Thursday, December 2, 2021

PFE Trust Plate

I am not normally a collector of railroadiana and such, but with an interest in PFE cars and freight cars, in general, this was something that struck me. The "buy it now" option on eBay was modest (relatively) and the seller offered a further discount after I had "watched" the item. So... I decided to treat myself. If you're not familiar with such things, you might inquire what exactly this thing is.

Many railroads financed equipment purchases via trusts. The trusts were effectively like bonds. The capital markets provided money to finance purchases, the railroads received their equipment, and the owners of these bonds ("certificates") received regular cash payments until the terms were satisfied. At that point, the railroad owned the equipment and the obligations under trust were satisfied. Once satisfied, the plate that designated that the car was owned as part of a trust could be removed as the railroad then owned the equipment outright.

Which brings us to this particular trust plate. The details of the trust are noted in the text from Moody's Analyses of Investments and Security Rating Service for Railroad Securities, 1925, Moody's Investor Service (digitized by Google Books.) The cars in question were 5,000 refrigerator cars for freight service and 300 refrigerator cars for use in express service via passenger trains. I do not have the relevant specifics for the freight reefers, but it is likely they were a mix of classes R-30-12 and -13. The express cars were those in the 500-799 series, built in 1923-1924. The plate does not have the specific information about which builder and series it was a part of, but it is a cool thing (to me) to have, both for its age (~98 years old at this writing) and because of my interest in Steam Era freight equipment.

Relevant text from Moody's

While this "investment" is purely a luxury, it will look nice adorning a spot on the wall in the room where I do my modeling.

P.S. for those who are curious, it measures 18 x 8 x approx. 3/8 inches and weighs about 25 pounds.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Baltimore & Ohio P-11 Flat Car


When I built my PRR FM class flat car (Part One and Part Two,) I alluded that I would follow up with a build of a B&O P-11 class flat car, a virtual clone of the Pennsy FM. That effort is presented here. While I used an F&C kit for the PRR FM, I modeled the B&O P-11 using a Sunshine kit I had on hand. The Sunshine kit is easier due to the stake pockets being integral to the "side" castings. However, the sides, ends, and underframe are separate parts, meaning the basic car body must be assembled. I did not find that difficult and given the choice, I preferred assembling the Sunshine car body over the one-piece F&C car body, since the F&C kit required the fiddly step of adding the individual stake pockets.

The Sunshine kit is older and suffers from a few inaccuracies that I corrected. They included converting the end sills to channel sections with the flanges facing outwards and replacing the bottom crossbearer cover plates. I added lead weights to this model and opted to forgo brake equipment. I also built a deck from scratch using strip styrene, which looks great, but led to a noticeable curving of the car body from end-to-end, that required a maddeningly difficult resolution.

The underbody casting with sides (but not ends) added

The "stock" end before modification

The "stock" end as viewed from above

The modified end with new push pole pockets, draft gear casting and webs added (trimmed on right and untrimmed on left)

I removed all detail from the ends and then created new details from scratch. This involved adding 0.005" styrene at the corners and around the draft gear (coupler) opening. I punched styrene discs that were added to the corners and then "dished" using a drill bit. The grey color is Mr. Surfacer 1200 added to create a softer, rounder look to the depressions. I added strip in several places to simulate the triangular webs around the push pole circles and the draft gear. These were trimmed to a triangular profile, as shown in the photo of the completed end.

The modified end in the same state as the photo directly above, but from a different angle, showing the castings (simulated with 0.005" styrene) wrapped around the corner

The end after detailing, including top and bottom flanges of the channel end sills, simulated with 0.005" styrene strips plus rivets, grab irons, uncoupling devices, and angle cock/air hoses. The sill steps are also visible

Detailing followed my typical process. Grabs were bent from 0.010" wire while the uncoupling rods are 0.012" wire with Yarmouth etched eye bolts. The grab attachments are tiny discs punched from 0.005: styrene with rivets added. Those rivets, as well as the ones at the corners, were harvested from an Athearn snowplow shell. Angle cock/air hose parts are by Hi-Tech. The sill steps are etched parts from Yarmouth.

The route card boards were fashioned from styrene strip with a "frame" of 0.005" styrene. The first deck boards are visible, as well

This photo illustrates the addition of the first deck boards, working from the car center toward the ends

The deck was fashioned from individual styrene 0.030" x 0.080" styrene strips. The individual boards were sanded a bit, to create a bit of texture. They were notched in appropriate locations to fit around the stake pockets.

