I have in the last several years written a couple of blog posts about simple resin kits, as requested by a few folks who admitted to some intimidation with resin. (Years ago, Al Westerfield named this response “Westerfear.”) I understand, because even opening the box of the classic resin kit can be pretty daunting to a modeler of limited experience.
But there are some good introductory resin kits out there. The present post describes yet another example, hopefully showing how simple these kits can be. And if you have never built one, I very strongly urge you to build one of the simple ones, with a one-piece body, that will help increase confidence in tackling this type of kit.
The one being described today is a good example of what resin does for us: it’s a reproduction of a very specific car, one that would be awfully unlikely to ever be produced in styrene. It happens to be a Funaro & Camerlengo kit (F&C), their kit no. 6940, for a Pennsylvania Railroad Class F33 flat car. Actually, it’s a well car, a kind of flat car with an open center to permit carrying the absolute maximum height cargoes.
Below is a prototype photo (image PRR no. E11326) from the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society (PRRT&HS) archives. It shows the all-welded construction, the short-wheelbase Buckeye trucks, and the double brake staffs, reflecting a double brake system. Lettering shows the 250,000 pound capacity. This car was built in October 1938; the class eventually comprised 16 cars. (You can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish.)
This photo, by the way, is from the really useful PRRT&HS book shown below, and I include mention of it here because of the interesting cover photo of a well car of another class (Class F49) with a good example of the extreme-height cargo carried by cars of this type. This excellent softbound book is still available for $20 from the PRRT&HS (see all their current books at: http://www.prrths.com/estore/index_books.html ).
Before continuing, I should emphasize something important. A well car simply had its opening to accommodate tall loads, but not with the weight resting inside the well. In that sense, it’s the opposite of a depressed-center flat car, where the weight should rest in the low part. So a well-car load usually is supported by a frame of some sort across the well, with weight supported on the car ends, or as shown in the cover photo above, by the sides of the well.
The F&C kit is essentially the complete car body, the unique trucks, and a few detail parts. Here’s a photo of the resin body as you receive it. The “nubs” over the bolsters will be removed.
This body is all but weightless as a resin casting, so my first step was to add some weight. I placed a sheet of lead, 1/16-inch thick, underneath the entire length of the car’s well (this lead was purchased from Small Parts; today I would choose McMaster-Carr). I didn’t plan to model the underbody details anyway.
The trucks are interesting, in duplicating the short-wheelbase Buckeye trucks of the prototype. The resin in which these are cast is tough and flexible enough to flex and accept insertion of wheelsets when assembled.
The two trucks, with one sideframe assembled to the bolster for each truck, are shown below in their original white resin — I thought this might be a little easier to see than when they are painted black. Pins on the back of each sideframe mate with the holes in the bolster ends (visible at upper right).
I plan to use Kadee wheelsets for this car.
Other steps, following kit directions, were to install wire grab irons, resin molded corner steps, and brake wheels, and then paint and lettering. These will be described in a following post.