In a comment on yesterday’s post about my new motive power, Monte Reeves wrote:
I think it’s a great idea, and in fact I’ve been thinking about doing that. But as I wrote in reply to Monte’s suggestion, I want to make the flags removable so I don’t limit any locomotive to being used only in extra service.
I’ve done this before. In the 1990s I modelled the Boston and Maine Railroad’s Claremont Branch in HO scale, and I equipped my BM 2-6-0s with removable extra flags, as seen in this photo of a passenger extra at Warner NH:
These were relatively easy to do as the flags were mounted next to the class lamps. It was a simple procedure to drill a small hole in the class lamp bracket. Flags were cut and bent from thin brass, soldered to fine wire, and painted. They could be mounted with tweezers.
The challenge for the CNR locomotives is the flags were mounted in holders on the handrails next to the smokebox. Simon Parent has included these holders on the Moguls and on the 10-Wheelers – but they’re too small to actually drill out and use. However, I gave Monte’s comment some thought and I’ve come up with a solution that involves what could be the smallest eyebolt details available in the hobby today.
Today, I tested it out on Mogul 80. I started with a pair of the etched eyebolts that my friend Pierre Oliver offers through his Yarmouth Model Works business. I trimmed them from their fret and introduced a 90-degree bend in the shaft, just beyond the head. I then carefully mounted them on the underside of the handrails on either side of the smokebox, immediately ahead of the existing flag holders:
I mounted them on the underside of the handrails because through some tests I determined that a flag staff will flop around if it’s placed in a single eyebolt. They would require better support to sit upright on the handrails.
To build my flags, I used 0.015″ dia. phosphor bronze wire for the staff and very thin brass sheet (from a package of shim stock) for the flags. I cut a small rectangle of brass sheet (a scale 12″ x 16″), glued a wire along one of the 12″ sides, then wrapped the sheet around the wire staff and secured it with more CA. I carefully crumpled the sheet to make it look like a flag flapping in the breeze.
I trimmed the staff to length, and then mounted another eyebolt on the staff, then introduced a 90-degree bend into the shaft of the eyebolt. It’s easier to show than explain, so here’s a photo of the assembled flags – ready for painting. Note that the flags are “handed” – the eyebolt is in a different location on each:
It takes a steady hand, good light and a sharp eye to mount the flags – but it can be done and they don’t need to be added and removed all the time – only when I want to mix up the assignments for various locomotives. Here are the flags in a test-fit on Mogul 80:
This was a test – I’ll have to build permanent flags using solder, I expect – but so far so good. When I blacken the holders and staffs, and paint the flags themselves white, they’ll look great – and aid operations.