Fireliner Text

Page 6


By K. Nelson

Disassemble the shell, cut the wires to all 3 rear lights, but leave the remaining wire long for later use for emergency flashing lights. Save the cardboard insert and leave all of the green windows in place.

 On the front half: 1st cut- Just in front of the front side lights by the riveted plate (photo 1)

  I used a square to run a line to the cab roof, then held a piece of paper to form a top line to both side lines for the next cut (photo 2)

 Cut across the roof straight down to the second from the top rail (photos 3 A & B) and then towards the rear at the rail.

 Next, leaving the green window material in place, take the back half of the shell and cut completely around the top at the 2nd rail from the roof (photo 4).

 It should then look like photo 5.

 Then make the cuts shown in photo 6 to make the access area at the rear of the hose bed. You will be making cuts approx.  one-half way thru the window on each side and down to the top of the middle rail, and all the way around the back to the same place on the other side, removing the area marked with the ‘X’.

 At this point, file the cuts flat. There will also be 2 little ‘tabs’ on the front half of the shell where the 2 cuts met. (photo 7 & 8).

 File these down flush with so the rear cab wall will fit against the cab sides.

 Cut pieces for the rear wall of the cab. I did this by fitting the cab to the sheet styrene, marking it and cutting it to shape (photo 9).

 Then measure and mark out the bottom half of the rear cab wall (photo 10)

 I found it easier to do it in two pieces (photo 11)…..

 ….. and then glue them together with a strip added to re-enforce the joint (photo 12).

 I also traced the original cardboard floor on sheet styrene and cut out a new, thicker floor to use for the hose bed. (photo 13).

 To fill in the windows (4 full and 2 half windows), I forced a piece of paper down into one of the window wells and ran my finger around the edges to neatly form the proper size for a cut out. (photo 14).

 I used this as a tracing to make the window blanks (use styrene thick enough to fill it flush with the exterior of the shell- I used two pieces and glued them together to get the proper thickness, although a little either way can later be sanded down or puttied and sanded flat).

 Cut and fit them as close as possible, gently bend/curve them slightly to fit the original window curve, and glue them into place against the green plastic window material.

 I put zap-a-gap glue heavily around the sides of the blanks to help fill the gap.) I then clamped them down tight (photo 15).

  Run a bead of glue around the inside edges of the green window material to help keep it in place as the support for the window blanks (photo 16).

 I sanded the shell and primered it to show up any flaws. Those I puttied and when dry, sanded them. I decided to make the rear look a little more ‘old style fire truck’ by slanting the sides of the rear. I measured back at the top 3/8”, drew a line from there down to the top of the middle rail on both sides and made the cuts line (photo 17).  

 Glue in the rear cab wall and putty the crack, then glue in the hosebed floor in the rear half of the shell only (photo 18).  The front part can later rest on it’s rails freely, allowing for future taking apart and mounting things (sound & lights) in the cab.  

 Cut two pieces for the inside walls of the hosebed. Make sure the rear angles match the sloping rear ends of the outside eggliner walls. Glue into place (photo 19), close at the rear with the outside walls (photo 19 ‘A’) leaving an equal distance from the outside walls to their fronts (approx ½”)(photo 19 ‘B’). They can end a little short of the cab wall (photo 19 ‘C’) as this area will be covered later. Once glued down, they can be braced with angle stock for added strength.

 After drying, turn the whole shell upside down on a piece of styrene sheet and trace it (photo 20). This will make the tops for the sidewall bed and cover the dead spaces. Let the rear overhang for now.

 Place this piece on top of the bed and mark where the sides of the shells meets on both sides (photo 21), then draw a line across to them.

 Then do the same for the rear (photo 22) and cut off the rear overhang. I always leave a little extra as it is easier to trim the excess off later to get a good fit. You also want to leave some for the two end cap vertical posts that will cover the ends later.  

 Mark the ends of the inside walls of the hose bed (photos 22 & 23) (leave a little excess).

 Slide the top back a little and mark the front ends (photo 24).

 Draw a straight line on each side between the end marks (photo 25)….

 …then cut out the portion marked ‘X’ (photo 26).

 It should then look like photo ‘27’. 

 (Because of an accident I had with a heat gun unrelated to this project, I had to make a piece of styrene to go across the tear of the cab - see difference between photos 26 & 28). You may want to add this piece anyway as a sort of protection plate from sliding equipment.  

Although I did this later, now would be the time to paint the top of the hose bed silver, or diamond plate it.

 Glue down the hosebed top only on the rear shell half  so you can take the shell apart later (photo 29).

