TMC_012_Brake _System

If you’ve ever built anything in this craft you understand that the smaller and finer the details, the more time consuming they are to do. I had the three brake components installed for several weeks but have held off on the piping and rodding because I was thoroughly intimidated by all those brackets, fulcrums and pieces going everywhere.

I’ll be the first to say that some of these details are wrong for a car of this era. Quarter-inch scale is married to the 1950s and modern details are hard to find or nonexistent. In this case, the brake cylinder in the upper right is too old for a 1970s vintage freight car. I could have put out a call for help with 3D printing of the right parts but I didn’t want to wait. In a niche like modern era P48, one does what one can. I probably could have modified the San Juan brake cylinder but chose not to in order to move the project forward. So, I’m now firmly in the danger zone.

The Danger Zone is the stage where you just want to get the thing done and move on to something else. I find that thought going through my head a lot as I finish up the smallest and most fragile details on the car. I’m really fighting the urge to rush the work, make compromises and move on the primer and paint. The car is so, so close to being finished. It only needs a line to the retainer valve and a bracket, the doors and associated hardware, four jacking pads, the air hoses and uncoupling levers, then it’ll be ready for primer, painting and weathering.

To fight the tendency to rush and compromise the remaining work, I constantly remind myself of all the effort I’ve put into the car to this point. I push away from the bench and think of all the blog posts I’ve written about the high art of craftsmanship and what a total fraud I’ll look like if I just slop on the last few pieces.

Is the car perfect? No. There are plenty of mistakes and poorly handled details. The next project won’t be perfect either. Perfection isn’t the goal, learning something new and enjoying the process is the true objective in this work. So, even though the details may be off a lot or a little in the photo above, I’m really jazzed that all of those pieces of wire are in place. I’ve pushed myself with this car and have an ongoing opportunity to continue learning as I reach the finish line.