Sunday, July 31, 2022

Sunshine Models X28A/X29 Detailing with Bill Welch


When converted from auto cars, many of the X28A class cars received spliced doors as illustrated here. Bill used the kit door with a strip of 0.005" styrene and rivets to simulate the splice

Over the years, Bill and I had been working on several blog posts demonstrating some of his modeling efforts. Unfortunately, many of them will remain as unfinished projects due to the loss of Bill almost two years ago. It seems fitting to share as many of them as I can present, even in an unfinished state, as Bill's detailing was really the heart of his modeling efforts. What follows are some of the things he did to dress up Sunshine Models kits of the X28A and X29. The captions try to explain the images, which, as was usual with Bill's work, speak for themselves.

This is the "stock" Sunshine X29 with many of Bill's upgrades including a scratchbuilt placard on the door

Bill frequently used wood strips for cars that had wood running boards. He would add many, to be painted the same color as the roof, and leave off a couple to be "unpainted" boards added as repairs. The "missing" boards here would be added after painting.

The corner grab irons on the roof had a long leg and corresponding hole in the roof, to be used to "pin" the latitudinal running boards in place

This image shows the lower left corner of the side of the X28A. Details include Tichy rivets at the body bolster, a Red Caboose route card board (from an X29 kit), brass cast bracket grabs (using the Red Caboose X29 parts as masters) and Yarmouth Scale Models sill steps pinned with brass

Here is the lower right portion of the X28A, including Red Caboose door stops and styrene mounting pads for the ladders

This is a closeup of the lower left of the side of the X29. The details are similar to the X28A shown above

The lower right of the X29

This image shows the B end of both the X28A, at left, and X29. Note the difference. in height.

This is a closeup of the brake step and pressure retaining valve on the X28A

Bill used Red Caboose ladders, but replaced the rungs with 0.010" styrene rod

Bill added Red Caboose hand wheels with Tichy nut-bolt-washers (NBW) at the top

Saturday, July 23, 2022

USAX (ex-US Quartermaster's) USG-A 'Emergency' Tank Cars - Part 2

Ft. Bragg, NC, March 27, 1959, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

In the first post about the USAX (ex-US Quartermaster's) USG-A 'Emergency' Tank Cars, I touched upon the prototype and the first steps in using the Tichy tank car kit to replicate them in HO scale. Here is an update on my progress.

Unlike the SHPX USG-A Emergency cars, these cars built for the US Quartermaster had welded center sills, similar to an AAR underframe, with two zee sections welded along an adjacent edge. The tank anchor was riveted directly to the "face" of the center sill sections. See the detailed photo for reference. Now, I could lie and say that I figured this all out right from the start... but that's not the case. At first, I assumed that there was a cutout in the top cover plate of the center sill to accommodate the tank anchor. Closer examination of this image and the ones in the Mainline Modeler article (Thornton Waite, January, 2006) revealed otherwise. Also, AAR underframes don't generally have top cover plates. So I reacted midstream.

What follows is a mostly blow-by-blow of my steps, including several errors! I removed the part of what are essentially "rests" from the bottom of the tank. These are shown in red in the photo above. I have included the after view, as well. Neatness isn't paramount as these are well-hidden by the tank. 
Before, bottom and after, top

I also modified the tank saddles by filing them to create a more sloped outward facing surface where I will add styrene to connect to the body bolsters. That even included removing part of the outermost wood block on each side of the saddle. However, only a very keen observer will notice that on the finished model. See photo

The tank also had sheet reinforcements at the saddles that were welded to the bottom tank sheet (see prototype closeup at the top of the series of photos above.) I replicated these with 0.005" styrene, 0.40" wide and sized to run essentially from one side of the tank to the other, between the saddles. Lightly bend these pieces of styrene to create a "curl" that matches the bottom tank sheet (I didn't and wish I had; profit from my error!) I taped the center sill/end sill to the tank at the location it would be when finally secured. I then carefully slid the 0.005" styrene between the bottom of the tank and the saddles and moved one into the "perfect" position before carefully tacking it in place with liquid styrene cement (make sure to only tack in place and don't glue the saddles in place; just glue these sheet reinforcements in place.) After the first is tacked in place, repeat the process for the second. Let these set for a little bit (~15 minutes) and then remove the center sill/end sill and apply more liquid cement to secure the styrene and ensure it follows the contours of the bottom tank shell. Note: the rectangular piece in the center of the tank in the photo directly above is/was part of the anchor/center sill cover plate in the kit. It was not used in the model.

