Friday, March 26, 2021

B&O covered hopper, Part 2

 In the previous post about this model, which represents B&O’s Class N-34 “wagon-top” covered hoppers, I showed the prototype and the mostly-completed model I had purchased, along with the first and probably most challenging step in completing the model: adding the sill steps. That post can be found at this link: .

As I mentioned in that previous post, the model as I received it had a cast-resin running board attempting to depict a metal-grid running board. Partly because it was broken, and partly because nearly all the prototype cars kept their as-built wood running boards all their lives, I removed the remnants of that “grid” board from the model, resulting in this (in this photo, sill steps are not yet applied):

Next, I carefully cleaned up the roof running board supports so the running board would lie flat. Then I installed the kit’s “wood” running board parts with canopy glue.

To complete the running boards, I added corner grab irons with Tichy part 3028. With these, I don’t use modeler’s eye bolts at the corner, as they are way oversize for what the prototype looks like. Instead, I just insert a short length of wire at the corner. 

Second, I installed supports under the ends of the running boards with scale 1 x 3-inch styrene, and added a route card board above the left-hand truck on each side, using scale 2 x 6-inch styrene strip, all attached with canopy glue. (You can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish.)

Next I needed to address the missing locking bars. A complete arrangement here would not only involve the long locking bars parallel to the roof edge, but two hold-down bars on each hatch, and a handle bar on each side. I decided not to do all of that, as this is largely a main-line car that will be seen only in passing trains. Following the principal that there merely “should be something in that area,” I used plain brass wire for the long bar and handle.

Finally, I had to match the existing paint to touch up all these detail additions. What was a pretty reasonable match (perfection not necessary because I will be adding weathering and cement staining) was Model Master “Light Sea Gray,” FS36307 (a Federal Standard color). As you see below, color looks good overall, and now the sill steps are visible — when they were their original black, they were hard to see.

I’m still delighted with my bargain purchase of this West Shore Line model of a B&O wagon-top covered hopper, an interesting and distinctive prototype to include in my fleet. Adding more and better details just adds to the value, in my own estimation.

Tony Thompson

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