Bob Baxter’s No 21

It was Bob Baxter’s post to the MyLargeScale.com forum asking for additional information on the NPC 21 that lead to the prototype researchy in this section.  He was particularly interested in backhead detail.  Much of the work on the backhead detail on this locomotive was too far along to take advantage of the collaboratrion that lead to the backhead drawings in this resource.

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Bob has great modeling skills and is highly regarded in the MLS community.  He and Chris Walas got together at the 2003 Queen Mary Train Show and cooked up the idea of modeling this engine.  Bob pulled this model off in about a month of elapsed time in spite of taking a break or two along the way.

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Bob began with a Bachmann Spectrum 4-4-0.  That’s appropriate given that Bill Thomas used parts from an 1875 Baldwin, the NPC’s No 5, Bodega, in constructing No 21.  Bob used the engine frame, drivers, leading truck, valve gear, and cylinders as a starting point.  He also used the Bachmann tender from the deck on down.  The Spectrum components are obvious in this early construction photo.

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Bob’s construction was going on as the folks at the MLS site were pulling together the research.  I, in particular, drove Bob somewhat crazy by continually turning up facts as well as speculation that turned out not to be facts.  Hey, we were doing research on a 100 year old locomotive for Pete’s sake, and a highly unusual one at that !!  An example is this next photo where Bob needed to add a bump to the top of the cab to cover the steam cylinder mounted on top of the boiler.  The tanks are made from 3 inch plastic sewer pipe and Bachmann tank car ends.  Here are some of Bob’s comments about this project.

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I’m almost finished with the old girl. Except for an engineer and fireman and full details of the cab interior she is all together and operational. The last few days have been a struggle to fit a smoke unit (Aristo SD45), a Phoenix sound system (stolen from my “Connie”) a working headlight, and the flickering firebox light from the Bachmann 4-4-0 that has sacrificed so much to make the construction of this loco possible. Installing the wiring to connect the three different units that make up the locomotive was no picnic.

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The sound system went into the two tubs on the tender body, the speaker in one and the wiring, battery, volume control, and circuit board in the other.

Everything except the window frames is sprayed with Krylon semi-flat black and will be dusted with grimy black when I’m in the mood to do some airbrushing. I decided that as all the photos of the original were in black and white, I could give it a little more character by doing the window frames in ruddy brown primer. None of the photos showed her with touches of white here and there but I felt that the model needed a little brightening up so the running boards got their edges painted white. 

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It’s been a month since I bought the 4-4-0 at the Big Train Show and I’ve been obsessed with getting this project behind me since then. This has been the toughest job I’ve taken on since I started working in large scale. I’ve always freelanced my models and built things that “could have been” rather than to try to follow plans. Kitbashing is a lot easier than scratch building but I just couldn’t resist this challenge. Here are tonight’s shots. I might mention that I decided to model her as she was first built, before they added the sand dome, the flip-up stack cap, and the relocated headlight. She looks as she did on her inaugural run.

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I think you’ll agree that Bob’s craftsmanship is outstanding.  It’s a pretty high standard for Chris and I to shoot for.  I know Chris is up to the challenge.  But I’m awed by the craftsmanship in this engine

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Congratulations on a great job, Bob.

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