I picked this up a few years ago at a train show in Wichita. According to the experts in the Vintage HO Yahoo group, this is a Penn Line tender, and not a rare item. Now many are saying it is a Bowser tender. Either way, a heavy cast metal piece.
I have been looking for a tender to use as a water car in maintenance of way service, and this fit the bill. It weighs ton, FWIW.
I disassembled it for painting, so not a lot to it. The most work was going to be fabricating ladders and railings. As you can guess, I decided to design and 3d print what I could.
I used various pictures for reference to get an idea of what tender steps and ladders might look like. I printed them on one of my home printers in ABS.
All of the ladders took several attempts to get them to fit the curves of the tender.
I don't think a single ladder fit on the first attempt.
The most challenging ladder was the curved ladder on the back of the tender. On top of getting the curve correct, there were holes in the casting where the ladder was to fit. It took several attempts to get everything lined up.
To eliminate any need for support material, I split the ladder in half for printing. Since it was printed in ABS, it was easily solvent welded together.
Here are a few of the ladders I printed that did not work.
I primed all the painted parts before the finish coat. The ABS parts were glued on with 5-minute epoxy.
The top hand rails are brass wire with some old Athearn metal stanchions.
Past vintage builds: