The back-dated 0-4-0 required more drastic steps than the black-and-gold General. First, I removed the old cab and all the details, such as domes and headlight, with a razor saw and file. After smoothing the boiler carefully, the new domes, smokestack, and headlight were epoxied in place. Deciding for a cab with a peaked roof, I trimmed a piece of scrap lumber so that the top would be the correct shape and size. Using clamps to hold the various pieces which comprise the sides in place, I soldered them, gradually assembling the cab from sub-assemblies. Finally it was epoxied into place. Next handrails and grabirons were added; and then the entire superstructure was spray painted.
Since this loco like the black-and-gold General, was an older model, I had to disassemble the entire locomotive, remove the wheels and turn them down on an electric drill with the aid of a file. All this was neces- sary to make these engines roll on my code 70 track, but one shouldn't have to do this with anything produced by an American manufacturer recently, though one might with AHM products, which are manufactured abroad. I first tried to run the locomotive against a file, and although the motor survived, the nylon worm and worm gears did not, and I had to disassemble the drive mechanism anyway.
Even this apparent disaster proved instructive, since it showed me that such work on the innards isn't that difficult. The next step, which I haven't yet attempted, would be to take the new miniature can motors and remove the need for the tender drive in the General.
As the chronicler of the mistake-laden Albion Pawtuxet & Galilee, I know full well that even the mistakes prove instructive: just fixing them proves one can take a chance with one's kits and ready-to-run locos. But the first step in learning to build a better locomotive is to take that first step. Go ahead — add details, cut, change, repaint, and when done, don't be afraid to make yet other modifictions. Now that I think of it, that scratchbuilt whistle in the black-and-gold general could be better done. Maybe I should get out the scrap box again. . . . [Another view]
Photographs of 0-4-0, like most of the text above, appeared in my 1978 photo-article "Details Make a Difference."