Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Interesting contrast in tank car photos

I check the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library flickr site at least once per week to see if anything new has been posted. I recently noticed two photos that I thought provide a nice contrast. The first photo, of Mexican Petroleum (MPLX) 356 is an American Car & Foundry Type 17 10,000 gallon tank car, built in January, 1919. It incorporated the details typical of the AC&F Type 17, notably the underframe. The other important details for a Type 17 include the double rows of 'staggered' rivets where the radially oriented tank sheets over and underlap each other and the tank relief valves mounted on an 'elbow' attached to the side of the expansion dome.

Kanotex Refining (KOTX) 8108 presents an interesting contrast. While built in December, 1918, one month prior to MPLX 356 shown above, it has a 'modern' tank with longitudinally oriented tank sheets. It is also unusual in that most cars with longitudinally oriented tank sheets had tank relief valves mounted on top of the expansion dome, adjacent to the manway.

Lastly, I include a third photo to provide a counterpoint to complete the story. From March, 1920 is Transcontinental Oil (Marathon) TROX 1511, which displayed the 'complete' transition to a 'modern' car with longitudinally oriented tank sheets, relief valves on top of the expansion dome, and a safety manway. There are examples of AC&F tank cars with this arrangement of details from as early as 1919, including White Oil (WHOX) 1185, but that car had a white tank, making viewing of the details in the photo significantly more difficult.

Consider making a donation to the Barriger to support their efforts to share these wonderful photos via their flickr site.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Updated Kitbash clinic from Chicagoland RPM

The file for the clinic, "Finding Kitbashing Opportunities in Freight Cars," as presented at the Chicagoland RPM, 26-28 October 2017, has been posted. It may be accessed via the link.

On a separate, related note, the Chicagoland RPM is in full rebound. Last year's event was a great success, although the crowds were down after a couple years of drifting. However, the enthusiasm generated by Mike Skibbe and his crew was palpable. This year's event was equally as good and the jump in crowd size definitely reflected the buzz generated by the 2016 conference. This event is well on its way to the prominence that it had during the heyday of the 1990s. Congratulations to Mike and his team! I am looking forward to 2018. The RPM calendar is chock full of good venues to scratch the prototype itch.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Images from PRM Vol. Four

Cover photo of Jim Dufour's layout of the Cheshire Branch of the Boston & Maine
I know that not everyone out there will buy a copy of Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume Four. However, I am sure that many people out there appreciate seeing photos of finished models, so I am sharing some of the photos of the work that is included in the articles that either profile how to make these models or in the case of Jim Dufour's layout, his overall attention to detail and accuracy. Enjoy.

B&O M-15K as kitbashed by George Toman

Two kitbashed PFE R-40-14 reefers from Athearn and Intermountain models

NYC Lots 693-B end door box car and 742-B box car, as kitbashed

AAR 50-ton flat cars from, back to front, Pittsburgh Scale Models, WestRail, and Proto 2000
The Tichy flat car detailed as an NC&StL FM9

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Fixture" on CNW/CMO AAR Recommended Practice Gondolas

Jim Gerstley Collection
Yesterday, I posted a question to the Steam Era Freight Cars list (STMFC) on Yahoo! Groups in the hopes that someone could identify a detail on the CNW/CMO AAR Recommended Practice Gondolas built between 1945 and 1956. Here is the query:
If one looks at photos of the CNW/CMO AAR recommended practice and related "11-panel" gondolas of 1945-1956, there is a distinctive detail at the lower right corner of the far left panel (adjacent to the left end). It appears to be a casting of some sort. In looking at my photos, I cannot identify it or its purpose. Since it is on both sides of the car, it is unlikely a defect card holder, as these were usually only on one side of the car. Does anyone know what this detail is? 
It can be seen in the articles on these cars by Jeff Koeller in Mainline Modeler, May and June, 2005. 
The Sunshine kits do not duplicate this feature.
Page 42 from May 2005 Mainline Modeler

I received a few requests for photos or at least to be pointed to photos. To that end, I have created this blog post. Click on any of these images to view a larger version. The two-part article by Jeff Koeller is excellent and I recommend adding it to your library if you do not already have it.
Detail of CMO 88173 from page 42 of May 2005 MM.
CMO 88173 has its defect card holder (a different type of defect card holder) mounted in the same location as CNW 70351 shown above.

