Minitrains 0-4-0T Kitbash

This is my starting point engine, a Minitrains 0-4-0T, commonly available for around $50.  Major kit bash targets in this photo are the domes, the round windows, the headlight, the smokestack the red wheels, and the front and rear pilot.  The motor needs to be toned down and wires tucked out of sight.  There is no obvious way for the crew to get into the engine.


Here is a front view.  The couplers need to be changed to knuckle couplers. While I’m at it a more representative pilot needs to be fabricated.  A bell and a more obvious whistle need to be added.  The domes need to be removed and replaced with more American units.


The first step in bashing this engine is disassembly.  As extensive modifications will be made to the cab, the parts inside the cab need to be separated.  The action starts at the top of the engine.  The smoke stack screws into the frame of the engine from the top and is one of the major parts holding the engine together.  It can be removed by turning in a counterclockwise direction.  In this photo the other end of the screw is shown.

Koppel 0-4-0T Bash1

The rest of disassembly occurs with the engine inverted.  The other major screw holding the engine together screws into the bottom of the steam dome at the top of the engine.  This screw can be removed by turning it counterclockwise using an appropriately sized Phillips screw driver,  Once removed, the front beam can be pulled forward and out.

Removing the two piston rod screws (Philips) and the Crosshead Screws (Phillips) is next.  The Crosshead screws screw up into the bottom of the frame.  At this point the pistons, and valve gear can be removed.  The motor should drop out of the engine.  Backing out the Rear Beam screws allows the rear beam to be removed.  The following shows the parts that you should have after these steps.  The engine shown at the top, of course, is a completely assembled engine.  Note that my engine came with two stacks.

Koppel 0-4-0T Bash 3

I intend to convert this engine to DCC.  While it is possible to remove the can motor from the drive train, I’m going to do a continuity check once the motor leads have been clipped to see whether the can motor is linked to the pickups other than through the two wires in the above photo.  I suspect the motor is electrically isolated.  If that is the case, no further disassembly will be required.

Detail Parts

In super detailing the engine I ordered a number of detail parts shown in this photo.

Koppel 0-4-0T Bash2

Parts already on hand shown in the photo include:

  • Hand rail stanchions from Cal Scale (190-604) – laying loose.
  • A Kemtron (K-830) number board (#14) – laying loose.
  • Cal Scale rope pull bell (19-261).
  • Two Kemtron (6007) Kerosene Headlamps
  • A Cal Scale (190-595) whistle.
  • A Cal Scale (6164) headlight bracket.
  • Two Micro Trains N Scale Short Shank Couplers (1015-1).

The following other products are on order.

  • A DIGITRAX {DN136D} DCC decoder.
  • 2 Pack Mr. Coffee (GTF2-1) wire mesh coffee basket.
  • A Detail Associates Fluted Steam Dome (8004)
  • A Detail Associates Fluted Sand Dome (8003)

You might be puzzled about the coffee filters.  I found a cool article on how to fabricate smoke arresters from these coffee baskets.  The Digitrax decoder is very small (.55” x .404” x .2”).  Removing the bunker at the back of the engine and replacing with a slightly deeper and taller oil bunker would create room for the decoder.  The steam and sand domes are N scale.  HO scale domes are way to big for this application.

These parts along with small pieces of wire, brass, and styrene should give me what I need to turn this engine into an Americanized model.

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