Our hobby is unique in many ways.  There are many varied things to learn and one can spend a happy lifetime trying this and that and having a special satisfaction when success comes.  Building scale models is a major part of that joy.  Unlike other scale model builders, our culture is a little different though.

Imagine a scale aircraft modeller spending countless hours making that 1/72nd B-17F Flying Fortress.  Neatly built, impressively detailed and perfectly weathered, but once complete he finds that the turbo superchargers were not correctly moulded.  What does he do?  Well I would not be surprised if 99.99% of scale aircraft modellers would just live with it.  It isn’t in their culture to redo the model.  After all, there are many other models to build.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it is very, very, very rare for even a military modeller to upgrade or improve a model that has already been completed.  Scale military models, mainly armoured and soft-skinned vehicles, to my mind at least, are very adaptable to being re-detailed and refinished.  But that is not a common thing to do in that modeling culture either.

How lucky are we railroad modellers!  We can and do upgrade our models.  Full rebuilds or small touch-ups.  We install DCC decoders and speakers, add grab irons, cut levers, winterization hatches, swap Kadee couplers then swap them with Sergent couplers, we correct the incorrect lettering on that new $300 diesel locomotive.  We can do practically anything.

Just like the real thing, our locomotives and rolling stock have service lives.  That history is made over the years running on our layout(s).  J1d Hudson 5366 has been at Fillmore for about a year and it was time to visit the Backshop.  There were some features to correct and some programming upgrades to make.

From my previous posting, a major enhancement for a Hudson model of my era is the addition of a coal pusher.  This was done to the tender of 5366 in the manner described in that post.  When painting 5366 a year ago, I missed painting the wheel faces of the wheels in the trailing and tender trucks.  They were dismounted, and with the treads masked with 2mm wide tape, sprayed grimy black.  They are much better now.  I added 2-1/2oz of weight inside the tender to increase the overall heft of the model.


Because the model was factory equipped with a smoke generator which also controlled the headlight, the headlight did not work when I removed the generator.  I’m not for smoke.  When I discovered that the headlight no longer worked, I did not care since the New York Central System did not run with headlights on during daylight until after World War Two (starting in 1947, I believe).  However, it bugged me that the headlight could not work, so I went in and corrected this by running new wires inside the engine from the LED to the connector at the tender.  This also involved adding a quick connector so that the wiring can be disconnected when the boiler is removed from the running gear.

When I programmed the decoder back then I did not have momentum and braking.  This was set up using JMRI DecoderPro3 on the programming track.  The decoder is a Soundtraxx TSU-1000 Medium Steam.  I did not apply a lot of momentum, just enough to make it an integral part of operating the locomotive.  The momentum from a standing start is almost imperceptible.  Since speeds here are quite slow in any case, the amount of momentum in braking at a high 5% throttle setting results in a delay of about 1/2 tender length.  At that speed a brake squeal is heard, at lesser speeds an air release.


I also cleaned up some mold parting lines I missed on the air tanks below the running boards and other details.  I masked all the markings and shot a freshening coat of engine black along with Tamiya TS80 Flat lacquer spray.  Then re-applied the weathering with my usual method.

And here she is…upgraded and ready for action…


I would like to close-couple the tender more.  This would involve making a new drawbar…………work for the next shopping!