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Monday, November 24, 2008

Birney Project ~ Fabricating the Seats

Despite the Bullant motor/drive mechanisms tiny size, it's still huge inside the Birneys interior, taking an unfortunate toll on the models see-through quality as seen in the prototype photo. There are a couple of options as to how to hide the motor. One common practice is to use frosted glass in the windows. But I'm going to keep the glass clear and try to distract the viewers attention from the motor by surrounding it with interesting details. Lots of colorful passengers looking out the windows will hopefully help the black motor disappear into the shadows.

First off, I measured the motor to determine how much of the interior its going to eat up. Birneys came in different sizes and configurations, but generally they were 8' wide with 36" seats and a 24" isle. As you can see in the blueprint I drew, the motor takes up the whole isle and half the seats. But thats all right. There is enough seat left to seat passengers on, thus distracting from the motor!


I'm going to make the seats from brass stock. Styrene would be a lot easier and faster to work with, but brass will add heft to the model, helping with performance. I started with a 1/4" x .032" brass bar. I lightly filed the sharp corners to round them a bit, to make the seat back appear plush.

NorthWest Short Lines press bending break "The Bender" is used to bend the brass. This works quiet well, especially when used correctly! I made most of the seats the hard way until I realized I was doing it wrong. Note to self: review instructions.

The bend should be less than 90 degrees, to give the seat that reclining look.


Then cut the seat from the brass stock. I didn't bother rounding the seat cushion, it'll never be seen. Repeat above steps until enough seats are made.

The front seats and back seats are clear of the motor, so I built them full size. This should help rap details around the motor. I fabricated the motorman's seats from more brass bar and tube stock. These seats I left pretty rough. I didn't want to fuss with detail that will never be seen. Notice also that in the second window you can see a screw protruding from the floor about where the motorman's chair is going to be. Also, the motor bolsters (also seen through the windows, they have the number "20" embossed on them) also protrude from the floor. These are a problem. I'm going to have to work the seats around these. Yessir! Gonna have to work around these!

Dandy