Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Resurrection - Part 1

During York week a very rusty Carlisle and Finch set showed up on eBay:

The engine was clearly a first series paper label #4, but the cars were unlike any Finch cars known. They look almost exactly like Finch’s first series coaches but they are made of tin or steel instead of brass, were painted (at least at one time), and have circle top style windows instead of arched windows.

I was in too much of a hurry to think much about what I was doing, or even read the description closely. I thought the cars might be a previously unknown first series, and put what I thought was a reasonable bid on it. I was pretty surprised to have won it, but it turns out part of the description that said “missing interior motor parts” meant missing the entire motor and all gears, something I could have figured out with a little closer inspection (asking the seller wouldn’t have helped as I was away from a computer that week and had to leave a bid then and there). And the cars, upon close inspection, appear significantly different from the first known series of coaches that it is impossible to confirm them as Finch production without some additional evidence. All of the sudden my reasonable bid looks like a self-hosing.

But that’s not the point, the point is now I have something to do. This post covers the restoration of the engine, a future will discuss the cars. I tried to save as much paint as possible but there really wasn’t any left after de-rusting, so I repainted it in a “sympathetic” style to look like it was in original, slightly beat, condition. The tender and car wheels were de-rusted and whatever original paint was left was kept.

New paper labels were made in Powerpoint, the most rudimentary graphics program available. Fortunately Finch’s graphics were also pretty rudimentary. This was a choice on their part to make their trains look realistic compared to the gaudy paper label trains from Reed and Bliss.

After applying the labels I didn’t have the heart to beat them up to look really old, so I just dulled them down to look a bit dirty and worn and left it at that. I admit that the paint could probably fool some experts, but not the labels. The wood parts (dome, boiler front, pilot beam and frame) are in original condition.


Anonymous said...

Hi Alex,
Very nice work!
Did you use any kind of special paper? What did you use to adhere the paper to the trains?
Brian O.

Anonymous said...

Hard to bleieve it is the same item. Great job!

alex said...

I just used HP photopaper. Real finch labels were very thin and glossy, and the photopaper is pretty thin and somewhat glossy. However I dulled it down to make it look a bit worn. It looks better in person than in the pictures - the camera flash greyed out the black labels a bit. I applied them with white glue, figuring that was probably what they used back then. thanks, Alex