To meet part of the needs in my freight car fleet for SP box cars (see my analysis of needs for SP box cars within my boxcar fleet, in a previous post, at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/07/choosing-model-car-fleet-sp-box-cars.html ), I am assembling some kits. I thought it might be of interest to relate the thinking behind some of my detail changes.
The kit I’ll describe in this post is an old IMWX kit for an SP Class B-50-20 car, from a special run made for the La Mesa Club, with “Return to SP agent Bakersfield” placards on them. This kit is numbered SP 83546, and correctly includes welded 7-panel doors. But the kit also includes a representation of a wood running board (all the cars in Class B-50-20 were built with Apex steel-grid running boards and brake steps), and the kit has Ajax handbrake gear (the car with this number would have had an Equipco handbrake). These kinds of car specialties are all tabulated in my book on SP box cars, Volume 4 in the series Southern Pacific Freight Cars (Signature Press, 2006). Here is a clear view of the end for the prototype class (though it’s one of the cars with Youngstown corrugated doors):
The Equipco hand brake and metal brake step are evident on SP 84822. Next, here’s a car with a number quite close to the IMWX kit number, and with the panel door; the Barber trucks with spring planks can also be discerned.
Both these builder photos are from the Shasta Division Archives. A word about the doors. The “Creco” panel door, so named for its maker, Chicago Railway Equipment Company, was available by the end of the 1930s in either welded or riveted form. But in 1941, Creco spun off its door business as the Superior Door Company (headquartered at the same address in Chicago). The purchase of the welded doors for Class B-50-20 was made by SP prior to this change, however, so these doors are properly called “Creco doors” (as indeed SP called them in its order summary), though to many modelers the Superior name is more familiar for welded doors.
Returning to the kit, there are lots of etched metal running boards which could be used for this project, and I often choose the various Plano products. But for this one, I decided to use an old Overland etched-stainless board, and an etched brake step. The only trick is to get the corner grab irons correctly spaced from the surface of the lateral board, prior to applying CA to hold the parts. I used a normally-closed spring-loaded tweezer to hold the grab iron against my styrene spacer (the spacer was shown in use to space grab irons, in this post: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/01/modeling-meat-reefers-2.html ). It looked like this before CA attachment:
Kadee makes a superb Equipco brake wheel, which I also used. With the brake step and brake wheel in place, this is the model:
Most other details on the car were straight from the kit. I added weights inside the car in the form of large nuts, as I showed for the PFE R-30-16 reefer project (at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/08/small-modeling-project-pfe-r-30-16.html ). I don’t have replacement trucks on hand that adequately depict the correct Barber bolster ends, so for the time being will just retain the kit AAR trucks, which at least do have a representation of the spring planks. As can be seen in the photo above, I have installed Kadee No. 58 couplers, which is my current standard; for more on freight car standards, see: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/03/model-freight-car-standards.html .
Here is the completed car end:
and here is a side view of the entire car, still needing weathering, of course.
The detail changes in this model are minor, but I described them to show an approach to making models closer to prototype, for which an out-of-the-box kit often falls short. Knowledge of the prototype you wish to model, combined with awareness of appropriate after-market detail parts, permits these improvements.
The Devil as they say is in the details. I've just gotten around to weathering my first American freight car in more years than I care to remember. Weathering seems to have become a "round-to-it" job, as we like to say over here. If we just had more round-to-its, a lot more would get done. :-)ReplyDelete
There are times, Ashley, when I would agree, but most times I enjoy weathering and keep up with my flow of new cars, whether kits or RTR. Your closing comment reminds me of a friend in the hobby who has a bunch of round wooden discs, about the size of an American quarter, and on each of them are the letters TUIT. "Here you go," he would say, handing you one, "no more excuses."ReplyDelete
Nice simple upgrade, Tony. This is the 1937 AAR 40'-6" IL 10'-0" IH car? I think Red Caboose took over the Innovative Model Works (IMWX) line. They offer the model in undec with square (RC-8000) or W corner posts (RC-8001). I'm sorry to say, I don't know the difference to be able to say which is the current best starting point (if I'm not going down the wrong rabbit hole with this one).ReplyDelete
Atlas Trainman also has a similar car, but with a different door (might match the top photo):
Last but not least, there's the June 1981 (one page) article by Cyril Durrellberger in Prototype Modeler:
I gotta find a better supplier. I keep getting the square tuits instead.
The car i modeled is the 1937 box car with the W corner-post ends. Red Caboose made models of both square and W-corner-post ends. SP classes B-50-18 and -19 had square corner ends, while classes B-50-20. -21 and -23 had W corner posts. Word of caution on the Durrenberger article: Cyril is a good modeler, but back in 1981 we had no starting point with W corner posts, so he used the MDC car. It has the square-corner end (wrong for Class B-50-20) and also has the too-short door and huge door claws of its era.ReplyDelete
I'm having a heck of a time finding SPFC Vol 4, Tony. What is the proper door size?ReplyDelete
I was going to comment about how far modeling has come in the past 30 years since Cyril's article, but I did find his background information helpful (in view of the above noted void in my library - I'll keep looking, though)
Arved, the comment about door size refers to height. The door should extend almost to the bottom of the side sill, as you can see in the prototype photos in this post. Because Athearn chose to have the door track of their operating doors at the bottom, the huge ledge that serves as a bottom door track is located much too high on the car (maybe a manufacturing choice). Once you're used to prototype box car door proportions, the Athearn model looks really toy-like, and of course there's not an easy fix. Most recent box car models do get this part of the car right.ReplyDelete
When you make a change like this, do you also change out the brake housing? I have wresteled with this a bit on my own models, deciding whether to just change the brake wheel, since this is what is mostly noticed. Wondering what your take is...
Ft Worth, TX
Excellent point. In the case of this Equipco wheel, Kadee sells the brake wheels separately from the housing, so I just used the IMWX kit Ajax housing. Housings of course did vary with manufacturer, but are kind of hidden behind the wheel and thus, far less evident than the style of the wheel. But if I have the right housing to go with the wheel, I would certainly use it. The Detail Associates handbrake parts, for example, do come with a correct housing, and I do use them.ReplyDelete
What were the painting specifications for the underframes for these box cars? I found one reference that they should be black or possibly black car cement for the prototype. My kit has the bottom of the flooring painted the same color as the car body, but the center-sill/cross-bearer assembly is unpainted black plastic.ReplyDelete
At some point soon after the end of World War II, SP stopped painting underframes black, and began to use body color for the entire car. But this car was built before the war, and would have received a black underframe as a new car. I have heard different stories as to whether SP was consistent about REpainting underframes. Accordingly, I have say that a car like this model, with a postwar paint job, might well have either color underframe. Or to answer your question more directly, Bob, I'd say it can be your call.ReplyDelete
Thanks, for the painting info. One more question, after the underframes were painted the same as the body color, did the trucks remain black?ReplyDelete
When the change to all-body-color painting was made, trucks (if painted) were painted that same color. Some photos do clearly show the trucks matching the body color. But other photos, especially of repaints, seem to show little more than overspray of body color. Trucks of course were quite dirty after a few years in service, and it looks like SP did not trouble to repaint them in many cases. Very few trucks under my SP model cars are any color but grunge.ReplyDelete