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H0e forest railways with H0 branch line

Martijn Meerts

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14 hours ago, Martijn Meerts said:

It’s superb! Must be a good feeling to have your own, unique train!

By the way, did you use CA glue, or is there any special, glue for brass or steel?

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Martijn Meerts
9 minutes ago, Madsing said:

It’s superb! Must be a good feeling to have your own, unique train!

By the way, did you use CA glue, or is there any special, glue for brass or steel?


Yeah, it's definitely a good feeling finally seeing this come together. There's still a lot to do, and then I have to paint it all of course, but just seeing the loco with a few cars behind it in this state does make me more confident that I can actually finish these things.


All the brass, nickel silver and stainless steel is soldered whenever doable. Some parts will likely be glued on in the end, such as the detail bits in the cab. Some of those are white metal which can be difficult to solder depending on the circumstances. For those I'll probably use epoxy for the bigger parts, and CA for really small details. The plastic kits use regular plastic cement.

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Martijn Meerts

Not much progress again on the C55. I'm having trouble getting all the plumbing on the sides of the boiler installed in a decent way, and that combined with the hobby room (the attic) getting a bit too warm to comfortably work on stuff there, means I've not really tried continueing.


However, I did move a bunch / most of the kit building tools down from the attic and onto my desk, where it's at least a bit cooler, and where I have an AC unit if it gets really warm. A lot of the C55 parts are laid out on the workbench in the hobby room, and I didn't want to take all of those small bits and pieces down, so instead I'm going to work on the Kiwa90 the coming weeks / months. Being a diesel, it's considerably easier than the steam loco's I have, so the aim is to get the Kiwa90 up and running so I can at least run a train now and then.


The major issue (apart from painting) will be figuring out the lighting of the thing. While it does have lamps and clear lenses etc, it doesn't actually come with any lighting whatsoever. I'll have to make some custom bits and pieces to hold some LEDs.


I'll try to document this build a bit better than what I've done before, also showing in which order I bend / solder things. I've only just started on it yesterday evening, so there's nothing to show just yet.


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Martijn Meerts

Many images incoming 🙂





All the parts for the Kiwa 90 kit. While this looks like a lot of parts, with some looking rather complex, this thing is actually relative straight forwards compared to a steam locomotive kit. Also, while this is a IMON kit, I'm about 99.99% certain it was actually made by World Kougei, and I have a good amount of experience reading World Kougei building instructions.





The first 2 parts for the frame kit from the parts sheet. These are nickel silver and are real easy to solder.





First bits to fold are straight forward 90 degree folds. The bit on the front has some additional tabs which were folded inwards by 180 degrees.





Adding a bit of solder to strengthen things a bit, so the folded bits remain folded.





And some solder on the other folded bit. This also show the 2 small tabs mentioned above.





Folding the next bit.





Since these are flat parts you're soldering together, there's several holes on the inner part. You just fill the hole with some solder and make sure it's nice and hot so the solder spreads between the 2 parts.





And yet more folding. Figuring out the order to fold things in actually takes quite a while, since it's quite possible to mess it up to the point where you can't fold certain bits because other bits are already soldered in place (I found that out the hard way.... Twice ....) Also, this piece has some small tabs lining up with some holes to make sure everything's in the correct place.





A little more soldering and folding.





First bit of the frame done. Some tabs were folded into place, these will need to get some thread tapped into them. Also did some initial cleaning using IPA and a small semi-stiff brush. There are still some folds that need strengthening with some solder, but I'll do that once I know everything fits. Right now I can still slight bend things in shape should they not be completely correct. 


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Martijn Meerts

Stop motion of the whole thing going together, including the soldering .. That would be a rather insane amount of work 😄


I have thought about recording video while building, but there's a few issues.. I don't have a decent camera, I suck at recording video, I'm not very good at editing video either, and I doing a voice over would be weird.


Not to mention, it'd be a waste of time, because most people doing brass kits are very likely much better at it them than I am 😉


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9 hours ago, Martijn Meerts said:

That would be a rather insane amount of work

We are all pretty much insane here, what’s your point? Just kidding on the animation, just seeing the pictures of the piece folded up stepwise just felt like some Gumby and pokey stop motion animation.


shooting work well is really really hard and a lot of planning and care to do it well, and a lot of editing.





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Martijn Meerts

It could actually be fun to do such an animation, but definitely not for a large kit like a loco. For something like a small H0e car it could be done. I have a few of the Toma Model Works H0e kits that are very simple to build. To do it well though, you'd have to fold in small increments and take lots of pictures. Although doing stop motion soldering would be the biggest issue 😄


I can add it to the bottom of the list of projects, so I'll get around to it in about 500 years.


