Modifications to a Sunset Western Maryland Decapod

Author Dan Pence

Recently I have had some time to make some improvements to my P:48 WM Russian Decapod. I have taken a few photos and prepared this short description on what modification I mad eto add sound and add a large air reservoir to the frame.

I machined a frame-mounted air tank out of aluminum rod with a riveted brass wrapper to replace the poor man’s plastic cylinder that used to be on the model. I securely fastened it to the frame. This tank is shown in the first photo. The air tank is machined to fit snuggly over and conceal the gear box.

I installed a Soundtraxx Tsunami sound decoder with cam-synchronized chuffing, and I am very pleased with the results. The second photo shows how I mounted the pick-up wiper on the frame. Pat Mitchell machined the rear axle to provide a square cross section in the center of the axle so that it can act as a cam. I removed the journal box retainer plates on the rear axle and replaced them with copper-clad phenolic strips. Next, I filed two notches in the copper just inside the screws on each strip to electrically isolate the center of each strip. Then I formed a wiper using phosphor bronze spring wire and soldered an end to each of the retaining strips. Finally, I soldered a wire to one of the retaining strips and ran it through a brass tube through the frame to the appropriate lead on the Tsunami decoder in the boiler.

I have officially declared that it is time to stop working on this engine, although my friend Steve Barmash will be all over me to weather it.

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