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I'm somewhat new to modeling, I have the knowledge on the prototype but no knowledge on how to execute. 

I have an old Athearn "blue box" S12 switcher I want to repaint for the McCloud River Railway, but first I want to modify some existing parts on the unit.

There are molded on grab irons I want to sand down and replace, grilles I want to replace with photo etched ones, but I have a question about the railings.

I want to fabricate the handrails (because the Athearn ones are A) not prototypical and B) all around incorrect for any S12) but I want to buy brass tubing/plates for the railing parts.

Special thanks to for the picture (also a very informative website, worthy of a visit and a read).

The unit has MU capability, with the drop-steps and MU column at each end.

What size brass tube and plate should I use for the railing? I was going to use mostly Details West for parts like the horn and the actual MU detail. Many thanks in advance!

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Replies to This Discussion

Where does one start!

First off, I hope you are not going to actually sand things off. Better to use a chisel blade on an Xacto and then use fine sandpaper to smooth it off.

Is Smokey Valley still around? They have or had a whole line of replacement hand railing from back in the day when Athearn Blue Box was all we had to work with.

Good Luck.

Ed Merrin

For openers, you may want to reconsider using brass tubing. It will tend to kink if you try to work sharp bends into it without using a form. (Just like full-size conduit.) Plain copper wire works well. Strip the insulation off some appropriately sized electrical wire is an easy way to get the material. You don't have to buy a whole spool of expensive copper wire for the job  you're contemplating. Joints are silver soldered.


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