Can anyone identify this detail? It almost looks like one of those beer bottle openers mounted to the face of a bar... just sayin'

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What do you model?

This postwar scene is of New Haven I-2 Pacific 1305 arriving at Hartford from the south (New Haven) with a local passenger train. Armour facility, including a string of reefers, is at right. Kent Cochrane photo.
Asked almost as frequently among model railroaders as, “Do you have a layout?” is “What do you model?”, meaning some combination of what railroad(s), location, and era do you model? Like many, I have progressed in my interests and thinking. I have yet to truly construct anything beyond a modest, partially completed, New Haven-themed layout with my dad, and that was almost 30 years ago. About a decade ago, I conducted a lot of research and put some effort into designing a few different New Haven layouts, all in the central portion of Connecticut. 

Rough map of my GN-based Minnesota layout
A little less than ten years ago, I started to gravitate to the Great Northern, with its impressive steam power, first being attracted to the area between Litchfield and Benson, Minnesota (see the rough map I created). With my divorce and other life interruptions, I drifted away from things for several years. When I returned, I became smitten by the Inside Gateway from Bieber, California, with an interchange with the Western Pacific, north through Klamath Falls and over Southern Pacific trackage in places, up to Bend, Oregon (I was smitten with Bend literally, as well, looking to it as a place to move when I become an empty nester).

Medford, Oregon from the John W. Barriger National Railroad Library flickr site
At some point, I decided to look at things through a different lens. I asked myself what interests me most? It’s little surprise that my first love is freight equipment. Specifically, I like refrigerator cars, flat cars, and gondolas. There are many places in the Pacific Northwest where these car types were plentiful. I also know that I am not interested in modeling a hotshot mainline. My preference is for something more modest. That narrowed things further. Somehow I stumbled on to the SP in the area around Ashland and Medford, Oregon. The clincher: my favorite wheel arrangement is the 2-10-2, a locomotive used in great quantities by the SP to conquer the Siskiyous over one of the most daunting grades in the U.S.*, to meet the line to Dunsmuir, California (the 2-10-2s were known as “decks” by the SP crews). This line also continued to operate steam well into the 1950s, meaning I could move my chosen date to October, 1951, to accommodate some additional “modern“ freight equipment and October to coincide with the harvest season in the Rogue River Valley.

It will still be another several years before I can entertain actually building any of this, except for the rolling stock and perhaps a structure or two. However, I have settled on a place and time that answers the question, “What do you (aspire to) model?”

*the grades over the Siskiyous were severe enough that when the American Railway Association put the AB schedule brake equipment through its operational testing paces, that’s where the tests were conducted.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Very interesting placard

Over the past few weeks I have been working on several sets of Bangor and Aroostook decal artwork. I came across something in this photo* that I had not noticed previously and I found it to be interesting enough to share. The placard on the door not only cautioned that the car contained newsprint, but the placard was actually shaped like a roll of newsprint. I plan to create this placard in HO scale and it will add a nice, prototypical touch to a BAR or Maine Central box car model in future. 

The lettering on the placard read, "NEWSPRINT" and the next line cautioned, "TAKE IT EASY". I can not discern the smaller writing below that. A mystery to be solved...

*BAR 5523 was a 1932 ARA design box car, built February, 1945 as BAR 65523 by Magor Car Corporation and renumbered to BAR 5523. As shown here at Readville, Massachusetts on June 28, 1958, it had been repainted in the "STATE OF MAINE" scheme with red, white, and blue stripes on the sides and black ends, roof, and underframe.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kitbash Clinic from St. Louis RPM

The file for my presentation at the St. Louis RPM can be accessed via this LINK (it's not wildly different from what I presented at the NERPM... however, I have made much progress on models since St. Louis so the next time I present this topic, it will be quite different!)