  At this point, we want to make a re-movable ‘sled’ for the hose bed. By being able to pull the bed sled pack out, you will have access later to change batteries or work in the cab for lighting, etc. Cut and fit the bottom, rounding the back to match the eggliner’s rear curve. The sled can be a little longer on the front (1/2” or so) to allow for a right angle brace behind the wall which you will add next. Then add the rear of the hose bed to it (photo 30).

  Photo 31 shows the addition of the angle brace just mentioned. This part will be hidden in the cab. This would also be a good time to trim, putty and sand the hose bed top where it meets the side walls.

I painted the removable hose bed section a wood-color tan. (Photo 32)  

I wanted to raise the hose bed so it was only 2 layers of hose deep, plus the added height would double for showing part of the water tank, so I cut some right angles and made a snug fit of them across the front and rear, then added the top (Photo 33).

  I also added a ‘stop’ (Photo 34).

 Then wind a white shoelace back and forth on it’s side. At the ends, cut the lace ends short and paint them a brass color as couplings. (Photo 35 ) The bottom layer does not need to be full length as it will be hidden.  

 I added a lip in the rear of the hose bed to mount a piece of styrene to cover the void and make it easier for the second row (Photo 36).

 When finished the second row, allow a little extra to drape over the installed hose and drop down the back. (Photo 37). Shorten and paint the lace ends a bronze color to represent brass couplings. Finish the rear of the exposed hose bed floor (on the removable part) in silver.  

Now it’s time to get to the electronics installation. I had determined to keep only keep the original front headlight of the eggliner, so I eliminated the rest. If you choose to put  any kind of lights on the rear, now is the time to hook them up and run their wires thru the inside of the hose bed sides, or under the floor, depending on what kind and location of your lights. You may choose to add flashers to the hose bed ends/tops, or white spotlights, or tail lights. A WARNING HERE_ with the few lights and the siren I installed, it was an EXTREMELY tight fit in the cab. Make sure all of your electronics have been pared down as small as possible, and tightened/neaten up all wiring. I don’t really recommend adding more lights because you’ll have enough trouble fitting in the bare minimum. I shortened up the wiring here, then drilled two holes in the cab roof for the flashing red lights.

  I  started by measuring ¾” from the rear of the cab in 3 spots and drew a line thru them (Photo 38).

 I found the center of the cab backboard an using a square, ran a line up to the cab top. Then, locating the rivet on the front cab headlight, drew a line from it to the centerline on the cab back. From the center of the roof where the lines crossed, I measured equal distance to both sides as I am  using two flashers. Drill the appropriate size holes for the lights. I went slightly larger than the base of the led’s because I am raising them up enough to put a base under them. (Photo 39).

 Then I remembered the back plate on the cab still had to be trimmed, beveled and the cracks puttied. (Photo 40).

 I now applied a  primer coat to show up any flaws, at which it is time to catch and fix them. This may take several times. Then I started a coat of red. (A note here. Gloss red paint is a pain to make it cover well. If you can find a matching flat red, spray that first. It will help the gloss red cover better later. I used dark gloss red, and should have used flat bright red first, then the dark gloss red. It will take several coats of red, but one is sufficient here to start.)

Time now to seal the ends of the bed sidewalls. (Photo 41). Cut and fit styrene to cover them if you are done with any wiring in that area.

 After a another quick coat of dark red paint, I installed the electronics. (Photo 42). Like I said, this is even a closer fit than I anticipated. Neaten up the wiring if you haven’t by this time and test fit the components. I only kept the original front headlight of the eggliner and now soldered those wires where the originally came off the motor block.  

 I also installed a switch on the left side behind the cab and centered above where I plan to put the pump control panel (Photo 43).  It will be partially covered later by the ladder.

  I ran the wires for the siren down thru the inside of the eggliner and cut them to length to attach to the reed switch ends, which I glued just behind the front wheels (Photo 44). Do not cover the bottom of the switch with glue as it might interfere with the magnet attraction.

 I made the rear step from sheet styrene, as well as the sides. First, remove the coupler. Then saw thru the semi-round coupler plastic so that the saw with go thru even with the space where the body attaches to the motor block (Photo 45).

 Insert a piece of sheet styrene or diamond plate plastic) into the crack, even it up and trace a line around the back of the eggliner on it (Photo 46).

 Then remove it and draw another semi-circle on it to represent the rear of the step. I took a ruler and measured out from the first semi-circle as noted in (Photo 47),….

 ….and then carefully roughed in the rear line. It may take several erasures to get the line to look aesthetically correct. There may be a mathematical way the figure the curve, but I am mathematically challenged (Photo 48).

  Slide the step back into the slot and line it up until it looks correct. If not, it may require several adjustments with a file and sand paper. When satisfied with it’s looks, carefully drill 2 holes on the underside thru it and screw it in place (Photo 49). 

