Friends -

I just realized it's over six months since I updated these pages! The reason is not that I've been totally inactive in the workshop, but rather other kind of work has interfered - film and animation... that I get paid for!

Anyway, here's an update on what's happened on the live steam front:

I've been building cars!

They have a dual function: With the top off, they have passenger-carrying benches...

... and with the top on, they are pretty good looking, if I may say so myself...

Here's how I built them (for a more detailed description, see Live Steam & Outdoor Railroading magazine, May/June 2007 issue):

The frame is mild steel, TIG welded. Axle boxes are cast iron, containing ball bearings.

The walls are made of scored plywood, to simulate the original's paneling. The roof is thin steel plate, attached to several ribs that stiffen the structure.

The compound curves of the roof are made by first filling the volume with urethane foam - slightly too much was used here, the resulting "poodles"...

... had to be given a close shave!

Still under construction is a triple-purpose car: Passenger carrying, propane-carrying, and photogenic. Here's the top and frame, as well as a propane tank of the type we use in Finland (5 kg/13liters = approx. 11 lbs/3.5 US gal)

The tank is carried by the truss bracing under the frame.

The construction and coloring simulate a Finnish mail car from the 1930s. Here, I've used a lesser amount of foam - it's still expanding a bit, but this time it will not create a monster poodle!

Some of the small metal detailing parts to be attached to the mail car: gates, handrails, door handles. This mail car is still under construction, but will probably be finished in a couple of weeks. Then I'll have a nice rake of three rather prototypical cars! (All my previous cars are more like Lionel or LGB stuff...)

This is how the car looks like before getting the final touch - the numbers and "postal horns" logo on the side are still missing. Note the propane tank suspended by the truss bracing under the car.