Any questions can be posted in the comments section below. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

St. Louis RPM 2017

A Santa Fe GA-43 converted covered hopper from Sunshine mini-kit by Clark Cooper - a car sitting in my stash - inspiration!
Before my hiatus from attending most of the RPMs circa 2010-2015, I had been a (mostly) regular at the St. Louis RPM held each year in Collinsville, Illinois. At that time it was generally a vendor and modeler-centric event with one clinic running at any given moment, in the corner, behind a curtain. Models were clearly the focus of the event.

Tom Palmer brought a large group of cars from Texas... mostly resin
Fast forward to my first visit in several years during last summer's event in August, 2016. Things could not have been more different. Gone were the concrete floors with black mats and the clinics held behind a curtain. Also, the crowd had doubled in size.

Early TOFC and early covered hoppers from Ben Bartlett
For 2017, the decision was made to add a second track of clinics so there were two running simultaneously. The number of attendees grew, as well, to 550+. The model/vendor room is now the size of a modest exhibition hall. All this has combined to make the event the "RPM National". 

A variety of models from Rick Mink
The photos here are not intended to be the top models at the event nor are they included for any other reason than they caught my eye. The modeling was top-flight and the general sense of mutual admiration was palpable. There were a lot of talented people at the event and the models clearly illustrated that point. As abundant as the number of models was the generosity in sharing peoples' talents and skills. Everybody was happy to humbly share their skills and techniques through a seemingly infinite number of on the spot show-and-tell sessions. There was a lot to absorb.

Crazy realistic weathering by Don Schnurpfeil
Lastly, the organizers were first-rate at assembling a great group of clinicians, vendors, and attendees and keeping the trains running on time. They did an excellent job of welcoming everyone and providing information to keep even the first-time attendees up to speed.

Another great weathering job, this one by George Malcolm
I highly recommend putting this on your calendar. It is well worth the visit. The facility is ideal, the hotels circling the venue are convenient, and the plethora of nearby restaurants the cherry on the sundae. See you next year!

New technologies abound... a 3D printed SP C-40-3 kit from Bruce Barney
A selection of fine models by Gregor Moe
Three models by Mike Wise and Bill Giese... love the Quanah Route cars!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Commercial Solvents Corporation tank car mystery not solved, but...

Commercial Solvents Corporation 1955 Annual Report, front cover

When I initially sought assistance in identifying the colors of the logos, etc., on GATX 65808, I received some good advice as well as some good conjectures about the colors. I was also directed to the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute by Richard Brennan, where there are materials about the company in the library's archives. Knowing I was going to pass right through Terre Haute on my way to the St. Louis RPM, I allocated time for a visit. The bad news is that I did not find the colors for GATX 65808. However, among the many annual reports in the collection was the 1955 edition. Interestingly, that annual report featured a full color cover, unique among all the CSC annual reports I perused (all others were black ink on various shades of white paper, with a single spot color for effects, graphs, tables, charts, etc.) It was undoubtedly expensive to print such a glossy color cover. 

Commercial Solvents Corporation 1955 Annual Report, rear cover
However, we are the beneficiaries of the cost. On the back cover was an image of GATX 74805. While it is of a different prototype and certainly different color in the logos than GATX 65808, it is nonetheless an interesting find. The image of the car itself is isolated below. It was an insulated car (TRI) with an aluminum tank and a capacity of 10,112 gallons, part of series 74800-74899, 25 cars in January, 1953. I have tried unsuccessfully to identify the exact classification and I just cannot make out the lettering. My guess is ICC 201-A-35-W, but I am simply not sure.

I owe a huge thank you to Sean Eisele and the staff of the Vigo County Public Library.

GATX 74805 from Commercial Solvents Corporation 1955 Annual Report, rear cover

Friday, June 9, 2017

A little help please

Col. Chet McCoid photo, Fayetteville, North Carolina, March 26, 1959, Bob's Photo
I picked up this photo at the NERPM this past weekend. The subject was a postwar General American welded tank car built in March, 1948. You can click on the photo for a larger view. My question is if anybody out there knows the colors of the tank and the various parts of the Commercials Solvents Corp. slogans and emblems. Any help, clues or shoves in the right direction are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Focus on Freight Cars Freebie

