Thursday, July 30, 2020

Simple Tool


This is a very short post from vacationland up in the Adirondacks. Anyone who has worked in an office for the last decade has likely seen these things, although you may not have paid them much attention. They are the skewers used for fruit in the fruit "bouquets" marketed by Edible Arrangements. As a modeler always looking at the functionality of things, I thought they might be useful and grabbed a bunch. They proved be quite useful for two things. One end is shaped akin to a Phillips head screwdriver. That one functions well as a manual uncoupling tool. The other end works as a handle for holding truck sideframes while painting. Simply slide the bolster truck mounting hole over the tool. It is a particularly good fit for Tahoe Model Works truck sideframes.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The enigmatic PRR 2D-F8 truck

T. S. Martorano Collection
One of the interesting things about the Pennsy was its trucks. Like everything the Pennsy did, they were different. The trucks used on the X29 (and X28) illustrate this. The 2D-F8 (PRR designation) truck had a pronounced droop at the bottom of the sideframe, lending the trucks a distinct shape. This was similar to the ARA Type Y cast sideframe design. However, the Pennsy also employed several different types of bolsters, resulting in a dog's breakfast of combinations after cars were shopped. X29 572110 shown above is a fine example, with what I am calling an "ARA" bolster on the left truck and a "box" bolster on the right truck (click on images for larger views). Here are views of a few others, along with HO scale truck references



This is an early bolster with a notably sloped face in the bolster end. This is the truck included in the Red Caboose HO scale X29 model.


This and the following image illustrate the "box" bolster. This truck was offered by Sunshine Models as a set of white metal castings to be assembled by the modeler.



This bolster is what I have dubbed the "ARA" bolster. I am not aware of an HO scale offering for this. Should Kadee get around to offering an 'HGC' version of their 2D-F8 truck, I would lobby for this as it could be used as a Type Y stand-in, most notably for several PFE reefers. That beer can-like thing where the outer right hand spring is supposed to be located is a Miner snubber, which was supposed to reduce harmonic oscillation and improve ride qualities. There were other flavors. See the CP chapter in your 1932 ARA box car book.


This is the last and most "modern" of the bolsters with a vertical web cast in the center of the outer portion. This truck has been reproduced in HO scale by Bowser.

Note that while I have highlighted these as shown on X29s, they were used on many, many others classes of 50 and 55-ton PRR cars, so having representations of all of them in HO scale is a good thing, even for non SPFs*.

*Slobbering Pennsy Freaks

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

An additional silver lining in the Rapido X31 announcement


One of the additional benefits of Rapido's announcement of the PRR X31A box and auto cars is that we should have two additional finely detailed power hand brakes in HO scale. One is the Equipco 3160 model with E-312 hand wheel, as shown above on PRR X31A 69308. Because it was offered in the early 1930s, applications of this hand brake are few (at least I haven't come across many in my research). The three I have found are:

  • Some of the late Dreadnaught end PRR X29 box cars
  • Several members of the early X31 family
  • NdeM 1932 ARA box cars 60000-60599 (see above)


The other power hand brake that will be produced is an early Ajax power hand brake (there were many subtle changes to the housing over the years, so which version will be produced is not known by me) with no. 3059 hand wheel, which had only four "spokes" in the center - see above. The 3059 hand wheel has been offered for years by Intermountain, but is heavy in detail, so a finer version is most welcome, as its adoption was wide and deep.


Now, Rapido, why not do the Universal 5700XL with M1704 hand wheel that was used on many members of the X31A family (please)

Note: I did provide reference materials to Rapido for this project, but have not been consulted about the models, including any test shots of pre-production models.

Yes, it had been a long while since my last post. More on that in a post in the near future...

Monday, January 20, 2020

Modeling the Lake Superior & Ishpeming PS-1 Box Car - Part 2


This is the left side of the car as re-detailed
Over a year ago (!) I wrote about the things I would need to do to model a Lake Superior & Ishpeming (or New York Central) PS-1 box car. I have done almost all of the work highlighted in the post and the updates are shown here. I am certain that with some paint and weathering the white bits that are difficult to see herein will display more clearly. I will post the finished and weathered model in Part 3.

This is the first phase of the lower door tracks. The seven lower pieces are 0.015" x 0.040" strips on a scale 5 inch wide strip of 0.005" with equal overhang on both sides. The upper strip on edge is an HO scale 1x2.

