I’m not Fine Scale…Fine-ish, maybe.

I use Code 88 wheels where I can and Sergent couplers on my layout rolling stock, but I’m definitely not Fine Scale. I will always defer to model strength and operational reliability.

The Westerfield AT&SF Bx-14 box car kit I’m working on now has finely cast resin stirrup steps. They look very delicate and I wonder how long they would last in handling and operations. I’m building this kit mostly out-of-the-box, but I felt I had to do something about those stirrup steps.

I decided to replace them with ones fabricated from brass strip. One big consideration was how to securely fasten the brass part to the model. In the picture below, the resin part is shown on the left and the part I fabricated from .016″ x .047″ brass strip in the middle and at right, an end view. I twisted the legs to get a good mounting surface. I then filed a square “notch” to butt up against the inside of the side sill. This also allowed me to set the height more accurately.

I think they look okay. They are strong – the twisted ends are very well secured with medium CA to the side sill.

I used brass strip that I had on hand. What I think I’ll do next time is go with a .010″ thickness. .005″ would be even better for appearance, but I think it would be too flimsy. As far as I know, brass strip doesn’t come in .010″ thicknesses so I would have to cut some from brass sheet.

I’m not really set up to do metalwork, but this is how I have cut brass strip from .010” sheet stock. I made a fixture base of 1×3 poplar with feet that I could clamp to a table. I clamp the brass sheet in between it and another 1×3 block on top.

I set the brass sheet to protrude past the upper block the width desired plus the width of the saw blade. A strip of styrene styrene is used as a gauge to do this.

The saw is fine-toothed from Excel. I held the saw blade against the upper block and it did not take long to saw through the brass stock. After each strip cut, I back off the upper block into uncut wood on the base. After cutting a brass strip, a little filing on the edges cleans it up. Crude, but it works.

Using this method, I made the stanchions for this Hoboken Shore Railroad fuel storage car.