Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Freight car graffiti, Part 12: Granite Rock cars

This ongoing series of posts about post-1980 freight car graffiti had its beginning in a post about an article I did for Model Railroad Hobbyist, in the issue of January 2020. That post summarized the method I was using for both decal and paper overlay graffiti (if you wish, you can view that post at this link: ). Subsequent posts may be readily found by using “freight car graffiti” as the search term in the search box at right.
     The present post addresses some of the hopper cars owned and operated by the Granite Rock Company, now of Watsonville, California. The company was founded in 1900 and continues today to operate its original quarry at Logan, a little east of Watsonville, and located on the Southern Pacific’s main line of the Coast Division (now Union Pacific). On Wikipedia you can find a fairly complete and informative Granite Rock company history at this link: .
     To show the dramatic paint scheme, here is a model car (a Walthers representation of a Greenville hopper) in its factory paint scheme, and I can testify that the prototype paint scheme really is a reddish orange like this:

These 2300-cubic foot cars have a 100-ton capacity. In the 1990s, there were two groups of these cars, numbered 1001–1095 and 1800–1859. In the present post, I will just cover one of the cars I’ve worked on, and cover it fairly completely, to illustrate the approach. I will show additional cars in subsequent posts, but in a less complete manner.
     I begin work on these cars with the graffiti. On the left side of the car above, I used a piece from Microscale set 87-1536, applied (not coincidentally) to cover the car number.

On the other side, I applied two pieces, one from a piece in Blair set 2262, and at the top of it, again covering the car number, part of a piece in Blair set 2263.

     Why am I covering the car numbers? I wanted to experiment with the kind of “re-lettering” of graffiti-ed cars, in which the car owner or lessee uses a paint patch to replace a car number. I discussed this topic in more detail in a prior post (see that post at: ).
     For these cars, I chose to patch with a rectangle of black decal paper. The number chosen, 1807, was one not included in the commercial models. (Note that I did not cover the reporting marks.) Here’s the left side, after the renumber and weathering, plus tagging (I discussed tagging in the previous post in the series; it’s here: ).

The other side of course reflects the same weathering approach and renumbering technique, plus tags added afterward. (You can  click on these images to enlarge them if you wish.)

     As you can notice in the above photos of the sides of weathered models, the interiors are more heavily weathered. I especially wanted to get these interiors to look gray and dusty, so when the cars operate empty, they would look realistic. Here’s a view of the interior, of the same car you see above, in what I would call an average amount of interior dirt, among the cars I’m doing:

     Getting these bright-colored cars to look like they really are working in rock service, as well as being targets for graffiti, has been an interesting challenge. I will report on more of these cars in following posts.
Tony Thompson

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