The SDS Models Bitumen Tanker is a lovely model however it has a small issue with the handrails on the walkway. The handrail posts directly above the ladders on each side do not touch the walkway, they are between 0.5 to 1mm off the walkway. This appears to have been caused by the handrail post mounting holes in the tank not being drilled or moulded deep enough to allow the handrail posts above the ladders to drop down to meet the walkway.
I decided that this needed to be corrected so I used a pair of long nosed pliers and a piece of strip wood as a levering block on the tank to carefully extract the vertical handrail posts from the tank one at a time. The posts do seem to be glued but it is a flexible type possibly an acrylic contact cement and the posts came away easily on my model.
Once all the posts were out I cleaned away any excess glue from the tank and posts ends. I then drilled the mounting holes in the tank deeper using a 0.7mm drill in a pin vice. The tank casting drills easily.
The tricky process of getting all the handrail posts back into the tank mounting holes came next. It isn't to hard, just take your time and dry fit the posts working from one end of the tank to the other. I followed up by applying a small amount of clear drying acrylic contact cement to each post mounting point with a pointed tooth pick.
Unfortunately I didn't take a before photo of the handrail post issue but here is a photo of the finished tanker, still to be weathered.
As can be seen from the photo bitumen tanker is the one with the flues on each end. The flues were there as these tankers had gas burners running through the tank which allowed the bitumen to be reheated if it had cooled enough so that it would not come out of the tank easily. I chose this version of the bitumen tankers as being fitted with the flues and burners it could be left in a goods siding to await the arrival of a Department of Main Roads NSW spray seal truck which could use its own gas tanks to reheat the bitumen if necessary. So this is the version tanker that can be useful on the pickup goods during operation sessions on the layout. The other version bitumen tanker does not have the flues and burners so would be for delivering the bitumen to the several BORAL depots around the state. A spray seal truck is used to spray molten bitumen onto a prepared road surface which is then followed by a specially fitted tip truck that spreads a single stone thick layer of stones onto the bitumen by reversing over the freshly spread stones. This process is then followed up by a roller that embeds the stone into the bitumen . The rolling must be done quickly as while a stone will push into bitumen that has cooled it ultimately come out of the surface by the action of the traffic.
Of course,wanting this particular tanker meant that I had to buy the two pack with the blue AMPOL heavy oil tanker which I didn't particularly want as I never saw them in blue. I am going to heavily weather the blue tanker so that it is virtually black as by 1965 they almost certainly would have been, having been painted blue in the 1950s.
Now, do I need an oil burning D55 or D59 Class and a heavy oil filling point in my Wollar locomotive depot?
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