Sunday, October 8, 2017

A few more Richard Hendrickson models

Last month my wife and I paid a visit to Ashland, Oregon, to take in a few plays in the superb theaters of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival there. For our visit, we were able to enjoy the hospitality and guest room of Richard Hendrickson’s widow, Sandra, as we often do when visiting Ashland. That personal connection is part of our pleasure in such visits. (Anyone not knowing, or not remembering, much about my good friend Richard may like to read my tribute to him in an earlier blog post, which can be found at: ).
     After Richard passed away in June 2014, his collections of freight cars and other rolling stock models, his layout and workbench, his books, and his huge photo archive were cleared out of the house (and passed on or donated), but a few mementos, a short train and a structure, were left behind, as Sandra had requested. With the passage of time, though, she felt those reminders had done their job, and it was time for them to go, and she asked me to take them. I thought it might be of interest to show what they are.
     I will begin with the locomotive, something I know was of great sentimental value to Richard, because it is a very accurate model of an individual Santa Fe Mikado, from the 3160 Class, one he had memories of from his days hanging around the Santa Fe operations in Oceanside, California. It’s a Key brass engine, with full cab interior (and cab curtains), crew, working lights, and white flags.

As a Southern Pacific modeler, I can’t really operate this on my layout (ah, but maybe an excursion?), but it can occupy a place of pride in my display case.
     One of the cars was a handsome tank car model of Richard’s, which began life as an undecorated Tangent model, their three-compartment General American tank car. The model was painted and lettered with Black Cat decals to represent a car repainted before 1946 with lines above and below the reporting marks and numbers, lettering features not originally offered by Tangent. Weathering includes dirty wheels with treads polished, rust
stains around the tank bands, chalk marks, spillage on the domes, and rusty couplers. This model was also shown in Richard’s article on multi-compartment tank cars in the February 2015 issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist (this and all other issues of MRH can be downloaded or read online, at any time, at their website, ).

     There was also an interesting 44-foot high-side gondola, kitbashed from origins I don’t know, with a full load of what looks like iron scrap. It has braced plate ends and a lever hand brake, both interesting details of appearance. It represents part of a 700-car series, built by Standard Steel Car for the Erie in 1923-24, cars 44000–44699, with drop doors. They were rebuilt in 1937-39 with solid steel floors and new AB brakes, and renumbered 45000–45699, as you see here with the model of car 45061. (You can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish.)

     Another model was a largely stock Proto2000 model of a Mather reefer. Richard supplied much of the information used by LifeLike in producing their excellent series of Mather cars (stock cars, box cars, and reefers), and naturally he had a full set of them. This one is nicely weathered, with noteworthy features being the scuffing in the dirt above the ladder rungs, caused by trainmen’s boot toes when climbing the ladder, along with his usual chalk marks, route cards, and repainted reweigh and repack data.

     Finally, there was a structure, to the best of my knowledge the only one Richard ever built. It’s the Santa Fe depot for Rivera, California (located in Pico Rivera). I know he worked with the kit manufacturer, Laser-Art Structures, to produce this kit, and it’s understandable he built it as soon as he received it. It was located on the Third District of Santa Fe’s Los Angeles Division, the exact area he wanted to model on his layout, which is why he encouraged Laser-Art to do that particular structure. It is very nicely assembled and painted.

Again, this one will have to be a “display only” for me, but here too, I’m proud to have it.
     I was happy to accept a few more of Richard’s models, once Sandra no longer wanted them in the house, and will strive to give them the best home I can.
Tony Thompson


  1. The Erie gon looks like an upgraded Lindberg gon, which was based on the referenced series of cars. It was later offered in Mantua's "Heavies" line in many road names except Erie.

  2. Thanks, Ben, good catch. Richard did kitbash several cars from Mantua models, so I might bet on that. Certainly it has the 9-rib high-side look. The Mantua also has the route card board and (what may be a) trust plate in the same locations as Richard's model.
    Tony THompson

  3. Tony are there any pictures of Richard's layout available online?


  4. No. The part of the layout to be scenicked was never done, and the extensive staging was all that was built.
    Tony Thompson

  5. Hello Tony. I believe the Mather reefer was by Red Caboose.

  6. Thanks Tony. I am proud to have some of Richards's impressive freight cars and steam engines. He was a true friend although I regret only seeing him at a Santa Fe convention or Naperville. And, I look forward to seeing you next week in Lisle.