While going through the head end, passenger, and locomotive photos in preparation for Focus on Freight Cars, Vol. Eleven, I found a single freight car photo mixed in with the aforementioned subject matter. That part of the series is closed, unless the remainder of the freight car negatives turn up at some future date. However, I thought I would share the photo that was uncovered. It was Union Oil of California 8018, a three compartment car built in May, 1916 (near as I can discern, although the image is not perfectly sharp) by General American. It is a pre-1917 GATC design, with different bolsters than used on the 1917-design cars and slightly higher running boards (note the metal pieces on top of the center sills at the draft gear, used to raise the height of the running boards). It is typical of cars built prior to May 1, 1917, with a single row of rivets where the radially arranged tank sheets overlapped. This car has double rivet rows in two places; on these double rows, the row closest to the center of the car is where the tank sheets overlap and the rows closer to the ends of the car are where the center compartment's tank heads (ends) are located (thank you to Dan Smith for the correction). Dan also noted that this car had seven tank bands. I will add that the three bands where the dome are located are "yoke-style", splitting and circling the dome. The ones located at the domes at the ends of the car also have steps on their faces, a common trait on early GATC design cars. On this car, the center compartment ("B") was 2,057 gallons capacity, while the nearest compartment ("C") was 2,984 and the far compartment ("A") was 2,982 gallons capacity. The double rivet rows are spaced relatively close to each other because of the disparity between the capacities of the center compartment versus the two outer compartments. Enjoy!

Note: this post has been edited to correct an error in the original posting, as described above.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Presentation files from NERPM

As promised, here are the links to view the two presentation files from my talks at the NERPM from this past weekend (02-03 June 2017). This year's event boasted great clinics, excellent display models, and many great vendors. If you're looking for a high quality meet that offers a varied program, I enthusiastically recommend putting it on the calendar next year.
Please bear in mind that both presentations contain speaking elements that are absent in the files. That is particularly important for the decal artwork presentation, as there was a "live" demonstration that is absent from the "static" slides. I will attempt to present this material again to allow others to see it "live".

Friday, May 19, 2017

Building the DT&I 7000-series gon - part 2

In Part 1 about building the DT&I 7000-series gon, I covered all of the building, detailing, modifications, etc. This post discusses the finishing of the model.

The deck after application of a primer coat before additional coloring

I had a spare floor from a Proto 2000 gon kit, as I had used a laser cut wood floor in one of my Proto 2000 gons. It was a simple matter to shorten the styrene floor to fit the DT&I gon. I used 150 and 220-grit sandpaper to roughen up the surface of the deck and also to remove enough material that the grooves in the deck were less prominent, and even barely discernible in some places. When I primed the model (more on that below) I also airbrushed a thin layer of primer on the deck. Next, I airbrushed the deck with Tamiya Desert Yellow (XF-59). After allowing the deck to dry, I drybrushed the surface with Testors Model Master Flat Interior Tan. Drybrushing is a technique where a paintbrush (usually with stiff bristles) is dipped in paint and then most of the paint is removed (by rubbing on something such as a paper towel), so that when the brush is rubbed along a surface, it highlights raised details. In this instance, it created a subtle difference in hues, although it can also be used to create strong, but subtle contrast. Next, I used a stiff wire brush, working in strokes parallel to the floor boards, to blend and slightly roughen the surface. I sealed everything with Testors Dullcote. I then added various colors of PanPastels and Bragdon's powders in browns and grays, varying the application and/or intensity for different floor boards. Everything was again sealed with Testors Dullcote. Finally, I applied a dilute wash of acrylic flat black applied with a brush. This is the first time I have tried this method and, overall, I am happy with the result, although I still feel that the effect is not a muted as I would like. I will keep refining the technique and will report back with more results.

The finished model
I have a fairly standard regimen I follow for painting models. I use a Paasche Air Eraser to blast all metal and engineering plastic surfaces to improve paint adhesion on these surfaces. These include wire details, truck sideframes, wheelsets, hand brake wheel, etc. The medium I use is 220-grit aluminum oxide. After this I wash the model, trucks, etc., with liquid dishwashing detergent and a soft toothbrush. I rinse the model and allow it to thoroughly air dry. I always apply a primer coat, Tru-Color in this instance, although I have used other brands. I painted the DT&I gon with Tru-Color CB&Q Freight Car Red (TCP-240), a darker shade of freight car red with no orange hues. The truck sideframes and wheelsets were painted black. The Tru-Color paints dry to a glossy finish perfect for decaling.