I attached the center sill/end sills assembly to the tank, as shown above. First, I glued the saddles to the styrene tank reinforcements. Next, I wanted to add something between the top of the center sill and the bottom of the tank, knowing it would be hidden by the actual anchors once they are added. The purpose is two-fold: add another point where the tank is attached to the underframe and maintain the spacing between the tank and the center sills. I chose to use strip styrene and through trial and error arrived at a piece of styrene 0.045" x 0.080" created from 0.080" strips of 0.015" and 0.030" glued together. Why so precise? If the strip isn't the right size, the center sills will appear to bow or curve up or down (closer or further from the bottom sheet of the tank) which would look highly unrealistic. The strip is highlighted by the yellow arrow in the upper of the two photos directly above. The significance of the red arrows? To highlight my biggest faux pas (so far) on this project. In the upper photo, the red arrows point to the flanges on the top portion of the center sills, which should not be present on a car with zee section center sills. After realizing my error, I carefully removed most of the flanges by scoring and snapping and a little cleanup. Look closely in the lower photo and you will see there are small amounts remaining. These are where the running board supports meet the center sills. I will clean that area up after the supports are added.

Next, I added the tank anchor and center sill flanges. The anchor was fashioned from two pieces of strip created from 0.005" styrene. The one attached to the "face" of the center sills is 10 scale inches wide. The curved cutouts at the end were simulated by using the male portion of a punch and die tapped at an angle, although careful use of a hobby knife could yield similar results. The long portion that abuts the bottom of the tank is seven scale feet long. The upper photo of the two directly above shows the model with the 10-inch strip added. Next, I added a three-inch wide strip, again from 0.005" styrene, abutting the 10-inch strip but attached to the surface of the tank. Note that I angled the corners, common on the flanges attached to the bottom tank sheet. I added 1x6 styrene strips to the center sills to complete the lower legs of the zee sections. Also of note are the areas on the underside of the running boards where I removed strip material. The photo directly above illustrates these details including callouts (the dotted line was added for effect.) That's where the model stands as I type this. More to come in a subsequent installment...

Friday, July 15, 2022

Maine Central PS-1 Box Car


The side sill support spanning the body bolsters was not original

In my post about the BAR RS-4 reefer that I saw in Machias, Maine, I alluded to a Maine Central PS-1. This post highlights some of the details of that car. The Maine Central rostered three groups of forty-foot PS-1s: an early-style group from 1947, car nos. 6500-6749 and a later-style group built in 1951, series 8000-8249, both with seven-foot door openings and series 8400-8549 with eight-foot door openings, built in 1961 [post edited to reflect this based upon comments submitted below - thank you.] The car shown here is from that last group. I took several photos of details that I want to be sure to have for modeling purposes. Those images follow.

I took several photos of the interesting, integral mounting of the sill steps and ladders

The roller bearings were not original equipment

I recorded several images of the bracket for the uncoupling devices

The bell crank

Miner hand brake housing, wheel and brake step

I recorded several images of the end sill/car end bottom and grab with the end stringers visible. The unusual rivets on the bottom of the end are not original and I don't believe the stringers are either as I am fairly certain they were zee bars on original PS-1s, not the I-sections shown here.

Right lower end bracket grab iron

Slack adjustment mechanism on the dead lever

One reservoir mount, to a crosstie (zee bar)

and the other, to a crossbearer

Camel door stop

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Bangor & Aroostook RS-4 Refrigerator Cars


Providence, RI, June 1958, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

While on vacation in Jonesport, Maine, we ventured to Machias to pick up a few things. Adjacent to the old train station are two freight cars: a Maine Central PS-1 as well as a Bangor & Aroostook class RS-4 reefer. This group of BAR cars was built in 1955 by Pacific Car & Foundry's Renton, Washington plant and placed in series 8000-8349. The photo above is of a car from the same class a few years after it was constructed.

The reefer is entirely derelict at this point, its doors inoperable and the brake gear having been removed at some point. However, there are a wealth of details that can still be viewed, offering a quasi time machine. Here are some of the details that I recorded, mostly of the Camel hardware for the Camel flush-mounted ("plug" doors):

All of these photos are of details. This shows the door latching and roller mechanism. The actual rollers have been disconnected and will be shown in a separate photo. You can see there they were located in the prototype image shown above

This is part of the mechanism for the door locking hardware. This is second generation hardware not present on the earlier BAR flush door reefers that were effectively clones of the PFE R-40-26 

The placard boards dropped into a frame of sorts

This is a "Cheeper" defect card holder (or a copy thereof). Defect card holders were located on the right side of the car. The tube held the defect card (when needed)

The defect card holder with the door rotated upward to access the tube

Side view of the opened door and hollow tube

The door rollers, having been detached from the door hardware at some point

The right hand door stop

Alternate view of the right hand door stop. Note the hard, rubberized insert for cushioning the impact of the door sliding against it

View of the intersection of the floor stringers and the crossbearers as well as the train line pipe

View of the crossbearer and crosstie and the stringers

The remnants of one attachment point for the reservoirs which had been removed, as well as the welded plates that strengthened where the lower crossbearer cover plates meet the center sills

These cars (as well as PFE cars) carried this admonition about the risks of the insulation catching fire! The grabs on these cars (and the earlier R-40-26 clones) used this style grab as opposed to the more common (for the era) bracket style