Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Fixing sill steps (one more time)

Not too long ago I posted a description of some sill step replacements I had done, because I’d put cars into service with the fragile plastic steps they were manufactured with, and those steps were soon broken. The post about those repairs is here: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2019/09/fixing-fragile-sill-steps.html . More recently, I realized that the same thing was happening to my several Red Caboose SP flat cars, excellent and accurate models of SP classes F-70-6 and-7, but not equipped with durable sill steps.
     I decided to replace the fragile plastic with A-Line Style A metal sill steps. I use a lot of these and like their sturdiness, even if their bottom corners are a little more rounded than prototype sill steps.
     What was most interesting is that I found a simple and durable way of replacing them. I simply glued them inside the side sill using canopy glue. Normally I would have glued blocks of styrene inside the sill, then drilled the blocks for the legs of the sill steps, as I have done in other cases (see the same post I cited in the first paragraph, above). But noticing that the length of the legs on the A-Line steps was just right, I simply glued them in place.
     This does locate the step somewhat behind the side sill, as you can see below, but from any distance this isn’t very evident. And the step is no farther behind the car side than if I had supported it with a styrene block on the inside of the side sill.

The step in the above photo may look as though it isn’t attached, but since the canopy glue dries clear, you can’t see the glue.
     I found that several of my Red Caboose flat cars had missing steps, once I looked closely, and have now replaced all of them with the A-Line steps. Now the cars look right, and the new steps will not break with handling. A simple but quick and satisfying solution.
Tony Thompson

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