I have a Bachmann City class "Killarney" fitted with a YouChoos sound project and I love the wheezy, squeaky straining sounds that it makes, which seem to fit this venerable class of loco very well. However, the sound always had the unmistakable quality of coming from inside a thin plastic box.
Last week I had a brainwave that would solve two problems at once: I could replace the awful moulded metal coal load with something that both looked better and that would transmit the sound better from the speaker, which is directly below it. My thinking was that there would be enough gaps between the big lumps of best Welsh loco coal to allow sound to pass through. So here's what I did today:
1. Remove the supplied coal load and use it to form an equivalent shape cut from insect screen mesh.
2. Cut a new aperture in the tender body under the coal load.
3. Test fit the new mesh
4. Glue loco coal to the mesh using Copydex. The first layer had to be done carefully to avoid clogging the mesh with glue. A couple of further layers were added mainly to fill in gaps in the first layer rather than to add depth.
5. Fit the new load. You can see daylight through it, which is exactly what we want!
6. Here she is back on the test track. I might need to fill gaps with more dabs of Copydex and more lumps of coal as I watch her over the next few days - but it looks reasonably convincing at first glance.
(Maybe the tender is a bit overfilled?) I might also glue some lead inside the body to replace the lost weight of the original coal load.
So there it is: A speaker grille made of coal!
The sound is definitely clearer but still a little "plasticky" if I'm honest. Perhaps a bigger speaker would fit in the space...?