Bicentennial MHO – part 2

The original draft of this post started

Well, I got the roof together and smoothed it out and matched the profile to the carriage walls, it was probably about 20% putty by weight. The only problem has been that there must be lots of micro-cracks that I can’t see because every time I touch it, a new crack appears and a bit falls off. I could probably reinforce it but that’s going to waste a lot of plastic and glue and will just add weight.

I was about to start over, cutting down a spare Casula Hobbies 72’6″ roof to the requisite 60-odd foot for the MHO when desperate inspiration hit, I gave the inside of the Powerline roof a wash with MEK* solvent. It couldn’t possibly do more harm and might actually help. It seems to have done the trick because the roof now has the structural stability that wasn’t there before. The next step will help reinforce it, too.

Reassembled MHO roof
Not the finest photo, but it shows the reassembled roof and putty. I did a quick coat of silver
to show where the dips and defects where, refilled and sanded with 400 grit again.

I’ve cut the windows off as they were damaged and I’ll be using flushglaze windows instead. There’s a residual bit about 3mm high that doesn’t appear in the photo to support the walls at the top and stop them caving in. I’ll make the interior to help reinforce it further and I’ve cast a couple of mounting blocks in polyester to hold the roof on because the roof locating lugs went with when I dumped the window glass. To make the mounting block, I pressed a blob of plasticine into the roof and then trimmed it square with a knife. Then I poured RTV rubber around it to make the mould and once set removed the plasticine. I’ll glue these in directly above the walls between the mail and guard’s areas and will need to drill a couple of holes in the floor below for the bolts. These sort of blocks are commercially available for a couple of dollars, but I was enjoying playing and I figure it will work with just about all my Powerline cars and possibly the old Trax BS.

Next step is to do the canvas sheeting and install the vents and gas heater pipe on the roof. If you have a look at Jim’s photo, the heavy weathering of the roof clearly shows the arrangement of canvas sheets. I’ll be using thin paper, I haven’t decided yet whether to use tissue paper or rice paper, I want to experiment and see what does satisfactory joins and takes the paint. I know some people have had good results with teabags or masking tape, but they seem too thick to me and I don’t trust the adhesive on the tape to last. I know what it’s like when you’re trying to use it as a mask for painting.

I’ll be finishing the roof in silver, painting the inside white. The NSW Government department of Environment and Heritage has a photo of the interior of MHO 2609 at Tenterfield that shows the colours. I may have a crack at the lighting too. There’s room for a small control circuit board in the coffin rack/dog box.

Mho 2609 - Brake Van and Works Vehicle

Note the different floor surface near the camera, that will be relevant in a later post.


*Yes, I know what it does. No, I don’t use it more than once or twice a year.


Other parts of this series:

Bicentennial MHO -part 1 – the tale of woe. A rattling parcel arrives.

Bicentennial MHO – part 3  – finishing the roof. Vents, paint and rice paper.

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