In the last instalment of this series, I prepared 128 separate parts to be glued onto the underside of 16 resin ore car kits. Before I got started, I gathered all of the parts and tools, and set myself up at my table in my sunny backyard.
After setting up a streamlined workspace, I set about gluing all of the bolsters in place. These parts are the same on each side (ie. there is no left and right part). I finished these pretty quickly. After the bolsters, I did the four intermediate cross-bearers: glue two on each side, spin the car, do two more on the other side. Put the car aside, grab another car and repeat. The definition of an assembly line.
The last parts to go on were the end sills. There is a left and right part for these. Having them sorted into two piles streamlined the process. I finished these about as quickly as the others.
When I was finished, I lined the cars up to admire them. I gathered together all of the wire for the rod that runs the length of each side.
Look closely at the picture. Did you see the problem? If not, take a closer look at the end sills. Compare the car on the right that was my ‘pilot’ model to the one on the left taken from the group I had just finished assembling. Did you spot the mistake? I didn’t spot it until I started measuring for the wire. Something wasn’t right with the way the wire was fitting. Then it hit me: I’d put the end sills on the inside of the frame instead of the outside. And I’d done it on ALL of the cars. That just about ruined my whole day.
And that’s the down side of doing a big group of cars in an assembly line: when you screw up, you could easily screw up every car in the assembly line. I’m sure Ford figured this out early on and built in safeguards against it. With all of the cars put together incorrectly, I had no choice but to set up another assembly line for an unexpected step: removal and cleaning of all of the end sills.
If you were really paying attention, you were probably wondering why there was a bottle of Testors plastic cement in that last photo, because plastic cement doesn’t work on resin. And you would be right to wonder about that. But Testors plastic cement is a nice CA de-bonder that doesn’t harm resin (too much).
It’s a good thing I didn’t use too much CA when I put these parts on. Most of them came off within about ten seconds of being flooded with cement. I had to work them off with a chisel hobby blade, and sometimes re-flood the joint. But no adjacent CA joints came unglued, fortunately. I’m probably over-stating the obvious, but don’t try to de-bond CA with plastic cement on a plastic model. Use the de-bonder they sell in the hobby stores. That stuff is plastic compatible, but I’ve had it dissolve resin.
Once all of the end sills were removed I used the cement to clean off any residue so they could be re-installed correctly. It took a long time, but eventually I had put everything back together properly.
Each model has a pair of wires that represent the rods that run the length of the car on each side. This rod was part of the mechanism to open the doors in the floor for unloading. I cut the wires to length with my Dremel and glued them in place.
The last part of this very ambitious day was to glue the bottoms of the centre beams in place. That went smoothly. Before long, the fleet of ore cars was one big step closer to being finished.