small non-sound decoder or the LookSound decoder with a mini speaker. Not much room for the speaker or decoder much less all those wires. We'll see. Was it a fun build? Well, the first 7/8ths were delightful and fun. The last bit has been a trail of patience and while I'm happy to have the engine running, it's not as quiet or as smooth as hoped.


  1. what are you going to do for couplers

  2. Yeah, Cliff Grandt was amazing at creating molds for plastic casting with detail. His kits have incredible detail so much so, they can be difficult to build.

    Couplers? Good question! The coupler attachment on the front is too low. Here is a prototype example of one way to get around the problem:
    I will definitively use kadees for operational purposes, even though link and pin would be better looking.