IP Engineering Railcar

This is how I built the IP Engineering Freelance Colonial Railcar Kit (Railbus).  The instructions are quite clear, with an A4 front page and four pages of photographs and instruction.  The kit provides every thing for a basic Railbus including motor and battery box, however control is limited to an on/off switch and a direction control switch.

This will take you though how and where I deviated from the instructions, and any additional items I have added, and where necessary why I made the changes.

The kit compromises of four frets of laser cut items, a floor, a roof wheels (and gears), electrical items, and some 3D printed items.

The instructions recommend super-glue and or 5 minutes epoxy.  All the wooden items have been assembled with with hobby PVA glue, and so far I have found this sets very strong, other items have been assembled with super-glue.

The main items are assembled, but at this stage the seats are not fitted.  Also although the chassis beams are assembled they are not fitted.  the small items centre left is the control panel, which is supplied 3D printed, and assembled with super-glue.

Here is my first major deviation, I want radio control, which s possible on 3 volts which is the rating of the supplied motor, however I want sound, and for that I need at least 6 volts.

 After some experimentation I found a 6 – 12 volt “280” can motor fits, and when provided with 7.2 volts (nominal) using 6 X 1.2 volt NiMH batteries runs uncontrolled at a reasonable speed, and faster than scale speed.  However I also found that due to the lightness of the model almost 1 kg of weight was required to give the wheels traction.

The power will be by a 2S Li-Ion battery pack, a MR001a Rx and ESC-161 ESC, sound from a MLS.

The instructions have the roof permanently fitted, but due to some personalizations (including a roof fitted speaker (more later)) I wanted a removable roof.  Two pieces of 12 mm square balsa wood that fitted inside the body were clamped to each end and profiled to the end panel shape.

With the items still clamped in place, the roof centre spars were loose fitted to the body.  Glue was sparingly applied to the spars and tops of the balsa wood.  The roof was then positioned and held n place with elastic bands until the glue had dried.

The clamps were removed, and then the elastic bands, and the roof gently lifted away.  Due to the glue being applied sparingly the items were not fully glued in place, so additional glue and clamps were applied to the separated roof and left to dry.

A simple change I made was to have a two panel windscreen instead of three.  Straight forward, with a fine tooth saw remove the two window uprights, and using a piece of scrape produce and glue in the new upright.

To provide extra strength for the chassis beams I cut four square block of balsa wood, marked the position and glued in place.  When dried the chassis beams were then glued in place.

The engine bonnet is white metal and it is recommend to use two part epoxy glue, however I decided to use low melt solder.  Not knowing the pedigree of the material, I opted for 100 degree solder.  Tack each corner in turn ensuring square and aligned, and then fill in the fillet.  The provides a laser cut in-fill for the radiator, I went for a plastic item cut to size and super-glued in place.

As described during the motor test the whole assembly is light, so I decided to add some extra weight “under the bonnet”.  The open end was double-sided taped to a stiff support, the weight (divers ballast) was added and two part resin poured in, this was carried out in stages adding 5 mm depth at a time.  It is not filled to the top (bottom when inverted) as this fits over the motor mounting bracket.

Details is now being added, and my first detail is to panel the inside of the Railbus.  The sides were panelled to a height that will meet the windows when fitted, the back was panelled the the full height. When fixed they were sanded and varnished.

After much deliberating and seeking advice from others, the speaker is going to be fitted in the roof.  A housing was made from balsa wood, and a small conduit provided for the leads, which will run down the corner to the underside.  I am pleased now that I didn’t fix the roof😊

Painting and detailing of the body and chassis has started.
The chassis is Bauxite Red, with the steps suspension and battery box in Satin Black.  The top half was sprayed in Ford Rhombus Beige, and the lower half is Ford Burgundy Red, these colours are not meant to mimic any real livery, just two colours I like and go well together.
I am now awaiting my decals to arrive, and then a final coat of gloss lacquer.
Extra detailing:
Lights by “Carsons”.
Brass louvres and white metal “battery box” by GRSUK.
Bolt heads by Cambrian Model Rail.

The roof, as detailed earlier is detachable, and is sprayed Ford Ivory White, this is to make it distinct from the upper body colour.  The Roof rack and name board are components that are part of the kit, and sprayed Gloss Black.
The orange light came as part of the package with the front lights, I sourced a white flashing LED though an auction site, and with a suitable 680 ohm resistor will be power from the main power, providing indication the power is on.

My kit only came with seven seats, and only six are used in the instructions.  These seats being made of wood are very light so a little divers ballast, resined in place under the seat bring their weight to 100 grams, not a lot but it all helps with traction.

Moving forward to the electronics, I wanted the power switch and charging point module on the chassis, and though I would have fitted, I found it intruded into the space for the other components which will be fitted under the body.  Eventually I came up will a small console that would sit over the motor.  As the roof is detachable access to the module should not be an issue.

The decals were applied, and the finishing coat of clear lacquer to seal the decals.  This left the final detailing to carried out:

  • Horns by Cambrian Model Rail.
  • Rail jacks and Cowcatcher by GRSUK.
  • Handrail knobs and Lamp irons by Dream Steam.
  • Buffers by Brandbright.
  • Tail light by SLR Models.

The windows were glazed using the supplied material. Using “I” section as runners, the front window is removable (’cause I could ☺).  The side windows were fixed in place using Deluxe Glue ‘n’ Glaze.

although the kit is 16mm / foot (19:1 scale) I thought these figures to large to comfortably fit, some 1:22.5 figures were identified from the well known auction site, the seller had provided dimensions of the figures, these were bought, and I think look right.

It was always planned for the electronics except for the speaker to go under the body.  After some juggling this was achieved, with the components held in place by Velcro.  Having tested the placing the Velcro is in place. and to enclose the items the skirt below the chassis was extended with some matt black plasticard, two rails from square platistrut fitted each side, and a bottom cover made to slide between the rails.

Main Suppliers used for the components:

  • RC Trains.
  • Micron Radio Control.
  • Rapid online.
  • Garden Railway Specialist.
  • Dream Steam.
  • Cambrian Model Rail.
  • Cedarleaf Custom Decals.
  • Brandbright.
  • SLR Models

Main Electronic Components used:

  • Rx – MR001a
  • ESC – Cobra ESC 160
  • MyLocoSound
  • Speaker – ABS-230-RC
  • Li-Ion 2S (14500) battery pack with on-board protection.

All that is now needed is the test run, so a short video of the functionality.