Thursday, February 2, 2023

Flat Car Friday

I thought it might be interesting to try to add some routine to my postings, as I have no shortage of material that can be shared. In that spirit, I will run some "Flat Car Fridays" over the coming weeks and months. First up is this PRR F30A with an interesting vessel of some type. I assume it has something to do with the manufacture of rubber/latex, but I am not certain. I am hopeful that the internet can do its thing and that some of you will post in the comments section to enlighten the rest of us. The location of this photo was at the Naugatuck Chemical Division of US Rubber (later Uniroyal) in Naugatuck, Connecticut.

The other item of note that I wanted to highlight is that although I've never seen this detail modeled (at least in HO scale), the deck boards of the F30A were secured with bolts that passed through holes in the the cast frame (the F30A was effectively a giant, one-piece casting with wood added on top). Another detail to be added for those who so wish...

Monday, January 30, 2023

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda


One of the things about being in any business is that even if you invest the time, sweat, resources, etc., there are no guarantees that any of that will bear fruit. Over 15 years ago, I made that investment in a project and created what I thought was a really solid set of patterns. Life intervened and things were pushed to the sidelines. I pulled out a box recently and was looking at the physical manifestation of my efforts (photos below). It still looks really good to my eye. However, while I dithered, the market did not. Funaro & Camerlengo released a kit of the PRR G28 I had worked so hard to create. I was scooped. I am still unsure what I will do, but I will likely have a helluva nice one-of-a-kind model and little else to show for my efforts. Time waits for no one. Get things done... 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

PRR GRA Gondola Part Two


In part one covering the PRR GRA gondola, I covered some prototype info as well as many of the noteworthy modeling points in replicating these cars using a Westerfield kit. Since then, I have blasted the metal details with 220-grit aluminum oxide and added rivets and other fasteners that might have been vulnerable to be blown off the model during blasting. In the photos directly above and below, you can see rivets on the bottom crossbearer cover plates, on the metal straps in the end panels, and at the towing loops.

I primed the model using a Tamiya grey that is not a true primer, but does apply a consistent grey color to the model. I followed by spraying the sides, underframe, and some of the interior hardware with Scalecoat II PRR Freight Car Red. After that I masked in appropriate places and painted the interior with Tamiya Desert Yellow. The underlying grey and this pale yellow will be a good foundation to weather the interior boards. I will be adding a scrap load so the lower potion of the interior is not as great a concern to me as the upper portion. 

Next, I will weather the interior as well as to letter and weather the rest of the model, too, followed by the addition of the scrap load. More in a few weeks...

Friday, January 20, 2023

Union Tank Line Type X Tank Car Parts from Shapeways

San Diego, California, December 4, 1954, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

I have been intending to create this post for a long, long time. That time is finally now. For as long as I can remember, Model Die Casting (MDC; now part of the Athearn universe) has offered a ~6,000 gallon "old-time" tank car. The rivets are too diminutive and there are some in places where they shouldn't be, but that is pales in comparison to the big chunk of white metal that doubles as the underframe and running boards. An enterprising seller on Shapeways decided to rectify that major shortcoming. The seller, Austin Rail Products, offers 3D printed underframe and running boards to turn the model into a quite passable UTLX Type X tank car (for those looking for more information about UTLX and its fleet, the "bible" authored by Steve Hile is currently being reprinted with an estimated availability date in early February.)

Excepting the other shortcomings of the MDC kit as well as the aftermarket detail offerings to rectify them, the focus here is on the two parts. The underframe is well-rendered an is a perfect fit to the bottom sheet of the tank. It will be a simple matter to glue it in place at the tank saddles and the tank anchor. There are some 3D printing artifacts, but in all honesty, they are not aggregious and the underframe is a place where they will not detract in a measurable way. In terms of the underframe itself, it is an excellent rendition of the Type X underframe, with bolster castings capturing the open shape of the prototype. The one major obstacle to overcome is equipping the car with a coupler. The part is not designed with a specific HO scale coupler offering in mind (at least I cannot ascertain this) so I will need to devise a creative solution to add couplers.

Like the underframe, the running boards are a perfect fit to the tank sheets. The creator obviously spent time to ensure that they would be a "drop fit" addition. The supports ("brackets") are well-detailed and fit against the tank sheets perfectly. Being running boards, there is little else to say!

As the scope of this model is more than just a simple swap of a few parts, I will develop several posts to highlight details on the prototype and how to replicate them in HO scale, using commercially available parts as well as some scratchbuilding and/or modification. I look forward to this journey!

Monday, January 16, 2023

Part One of the T&NO Emergency Gondola Model


Awhile back I posted some prototype info about the Texas & New Orleans Emergency design gondolas. I have done a little work on the model and want to share that info here. I haven't done a ton so if you're inclined to join, it should be easy to catch up.

I mentioned that my plan is/was to use the Improved Dreadnaught ends from Detail Associates to model one of the later cars equipped with Scullin L-V trucks, to afford an opportunity to use the trucks offered by Plate C. Here is where things are at with the model. 

To my eye, the area where the corner of the ends overlaps the sides would lack a little depth if I simply glued the ends to the sides. I compensated by adding 0.020" styrene strip, as shown in the two photos above. I believe it's 0.020" x 0.040", although I honestly can't recall for certain.