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Martijn Meerts

Made quite a lot of progress and took a lot of pictures, which I'll be posting a few at a time over the next couple of days or so..





Started working on the bracket that essentially holds the axle in place, it's just a really simple box that gets screwed in place, with a little spacer integrated.





Bracket all folded and soldered together.





The are the brackets for the other side of the axle. These are split for power pickup reasons. These simply fold 180 degrees and soldered in place.





All the parts for the drive unit.





Drive unit test fit, minus the motor obviously 🙂





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Martijn Meerts

More pitures





Motor mounting plates.





These are also nothing special, just a couple of simple 180 and 90 degree folds, and a bit of solder.





And after a bit of cleaning they're ready to go.





The motor in place. The worm wheel is not yet bonded to the motor.





Other side of the motor mount.





The main / bottom plate of the frame. This also just folds 180 degrees and gets soldered together. In a lot of places. All the square partially etched bits with the round holes in it are the spots where the halves are soldered.





All soldered, cleaned up, and the holes marked by a 'T' are tapped with a 1.4mm tap using a pin vise. This needs to be done rather carefully in order to not break the tap, since they're very fragile. But also not to bend apart the 2 halves.





The drive unit in place on the bottom plate of the frame.




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Martijn Meerts


Yet more pictures ...




Some parts for the non-driven axle box.





Nothing too special here, just a few straightforward 180 and 90 degree folds and soldering. Some care needs to be taken with the brakes, since they're fairly fragile.





Carefully folded the brakes and soldered those.





And then folded the entire brake section down on itself so they'll sit on the outside of the wheels. These were supposed to be 2 90 degree folds, but it was a bit tight, so I had to carefully bend the brakes themselves inwards just a little bit to get them to look right.





The finished parts for the non driven axle box.





Parts for the non drive axle mounting. The left is the actual mounting, the right is just a divided between the cab and the rest of the loco.





Just some simple folds and soldering needed here.





Most of the parts for mounting the non driven axle onto the frame.





Non driven axle in place, sort of. There's not actually anything holding it onto the frame 🙂





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Martijn Meerts

Since I'm on a roll, some more pictures 😉




2 simple parts for a motor shroud.





Simple 90 degree fold, and a bit of soldering, and the motor shroud was done.





This is the non driven axle mounting plate from the previous post. I hadn't soldered on this little pin, the instructions didn't really make it clear wether it should or shouldn't be soldered. After checking other options and some testing, I went ahead an soldered it on, and turns out this is probably the correct way, I hope ...





Really quick preview with the shell. It's not really looking like much at all just yet, which I guess makes sense considering I've not added any details.



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Martijn Meerts

Final set of pictures for now...




Parts for the linkage, springs and brakes (driven axle), linkage and springs (non driven axle).





This is what happens if you get overconfident and start folding stuff before double checking things. I folded this the wrong way and it ended up snapping. I did manage to solder it back on initially, but then noticed that due to folding it the wrong way, I also soldered it on to the wrong side.





So, had to remove it, clean it all up, try to get it in position and keep it there while carefully soldering it back on again.





The leaf springs and linkage detail are additional parts. Easy enough to fold and solder. Although, 1 of the small tabs that simulate a bracket for keeping the leafs in place did come off. This was easy enough to solder back on though.





Leaf springs in place, and brakes (carefully) folded on the left part.





More folding and soldering.





Yet more folding and soldering. Some of those folds were rather hard to do since there wasn't really a way to use a tool to help fold it correctly due to limited space. Ended up using some tweezers to carefully fold things, a couple of degrees at a time.





Detail bits added around the wheels, the remaining holes are for the actual axle bearings, which are cast white metal bits. Also, the motor shroud is installed here.



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On 7/18/2022 at 3:41 PM, Martijn Meerts said:

Final set of pictures for now...

Thanks for sharing these photos! It’s really interesting.

I have two World Kougei locomotives waiting to be assembled and painted, so I could definitely use some motivation here 😀

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maihama eki

I am in awe of your soldering skills.


I have only done hack soldering of electronics stuff.


What soldering iron and solder are you using?

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Martijn Meerts
6 hours ago, Madsing said:

Thanks for sharing these photos! It’s really interesting.

I have two World Kougei locomotives waiting to be assembled and painted, so I could definitely use some motivation here 😀


All I can say is, start with the easiest / cheapest one if you've not done any similar kits. My first 2 kits were pretty much ruined because I didn't know what I was doing and used the wrong tools 🙂




2 hours ago, maihama eki said:

I am in awe of your soldering skills.