I applied the decals (Speedwitch D157) with water followed by Walthers Solvaset setting solution. The bubbles and trapped air were popped and sliced followed by more Solvaset. I omitted the capacity data, reweigh location, brake test, and repack stencils until after weathering. I decided to model a car circa 1951 that had not been repainted since delivery, a period of ten years. I sealed the decals with with Testors Dullcote.

I weathered the car in stages. I started by applying Bragdon Enterprises dark rust (FF-63) powder to all surfaces. This served two purposes: it made the color of the car look slightly faded and also made the white stenciling appear slightly faded, a desired effect for a ten-year-old paint job. I also added PanPastel Raw Umber powder. I sealed the powders with Testors Dullcote followed by Testors Glosscote. I added numerous chalk markings (Speedwitch D135) followed by Testors Dullcote. Over these, I added Bragdon Grimy Gray (FF-67), again sealed with Testors Dullcote. Lastly, I applied fresh paint patches and "clean" load limit, light weight, reweigh location and date, brake test, and repack stencils. Again, these were sealed with Testors Dullcote followed by a very light application of Bragdon Grimy Gray, sealed with Testors Dullcote.
The finished model showing the floor boards

For the interior surfaces of the gon, I sprayed it black, but then covered it liberally with various shades of Bragdon rust colored powders followed by Grimy Gray. These were sealed with Testors Dullcote. I glued lead sheet to the interior cavity in the gon and then added the floor.

I applied small paper bits on the routing card boards, affixed with the Goo-MEK mixture. I added Hi-Tech Details angle cock/air hoses. I replaced the trucks and the model was ready to go. I will go back and add some debris and dunnage to the floor for added realism.

Some of these castings and decals may be ordered from the Speedwitch site.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Building the DT&I 7000-series gon... or nothing is ever as easy as it should be

Greenville Steel Car Company, Hawkins/Wider/Long Collection

Almost 15 months ago (I can’t fathom how it’s been that long) I posted an alternative means to create a DT&I gondola, using the Proto 2000 Greenville gon instead of the more commonly used Athearn gon. Interestingly, I recently came across Richard Hendrickson’s article on dating freight cars in the June, 1997 issue of RailModel Journal and he included a photo of his kitbash of a DT&I gon using the Athearn model, but mused that “today it would be easier to use a Life-Like [Proto 2000] kit”. Quite literally within hours of my post, Frank Hodina had done the hard work of cutting and re-assembling to create the DT&I gon. He sent the completed body to Tom Madden, who, in turn, copied and cast the body and ends. I created artwork for decals that I had printed and offer as Speedwitch D157.

Before discussing the model, a bit about the prototype… the Detroit, Toldeo & Ironton purchased 300 41'6" drop end mill gondolas that were obviously influenced by the Greenville-design 52'6" mill gondola that became the predominant mill gondola of the 1940s, purchased by roads including Erie, Pere Marquette, Nickel Plate, New York Central, Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, DT&I, St. Louis - San Francisco, Burlington, and Western Pacific, among others (see Railway Prototype Cyclopedia, Vol. 3). The DT&I cars were placed in the series 7000-7299. In the postwar period, large numbers of the cars were assigned to auto frame loading, including fixtures to secure the frames. As built, the cars were painted mineral red, but in the postwar years, the DT&I transitioned to painting gondolas black.

My initial (mis)perception was that this would be a very easy car to complete. I decided at the outset that I would completely ignore all underframe detail, as it would not be visible with the deep sides and the car body setting low on the trucks. Honestly, that approach would still result in a very fine model. Of course, I made the mistake of looking at prototype photos and noticed that there was a lack of rivet detail where it should have been had the cars had collapsible stake pockets on the interior, meaning that the DT&I gons lacked the interior stake pockets present on the Proto 2000 (as well as the kitbashed resin) gondola. Another detail I noticed was that while the Proto 2000 side structural members had rivets at all locations, the DT&I gon had rivets at alternate locations on the flanges at either side of the structural members, above the floor line, except for the members where the interior side splice plates were located. Additionally, I noticed that the body bolsters and truck kingpins were located closer to the center of the car than on the Proto 2000 model. Finally, the DT&I gons had push pole pockets that were missing from the Proto 2000 gon. There are a few other more subtle differences highlighted herein. Note: if the car is modeled with a load, most of these differences, save the bolster/truck location, would not be visible or of the extreme nitpicking variety anyway.

