The buffers are composed of a body and a head equipped with a shank (the plunger).
The mark 4 shows the wagon buffer beam.
Depending on the case and availability, these items will be made of brass or nickel silver. For each wagon, I give you the approximate dimensions of the buffers.
The head is obtained from a brass screw shaped on a mini drill. Then the top and bottom flats are made with a diamond disk. Finally, the corners are rounded with fine abrasive paper. The shank is a brass tube with diameters 1.5 × 1.1. The body is a brass tube with diameters 2.5 × 1.6. These values allow the shank to slide into the body, to make spring buffers. But I quickly abandoned the idea.
The head is obtained from a 0.3 mm thick nickel silver photo-etching cut-out roughly cut and then adjusted with a file or a diamond disk (the last operation is to be done preferably after soldering it on the shank). The corners are rounded with a file and then with fine abrasive paper. The shank is a brass tube with diameters 1.3 × 0.9. The body is a brass tube with diameters of 2.0 × 1.4.
To facilitate centring and consolidate the soldering of the head on the shank, the head is 0.8 mm drilled in the middle and a short section of nickel silver rod of the same diameter is inserted there. The assembly is slid into the shank, then the whole is soldered with flux and, if possible, silver solder, a little harder than that the leaded one.
Finally, the ø 0.8 shank portion that protrudes from the head is flush with a file, and the head dimensions are adjusted as indicated above.
An excess metal at the mouth of the body is obtained when cutting the brass tube placed in the mandrel of a drill (at low speed): by pressing hard enough with a cutter, the metal is repelled and this sympathetic flange is obtained although somewhat random…
The head is obtained from a buffer purchased at micro-modele (former Train Magique) turned on a mini drill. As for the Habiss, the shank is a brass tube of outside diameter 1.3, and the body is a brass tube with diameters 2.0 × 1.4.
A flange is obtained in the same way as previously.
Before assembling, burnish the heads and paint the bodies in the shade of the chassis. It is now necessary to remove all or part of the old plastic buffers and to drill to the desired diameter, 2 or 2.5 mm, depending on the case. The new buffers will be glued with superglue or Kristal Klear, the latter allowing for further adjustment.
The steps are photo-etched parts by Haxo Models, ref. HM 44049. This reference proposes sixteen pieces, half 3 mm wide, half 4 mm. The 3 mm wide steps are suitable for Gas and Res wagons; those of 4 mm for the Rloos and Iaehss (the Habiss has steps of a specific type). Something bothers me in these steps: their support does not extend under the step, which gives them a too flat aspect.
The mounting straps have a half-etching imitating the actual bolt heads. For more realism, I will drill them to ø 0.4 and solder a 0.3 mm nickel silver wire to them. This wire will serve as both decor and fixing reinforcement: it will be introduced in a hole drilled in the wagon body. I first provided two wires for fixing, since there are two bolts, but I quickly found that it is difficult to vertically align two holes so close together. So, one will only serve as a decor and will be flush backside.
The steps, still on their cluster, are successively cleaned with fine grain abrasive paper, burnished to tarnish their appearance (they are made of brass), rinsed. The powdery layer which is formed is carefully wiped off. The cluster is then stuck with thin double-sided adhesive on a plywood martyr for drilling.
Since the soldering has to be done at the back, the cluster is peeled off, turned over and then stuck again. The legs are pickled with a fibreglass pen, two pieces of wire are positioned in the holes and slightly depressed to protrude on the other side. A little flux, very little tin, and it’s done. The wires are then cut to approximately length, and then we start again for the next step.
When all the wires are soldered, the different parts may be separated and the wires may be cut. One must be 2 to 3 mm for fixing; the other should be flush backside. Both should be cut very short at the front, and adjusted with a file to simulate the bolt heads.
TC M4 brass screw to have
a sufficient head diameter
€1.61 per 4