Anyone who is familiar with my work knows that I am at times a champion of hopeless causes.
It often involves a lot of work to get things to work as they should. The case in point here, a late 1970's imported brass Westside B&O P-7c made by Sam Hong Sa but built to a narrower than NMRA standard gauge.
It was by far not alone. In working on it I became aware of some other Westside models of that period built the same way, They often became expensive shelf queens, unable to reliably go around NMRA standard curves or pass through NMRA standard switches.
The fix was to re-gauge all the wheels. The drivers proved to be the most vexing part of that. One corrected, thrust washers had to be added to the axles to take up excess lateral play. I made them from a polyethylene cap from a round Quaker oats box. They were cut to fit into place without removing the drivers. Also, the valve gear had to be re-hung to avoid I hitting the drive rods, now in a slightly wider stance.
Running nicely now, more attention was given to detailing errors for this particular B&O loco, having six box spoke drivers. It would be number 5314, the former 'President Lincoln'. Corrections included lowering the feed water heater casting and stack on the smoke box, which stood slightly over 17 scale feet high - taller than UP Big Boy!
That difficulty was due to the prototype and model having a fully jacketed smoke box.
That adds almost a scale 6". I ground the bottom of the feed water heater casting much thinner to fit better. (On the prototype it was sunk into the jacketing). The smoke stack was shortened and reset it on it base.
The trailing truck on the model was misaligned, so it had to be disassembled, all parts re-bent to their correct profiles and soldered together again with the correct type of journal bearings.
Then, the 8 wheel tender had a serious flaw which would involve complete disassembly to correct. The deck over the water cistern was level with the top coaming. While it might look right, it was wrong! The deck actually was on the rivet line about a scale 2' or so lower. When B&O increased the coal bunker size by raising its sides, they ran a higher wall around the top of the water cistern as well, creating a wall. No need to increase the water cistern size, since these tenders were equipped with pickups for track pans along the Jersey City - Washington DC route these locos initially ran.
Rather than that, I bought a 12 wheel welded B&O tender from Sunset 3rd Rail, which would make this model become a P-7e. So here it is now.
Rather like its prototype, it can reliably haul up to six heavy passenger cars on a 2% grade without slipping. The B&O P-7d class in streamlined form for the "Cincinnatian," was limited to five cars over mountain grades in western Maryland and West Virginia.