Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Upgrading a Roco flat car, Part 3

My previous post about this flat car showed completion of re-detail requirements, as well as replacement of the original Roco trucks with correctly-sized Buckeye trucks (you can read the post about all that at this link: ). Now to finish the model, I am going to re-letter it.
     As I stated in the previous post, the original Roco lettering was not of good quality, nor did it match the as-built lettering on these cars. I decided to replace it with the Mt. Vernon Shops decals mentioned in the previous post. I tried to remove the lettering with isopropyl alcohol, but that didn’t work. Next, some old Scalecoat stripper did get it off neatly. This left bare plastic. Sometimes decals can be applied well to such a surface, but I prefer to put a coat of gloss on first. I used an old rattle can of Testor’s gloss. As with any rattle can, direct the first spray onto a discardable surface, as any spurts or “blorts” from the nozzle usually happen at the beginning. I had no problems.

     Now for the goal. I have seen several prototype photos of these flat cars, but all in later years. I was pleased that the decal set from Mt. Vernon Shops contained a prototype photo of the original lettering. Here is that photo (you can click to enlarge the image if you like):

Note the prominent Transportation Corps emblem at car center.
     The Mt. Vernon Shops decals for this car are very good quality, with crisp lettering and provided with a range of car numbers and reweigh dates. I would also like to mention that if you purchase these decals on line, the service is very prompt, always a pleasure to discover (their website, again, is here: ).
     These cars were built by Magor in the spring of 1953. I chose a car number in the earlier part of the 650-car class so I could use the earlier NEW date of 4-53, with this result:

This is quite an improvement over the quality of the Roco lettering, and also backdates it to its new-car condition, with the Transportation Corps emblem.
     The car now needed the paint color on the deck repaired. I do love weathering flat car decks, and have written about my method of doing so (you can read a summary at the following link; just scroll down to the flat cars: ). But in my modeling year of 1953, this car is either brand-new or close to new, so instead I need to create the appearance of a nearly new wooden deck.
     I began with painting over the deck inserts and previous glue scars. I wanted to use a paint similar to but hopefully not identical to the factory paint, to get some variation in the deck along its length. By the 1950s, pressure-treated wood was pretty standard for flat car and gondola flooring, so a natural wood color is appropriate. I mixed two Tamiya paints, XF-59, “Desert Yellow,” and XF-64, “Red Brown,” in a ratio of about three of the yellow to one of the brown. The mixture was applied with a brush. Lastly, the model was given a coat of Tamiya Flat.

     My next part of developing this flat car for service is to make some suitable military loads. This is a potentially complex topic, and one I have enjoyed researching. I will delve into it in several following posts.
Tony Thompson

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