The "face" of the track is a 4 inch wide 0.005" strip. Individual rivets were glued in place (note that the "missing" one was flicked off and needs a replacement.) The fixtures that held the door open or closed are scratchbuilt using photos as guide. They will undoubtedly be rendered better in photos once painted.

The lower right corner, with push pole pockets (they were welded in place so there are no rivets, just pairs of discs punched from 0.005" styrene.) The sill step is from A-Line while the short sill section and corner "wraparound" are scratched from styrene.

The push pole pocket was fashioned from a styrene disc that was shaped (note that the left edge is "open" in a crescent shape as on the prototype) from a styrene disc. The center was "dished" using a no. 50 drill. The uncoupling lever was bent from 0.012" wire and the bracket is sheet brass bent to shape.

The defect card holder on the sill of the right side of the car was created by filing 0.015" x 0.025" styrene strip (0.010" x 0.015" butt-glued against a 0.015" x 0.015" strip) and adding a 0.005" styrene "flap" as shown

The placard boards were created to replicate those of the prototype, using individual boards and a "frame" of 0.005" styrene

The AB brake components, piping, and rods were all replaced

The view from the "top" of the underframe

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Prototype Rails 2020

Bruce Smith displayed many cars with military loads, including this CNW AAR flat car with Roco tanks
Prototype Rails 2020 was hosted at the Hilton Oceanfront in Cocoa Beach, Florida January 9-11. Mike Brock and his able crew put together another excellent event with nationally recognized clinicians, a great vendor and model room, cookies twice per day, and perfect weather. Unfortunately, while the clinic list was impressive, I failed to attend the few that I most wanted to see. However, it was another fantastic weekend. This event easily retains its position as the most relaxing on the RPM calendar. I managed to record several photos of modelers' efforts in the display room. Here is a sample of what was out on the tables.
This is an in-progress Cannon parts set to model a Seaboard Air Line (later SCL) phosphate box car displayed by Ken O'Brien

Randy Hammill of Prototype Junction had an in-progress New Haven DL-109 on view

This exquisitely weathered model was displayed by Thoroughbred Railroad Models

Bill Raymond scratchbuilt this model of a B&O Chicago Terminal Railroad transfer caboose, one of six such prototypes converted from secondhand M-43 class cars absorbed from the BR&P

Event host Mike Brock showed off this heavily weathered ART reefer, presumably from an Amarillo Railroad Museum/Intermountain car

Dr. Denny Anspach cobbled together parts from NKP Car, Bethlehem, CalScale, Hi-Tech, Central Valley, and American Limited to model CB&Q Diner-Parlor 307
Steve Orth modeled Union Pacific diner 3696 using two Walthers cars, a roof spliced from Walthers and Branchline parts, plus a scratchbuilt underframe detailed with Walthers. Branchline, and scratchbuilt parts


Eric Thur displayed several flat cars with heavy loads, including this PRR flat by F&C with a 3D printed load from Multiscale Digital (eBay seller id: multiscale_digital_llc)


Steve Hile brought this impressive model of the coal chute at Bureau Junction, Illinois on the Rock Island all the way from Chicago (hopefully he brought it by car and not via airline!)

Ross Dando/Twin Star Cars showed off this exquisite O scale rebuilt Rock Island flat car, including stunning deck
Jim Zwerneman scratchbuilt the major components of this Fort Worth & Denver box car and married it to an Atlas roof. The decals are from Bruce Blalock and the trucks are Proto48 standard

Ryan Mendel of Nation Scale Car brought an in-progress B&O M-26D/E using Speedwitch Duryea under frame parts
Brian Carlson used a Sunshine Naperville "gift" kit of the FM-11/FM-11A class flat car plus a Sunshine min-kit for a pair of Caterpillar crawlers

This F37 class flat car is an F&C resin kit as built and detailed by Bruce Smith
Al Brown scratchbuilt this impressive Seaboard Air Line AF class 50' auto car using styrene


Blair Davies shortened an Athearn 70' baggage car to 60 feet and added scratchbuilt sides to replicate an Erie baggage car


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Scratchbuilding Clinic File


As promised, here is a link to my presentation file from the scratchbuilding clinic presented at Prototype Rails this past weekend.

One note: I had described the challenges of photographing some things without the benefit of extra hands. I think I have come up with a solution that I will use to allow me to post several videos that should illustrate many of the techniques described during the clinic. Please check back here over the coming weeks to see those videos.

Later this week, I will post some of my photos from the model display area.