TTn3 coach roofs – arrived and first thoughts

I’ll be brief but I really want to share my excitement about these roofs with as many as possible so here goes. I promise to get some photos and share more useful details later.

I’ll get the lousy messy stuff out of the way first: Based on the UPS website my parcel was in Charlottetown last Friday. We don’t have real UPS in PEI and rely on the local Purolator agent to deliver on their behalf. The local agent doesn’t deliver to apartment buildings or similar security buildings. I live in a really nice older apartment complex in downtown Charlottetown and at least that “excuse” explains why I never received a card or anything from UPS announcing the parcel’s arrival – just ambiguous “Contact UPS” messages from the website. It doesn’t make any sense at all to me and I wonder what their logic is behind this decision. After too much badgering and calling UPS I finally convinced them to just hold the parcel at their mysterious depot for me to pick up. I’ll admit this incredibly poor service from the courier combined with Shapeways’ insistance of using UPS exclusively really taints my desire to pursue this relationship further.

That’s a damned shame because…

Royston’s TTn3 roofs are among the nicest parts I have seen and they don’t just exceed my expectations… they’re exceptional. When I first asked him if he would scale up the Nn3 roofs he’d drawn to 1/120 for me to use, my main focus was getting the shape of the clerestory roof end profiles. I’ve never had any luck creating this profile on my own. I really hadn’t thought much else about the part’s design. The edges of this thing are so crisp and there is almost none of the telltale solid modelling grain. The roofs were printed using Shapeways “Frosted Ultra Detail”. Royston’s design includes an angle along the inside bottom of the roof to tuck inside the car’s walls. In 1/120 this permits a car side of about 0.040″ thickness. I’ll be using the roof to dictate the final size of the cars I build underneath. The major dimensions from the roof are an overall width of 21mm measured to the extreme outer edges of the roof. The car body should be 97.5mm in length and the roof itself is an overall 109mm in length. Translated to Imperial prototype dimensions this would mean a car approximately 8′-3″ wide by 43′-0″ in length. This size works really well with the coaches the Charlottetown shop crews were building.

I don’t know which PEIR passenger car I’ll start with but most of it’s construction parameters are things I’m already pretty certain of. I’ll use styrene sheet and strip stock with some metal wire for the car body and floor. For trucks I have a bunch of different options depending on how the truck wheelbase works out. I have some Bachmann wooden beam trucks scavenged from their 65′-0″ steel cars. I also have some Bachmann trucks from their “old time” coaches. I also picked up a real variety of Green Max wooden beam trucks. Their wheelbase is a little longer than the Bachmann but they’re beautiful castings and very free rolling. Couplers will be Microtrains. I have N and Z scale Microtrains couplers and I think I’ll let the size of the car really dictate what will work better to approximate the look of the 3/4-sized couplers the prototype used.

I’m really excited to get something built to go under these roofs. The Shapeways crew did a simply wonderful job and Royston deserves a heap of praise for the excellent CAD work that made all this possible. Not only are the roofs exquisite pieces of modelwork they exceed anything I could have ever crafted on my own. It’s worth mentioning how fast this all is too. Shapeways put these into production last week on the 16th and they arrived in Charlottetown last Friday on the 27th. I would have never fiinished one in that eleven days let alone three of such high quality. Cost? I have about fifty bucks invested in the three roofs but it’s already a wise decision.

Great work all around. That is…except for the courier.. you know where you can go.

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