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Locomotive rebuild examples


DTA Models - Brass Locomotive Rebuilding and Repair

Sorry, but the shop is now closed  

View DTAM current projects, previous rebuilds, and a sample of my collection.

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Brass Locomotive Repair Services:

Sorry, but the repair shop is closed. I just do not have the time for other peoples work with trying to complete all the projects I have started for my own modeling. Also, lots of folks were looking for work I just am not interested in undertaking. For help in doing your own repairs, and for finding others to do brass repair work check out the Brass Backshop Forum.

Dave - 2/28/2013

Note: I do not have as much time as I used to for brass loco repair, and my hourly rate has increased. I do not do DCC or painting work.

I apologize to those who sent me emails that I did not respond to. Response to this web site was very light, until I got a full time job and had to do some traveling, then it exploded, and I just couldn't keep up. Sorry :(

Dave - 2/15/2010

I have repaired all manner of brass locomotives, large or small, old or new, but am must effective on HO steam engines.  I have been repairing and rebuilding brass, and other engines, for over 40 years and know my way around model locomotives.

I generally use a small oxygen/propane torch for soldering, but also have a PBL resistance tweezer unit, and a collection of various irons and torches. I also have a small lathe, drill press, quarterers, and a grit blaster, among many other tools to address almost most brass problems that you might have.

My brass repair rates are $35 per hour plus parts and shipping (if outside of the South Eastern Michigan area). Call or email for an estimate..

DTAM History:

In my teens I scratch built an HO brass locomotive, a model of the CB&Q's M-4a 2-10-4. From that project I learned it was more fun to start with a commercial model ! My first Japanese brass was an International USRA 0-8-0 purchased in 1966 or 67. More followed slowly, as I could afford them, and somewhere along the line I started on a path of repairing, upgrading, cross-kitting and redetailing brass locomotives.

In the early 80's I started working under the name of DTA Models, or DTAM. Generally doing repair and rebuilding. For a while I did custom painting, but stopped because I didn't really enjoy it. Good, accurate detail and running qualities are what rings my bell.

I had been doing all the brass repair for the Train Center Hobbies, a metro Detroit train only hobby shop, until they closed their doors in the summer of 2001. The locos have ranged from old junk to the latest imports. I've worked on N, HOn3, and O brass engines, but mostly HO which is my chosen scale. Steam, diesel, traction, electric, cars, and structures, you name it.

C&O is the road I model, and I love their engines ! Of course I belong to the C&O Historical Society. A few years back I had the pleasure of helping Fine Art Models (only a few miles from here !) in getting their museum quality, gauge 1 C&O Allegany project going.

Dave Ayers


About DTAM Brass Locomotive Rebuilding:

DTAM repaired, upgrades and recycles various old and damaged brass HO locomotives. Rebuilding them increases detail, accuracy, performance and value, and results in fine looking and running pieces of brass.

Older Brass engines generally have well built mechanisms and superstructures, but usually have poor detail, damaged or missing parts and mechanical problems. United, Akane/Fuji, Max Grey, to some extent Tenshodo, Westside. and even some Gem engines are suitable for upgrading. Other brands of older brass can be upgraded sometimes, but it is increasingly expensive to get satisfying results.

Locomotive Rebuild Value

Some collectors might complain that rebuilding degrades the 'original' status of a piece of brass and therefore its value. But I believe that there is a net improvement in value to those that really appreciate quality in a model steam locomotives and other railroad equipment. As well, rebuilding opens up a new source of good models from the 'junk' of a previous age of Japanese and Korean brass model products.

Locomotive Rebuilding includes:

Brass Locomotive Parts:

My parts collection is fairly extensive with tenders, boilers, cabs, pilots, domes, drivers, rods, etc. and tons (well not literally) of lost wax detail parts. I have metric screws, crankpins, rivets, springs, gears, wheels, and other supplies for fixing brass problems. Not all my parts are for sale, but if you need something it wouldn't hurt to email or call. I'm open to part purchases and trades. Check out my Brass Parts page.