Is N-Scale Brass A Thing Of The Past?

WM183 Nov 25, 2018

  1. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    I've painted dozens of brass locos in the past and it really isn't much more difficult that painting plastic. First you have to strip the awful heavy clear lacquer, but you can do that quickly and easily with plain old hardware store paint remover. And you might need to prime it, although Scalecoat I works on brass without a primer. This far it's about even up with plastic, or perhaps even a little ahead of plastic if you are stripping a factory painted loco, or the crap undecs that lifelike and bachman used to sell with a heavy layer of grey house paint rolled on. And don't get me started on undecs with glued in windows.
    The only part that is a little tedious, is whatever masking is necessary. Since all the details are soldered on, you have to be creative, since you can't remove them and resolder after painting. But really, if you find that too hard you shouldn't be painting them yourself anyway.
     
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  2. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    I think you're right, once 3D printing really catches on.
     
  3. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    While I do agree that brass is dead, I don't think 3d printing is the end-all answer just because it requires some effort from the buyer. Why do you think ready-to-run has become so popular. People want immediate gratification and not to have to DO anything. It's not just trains, it seems to be any hobby. One of my other hobbies was racing R/C cars (I was pretty good too...2nd in Nationals twice), but why have to take the time to BUILD the car, tune the car, practice with the car, fix the car and race the car when I can fire up the game system and race online with others and never leave my chair, let alone have to LEARN something...and it's effecting everything including football, baseball, basketball, etc.
     
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  4. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Must be a millennial thing :whistle::p:D:LOL::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
     
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  5. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    I dunno. I fall right at the "Gen X/Millenial" divide (Born in 76) and grew up fascinated by how things work, fixing things, building things, and I know i am not alone. I actually am sliding into HO simply because there are more craftsman type kits available than there are in N (C&F, Westerfield, etc) and that is by far my favorite part of the hobby, building and painting and all. I know there are many others like me. Of course, we still had metal shop and drafting and all of these sort of technical classes in general high school, but regardless. I think as disposable income becomes smaller year by year, and average home sizes continue to grow smaller, a "quality over quantity" approach will likely reign in model railroading, as superbly detailed door layouts, ISLs, and so on become the norm. People will also probably seek to stretch those hobby dollars further, too; I know I do. If a kit costs 25% less than RTR for me, it isn't even a question. Yeah, some people want instant gratification I suppose, but a lot do not.
     
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  6. Espeeman

    Espeeman TrainBoard Member

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    That is what happened to me. I was in the middle of building a half basement sized layout and tore it down to build one that is 6'x4'. Compact, no doubt, but the level of detail I will be able to achieve plus actually finish the darn thing! I am really interested in the finer details. I have several unpainted diesels for the purpose of high detailing (looking at SP Wolf's SP fleet makes me a bit green ;) ). My buddy has a huge basement layout and I belong to an N scale club so I get all the benefits of huge layouts without having to deal with a huge layout. The only thing I miss about the big layout I was building were the 19" rad curves strategically placed. Passenger trains look amazing on them and not so much so on 12 3/8" rad curves but I feel that is the only thing I really gave up.
     
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  7. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    I understand completely. I have a space that is large enough to intimidate me in N; I still haven't decided which way to go, but regardless, the focus will be on operation sessions with just me, switching out a handful of industries. I do not need a lot of space in either scale for that, and in HO, the space I do have seems less huge, less "God, would i ever finish scenicking this?"
     
  8. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    After reading this thread last week, I decided to re-power my Hallmark Brass FTs. Got a good deal on an Intermountain set at the train show in Oklahoma City Train Show. After removing all the assembly brackets from the inside with my resistance soldering iron and removing all the solder blobs around where the handrails were affixed on the inside, the mechanisms slid right in. I had to grind out some of the nose casting inside the pilots on the A units where the couplers attached. The IM mounting points can then be used. I put Kapton tape all around the mechanisms to isolate them from the shells and modified the Hallmark fuel tanks to slide over the IM ones. They run sweet. Now to finish repainting them and install DCC boards.
     
  9. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    We do hope you'll share some photos!
     
  10. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I didn't realize how many manufacturers produced FTs until recently. Aside from Micro-Trains and Intermountain in plastic, Overland did FTs too:

    Great Northern Brass FTs by Overland 006.jpg
     
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  11. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    I do think that 3D printing will change the industry to fill the niche that was once occupied by brass models. Brass models were assembled by hand with soldering bent sheet metal and adding brass castings. Newer models that are mass produces use injection molded parts in place of cutting and bending sheet metal, and assembly doesn't require craftsmen, once the molds are made. That is mainly done in third-world countries, now, where that type of labor is still cheap. But, it only works for things that sell in large numbers. Making 3D printable files for locomotive shells is a lot less expensive and time consuming than making masters and dies. And, making components like air pumps, trailing trucks, etc. that can be sold in mass can still be done the current way. So, I think once companies like Bachmann and Atlas, realize that they can sell to mass markets with those types of components, and make them routinely available like ws done for HO in the past, there could be a lot of cottage industries that make specialized locomotive shells that fit on mass produced mechanisms.
     
  12. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Well brass steam still lives in my world, ole number 3773 pulling a string of 94 cars and a caboose
     

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