An Athearn Light Mike Conversion
Model and article by Don Janes
First a Tip…
I have a few tips for disassembling the engine to work on it. Once you’ve got the boiler off the chassis you will notice a parting line just ahead of the backhead. Take a sharp Zona saw and cut the backhead away from the boiler. This will enable you to squeeze the firebox and release the tabs that hold it to the slots in the lower firebox area. This makes for easier removal of the boiler and also frees you from having to lift the backhead over the motor every time you pull the boiler off (believe me, I had it off a hundred times!). When your conversion is done, just glue the backhead back in place. You will never see the joint because it is inside the cab.
Work Done On Engine
- Remove all unwanted detail from engine.
- Fill in all unwanted holes.
- Turn stack in drill press for better contour.
- Cut off backhead for easier boiler removal.
- Install injectors and check valves,use .028″ brass wire for piping.
- .015″ brass wire – boiler handrails, sand pipes, air line around boiler to air tanks.
- .020″ brass wire – small pipes from steam turret.
- .012″ brass wire – all grab irons,smokebox conduit pipe,cab roof railings.
- Add NBW castings to all grab irons.
- Single strand of lamp cord wire to bell,whistle and for wires to class lights and headlight.
- Install pump governor, bell (modify – remove air ringer) whistle, pop valves, headlight, class lights, generator, cylinder relief valves, boiler stantions, cab handrails, glass in windows.
- Modify cab floor and make separte floor/deckplate for easier wire installaton.
- Replace backhead.
- Replace supplied resistor with 560 ohm-¼ watt resistor.
- Install headlight -1.5 volt bulb and put on MV lens.
Work Done On Tender
- Remove all cast on details and grab irons from tender body.
- Cut out coal load , file smooth and make frame for speaker to fit into from inside shell.
- Fill in all holes.
- Modify front of tender body and frame for wiring from engine to decoder (easier removal).
- Raise brake cylinder and add brake rodding.
- Add chains from trucks to underframe.
- Make new tender handrails from .012″ brass wire, relocate end horizontal railing – .012″ wire.
- Add brass stantions Precision Scale 3.5mm stantions to tender deck and make .015″ deck railing.
- Add styrene slope sheet to coal box.
- Add brass drop grabs to rear sill.
- Add Grandt Line caboose ladder to R.H. side of rear tender wall. Secure with.010″ brass wire.
- Make teder light from brass tube and use 1.5 volt bulb with 680 ohm,1/4 watt resistor.
- Replace rear stirrup steps with A-line stirrups.
- Replace front tender steps with Cary brass steps.
- Lower coal box doors to just above top hinge.
- Install speaker in shell in coal box, add coal load.
- Install decoder in tender and add gold pin connectors for engine-tender wires.
- Add Grandt Line NBW castings to all grabs and railings.
- Make 2 resin derails (from rubber molds) for tender frame (optional).
Painting and Lettering
- Black – 50/50Floquil Grimy and Engine Black with Glaze added.
- Gray – mixture of Polyscale using Concrete, Reefer Gray, Roof Brown, Reefer White and Grimy Black. (you could probably use CP Gray instead of trying to match the concoction I came up with.)
- Green Cab Interior – Polyscale Signal Green.
- White Running Boards – Microscale 87-124.1 2″ stripes.
- Lettering and numbers – New England Rail Service RUTLAND steam decals.
- Overall coat of Testors Clear Flat (airbrushed).
|Mfr. & Part Number||Description|
|Cal-Scale #GE 212||Generator|
|Cal-Scale #PV 247||Pop Valves|
|Cal-Scale #BE 317||Bell|
|Cal-Scale #HL 206||Headlight|
|Cal-Scale #MA 280||Class Lights|
|Cary #TS 256||Tender Steps|
|Cary #WH 146||L.H. Whistle|
|Cary #13-118||Stantions (for boiler)|
|Cary #PG 221||Pump Governor|
|Cary #RV 263||Cylinder Relief Valves|
|Precision Scale #374||3.5mm Stantions (for tender)|
|Precision Scale #3429||Check Valves|
|MV #L l85||Headlight Lens|
|MV #LS 23||Tender Backup Light Lens|
|Juneco #B-6 41/2″||Class Light Jewels|
|Detail Associates||.010″, .012″, .015″, .028″ Wire & Eye Bolts|
|Miniatronics||1.5 volt Bulbs (qty-2)|
|??||Gold Pin Connectors (qty-10)|
|??||qty-2 Resistors: 560 & 680 ohm ¼ watt|
|–||qty-2 Home Made Rerailers|
|Builders in Scale||40 Links-per-inch Black Chain|
Catalog Number: 822215 (WSL Shay)
Short Address: 3
Long Address: 037
F0: Front Headlight 1.5 volt bulb with 560 ohm resistor
F1: Tender Light 1.5 volt bulb with 680 ohm resistor
F3: Bell (toggled)
Programming (can be changed to your liking)
CV NO. Value Function Factory Default
33 1 Independent Lights
34 1 Independent Lights
35 2 Independent Lights
50 6 Overall Volume 8
52 74 Auto Chuff
54 55 Exhaust Rate 94(0-255 )
55 35 Exhaust Tone 08(90-63 )
56 255 Exhaust Volume 255
*NOTE-WHEN ADDRESSING ENGINE , ENTER 037 FOR ENGINE NUMBER