Sunday, April 7, 2019

Lumber: Owl Mountain’s recent kit

In a previous post, I showed the loading diagram for most kinds of lumber loads, whether in gondolas or on flat cars. I also briefly reviewed the cast resin lumber loads from Fine N Scale Products (FNSP), while mentioning that these are not quite the right size for flat cars That post can be found at: . I also have explored the use of the FNSP loads for gondolas, which they fit very well; you can read that post at: . The present post returns to the topic of flat cars vs. gondolas for lumber, and a recent Owl Mountain kit for a lumber load.
     In the previous post on flat cars (first one cited above), I mentioned that the excellent Owl Mountain lumber kit no. 3001 does fit standard flat cars. But it is too wide for gondolas and pre-World War II flat cars. Owl Mountain has now released a second lumber load kit, kit no. 3004, this one for narrower lumber stacks, intended of course for gondolas and narrower flat cars. Here is what it looks like (you can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish):

For availability and price of this kit, you can visit Owl Mountain Models at: .
     The ideas behind this kind are essentially identical to the “standard” Owl Mountain lumber kit, no. 3001, except for dimensions (my review of the “standard” kit is here: ). There are four sprues of lumber, each with two “outer” layers and four hollow, interior layers. Inside the hollow layers are a range of separators, stakes, and cross-ties, more than you would likely need, but it’s nice to have plenty.

This permits your choice of stack sizes. The kit will make up four stacks of six layers each (that is, one stack from each sprue), but can also make up five-layer or four-layer stacks, meaning, for example, that you can load the car with two six-layer stacks, or three four-layer stacks (both kinds of loads are common in prototype photos), of course with separators between stacks.
     My choice was four stacks of six layers. I glued these up, then added the separators to the bottom of each stack. The photo below shows two of the stack bottoms. These go together quickly.

     I wanted to make a lumber load that could work both on a suitable flat car, and also in gondolas.That in turn meant that I needed to make the stake locations correct for the flat car. (In the gondola, the exact stake locations don’t matter.) So for this load, I chose the Owl Mountain model of an SP “Harriman” 40-foot flat car (for my review of this very nice kit, look here: ). I used a piece of cardstock and simply marked the spacing of the flat car’s stake pockets.
     Stakes were then glued on at those locations. But for anyone doing this, be sure and check the clearance in your gondolas. I can’t speak for others, but for my cars, the scale 4 x 4-inch stakes are too wide. I used the more narrow material supplied, even though I think the prototype would indeed use the larger lumber.

Note that I have applied cross-ties between the stakes, but not “long ties,” connecting the stakes in the long direction. Prototype photos show both kinds of stack tie arrangements, though the AAR loading diagram, link for it cited first at the top of the present post, does not show long ties.
     Shown below is the pair of completed lumber stacks, on the Owl Mountain SP flat car. It does fit and in my opinion, looks great.

Also relevant here, of course, is fitting the loads into a gondola. Shown below is a Red Caboose composite SP gondola, and with the slender stakes I used, it just barely fits inside. So this lumber kit can indeed make stacks for both flat cars and gondolas, but you have to compromise on the stake dimensions for that to work.

     Like the “full-size” Owl Mountain lumber kit, kit 3001, this narrower kit, no. 3004, is nicely designed, goes together quickly and easily, and provides a really nice lumber load for older flat cars and gondolas. I heartily recommend it for anyone wanting lumber loads.
Tony Thompson

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