CNR RS18: “NO disassemble!”

Too late, Johnny 5!

 photo RS18-Parts_zpsrsj5m6w1.jpg

Those who know their diesels (or who have been reading my blog lately) will know that these are the trucks for my S scale CNR RS-18 – an impressive model that’s been sitting on the shelf in “lifetime brass” for far too long.

CNR RS-18 photo RS18-Brass.jpg

There have been several reasons for the delay in tackling this project. I’ve now started to address those. To wit:

The builder (Ajin) and the importer (Overland) did a wonderful job on this locomotive, but the cab interior on the as-delivered model was set up for “short hood forward” operation. The CNR locomotives were set up “long hood forward”. (Whoopsie!)

Since this is fairly obvious when looking through the (36% larger than HO) cab windows, I decided I needed to fix that. It was fairly straightforward to unsolder the seats and control stand, drill some new holes, and re-solder the parts into the new positions. The control stand is too far back from the front wall in its new position – but that was necessary to clear a cut-out in the floor that accommodates one of the flywheels, and still better (in my mind) than no control stand at all…

 photo RS18-Cab-02_zpsckepm2dp.jpg
(The old holes in the floor will not be seen when the model is reassembled, so I won’t bother filling them. The flywheel notch can be seen behind the control stand)

 photo RS18-Cab-01_zps9pwadgqa.jpg
(The control stand is now on the correct side of the cab)

As for the trucks…

I decided to take apart the trucks so I could properly prep and paint them – and I’m glad I did, because there was a fair bit of binding in some of the axle boxes (I’m not sure the term “horn blocks” is appropriate for a diesel but that’s what they’d be called in steam locomotive terms). It turns out that the faces that slide in the guides still had bits of brass sprue on them. I filed those smooth and polished the faces, so the trucks should sit better when they’re reassembled.

Not shown, I’ve added some holes to some of the body components (e.g.: end walls of the cab) so I will be able to run wires for lighting. And I’ve determined how I’m going to install the various components for DCC.

With the modification work and planning out of the way, I set aside the plastic bits and the motors, and ran all of the brass pieces – side frames, axle boxes, locomotive underframe/fuel tank, frame/walkways, short hood, and long hood/cab – through my ultrasonic cleaner prior to priming them.

There will be a lot of masking on this unit, which has a three-colour paint scheme. That said, it should be handsome when it’s finished!

13 thoughts on “CNR RS18: “NO disassemble!”

  1. Hi Trevor

    Looking forward to seeing the completed loco. Will you replace both motors or revise the drive to a single double ended motor?


      • Hi Trevor,
        I am curious why would you opt for seperate decoders??
        Surley one decoder should be able to handle the power needs of two motors, lots of room in the body shell to accomodate a bigger decoder and speaker(s) ??
        Just wondering??
        Best Wishes John Green

      • I would consider the Protocraft modified tsumani for this application. I have not gotten very far with my rs18’s but it is definately something I am going to investigate if I leave both motors in my units.

      • Trevor,

        You probably ALREADY know what I am going to say, but why not consider a single, 2 Amp, stereo QSI Titan-U? The “O” Rich Yoder 44 tonner (just set one up for Ben Brown) runs a pair of motors comparable to the ones in your ALCo, and does so with smooth precision, and more than enough amp handling. Not to mention the fact that you aren’t going to find another decoder with an ALCo 251 that’s as accurate at this.

        QSI’s new HornMaster also included virtually every horn used in North American RR practice (all 114 of them) including all the variants with Canadian tuning…

        Matt Forsyth

        • Matt,
          I’m going to chime in here some on the whole QSI thing.
          They may have awesome sounding decoders, but their customer service sucks. It took months of trial for me to get the programmer working.
          See my blog,
          QSI has no dealer network in Canada and their customer service sucks.
          It’s a complete crap shoot to get a hold of Josh at QSI if you have a problem.
          The extended address concept may allow for certain features but makes for a nightmare if you don’t have a programmer, and their customer service sucks.
          See a theme developing here?
          If I had a spare $2500.00 I’d pull all my factory QSI decoders and go over to Tsunami. Easy to program and if I have a problem I can easily get a hold of a human to talk to. And there’s a solid dealer network. And their customer service doesn’t suck.

          • Pierre,

            You’re right…they DO have awesome sounding decoders; best in the industry.

            I read your blog post. Sorry to hear about all your issues. I must have somehow gotten “lucky”, as my own experience(s) with QSI have been just the opposite.

            When I became a full time custom builder in 2010, I was approached by a Client that wanted DCC/sound installed. Since I was a rookie (at the time) I did a LOT of research on every decoder mfg. I then went out and bought literally one of everything from the majors; MRC, Soundtraxx, Digitrax, Lok-Sound, and QSI. I also bought the programmers for each (if they made one). I then set about extensively testing the products, in an attempt to try and determine which one was best.

            When the smoke cleared, the QSI Titan (IMHO) was hands down the champ. Sure, there was a steeper learning curve involved with that product than say, a Tsunami, but the quality of the sounds, the superb motor control, and the host of lighting features made the extra effort worth it.

            I have since become a QSI Dealer (as I have for all the other brands) and have also installed my share of Tsunamis, because sometimes a Client specifies a non-QSI decoder. But given the opportunity, I always recommend QSI.

            When I was getting started, I bought from Tony’s Trains, who also owned QSI Solutions. Tony sold QSI Solutions to Josh Shedaker September of 2013. In the year+ that Josh has owned the company he has done more with the product than Tony ever did, and is taking the sounds to an even higher level of accuracy and precision.