I stripped the detail from the interior of the sides. I decided it would be relatively easy to add splice plates, the portion of the bulb angle at the top of the inside of the car side, and rivets at the appropriate locations. Using a Mission Models chisel tool as well as an Xacto no. 17 chisel blade, I removed all interior detail. I filled the surface defects and marks left by the chiseling with Mr. Surfacer 1200 and ACC and sanded the interior smooth by wet sanding with 320, 400, and finally, 600 grit sandpaper. The flange of the bulb angle that was attached to the top of the interior of the car sides (speaking of the prototype) was replicated with a strip of 0.005" styrene, four (4) scale inches in width. This was attached to the top edge of the interior using a mixture of 50% Goo and 50% MEK (methyl ethyl ketone). This Goo-MEK mix is my default adhesive for dissimilar materials. I keep a small jar of the mixture on my workbench and use it regularly. I applied ACC along the top edge of the side as an added adhesive, as well as a filler. While the ACC was still somewhat soft, I ran a few drops of water along the ACC and then wet sanded the surface with 320, 400, and 600 grit sandpaper (once ACC has completely dried and hardened, it sands at a dissimilar rate than resin or styrene, making it easy to remove more of one material than another, creating unrealistic variations in the surface; by sanding while the ACC is still somewhat “soft”, it is easier to uniformly remove material when sanding.) Next, again using Goo-MEK, I added 0.005” styrene strips, eight (8) scale inches wide, where the side sheets were spliced. I located these strips by holding up the casting to a strong light so I could carefully align the strips with the outside structural members. At the top of the interior of the side, these strips overlap the bulb angle. MEK helped the strips to conform, but this also caused minor buckling and pitting of the strip. I filled the surface of the strip with Mr. Surfacer (this is the reason for the gray areas present in the strip) and sanded it smooth with sandpaper. 

The rivets that I added to the interior are from Archer Surface Details. Because most of the rivets on the prototype were spaced in an alternate fashion, and I did not want to apply them one at a time, I improvised by cutting the rivet strips in a zig-zag fashion. See the attached graphic. This allowed me to mostly place the rivets in groups. The rivets along the top edge, on the bulb angle, do not alternate and were applied in several long strips. The rivets at the splice plates do not alternate, so they were applied straight from the Archer sheet. I added several applications of decal setting solution, popped all air bubbles and then brushed on a coat of Future floor wax to seal the decals. Future provides a protective barrier, is quite thin, and levels nicely even when applied with a brush.

On the exterior of the car, I made a few updates to the rivets and other details, as well. I removed the rivets from the structural members, in locations where they were absent on the prototype. I also removed the bolster and stake pocket rivets. The prototype had towing loops below the side sills, so I removed the towing loops present on the sides. New rivets were added at the appropriate locations for the bolsters, where the towing loops had been, and a couple other locations as seen on the prototype. These were all sealed with Future, as well. 

The towing loops on the bottom of the side sills were scratchbuilt. The loops are 0.012" wire, bent in a circular shape and inserted to holes drilled in the appropriate locations. The ends of the loops were simulated with 0.7 mm discs punched from 0.005" styrene. Rivets harvested from an Athearn undecorated snow plow shell were glued in the center of these discs. The discs were punched using an RP Toolz punch and die set that I will review in a separate, upcoming post on this blog.

