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Openning a Rivarossi Tender

How do you get inside a Rivarossi Centipede tender without using a nut cracker, a jack hammer, a radial arm saw, or a whack-a-mole mallet???

Note:  If you use a whack-a-mole a mallet, it is not good sporting conduct unless you whack it as it emerges from an appropriate hole - like a tunnel.  You loose if you whack the locomotive or dump the full car of coal behind it.

Warning:  These tenders are basically a tube that has ends glued on.  I cannot gaurantee that you will be successful like I was without any damage.

Openning a Rivarossi HO Centipede Tender

Remove front hand railings from tender.

Say your prayers and pry at front from the bottom edge.  The front end of the tender will come off.  This will allow you to install a speaker.

To install the rear headlight, you will need to remove the back which requires even a larger amount of praying and faith.  Take a screwdriver and insert the handle end into the tender.  Use about the largest screwdriver  you have.  Start tapping the back of the tender with the handle from the inside.  Didn't work, did it?  Pray some more and then tap harder.  More prayers, harder tapping.  By this point you are questioning my sanity and probably your own for following my advice.  Unfortunately, I called a Rivarossi parts dealer and he confirmed the tender is glued shut.  Eventually you will tap hard enough to break the glue joints.  You will probably be tapping it almost hard enough to damage it.  Sorry!  I suggest many taps rather few hard taps from the beginning.  It appears to be glued with CA type glue which tends to weaken under stress - the many not-so-hard,-but-almost-so taps.

To install a single speaker, remove front pivoted truck and first set of centipede wheels only.  Removing the others is unnecessary.

If you are installing more speakers, note that the front axle behind the pivoted truck is somewhat different than the other non-pivoting axles.  I don't know why, but you will find the others will not fit back in this front position.  So make sure you can tell the difference between these other axles and know which one goes back in the front position.

John Ligon offers the following suggestion to help open the tender:

Using acetone in a inkjet printer refill syringe (eyedropper or something similar), apply a small drop of acetone to the bottom of the rear seam. After only a few seconds I was able to use a jeweler's screwdriver to begin to gently pry open the seam. Once I gained a "foothold" in the seam, another drop applied was able to seep further into the seam and dissolve another small section of the CA. I was
able to remove the whole end panel of the tender without even marring the surface and certainly without any damage to the tender.

safety firstI don't know what an inkjet refill syringe looks like, but if it has any kind of sharp tip, BE CAREFUL! Certainly, do not use a real syringe. Don't not take any chances with children, teenagers, or yourself!

Fingernail paint remover is essentially acetone. The stuff smells and is toxic. Fortunately, if used in small quantities, like removing fingernail paint, it mostly just smells real bad. Be cautious and use in a well ventilated area.

Also, acetone attacks plastic. When John says use a small amount, take him seriously or you will melt your tender! As soon as your separate your tender ends, wash off the acetone. It does not viciously attack plastic, but it will soften it and loose small details if left on there too long. Leave it on there longer, and it will melt through the tender. (When I was young and stupid, I used acetone to clean model train parts. I left some parts in a plastic butter tub overnight. The next day, the tub had no bottom!)

Openning a Rivarossi HO Vanderbuilt Tender

Remove front hand railings from tender.

This tender is even more fun than the centipede.  The front end of the tender and the coal load are all one piece.  The rest of the tender is the only other piece that makes up the tender.

Say your prayers and pry at front from the bottom edge. 

The coal load is sandwiched between some edge guide rails.  Therefore, pretty much the only way it is coming out is straight towards the locomotive.  It is glued in there, but careful prying and tugging will eventually free the coa load and the front of the tender.  Soon you will be able to use these groves to your advantage.  You will find that you can push it back in and it will fit rather snugly.  You will not need to glue it back in or can use the tiniest drop of glue.

If you openned the tender to put sound in it, clearly, there is only one place to put the speaker - facing up at the coal load.  I usually avoid this approach as you can make the holes for the sound to come out as big as you can on the bottom.  You can drill the load with a 1/16" or smaller drill.  The resultant holes aren't too objectionable and the sound is decent enough.  I'm satisfied with it.

For instructions on wiring your rear tender light, click here.


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