Sunday, October 28, 2018

Upgrading an old model, Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I showed the assembled Ulrich gondola model I purchased from Chuck Hitchcock, along with photos of the Santa Fe prototype, to indicate a few things I wanted to upgrade so I would feel  comfortable operating the model in my fleet. (You can read that post at this link: .)
     As I mentioned in Part 1, the most glaring deficiency (to me) about the Ulrich model was the hand brake location on the drop end. It needed to be mounted to the corner post, with the brake wheel parallel to the car side. I dug into my parts stash, and found the Cal Scale brake set that has an Ajax brake mechanism, with attached chain, very handy. I simply mounted that mechanism to a small piece of 0.010-inch styrene sheet.  I chose the Kadee Ajax brake wheel as by far the best available today. Here are those parts at this point.

Note in the photo that I left a small edge margin to the left of the brake mechanism. This was to provide a gluing surface for CA adhesive to locate on the inside of the corner post of the car. I have also angled the chain toward the car’s end sill.
     Next I went back to the Cal Scale brake set and selected a retainer valve to add to the car side, then also added a 0.012-inch brass wire for the retainer line. With that done, I could glue the hand brake assembly to the inside of the corner post. At this point, it looked like this:

     Now, of course, I needed to paint the new parts, as well as touching up the car end where the old Ulrich handbrake parts had been. My late friend, Richard Hendrickson, as dedicated and serious a Santa Fe freight car modeler as you could find, always used Floquil “ATSF Mineral Brown” paint for his Santa Fe models. The problem here, however, is that the original Ulrich paint is quite brown, more so than the Santa Fe color. I had to fiddle with paint mixes to get close to a match. My starting point was Tamiya XF-64, “Red Brown,” but I had to darken it a bit for this model.
     With the addition of a few chalk marks, reweigh and repack stencils, and a route card, the car was almost ready to enter service.

     But there is one more correction needed. Because this model is numbered for the cars that were part of Class GA-63, and that class was delivered with National B-1 trucks, I need to replace the trucks shown above. With that change made, and a (removable) load of pipe included, here is the car as completed. (You can click on these images to enlarge them if you wish.)

     I continue to enjoy owning and operating some of the pioneer freight car kits of the hobby, as is the case for the Ulrich heritage of this particular car. Moreover, its connection to Chuck Hitchcock makes it especially welcome in my layout’s freight car fleet.
Tony Thompson

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