I already made reference to the location of the bolsters in a couple places herein. That was easily the biggest surprise in this project. I did not want to engage in a complete rebuild of the underframe. Fortunately, the car sits low enough that I could just create a relocated truck mounting “pad” and add some 0.005" styrene below the side sill to simulate the outer portion of the bottom body bolster cover plates. The truck mounting “pads” are 0.020" thick styrene glued in place to align with the rivet locations on the car side. New truck holes were drilled and 3/16" 2-56 screws hold the trucks in place. The simulated ends of the body bolster cover plates are 0.005" styrene strips sixteen (16) scale inches wide, with the depth not too important. Also, note that material was removed from the adjacent crossties to ensure free truck operation.

On the left side of the car (left if looking at the B [brake] end of the car), I added the appropriate details to replicate the visible brake detail. The pressure retaining valve is part of the body casting. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the valve, as well as a hole in the car side, and added 0.008" wire to replicate the retainer pipe. I also added three rivets to represent the bracket (not visible) for the AB valve (note that these rivets were added after the in-progress photo was taken so they are only visible in the photo of the primed car body; they are highlighted with a “callout”.) The mounting plate for the hand brake was created from 0.005" styrene, fourteen (14) scale inches wide and trimmed as shown. It was glued against the flange of the frame of the end, using the Goo-MEK mixture, followed by ACC. The hand brake was replicated using a Tichy Ajax power hand brake housing, a Kadee Ajax hand wheel, and a segment of Builders in Scale chain spanning the hand brake housing and the end sill, as shown. U-shaped wire loops created from 0.010" wire were used at each end of the chain and glued into holes drilled with a no. 79 drill bit to secure the chain.

The DT&I prototypes had push pole pockets that are absent on the car body casting. I created these using 2.0 mm discs punched from 0.020" styrene. I glued the discs in place using the Goo-MEK mix and then added ACC around the perimeter of the discs. I used a no. 50 drill bit to create the round depression in the face of the push pole pockets. The uncoupling devices were fashioned by first adding 0.010" x 0.060" styrene strips below the push pole pockets on the ends. To the face of the styrene strips, I added cast resin brackets from the spare parts bin, although suitable facsimiles could be created from styrene strip and eye bolts. The devices themselves were bent from 0.012" wire.

I added several other details that are noted here, but require little additional explanation. The grab irons were created from 0.010" wire and inserted into holes drilled with a no. 79 drill bit. The sill steps are A Line steps bent to match those on the prototype and inserted into holes (no. 73 drill bit), using the details on the car body as a guide. The coupler covers are 0.020" styrene cut to fit, and secured with 1/8" 0-80 screws (the casting set comes with covers; I received my casting set before the covers were added to the "package"). I used Kadee no. 153 “short shank” scale couplers with “whisker” centering springs. Tahoe Model Works TMW-107/207 AAR double truss trucks are a match for the prototype.

Part two of this model build will be posted later this week and will include painting, decaling, weathering, floor, etc….

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Finding Kitbashing Opportunities in Freight Cars (beta release)

I presented the linked clinic at the RPM-East meet in Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, 24-25 March 2017. It is a first draft of what will be an evolving clinic over the coming year, with updated presentations at Enfield, CT (New England/Northeast RPM, 02-03 June 2017), Collinsville, IL (St. Louis RPM, 23-24 June 2017), Lisle, IL (Chicagoland RPM, 26-28 October 2017), and Cocoa Beach, FL (Prototype Rails, January 2018).

For those who saw the clinic at RPM-East, I made a couple edits to the file, although the only one you might notice is that the CNW PS-1 auto car is a more complicated beast than I initially thought. It was a taller car than standard, at an inside height of 10'8". This manifests itself in a few ways, with the biggest being the doors were one "rib" taller than the doors offered in styrene. I have already begun the work of cutting and splicing Branchline doors for the project. They'll be duped and will be available as resin parts this year. I also have ordered photos from the Haskell & Barker Collection at the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian) that illustrate the interior of the car prior to the addition of the floor boards, providing some good data points about the arrangement of the underframe, as drawings were not available from the Pullman Library at the Illinois Railway Museum.

The direction of the clinic will evolve over the year also, as I act on these projects and actually build the models that I have only hinted at in many cases. The amended file will be updated here as it is presented according to the schedule noted above. A number of these projects will be profiled as full-blown articles in Prototype Railroad Modeling, as I plan at least two volumes of the journal this year.

Without further ado, here is the link to the file:

Speedwitch Files