I have only done hack soldering of electronics stuff.


What soldering iron and solder are you using?


As mentioned above, it took me a while to get reasonably comfortable with building these things. I can't claim I'm good at it since I still mess up, and it takes me a long time to build these.


I'm currently using a Weller WD2000M soldering/desoldering station. It's not necessarily great for these kits, but it works for me. The best thing is that the tips heat up real fast, and are hot swappable. Also, the soldering pen is really light and small, so I can reach everywhere. I have it set to 350 degrees most of the time, which is usually way too hot, but it helps with quickly heating up the parts of the metal that need heating. For white metal I lower the temperature a lot.


For solder I use standard stuff, with a small diameter. I cut this into small pieces and place those pieces where needed. I also have some pre-cut pieces, but cutting them yourself is easy enough. With a little flux and heat it flows nice and quick.


For white metal casts I use a low temp solder since a lot of white metal has a lower melting point than regular solder.


For flux I use "soldering water", a very liquid flux with capillary action, so it gets everywhere. A single drop is usually enough. For stainless steel parts I have a special flux, which is a lot more acidic and requires thorough and immediate cleaning with isopropyl alcohol after soldering.

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My mantra. Soldering is like carnage hall, practice, practice, practice!


youtube is your friend to find good demos and techniques and then just practice. Decent soldering station that is temperature controllable and good tips is good. Bit of decent flux and good solder and then what? Practice.


even after a lifetime of soldering, brazing and welding I still need to practice a little if I haven't soldered in a while. It’s a total feel thing that you pick up with practice and have to refresh at times with practice. I’ve taught many to solder and it’s something most anyone can do with some guidance and practice.


for kit construction get some inexpensive arunine kits and solder them up as practice. They are simpler tab and slot design, but it will get you into folding and soldering different joints. Even just soldering bits of the extra brass sprues is a great way to experiment with techniques, fluxes, solders and see see the results.





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Martijn Meerts

Yep, definitely a lot of continuous practice helps a lot.


I used to really hate soldering, to the point where I'd spend (a lot) more money on rail joiners with wires soldered on and such. I couldn't even get a simple wire soldered onto a bit of track. At the time I had a simple soldering iron, but even with a temperature controlled one it just wouldn't work. At the time I wasn't really into Japanese trains that much yet, but I did have some Marklin where I tried installed a decoder, which was a pain.


When I get into Japanese trains I decided to research soldering stations and ended up getting the Weller. For me, that was what caused me to no longer hate soldering, and start doing hardwire decoder installs and eventually these kits. That's not to say that a station like the one I have is a requirement, it's just that I was immediately comfortable using that. I also know people who do everything with a simple 25 euro soldering iron with no temperature control at all, and they get much cleaner soldered joints.


Soldering white metal will always be a pain though, stuff takes an age to warm up enough to take solder, and then takes about as long to cool down and get the solder to set. Depending on the part, I often end up using epoxy on those instead of soldering them 🙂


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Martijn Meerts

Got a little more work in, not as much as I wanted, but it was close to 40 degrees Celsius here not long ago, so that meant not doing much at all 😄





Parts for the underfloor details, including the main plate, 4 boxes / brackets, and the motor and motor mount.





The boxes and brackets are mostly the same. Fold over the etched bit 180 degrees and solder it in place on the back. Then fold everything 90 degrees to form a box and add a bit of solder so it stays in shape.





I usually do the front, back, top and bottom first, and solder that, before folding up the sides. I make sure to check if everything's 90 degrees before soldering the sides in place.





This is the first box soldered onto the bottom detail plate.





All the boxes and brackets soldered onto the underfloor plate. There's still some details to add, but those will come after the motor. For the motor mount, I first fold up the sides of the 4 legs, add some solder to strengthen the folds, and then fold up the legs themselves. I then solder all those in place once I've tested the whole mount fits in the little holes on the underfloor plate.





Quick test fit to see how it looks on the loco so far. I did notice that I need to solder the motor into its mount, because once the mount is in place, there's not enough space for the motor to go in. Since the motor is a cast part though, I need to do a bit of testing before I attempt to solder it. I looks like it might be cast in brass rather than white metal, which means no accidental melting. The motor is also hollow which should help with heating it up.



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Martijn Meerts

The past days have been busy with work again, as well as it being pretty warm here. I did however get a little bit of work in again.





Parts for the steps around the sites of the Kiwa90. There are a total of 6 steps.





Some small detail bits which I don't really know what they are 🙂





Steps and other detail bits installed.





And the springs back in place again.





And now with the motor and additional details in place.





