The kit is not made entirely from plastic. The cab, pilot, and the pilot beam are made from birch wood. The pieces are laser cut for accurate fitting. Of course, they were designed directly from the Plan Book. Here they are in the bag from the manufacturer, and again sorted over the layout drawing.
All pieces are 1/8″ thick, which initially made me concern about the pieces being out of scale. But when they’re assembled (see below) this effect is not at all obvious.
The real cab have recessed paneling and molding. The panel molding is too small and impractical for the scale, but the recess is achieved by laser engraving–partially cutting the panel piece to simulate panel recess!
Ok, let’s put it together: I started with the front panel, then work my way around to the rear and the roof. Since the pieces were made from the Plan Book and mirror their real counterpart, putting the model cab together is also like building the real thing, with posts and panels to fit together rather than pre-completed walls. I think this gives the model very good looking panel lines.
Here’s the front panel fitted on the boiler. The curved panels fit on the boiler just right.
The rear walls also have recessed panels.
The angled roof rafters complete the cab’s framing! Note the small hole at the center of the front header. This is for the whistle lever. I’ll need to drill a smaller hole for the bell rope (I think it was too small for the laser to cut). There’s also the window sills.
It took me about 2 hours to complete the cab at a leisure pace.
To save some costs, the cab parts do not include the actual roofing, and it would also be out of scale with 1/8″ wood. Instead, I’ll complete it with very thin wood sheet. Or better yet, use thin wood strips to actually plank the roof.
Assembling the pilot has two parts: building the frame, and building the bars.
Note the bars are a little bit longer than the bottom triangular frame. This is to allow them to be slightly shaved off at an angle and sanded so they’ll have the smooth, curved appearance seen on the real pilot. (The curve’s contour can also be seen in the Plan Book).
Even without working the bar faces to a curve, I think it already looks pretty good.
The bars are a little bit oversized for the scale, so the model pilot have 2 bars less than the real pilot. It’s not really noticeable unless you count them, but I thought you should know.