In this step, I created the basic core of each car. The floor and the body were glued together for each car. This step is simple, but care needs to be taken to centre the floor to the body in both directions. The kit has no alignment tabs or any fancy stuff like that. Here’s a shot of nine finished bodies out of fifteen in the assembly line.
Once the bodies were assembled they needed to gain some weight. I accomplished this by cutting lead into rectangles that measured 1 3/16 X 3 7/16 inches for the floor. Smaller rectangles that measured 1 7/32 X 3 15/32 inches were cut to fit inside the centre beam of the car. Each car got two large rectangles and three small ones. I cut them from a sheet of lead that was salvaged from an x-ray room renovation.
If you use lead, be aware that it is toxic if it is consumed. I don’t keep lead around the house unless I’m doing this kind of project. The lead for this project was stored in a plastic bag until I needed it. I wear latex gloves when I handle lead, and when I’m finished handling it, I wash my hands with soap and water, along with any tools that I used. Some might say I’m a bit excessive, but I don’t care. I want to preserve my health.
Once the lead rectangles were cut they were gently flattened with a hammer and sorted. I glued two rectangles onto the floor of each car and three long skinny rectangles into the centre beam with PL construction glue. I hate when weights come lose inside of a finished model. There will be no way to re-attached these weights once the car is assembled, so it was imperative to do it right at this step. Years ago I used epoxy to keep weights from breaking loose, but I like PL better. You’ve gotta love modern adhesives!
Care has to be taken to make sure that no glue extends out of the cavity in the centre beam because another piece gets attached over it. Not much PL glue is necessary to do the job. I pumped a small blob out of the tube with a caulking gun, and worked with a piece of card stock to apply just enough glue in the right places. This is a prime example of a step that benefits immensely from assembly-line construction. There would be much more wasted glue if these cars were built separately. The PL is dispensed once and after the all of the cars have their weights firmly installed, the PL isn’t used in this project again.
The fleet is beginning to take shape. On to the next construction stage…