Same as above, but from the other side. Quite a lot of detail for a part of the train you're likely never really going to see...



There are still a couple of small things left to install on the frame before I can start work on the shell. 1 of the parts left for the frame is white metal, so I need to be careful with that. I'll install that once I'm certain everything else is soldered onto the frame. I might glue it rather than solder it, but with the low melting point solder, that should work as well.


From there I will need to glue the worm wheel to the motor's axle, and then wire up the power pickup and motor. I'll also need to come up with a way of adding the various lights, and then probably 3D print some sort of bracket to hold all the electronics in place (decoder, power pack, etc)




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Martijn Meerts

Been a while again since the last update. Work got a bit hectic just before my week off from work, and then I ended up getting ill during my week off ...





The parts for the coupler pocket / sleeve, and an additional bracket for something I don't really know what it is supposed to be 🙂






Test fit of the coupler pocket, the bracket and the bar that I don't know the purpose off. Also visible is the little hole next to the coupler for the air hose which I've not soldered in yet at this point.





The frame with all the parts installed. I ended up glueing the axle boxes rather than soldering them. Since they're cast brass, they take quite a bit of time to heat up. But leaving the heat on that long possibly could melt existing soldered joints. So I just mixed up some 2 component epoxy and quickly stuck them in place. I also used epoxy to glue the worm gear onto the motor shaft.





The other side of the loco. The additional weights are just added for test fitting, they're not soldered or glued in place. I want them to remain removable so I'll probably use some double sided tape to hold them in place eventually. I've also installed a Lokpilot 5 decoder, but I've not yet tested for shorts, nor if the thing actually runs.





Another shot of the coupler, this time with the air hose also in place.



While the kit does come with clear red and white lenses for the lights, there are no LEDs included, nor any way of mounting LEDs. So, I'll need to come up with something myself for that. For the marker lights I'll probably just 3D print some LED holders which I can mount right behind the clear lenses. For the headlights I might be able to install the LED directly into the light itself. Wiring wise, all the marker lights will get their own function output, so I can control all 4 of them separately. I might do the same for the headlights, so I can manually control them individually, rather than have them change automatically based on the direction of the train. I'll also 3D print a little bracket for holding the decoder, the ESU power pack, as well as a small custom board to hold the resistors required for the LEDs.



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Martijn Meerts

Well, gave it a quick test run...


Initially, the ECoS wasn't detecting a train. I tried a different train, and that one did get detected. Tried the Kiwa90 again, and it get detected as well. Probably just a spot of dirty track. This is the first time I'm using a (H0 scale) Lokpilot 5 decoder, and was rather surprised that it has 1454 CVs 😄


Anyway, used to ECoS to read the entire decoder, which failed because while cleaning the track I bumped the train off the track. Not really a problem though, since reading all the CVs isn't necessary anyway.


I then tried running it, and it ran fine going forwards. A bit noisy, but that's due to it not having been lubricated at all yet. In reverse it started binding though, and eventually started producing a grinding noise until it completely stopped. Now, while that sounds really rather dramatic, it's actually just that I hadn't really tightened the screws that keep the gears in place, and due to the gears turning and motor vibrations, the screws unscrewed themselves.


Anyway, it does run, and with a bit of oil, grease and graphite powder it should be fine. So, the next steps will be to start working on the body, as well as working out how to paint the frame, and then especially check which parts need to be painted separately, and which can be painted as a whole.


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Martijn Meerts

Minor update ...


I re-assembled the drive gear and tightened the screws a little bit more this time. I then gave it another quick run, and this time it ran rather smooth, and without any unexpected strange noises. There was a little bit of a jolt when coming to a stop, but that's because the decoder's not set up yet at all.


Anyway, happy with the frame now, time to get to work on the body.


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Martijn Meerts

Made some more progress, although not quite as much as I hoped. I re-organised a couple of things around the house, so that took some time away from building the kit.





The main, pre-formed shell structure with the front and back cabs





Once again, the shell and front and back cabs, but also the sliding doors, and the brackets that will hold the shell onto the frame. I found out that the vertical bars in the door were supposed to be glued into place after painting the model, but of course I hadn't quite read / translated that until it was too late. No major issue though, they're easy enough to mast while painting.





All the little details for the cab ends. Headlight, grab bars, steps, etc.





Most of the detail bits installed on 1 of the ends. There's still some grab bars missing, as well as the windshield wiper.



Next steps will be to continue adding detail parts to the other cab end, as well as some parts on the main shell that will be hard to reach once the cab ends are soldered in place. Once that's done though, the kit will be rather close to being ready for cleaning up and eventually painting.



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