            FYI, Josh is NOT responsible for any of your QSI (factory) OEM decoders…so if he gave you support on those products, he did you a real solid. QS Industries (Pat Quin) in Oregon is responsible for the OEM’s. QSI Solutions (Josh Shedaker) Vermont, is responsible for the aftermarket products and support, which is the QSI Titan, and Titan Magnum.

            You mentioned that QSI has no dealer network in CN. I don’t know how active they are, but a quick look at the QSI website’s dealer section shows 12 Canadian Dealers.

            I guess not everybody is equipped to own, drive, and service a Ferrari…which is why they make Fords.

            Matt Forsyth

            Forsyth Rail Services

  2. Hi Trevor,

    I’ll second Colin’s comment about being excited to see the final results. Is this going to be the only diesel that we’ll get to see grace the rails in Port Rowan?



  3. Definitely the first time I’ve seen a Short Circuit reference in a model rail blog. I’d say it’s a pop culture reference but I fear we may have both be dating ourselves.

  4. Trevor: Greetings: Over the years, I have fixed / decoded, and sound equipped a few of these OMI dual motored chassis ( I fix this stuff for a living ), so I thought that I would share a few thoughts with you. OMI and Ajin ( the builder ) have used the dual / non connected motor drive in a variety of different models in all of the major scales, and I have never seen it work very well. A few specific comments about the S scale road switchers. Overland did a few different versions of US prototypes as well as the Canadian / MLW version that you have, and every one that I have worked on, has had the pickup wire for each side of the motor circuit connected to the top of the gearbox as can be seen in the photo of your disassembled trucks. The gearbox collects its current through a grease covered axle / gear / bearing assembly and is usually quite erratic! A simple fix is to fasten the pickups to one of the truck bolster mounting screws on each of the trucks ( hot side of each works best ). To establish sincere all wheel pick up, use a Grandt Line #7005 insulated pick up on each truck on the insulated side – I can’t send you a picture, but a quick visit to Grandt Line’s website will show you that the pick up is a phosphor bronze wire ( that you bend / configure ) to suit – the wire is enclosed in a little insulated mount that you can fasten to either a sideframe or the truck bolster – an easy way to get all wheel pick up off of the insulated side!
    I personally would not keep the two motor configuration wether you power the model with one decoder or two…..and for sure I would not do it with a separate decoder for each motor as the process of getting each end of the model speed matched to the other will be a giant PIA – remember that as you manipulate the decoder and drive in the ” A ” end of the model, you will need to isolate the decoder in the ” B ” end so it doesn’t adopt any unwanted changes – initially each decoder could have its own address, but if I was doing it, I would find a nice Faulhaber double ended motor ( no gear head ) that would fit.
    For the sound installation, and if you keep the dual motor installation, I would go with the high amperage Tsunami from Protocraft. if you go with the single motor installation, the regular Tsunami should work – put pay close attention to the amperage draw of the motor(s). I would fabricate a brass or aluminum platform above the motor(s), drive-shafts, and truck towers to mount the decoder and speaker(s) with their enclosures on top of. The platform can be mounted on ” standoffs ” drilled and tapped into the frame. Keep the decoder and speaker(s) on the chassis, and keep the lighting on the body – TCS make a very nice / small 6 pin connector to manage the lighting wires, and provide the quick disconnect for maintenance etc.
    You have noted the ass backwards cab interior – the most noticeable flaw to me on these models is Overland’s rendering of the shutter control box on the end of the long hood shutters – the Canadian prototypes don’t have this feature visible as the shutter control mechanism is inside the carbody, so it is not visible. The US built prototypes had it on the outside and hence visible as shown on the model – this feature would be very time consuming to correct!

    As always, I really enjoy your blog!

    All the best / Dan Kirlin / Waterloo, Ont.

  5. All great ideas – thanks for the feedback, everybody.
    I already have two suitable decoders in hand – a Tsunami TSU-1000 purchased two years ago for this project, and one of the several TSU-1000 pulled from my steam locomotives when I switched the decoders to TCS WOW Sound units. (I can use the steam Tsunami since it’ll only be used as a motor decoder – no sound.) With a Soundtraxx Current Keeper attached to each, I should have reliable electrical pick-up, and the two decoders should be easy enough to speed match since they’re the same decoder (just different sound files) and they’ll be running identically-designed drive trains.
    In any case, it’s worth experimenting since I already have the decoders. If it doesn’t work, I’ll consider other options.
    (Dan – interesting idea about the platform. I’ll think on that.)

  6. Everyone:
    On this blog, let’s agree to disagree about the merits and drawbacks of various DCC systems and decoders. What works for one person is poison to another.
    There are other – better – places on the web for such discussions.
    For this project, I’m using two Tdumami-1000 decoders – one for each motor.
    Others would approach this project differently.
    I may change my mind after doing this installation, and do something else.
    Or I may not.
    Either way, I will have learned something by doing my own experiments, which is more valuable to me and my hobby than looking for the “best” approach.
    In fact, asking for advice in this hobby is one way to almost guarantee that nothing gets built, because the advice will be plentiful and often contradictory, resulting in “analysis paralysis”.
    Beyond safety concerns (eg: house wiring, working with solvents or solder), getting it “right” isn’t crucial in railway modelling. This isn’t designing firefighting equipment or parachutes: if we do it “wrong”, nobody dies – and we usually learn something in the process.

  7. Trevor,

    Have you considered using 1 decoder for the sound only and the other for both motors? Not sure if the stall current of both motors would be to high for the single decoder but this may make things a bit easier.


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