A view of the almost completed deck and stake pocket openings

A similar view, but of the entire car

The model after detailing was completed, ready for blasting and painting

The story has a bit of a muddled finish. I painted, lettered and weathered the model, only to see the curve in the top of the deck become more pronounced over time, resulting in an unrealistic dip in the center of the car. I used almost boiling water to straighten things out to an acceptable degree, but the ancillary result was that the finish of the model was ruined. I have to remove the lettering and repaint the sides and re-decal and then weather the car again. To be continued... sigh

Monday, November 22, 2021

Friday, November 5, 2021



Tamiya 1/48 Spitfire Mk. I

I took a "break" from the demands of the day job to venture down to Florida where, with the help of Jon Cagle of Southern Car & Foundry, we began the process of disposing of some of Bill Welch's estate items. The first task was to bring his considerable stash of plastic models, including what was surely at least one of every 1/35 scale Sherman tank kit and/or accessory that has ever been produced. We set up a couple of tables at Modelpalooza and managed to move the goods, so to speak. The event was an IPMS meet, similar to RPM meets, with vendors, models on display, and clinics. I have always espoused following the efforts and tools of our cousins in the military/plastic modeling communities as they often have tools, techniques, and skills that are equally applicable to our efforts, but often don't cross over to our community. I have included some photos of the fine efforts I saw, with a bias towards my own interest in WWII aircraft. There was even a model railroad themed display (scroll down.) Enjoy!

note that captions do not include names of the modelers as the models are to be judged and are anonymous to remove any bias

P.S. I will be getting back to a more regular blogging cycle, both because I miss it and I also have several projects to update.

Eduard (I believe) 1/48 P-51D

Hasegawa 1/48 F6F-3

Eduard (?) Bf109E-3

Bf109F (not sure of the subvariant)

Eduard Spitfire Mk. IXc

1/72 B-52G

AMT 1/48 A-20G

1/48 Bf109E-7 (I think it's a -7)

TBF Avenger (can't recall if it's 1/32 or 1/24... it was big)

1/48 F-14 Tomcat (I think -D)

Jagdpanzer 38

Sherman (don't know the subvariant details. Sorry!)

Half-track (and towing, but not visible, 8.8 cm anti-tank gun)

A model railroad diorama!

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Lots of interesting things in this photo

This photo of Clyde Yard from the Newberry Library from the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy collection. The image was recorded by Russell Lee in May, 1948.

In the image below, I have overlaid text to highlight some of the details. Views of roofs are especially interesting as they illustrate the diversity of types, as well as the differing heights of cars. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

When is a Monon Box Car not a Monon Box Car?


John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library

This photo was recently posted at the Barriger's flickr site. It immediately grabbed my attention because I knew from the car number and details that it was not a Monon car. CIL 9147 was a 1937 AAR-design car, like CIL 9157 shown below. Monon's 1947-built cars were different, as well, with welded sides and Improved Dreadnaught ends with full-width top ribs and that group of cars also had either Superior or Improved Youngstown doors. I love this type of challenge. Fortunately, I knew immediately what it was, but as an A+ geometry student in high school, I like working through the proof.

This is what CIL 9147 would have looked like, including the National B-1 trucks:

Big Four Graphics

Here are the details that I used to arrive at the real prototype (highlighted in the image below):

  • "Bow-tie" arrangement of rivets at the bolsters
  • Pre-war Youngstown doors
  • Abbreviated top rib in Improved Dreadnaught ends
  • "Kinked" right ladder stile
  • Capacity data fully spelled out, along with type style

The conclusion: CIL 9147 was actually a CB&Q postwar car from the XM-32 family of box cars (note that while the prototype shown below has Improved Youngstown doors, there were cars in this group with pre-war Youngstown doors; I just don't have a good photo of one!) The Monon marketing team no doubt doctored the photo to promote their service to Old Forester. Case closed... Columbo solves the crime again! Book 'em Danno

Al Hoffman Collection

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Plywood Sheathed Freight Cars: Protoypes and Models

Here are the links to my files on plywood sheathed freight car prototypes and models as presented at Hindsight 20/20 6.0 on January 09, 2021. 

Youtube video

.pdf file