Frusterated with LBF Boxcar Kits

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by TruckLover, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I got 20 of these things a little while ago off e-bay for various road names including UP, BN, CNW, BNSF, and UMP

    I started assembly of one of them today. First parts were easy, then came the detail parts, which went horribly wrong, apparently you should open the pre-drilled wholes a bit with the tip of a sharp hobby knife.

    I was able to salvage most of the detail parts on this car and glue them in place. Then we got to the trucks and bolsters and couplers. The way LBF does this is not the best i dont think and im not very impressed. For one, its not easy to assemble. And then when i was mounting the long screws through the truck and the frame, the screws would not fit down into the trucks like they should to reach through the bolster and into the car frame itself to properly secure them to the car.

    I tried opening the truck's bolster mount, this just resulted in the truck breaking one one side. I was able to get the screw in after doing so, but i had to break it to do so wall1 wall1 :curse: :curse: The other one i did not break so it is not fully mounted inside the bolster and frame.

    Another thing, theres a whole in the end of the bolster where the couplers are for a small screw to be mounted. Theres also a small whole at the end of the car body where the screw should go thru from the end of the bolster where the couplers are. THOSE WHOLES DONT MATCH UP, and because of this, the couplers sag down and are stiff so i cant glue them to the frame, so there is a large gap between the end of the bolster/couplers and the frame of the car because i the wholes dont line up :curse: :curse: :curse: which then results in the couplers being to low and dragging on a crossing wall1 wall1 wall1

    Im so frusterated with this these kits right now, and i have 19 more to do, and this first one turned put horribly and looks bad. Has anyone else had problems with these kits? will replacing the screws in the the trucks/bolster with slightly smaller diamater screws help/solve this? Its the screw head that is causing the problem here.

    Can anyone offer me any advise? I would really like to keep these kits, the car bodies look nice and they come with metal wheels so i would like to keep them but i just need to solve this poor assembly process.

    What can i do to help solve these problems? Im so frusterated right now with these kits, i had to put the kit down and walk away, thats never happened to me before :eek: :eek: :rolleyes:, i can usually make it work, but these have me stumped wall1 :curse: :cry: :cry: :cry: :rolleyes:
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Sorry to hear about your troubles. Can you post any pictures to illustrate the problem areas (holes not lined up, bolsters, etc)?

  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I'm not familiar with the LBF kits, but I have been so frustrated with plastic details that I've decided never again will I install a plastic grab or brake line on any kit. From now on I will make grabs and brake rigging out of piano wire or brass wire. Here is a site for small hardware that is sold in bigger bulk for better prices than the little bags of 5 at your lhs.

    I would take a truck out of another kit and go to a hobby shop and see what screw heads will fit the truck. As for the coupler and bolster screw holes not lining up, I would fill the holes in the car body with plastic, glue the frame to the body, and use the holes in the frame for pilots to drill new holes in the body, and tap them for the screws to mount couplers and trucks. By the way, #2-56 screws are typically used to mount couplers and trucks to ho rolling stock, but if the clearance is tight, there is no reason not to use a #1-72, or even a 0-80 screw. I just looked at the site and they don't carry #1-72, but they do carry #2-56 and #0-80.
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Josh,Maybe that was a bad kit? Try another with the lessons learn from the first kit..
    I wish I could help beyond that but,I avoid kits with a zillion tiny detail pieces for the same reasons you mention.
  5. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks for all the replys guys.

    I am assembling one of the UMP kits and this time i went straight to the trucks and bolsters. This does not have the problems with the screws, there there is no screw whole in the body for the coupler screw this time. This one is alot easyer to assemble, at least the trucks and bolsters are so far.

    Ill snap some pics if i come across another one like the UP one i did last night.

    I have a feeling they were just bad screws and a bad kit that was possibly from there first run when these first came out of production and all the kinks hadnt been fully worked out.
  6. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Good news, I found some screws that had smaller screw heads on them so o popped them in the UP problem car and now its fine, it fixed the coupler issue of being to low and hitting the flageways also. I also glued the bolsters to both cars i just did, this seems to work better and keeps the couplers up before putting the bolster/truck screws in.

    Im not good with hardware. I want to get a BUNCH of extra screws for my rolling stock.... What are the bost popular sizes that i should use for both the bolsters and the coupler screws?

    Russ you said 2-56, and 0-80? How long should they be for the bolster and the couplers?? Any others?
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I bought a box of a few hundred 2-56 bolts and nuts a couple of decades ago. I think they were 1/2". I often cut them down -- a few nuts on them all the way, cut with track nippers or wire cutters, then take off the nuts to clear the threads out.
    I think 1/4 and 3/8 would handle most jobs. Our hobby shop has a rack with 2 brands of nuts and bolts (one is Walthers) in assorted useful diameters and lengths. It's expensive, but screws this small are hard to find.
    2-56 is standard for truck mounts and coupler mounts in HO. 00-90 is standard for N. I think the outer holes in Kadee #5 boxes take 00-90. I keep 2 double-ended pin vises loaded with the 2-56 drill and tap and the 00-90 drill and tap.
    It's sometimes necessary to change your modelling project from "building X's :curse: boxcar kit" to "building a boxcar with the help of X's kit". :mrgreen:
    I would take out the coupler screws from the first kit and drill holes in the floor, etc. where required.
  8. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Josh... I'll take them off your hands! :p

    I'd had a knack for leaving off the coupler screw and just using the truck screw on my LBF cars. Just be glad you didn't get the plastic truck pin versions (or did you?).
  9. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks Andrew, Im going to get a few packs of the 2-56 screws in 1/4 and 3/8 lengths :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
  10. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    sign1 well if there is any kits i decide i dont want i know who to come to :mrgreen:

    And i dont know, whats the plastic truck pin version? Mine have the bolsters that you have to put together (2 pieces) and then mount the truck ontop of the bolster with the coupler inside the end of the 2 bolster pieces. The trucks are mounted through the bolster and into the frame with metal screws.
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Josh, another tip for you with Athearn kits. When Irv first started using the sheet metal clip to hold the couplers in place, he made them out of spring steel. Later he saved money by making them out of regular sheet steel. They are famous for losing tension and falling off. I drill the centering stud with a #50 drill bit and tap it for a 2-56 screw. On Athearn hoppers I use the Kaddee plastic screws to hold the couplers in place and cut the ends of the screws off flush with the deck on the hopper.
  12. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    When I buy screws I get the longest one they have.
    How I cut them down is, I have a strip of .060 brass with holes drilled & tapped from 00-90 thru 2-56 . I screw one in till it is the length I want & then cut the excess off with a cut off disk, this cleans the thread & all you need do is take it out & it's set to go.

    Here is a place that has all kinds of minature fasteners & the surprising thing is , that their prices have not changed ai about 2o years!! I had an old catalog but figured that I'd better look them up on line to order thinking that surely the prices would be a lot more -- not so , not one bit different!!

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