Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Small modeling project: PFE R-30-16 update

The PFE Class R-30-16 project, described in a prior post (http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/08/small-modeling-project-pfe-r-30-16.html) and based on the Terry Wegmann parts and directions to convert the car from a Red Caboose Class R-30-9 car, has been completed. It seemed appropriate to show the result.
     In the previous post, the construction steps were described, and a photo was provided of the car, freshly decaled but without all detail parts in place and with some detail painting remaining to be done. After completion of those minor additions, and careful checking of the decals to make sure all “bridging” of grooves between “boards” of the side sheathing had been eliminated, a coat of Testor’s Dullcote was sprayed on to protect the decals and also apply a uniform flat coating which would accept the acrylic wash weathering. This is a water-base system, and such washes must “wet” all parts of the model surfaces equally, and any glossy areas will fail that test: water will “bead up” on them, rather than making a uniform wetted surface. The result would be patchy weathering, an undesirable outcome, to say the least.
     I won’t go into the weathering sequence here, except to say that I use the same mix of acrylic paint colors as I described for flat car decks (see: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/05/weathering-flat-car-decks.html), which are Neutral Gray, Ivory Black, and Burnt Umber. I weather the roof first, leaving the sides dry and thus available for me to hold the model while working on the roof, then when the roof is dry, usually the next day, I weather the sides. By this time, I can hold the model by the dry roof and bottom edges of the sides, and keep fingers out of the weathering application. Since the paint scheme I’ve modeled is from the late 1940s, I did not weather too heavily. In those days, PFE was still washing its cars at two- to three-year intervals, so cars in many cases were not as dirty as the age of the paint might suggest.
     Here is the car in service, being spotted at the ice deck in Shumala by the Baldwin roadswitcher on today’s Guadalupe local.


You can see the slight dirtiness around the door of the PFE car, but the brightness of the lights used for this photo have made the car overall look somewhat cleaner than it does under normal layout lighting.
     With this car complete, I now just need to get cracking and do at least two more models to make a credible representation of Class R-40-16 in my reefer fleet!
Tony Thompson

4 comments:

  1. Tony,

    I think I can tell from the pictures, but I wanted to be sure: according to the PFE book (2d ed., p. 139) the R-30-16s had a roof ("solid steel roof") that was flat, without raised panels, between the raised, capped seams. Is that what you have modeled here? (I hope so, because I have a purchased R-30-16 model, purportedly with Terry Wegmann parts, that has it that way; and I would like to locate a few more such roofs to do the same project you describe here.) Thank you,

    Barry

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  2. Barry, the model I built has a roof with straight, raised panels. You can see them in the photo of the completed but unweathered model in the original post (click to enlarge it). This is also the roof that the prototype had. This roof was also used on many other freight cars of the era, so is readily available in model form. The InterMountain R-40-10 and R-40-23 cars have the same roof, though it will not exactly fit the Red Caboose body.

    To my knowledge, Terry Wegmann never tooled a flat steel roof without panels, so if your kit has such a part, I have no idea where it came from. Such roofs did exist on prototype cars for a short time at the end of the 1920s, but were quickly superseded by roofs with panels, which were far stiffer, and by the time the R-30-16 rebuilding took place in 1940, a flat roof was entirely obsolete. PFE would never have considered putting such a roof on rebuilds in 1940.

    When you say "raised, capped seams," what is the cross section? Are the seams rectangular in cross section, or hat-shaped? They should be the latter.
    Tony Thompson

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  3. Tony, thank you for the clarification. My car is very close to the one shown here: http://www.bobsgardenpath.com/trains_R40_16.html . The roof seams, as you can see, are narrower than the rectangular x-sect seams of, for instance, the roof that comes with the ubiquitous Tichy R-40-4 kit (is that an "outside metal roof"?).

    Like the car in the picture mine seems to have been bashed on the Tichy body and therefore, if I'm correct, has aomewhat lower sides than an R-30-16 should have. I guess I'll write it off as a chimera and move on ...

    Barry

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  4. That photo show a panel-less roof, which is NOT correct for the R-30-16 cars, although the model is numbered within that class's numbers. You are correct that the R-40-4, as well as the R-30-9, had what was termed an outside metal roof, meaning a structural wood roof covered with steel sheet. Roof seams were covered with rectangular wooden battens which were also wrapped with steel sheet.

    You are right that the side of an R-40-4 is a couple of scale inches shorter than the R-30-16 or R-40-16, but that alone would not upset me. Naturally YMMV.
    Tony Thompson

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