Etched grab handles and steps for the PIKO Tds frame

Now that the frame of the PIKO Tds926 hopper is ready, it’s time to replace the plastic grab handles and steps with etched parts Udo Böhlein designed for detailing the German Otmm61 and Otmm64 hoppers. The Tds is the covered era 4 version of the same car, so the parts fit the frame perfectly.

Required tools and materials

  • Böhnlein 20071 Otmm61/Otmm64 buffer plates
  • Böhnlein 20072 Otmm61/Otmm64 brake platform and grab handles
  • Böhnlein 34010 UIC steps
  • Böhnlein 80235 miniature rivets, head diameter 0.35 mm
  • miniature drill 0.3 mm
  • contact adhesive
  • pin
  • X-Acto knife
  • Xuron track cutter and high precision scissors
  • tweezers

Preparing the frame

Remove all pastic handles and steps from the frame using a sharp X-Acto knife. Smooth any kinks with fine sand paper.

PIKO Tds926 frame without plastic grab handles and steps.

PIKO Tds926 frame without plastic grab handles and steps.

Pre-drill the holes in the etched buffer plates with a 0.30 mm bit. These which will serve as drilling templates.

Udo Böhnlein's etched buffer plates serve as drilling template.

The etched buffer plates serve as drilling templates.

Carefully align the buffer plate on the bottom of the buffer plate and drill holes for the miniature rivets, which will keep the parts in place. I found that widening the holes with the tip of a pin makes installation easier.

Preparing the PIKO Tds926 buffer plate by drilling holes for the miniature rivets.

Preparing the buffer plate by drilling holes for the miniature rivets.

Preparing the parts

It’s best to leave the parts attached when preparing them for mounting.

The grab handles are part of Udo Böhnlein's etched parts for the Otmm61 hopper.

The grab handles are among the etched parts for the Otmm61 hopper.

Use the 0.30 mm drill to widen the holes on either end of the grab handles.

Pre-drill the holes in the etched parts before inserting the miniature rivets.

Pre-drill the holes in the etched parts before inserting the miniature rivets.

Insert miniature rivets into the holes and apply a tiny bit of contact adhesive with a pin so they stay in place. Finally, shorten the rivets with the track cutter. Do the same for the steps. (I had assembled these beforehand.)

Putting it all together

With shortened rivets in place, remove the parts and cut away excess material where necessary. I find Xuron high precision scissors where helpful for cutting and cleaning etched parts.

When ready, apply a little bit of contact adhesive to the miniature rivets and carefully insert them into the holes in the buffer plate. Use the flat end of a pair tweezers to push the rivets in all the way and carefully bend the grab handles so they face downward.

Carefully insert the grab handles in the holes on the bottom of the buffer plate of the PIKO Tds926.

Carefully insert the grab handles in the holes on the bottom of the buffer plate.

Here is the frame with all parts installed and ready for the first coat of paint.

Finished PIKO Tds926 frame with grab handles and UIC steps installed.

Finished frame with grab handles and UIC steps installed.

One thought on “Etched grab handles and steps for the PIKO Tds frame

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    I was just looking for a peotographhr to do our family so I googled your web page and immediately recognized this family that lived down the street from us in Twin Falls. I absolutely love them!! They are adorable!

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