Next, measure a piece of sheet styrene or diamond plate approx 1 7/8” long by ¾” wide and cut out 2 pieces this size for the side steps. Then take a a dime or ½” washer and trace round edges on 2 corners. (Photo 50). ( I rounded them instead of leaving them square as it  makes them look better  with the overall eggliner curves).

 Trim them off, sand even, and install them on each side from underneath by drilling two holes and screwing them inI only took them underneath the motor block ¾” as some eggliners have a ‘Battery/Track’ power switch  on one side. This way they can butt up against the switch (Photo 51).

Make sure they are centered on the shell mid-section separation (Photo 52).

 If you want to keep a coupler on the rear you will need to male a coupler extension. I made one with a piece of thick strip styrene. Make it as wide as will fit in the rear of the coupler pocket, and as long as you need to clear the rear step. Mark and drill a hole with a #22 bit for the frame prong. (Photo 53).

 When you get the proper fit, start on the coupler. You will notice it has an irregular hole in the back of it which will allow you to insert a fat screw thru it into the styrene (Photo 54 A). I opened the up toward the rear of the coupler with a #15 bit so it would handle the fatter screw needed and would allow it to go as far back as possible to clear the front. I had to cut a screw so that it was long enough to go thru the coupler and the extender, but keep it flush with the top of the extender or it with interfere with the underside of the rear step. I found I needed to clip a piece off of the coupler releaser to get the screw into the coupler hole (Photo 54B). The front part of the coupler has a ‘v’ shaped end that you should shape the extender to fit (Photo 54C). You will also need a 10-24 nut (or washers) as a spacer between the frame prong and the coupler cover when you re-install it. Then paint it all black.  

Time for the pump panel. I cut a section of sheet styrene and painted it silver. I centered it over the split in the shell between the front and rear halves. I glued the front half to the shell, but the back should only have a small dab of glue that could easilily be removed when dis-assembling the shall later or none at all. You will need to curve this piece of styrene to fit the curve of the shell (Photo 55). I used small small washers painted black for gauges with the inside painted white after installation and 3 nails for control knobs. The two outlets were from the donor firetruck.

 Since I had a large empty area on the deck behind the cab, I decided to install a deluge/deck gun. (This is optional. I had 2 hose reels that I wanted to install on each side, but you could a single hose reel here instead.)   I took heavy aluminum wire and formed it by bending it to match photos from the internet (Photo 56).

 I used a square nut for the base and a nozzle from the donor truck, but a nozzle should be easy to fabricate. I made a valve wheel from a clothing snap, drilled and put a nail thru it and drilled a hole in the aluminum wire for the nail to end up in, then installed it (Photo 57).

 I took .045 wire (cause that’s what I had on hand) and formed 2 railings for the rear of the eggliner. Then I molded a cross piece by wrapping it around the front of the eggliner to get the right shape (Photo 58).

 Then cut it to fit between the 2 railing and soldered it to them. Paint them silver (Photo 59 & 60).

 I took to hand grab rails from from spare freight car parts and drilled and installed them in front of where the hose reels will go to look like rollers (for when the imaginary hose is pulled off the reel). Paint them silver. Then both hose reels were mounted (Photo 61). Note: hose reels can be made from thread spools and wrapped with wire or string. Spools are also available in the wood area of Michael’s and A.C. Moore.

 I used the naturally formed loops in paper clips and cut and twisted them for the 2 draft hoses Photo 62)……

 and the ladder (Photo 63), drilling and gluing them into the side of the eggliner.

 The 2 black drafting hoses were made from plastic pipes painted black, and slightly larger pipe cut and installed on the ends and painted silver. I drilled thru this and installed a cut off nail thru both to serve as the lugs. The ladder was from the scrap box, painted wood brown (Photo 64).  

I added a hydrant wrench from the donor truck under the pump panel, 2 extinguishers on the rear step and an axe, shovel and lamp on both sides of the deck top (Photo 65).

  Then I added the siren to the cab roof (Photo 66)…..

  and 2 firemen to the rear step (Photo 67) (although it would be better to install them later if you choose to wrap gold leafing around the shell.)

 I had a bell from the donor that I drilled a hole for on the front coupler holder and bent the rod for it to stand out a little (Photo 68).

 I decided to add ‘gold leaf’ stripes, as most older fire trucks had them painted on. I used 2 sizes of ‘Pactra trim tape’ (Photo 69), wrapping them around the top and bottom.

 I also hit up the donor for 2 more valves/outlets and installed them on the right side (Photo 70).

 A little bit of glue on the draft hoses and ladder to secure them (Photo 71).

At this point, I rectified the mistake of the windows by taping off everything except the 3 windows, and gave them several coats of Testor's 'Dullcote'. Then a complete whole body spray of Testor's 'Glosscote, decals and a sealing of Glosscote finished the project.

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