Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hendrickson auto car, Part 6

My previous post about my progress in completing this project of Richard Hendrickson’s, a Santa Fe rebuilt automobile car of Class FE-25,  can be found at: . With the car body completed (as shown in that previous post), I was able to move on to painting the car. As I commented in Part 3 of this series, a complication in such car painting is that Santa Fe added black non-skid coating to roofs at the time of this rebuilt, though wood running boards were body color. (You can see Part 3 at this link: .)
     When it comes to paint for Santa Fe freight cars, the careful modeler wants to approximate the prototype color. 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, and I happen to have inherited a couple of his bottles of that paint. I proceeded to airbrush the entire carbody that color, and also to paint the Proto2000 running board at the same time.
     [For anyone who does not know, or has forgotten, who Richard Hendrickson was, it might be of interest to read the memorial essay of tribute I wrote after he passed away in June 2014. That essay can be found here: .]
     With that done, I brush painted the roof with a dark gray color I like, Tamiya XF-63, “German Grey.” The original Santa Fe’s car cement was black, but with age and weathering, I thought the dark gray would be a better starting point. Once that was dry, I attached the running board with canopy glue.

The model here is still on temporary “truck support blocks,” which are an effective way to handle and paint a model without trucks (see a description at:  ).
     Because the car could represent a seriously weathered car in service with an original 1942 paint scheme from the rebuilding, I thought about the opportunity to “pre-weather” it before adding decals, so that the white lettering would stand out against the dirty body paint. This is commonly observed on prototype freight cars in the transition era, usually attributed to the white paint “chalking” and sloughing off some of the dirt. To do that, my next step would be a coat of flat, for my water-based acrylic-wash method of weathering (see the Reference Pages, listed at the top right of this blog post page, for more on the method), followed by a gloss coat and decals.
     But since Santa Fe kept these cars in automobile service, either with racks for assembled autos or with auto parts racks, and did renumber them to suit each service, I decided I should choose instead a post-1947 paint scheme, with the “Ship and Travel” legend replacing the system map on the right sides of cars. All pictures I have seen of the FE-25 cars show one of the two “El Capitan” slogans, so that was chosen for the left side. With a coat of gloss on sides and ends, I was ready to apply decals.
     The other omission that might be evident in the photo above is that I had not added the placard boards and route card boards on the car doors. I wanted to get a good, uniform coat of paint under those boards, so I had planned to add them after base painting. I had a couple of extra placard boards from other projects, and simply made route card boards from lengths of scale 1 x 6-inch styrene. As I noted in a previous post, the rules on these boards specified a minimum size of 5.5 x 9 inches (you can read that post at: ).
     Lastly, the photo above shows the car without trucks or couplers. These cars kept their Andrews trucks when rebuilt, and many continued to ride on those same trucks into the 1950s, so I chose that truck type for this model. I also added my current standard coupler, Kadee No. 58.
     Once decals had been applied and protected with a coat of flat finish, I proceeded to use my usual methods of acrylic washes, mentioned above, to make the car moderately dirty. It’s a post-1947 paint scheme, so need not be terribly dirty in my modeling year of 1953. Here is the left side of the completed car, ATSF 9302, a car renumbered for cars in service with Evans auto loaders.

The right side (below) has of course the other slogan, as well as the transverse-mounted brake reservoir, visible just to the left of the right-hand truck, with its servicing stencil. (You can click to enlarge.)

     Lastly, I wanted to indicate what was happening to this group of cars in the early 1950s. Some of the cars began to have loaders removed, and when that was done, the white stripe on the right-hand door of loader-equipped cars was simply painted out. I used a brighter shade of boxcar red to paint this by hand with a small brush.

     This completes work on this project that Richard Hendrickson started. I enjoyed figuring out where he was headed, and I hope he would have been pleased with how I have managed to finish the model. The car is already part of my auto parts train for the next operating session.
Tony Thompson


  1. It’s wonderful to see Richard’s car finished to the level and sensitivity I think he would have applied.

  2. Thanks, Rene. I also hope he would have liked the result.
    Tony Thompson

  3. My attention was caught by the roofwalk the color of the carbody and not the roof. Perhaps because the roof is painted with car cement? Was typical?

  4. Yes, the roof cement was only on the roof itself. Standard Santa Fe practice at the time.
    Tony Thompson