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Porter cab
The Toenail Ridge Shortline
A New cab for the Prairie

Written December 19th, 2001

You may have read about the much modified Bachmann Porter that exited the Selbyville workshops a couple of years ago.
 (See here for the original modification...)
No longer an 0-4-0 side tank loco, the busy boys in the back-shop had modified it to a tenderized, battery-powered Prairie of 2-4-0 configuration.
Well, I'd been unhappy with the original Porter cab even though the roof had been extended so reckoned it was time for a change. Just took delivery of a 1:20.3 scale rule from the nice folks at ScaleRule (isn't their business name a co-incidence, huh?) and got to looking at the cab of my Bachmann Climax.
Now the Climax is a pretty big loco but when you check its real measurements it is actually pretty compact. For example, the highest point of the cab is only 6 feet, not too much headroom for the average young fella today. So I measured the rest of the Climax cab and found that it has exactly the same footprint as the original Porter footplate except that the Porter is one scale foot shorter. The Climax cab is a pretty nice piece of work, with opening front doors, sliding windows, opening hatch, and lots of lovely rivets. I decided to make a close copy to fit the Porter frame but to simplify construction just to suggest opening doors, etc.
The new cab is made from 80 thou Evergreen styrene sheet. I plotted the front wall out onto the styrene in pencil:

using the original Porter cab as a guide for the boiler cut-out. Did the same with the sides and the back frame:

and then cemented the four pieces together using ABS plumbing primer. That's that nasty pink stuff you can see on the door of the front piece above.
Stole some mounting ideas from Fletch, that master modeller and glued tubing into each of the corners for screw mounts.

The finished loco came out looking pretty good, gives the impression of a much modernized old-timer that is well maintained and has years left in her yet.

The roof is 20 thou Evergreen styrene and the (non-operating) hatch is lifted from a $6 kid's toy. Grab-rails are the brilliant Ozark Miniatures products.

I modelled the fireman's front door partly ajar just for the hell of it!

Rivet detail is added using a 1mm drill in a pin-vise hit into 20 thou Evergreen styrene overlay with a light hammer. The drill is inserted in the pin-vise upside down to create the blunt and squared-off edges of the rivets.

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