Monday, September 15, 2014

Modeling SP passenger cars — sleepers, Part 5

This post concludes my descriptions of modifying a heavyweight sleeping car model (from Rivarossi, imported by AHM) into a specific car owned by Southern Pacific. The Rivarossi model is a 12-1 (12 sections, 1 drawing room), and the car modification I am completing converts the 12-1 into a 10-1-1 (10 sections, 1 drawing room, 1 compartment). My third post in this series contained links to the first two posts, and described the body and roof modifications (at: ), and the fourth post described modifying the Rivarossi interior molding from its original 12-1 configuration, into a 10-1-1 (at: ).
     In this post I complete the car. In the third post of the series (link provided above), the body was in gray primer and the roof was unpainted. My next step was to mask the transparent sides of the roof molding and paint the roof with Tamiya “Gunship Grey” color, their no. TS-48. I also painted the interior of the car a light brownish buff color, to look somewhat like a Pullman interior. That interior color was shown in the next to last photo in my fourth post, cited above.
     The next step was to mask the windows from the inside, so no overspray of the exterior color would reach the interior walls, and to airbrush the car sides and ends with Tru-Color Paint #135, SP Dark Olive Green. This paint airbrushes well and gives a smooth and somewhat glossy surface, excellent for decals. The decal set I used was the Thin Film set HO-160-SP, which contains Dulux Gold lettering for SP heavyweight cars. This color was adopted in 1936 by SP, so was very much in use in my modeling year of 1953.
     As mentioned, my car conversion is to a 10-1-1 configuration. In the days when Pullman owned the heavyweight sleeper fleet, there were four such car assigned to Southern Pacific service. But at the breakup of Pullman in 1948, SP only purchased two of these cars, Prior Lake and Palouse Falls, and of these, Prior Lake was repainted Two-Tone Gray in 1950. [This information comes from Volume 2 of the indispensable SPH&TS series, Southern Pacific Passenger Cars (Pasadena, 2005); Volume 2 covers sleeping cars.]
     Because I wanted a Dark Olive Green car, I had no choice but to letter my model Palouse Falls, a name which is provided in the excellent Thin Film HO-160-SP set. Here is the model body with DOG paint in place and decals applied. You can click on the image to enlarge it.

     I next weathered the car roof somewhat heavily, and the car body less heavily, to reflect the fact that SP did wash passenger cars, but normally only sides were washed. My weathering method utilizes washes of acrylic paint, a process which was summarized in a clinic handout, available at this link: .
     The revised interior (described in my fourth post in this series; link at top of this post) was installed along with the roof, completing the upper part of the car. That leaves one more point to be made. In my second post about sleeping cars (read it at: ), I mentioned the Rivarossi trucks which come with these cars, and that I replace the original wheelsets with Kadee 33-inch wheelsets.
     The point that remains is about couplers. I have body-mounted couplers on some passenger cars, but the 80-foot ones do benefit from a partial Talgo arrangement. I cut off the horn-hook coupler molded on the end of the protruding “tongue” of the Rivarossi trucks, drill and tap the stem for a 2-56 screw, then put a regular Kadee box on top. I have standardized on Kadee #58 (scale head) couplers on my freight cars, but continue to use Kadee #5 couplers, with their greater gathering range, for my passenger cars. Below are a prepared tongue at left, and a complete arrangement at right (you can click to enlarge). These have performed well on my layouts.

     The completed Palouse Falls is shown in the photo below. You can see hints of occupants through the windows. I often marvel during visits to layouts, when passenger trains pass by and there is no indication that a single passenger is riding them. I’m trying to avoid that look.

As I have mentioned, while completing work on Palouse Falls, I also re-did the roof on my 12-1 sleeper, Tuolumne. A photo of this car was shown with its original as-delivered roof, n the first post of this series on heavyweight sleepers, at this link: . Here it is with the duct additions to the roof.

     That completes the work on the 10-1-1 sleeper Palouse Falls, as well as the re-roofed Tuolumne, and concludes the posts for this series on heavyweight sleeping cars. I look forward to operating this Pullman sleeper on my SP Coast Line layout.
Tony Thompson

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