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".