I then tacked the two resin sides back -to-back using ACC in a few spots, taking care to align them. I used a NorthWest Short Line True Sander to remove material and in the process making the sides exactly the same length and squaring up the edges. After that, I carefully popped the sides apart and glued one side to one end and repeating for the other side/end pair, as shown in the photo directly above.

Next, I glued the two remaining side/end joints and laid the assembled body upside down on my work surface to ensure that everything remained square and that I had not introduced any unintended bowing or torque into the body.

I again used the NorthWest Short Line True Sander to square the ends of the floor casting, removing material, as well, until the casting fit snugly inside the car body, end-to-end. I did add 0.010" styrene strip to both sides of the casting as it was slightly too narrow when test-fitted into the car body. Once everything was square and the fit inside the car body was tight, but not overly so, I tacked everything in place with ACC. I followed this by carefully dripping more ACC inside the car body at the floor/side and floor/end joints and then tilting the car body to allow the ACC to "run" and fill in the joints completely. In the view above, you will note that the crossmembers do not extend all the way to meet the bottom of the car sides. I will add some strip to rectify this. Below are a couple additional photos illustrating the application of the Detail Associates styrene ends to the resin body. More in the coming weeks...

Friday, January 13, 2023

Prototype Rails 2023


This past weekend, January 5th through 7th, I attended my first Prototype Rails, aka "Cocoa Beach," in three years. We all know it's been a topsy turvy world since where we were at the start of 2020. It was great to see many familiar faces and meet some new people for the first time in person. Unfortunately, since that time, we have lost several of the regulars at the event and their absences were noted and respectfully honored among us. 

I will also note that in the days after the event we learned of the passing of Mike Brock, its founder, just days before this year's event. Mike was a large personality, both literally and figuratively. He loved many things, including highjinx at the expense of guests at his UP layout and the cookies served at the meet. On a more serious note, we owe Mike a great debt whether many realize it or not. His two most obvious contributions to the hobby are the Steam Era Freight Cars (STMFC) list, which he helped create way back in the 90s, through its migration to Yahoo! Groups and then to as well as the founding of Prototype Rails. Both of these are enduring and the amount of information that has been passed through the iterations of the STMFC is staggering. Two other noteworthy "segues" from Prototype Rails that many may be unaware of are the Shake-n-Take concept that has been picked up in various iterations by other meets (Sunshine pioneered the "gift" parts set, but Shake-n-Take introduced the concept of a group build with all the necessary parts being furnished to attendees) and the partnership with the NMRA to help co-sponsor the events and share/defray some of the more expensive, but necessary costs, including insuring such a meet. Being extremely humble, Mike was a giant in his impact on what we in our model railroad community take for granted, but his contributions deserve great recognition. I hope that he is now spending his time making sure every train has at least one NP box car and trying to find that N&W hopper coming over Sherman Hill! A tip of the cap to you, Mike!

As usual, there were many fine models on display and I tried to capture a sample via the medium of photography. Enjoy the fine work!

Steve Hile presented a detailed clinic on Swift's reefer fleet, including tips to model them and showcased many of those efforts in the display room, including this kitbash
I somehow neglected to document who created this finely weathered CSX covered hopper 

This neat Erie bulkhead flat car kitbash is the work of Ben Bartlett

Dick Harley had several models of "modern" PFE refrigerator cars on display in various states of completion

Rich Remiarz brought several GN box cars from Minnesota to highlight some of the subtle differences across their large fleet

Roger Hinman showed his progress on the 2022 Shake-n-Take project, including some of his deviations from the "out of the box" kitbash. Roger has done a lot of freelancing in his model

Tony Sissons showed off not only his fine models, but his great, tiered display for showcasing his work!
Ryan Mendell of National Scale Car had several of his own offerings plus some from his peers, including this Yarmouth Semet Solvay tank car

Bob De Stefano shared this Conrail (ex-NH) PS-1 with an exceptional weathering job

Carl Marchand brought this highly detailed SCL switcher that started as a Bowset VO-1000 before his detailing, painting, and weathering efforts

Fenton Wells showed off the results of his micro virtual group build that he did with Clark Propst (who did not make this year's event although he was missed at the Tiki Lounge...) using an Accurail body and Westerfield roof among other details

Terry Kolenc brought several UP cars including this S-40-21 to represent a car rebuilt at Cheyenne in 1970
Al Brown continues his kitbashing parade (he presented a clinic on the subject, too!) W&LE 27439 is a mashup of Shapeways ends, Tichy underframe and details, Kadee trucks, scratchbuilt sides and roof, and Archer rivets!

Preston Stinger displayed this gon with a very neat load

Pardon the distortion in the photo... I had to wedge my phone between two rows of cars to get the shot! Eric Thur continued his work on interesting loads, including this JWD U-channel load

There was passenger equipment in the display room, too, including this A&WP 10-1-2 Pullman, Lake Belanona. Another one where I failed to capture the modeler's name!

Lastly, Bruce Smith had many fine models in the room, including a number of his beloved Pennsy. He replaced a few boards on this nice model of a GRA composite gondola.

That's all for now!

Thursday, January 12, 2023

PFE Clinic File from Prototype Rails 2023

Here is a link to my PFE clinic file from Prototype Rails 2023 in Cocoa Beach this past weekend, "The Early 1950s PFE Fleet: Prototypes and Modeling Details You Might Have Overlooked." If you saw my presentation at Hindsight on basically the same topic, this clinic was greatly expanded as the format was for one hour presentation.