In 1942-3, American Car & Foundry built Emergency-design, designation USG-A tank cars for SHPX leasing services as well as for the US War Department, Office of the Chief of Transportation (US Quartermaster) under USQX reporting marks, series 11168-11178, 11200-11309, and 11311-11475 (four cars in 11168-11178 had two domes/two compartments). The cars used contemporary underframes with World War One era tank designs. The late Richard Hendrickson authored an article about the cars in the October, 1990, RailModel Journal, available online via this link.
Modelers are fortunate to have excellent HO scale versions of the tanks from Tichy (originally Gould.) Many (if not all) of the SHPX tanks were scrapped/recycled in the postwar era, with the underframes being re-used, but the USQX cars soldiered on under USAX reporting marks (there were also Canadian prototypes, profiled by Russ Pinchbeck, including modeling, in the July, 2002, Railroad Model Craftsman.) There was also an article about the USAX cars by Thornton Waite in the January, 2006, Mainline Modeler. That is the inspiration for this project.
I have a seemingly great number of freight car projects nearing completion, so in between those painting, decaling, and weathering duties, I have dabbled a little in this project. I started with a Tichy tank car kit with a 54-inch dome width. There are several modifications to arrive at a USAX prototype, including modification of:
- the location of the safety valves (I added other details, too)
- the tank anchor
- the tank bolsters
- the underframe