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Date: 12/27/00 16:31
Smokey Valley Handrails
Author: rwhamm


I noticed that Smokey Valley offers handrail replacements for the Mantua (Tyco) or just Mantua GP20. Do you have to "form" the wire for the "railing" and if so how is this done, I am rather new to the hobby somewhat. Also sent and email and attempted to call Mantua about getting some replacement handrails but have had no luck contacting them. Any body have a suggestion to make it easier to contact them? By the way I am Mountain Time where as they are Eastern Time.

Raymond W. Hamm

Date: 12/27/00 17:05
RE: Smokey Valley Handrails
Author: CSX_CO

You must form your own wire handrails as the wire provided for the handrails is *lacking*. Detail Associates .015" wire is great for this application. This length of the wire doesn't get in your way as you try and bend it, but it's long enough to do most handrails (I did a SD80MAC handrail, and it was long enough for the bends on the Conductors side)

I have no trouble bending my own handrails, but I know many people who find this difficult.

One trick that I use, is to take the previous handrail (if the stanction arrangement matches) and use it as a guide to bend a hand rail. Or, use portions of a handrail for more difficult bends. The end bends on a EMD unit are tough, but made easier with a Athearn handrail as a guide.

Place the wire next to the plastic (or stock) handrail. Using locking tweezers (I use surgical forceps a EMT Cousin gave me) I lock the handrails together at a bend, and then form the wire to match the stock handrail. I then repeat for each bend, until I have a matching handrail. Not only do you get bends that are "crisp" and "clean" (using the tweezers to bend the wire on) but also in the correct location.

Directions say to use solder to bond stanctions to Handrail, but my soldering skills are terrible at best, so I just use CA or Super Glue.

These techniques work for me, and I have friends that are amazed at the speed and accuracy I can make a handrail. I guess it makes up for my lack of soldering skills.

Now if I could just learn to solder without burning myself...

Best of Luck!

Take care
be safe

Date: 12/28/00 03:21
RE: Smokey Valley Handrails
Author: rfan

Soldering the handrails is easier than you think. Use a Weller 12 watt soldering pencil with a 1/16" flat tip. Clean the wire with a fine scotchbrite pad before bending. Use electronic soldering flux available at Radio Shack. Don't rely on the flux in the solder. Things get too hot while you're waiting for the solder to melt and the flux in the solder to do it's job. Apply the flux sparngly to the groove of the stanchion. Melt some solder on the tip of the iron and touch the iron to the wire while holding the wire in position against the stanchion. The flux will clean both surfaces instantly and the low wattage of the iron is just enough to bond the two surfaces quickly. Place an index card between the handrail and the body for flux spray protection. I've done many Smokey Valley kits this way.

Date: 12/28/00 07:19
RE: Smokey Valley Handrails
Author: NM

Smokey Valley kits are a nice detail, and the previous responses covered how to install them pretty well. Just one other little bit of advice, check the package before you buy them; a few of the SV handrail sets I've bought in the past were missing stanchions (like tall EMD ones), or had mis-cast ones (a set I bought for a B40-8 had that problem). SV castings can sometimes be pretty rough, with lots of casting sand and flash that needs to be cleaned off. Once all that's done, just use .015" brass wire by DA or equivalent for the handrails (save the wire SV gives you for other details, like underframe piping), and solder them together for strength like the previous posts mentioned. I've had good results using Tix solder and flux for this.

-Nameless Modeler

Date: 12/28/00 08:02
RE: Smokey Valley Handrails
Author: foamrr

For a replacement for the Tyco/Manuta GP20 handrails, the Athearn GP9 or GP35 handrail sets should have all of the stanchions you would need. You may or may not have to bend some new wire if you get the GP9 set (I don't remember). This would probably be your most economical choice. You can bend new wire from the brass wire mentioned or pick-up a piece of K&S steel wire (very hard to cut - use a Dremel if you have one) if you are concerned about trying to match the wire in the set.

The Smokey Valley sets are designed more for advanced modelers, and I would not recommend them for a beginner.

I hope this helps

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