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Building A Weinert Steam Locomotive

Weinert Modellbau makes some of the finest metal kits available in the market today. Their exquisite attention to details is really the main aspect of these models. These kits come in what feels like a million pieces and requires some process to put them together. They aren't difficult but patience goes a long way. It should take about 40-50 hours to build and drive a exquisitely detailed high performance steam locomotive. The March 1998 edition of MIBA carried an article about building Weinert kits. Unlike brass kits, Weinert kits are actually made of white metal. This is specially true for the boiler, Cabin, and tender structures. All the fine details and tubing are bronze castings. The chassis is normally brass.

 

First lets take a look at all the tools we will probably need for assembly:

  • A good quality set of tweezers
  • A full range of micro drills 0.3mm to 2mm (0.0118" to 0.0787")
  • Dremel with drill press stand
  • Vernier Calipers
  • Jeweler's file set
  • Fine screw driver and wrench set
  • 2-Part  epoxy adhesive (5 minute curing)
  • Cynoarcylate (Super) Glue and accelerator
  • Very fine grit polish paper
  • Soldering Tools (Resistance, regular or mini butane torch)
  • Some select dental tools
  • High quality cutters and micro shears (Xuron)
  • Home made micro glue applicator

First read the instructions manual thoroughly. Identify all the parts, do not open these as yet. Sort them by boiler, tender, and chassis parts and put them in separate containers. This will help in eliminating clutter. Also keep a few small tins with covers to put small parts in (you will appreciate this ). Tidiness is an absolute must. Click on any of the pictures to view a larger image. Before you start always refer to a picture of the real thing and the instruction manual every step of the way.

As with all construction projects our locomotive start with the framework. In our case the locomotive a BR 562-8 came with its chassis pre-built (without details) however this is not the case with the larger versions. The chassis typically made of white metal or bronze casting is cased in very finely detailed brass sheets. The details are then applied. The bronze details may be soldered on to brass or in our case a cynoacrylate adhesive was used because the chassis was already pre-built.

 This is the perfect time to blacken the wheels and weather if desired. The wheel out of the box are bright silver and I personally prefer to blacken them a bit. Refer to the weathering wheels on the wheel turning article. Note to blacken the wheels they have to be disassembled. Special tools and procedures are required for wheel assembly. Refer to the wheel assembly article for further details. 

The next step is to de-burr all the white metal castings, specially the larger structures such as the boiler and tender parts. This has to be done with care as to not damage the near by details. Remember white metal is really soft and not much pressure is needed. De-burr all casting die seams and injection channels with a jeweler's file or a dental scaler. Use the proper file and once finished polish with a ultra fine grade polish paper. Inspect thoroughly as all channels burr from mating areas also need to be removed and polished. Do not compromise the mating edges.

Once the de-burring process is complete we are now ready to take a look at the bore plan. Typically I prefer to do all the drilling before assembly. It is much easier to access and maneuver. Sort all the part in order and start with the smallest drill complete all the pieces and work your way up. Make sure you clean up all the burr or drill shavings that may stick to the castings. Follow the bore plan carefully ensuring proper drill sizes are used.

Start by assembling the structures first (boiler, cabin and tender). Once this is complete mount the cabin onto the boiler. Make sure that that the cabin and boiler are perfectly perpendicular and vertically aligned. You can either solder the structure castings with solder paste and torch or use a regular soldering iron. I found that resistance soldering prongs heat the castings beyond its tolerance and tends to pit the metal. I used super glue (cynoacrylate) to tack the parts together and once perfectly aligned, I re-enforced with fast curing (5 min) 2-part epoxy glue. Not much adhesive is needed as the bond is really very strong. Use one of the dental tools to apply the glue only where needed. Stay away from visible areas and drill holes. A little goes a long way and be very neat. Wipe any mishaps immediately and keep the tools absolutely clean. Once cured you can now apply the details. Start with the pipes and fittings first once these are all done apply the railings etc. Take a good look at the reference picture and apply the innermost detail first then the outer. When cutting details from the casting stem make sure both the detail and stem are secured by hand. They are almost impossible to find if you lose them. Note all details were tacked on with a micro drop of super (cynoacrylate) glue. . Use a home made applicator (sewing needle with half eye cut off and embedded in a wine cork) Do not mount the under part of the cabin and inner cabin details as yet. We will do this after painting and before final assembly. some details such as lights, air/vacuum hoses, cylinders, etc are painted separately and mounted in the final stages.

We are now ready to see how all the assembled parts fit together. Try the tender chassis and tender structure first. Make sure the fit is perfect without too much play. Then mount the tender wheel base on to the tender chassis to ensure all surfaces and screw holes match properly. Then mount the boiler on the boiler chassis and do the same. Put both on the track and ensure the movement is absolutely smooth and unencumbered. This will give you a good visual of how the model will look and run.

We are now ready to prime the boiler, tender, cylinders, and all the remaining small detail parts. But first we must degrease all the surface. For this step use latex gloves as finger oils can interfere with the primer. Use a solvent based degreaser or wash all items in warm water and dishwasher soap. Use a soft tooth brush to get at hard to reach places. Be gentle as we don't want to dislodge any details. Personally I prefer to use an ultrasonic bath, but this expense is not necessary. If you have access to one by all means use it. Rinse all parts thoroughly and dry. Once dry mount these parts in your spray booth and apply a good quality metal primer. Do not over coat. Spray from at least 10-12 inches away. Strive to achieve the thinnest coat possible. You do not want to mask off the fine details on the castings. Primers are available in spray cans at any automotive dealer or model shop. Try and do this activity outside. The preferred temperature should be between 50 F to about 80  F (i.e. 10 C ~ 27 C). Do not go over 80 F as the spray will dry before it hits the metal surface resulting in a powder like finish. Once the primer completely dry (about 4 - 6 hours) it is ready to be polished with steel wool or ultra fine polish paper. It then needs to be degreased again. DO NOT use solvent based degreasers at this stage. Thoroughly dry in a warm area for a few hours. The structures are now ready to get their first coat of paint.

 

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