Friday, October 1, 2021

The famous “Pollock” hot-metal car

 Back in 1949, General Models Corporation introduced a white-metal kit for a Pollock hot-metal car in HO scale. General Models or GMC was almost entirely an O-scale business, begun in 1943 and eventually sold to All-Nation Hobbies in 1950 (for a fairly detailed history, see the Train Collectors’ page: ). Boxes for GMC models were quite distinctive, even for this orphan HO scale model among all the O-scale products; the box is about 7.5 x 3 inches.

The HO hot-metal car kit languished for a few years, then appeared again about 1954 from Ed-Lee’s Model Builder’s Supply Company in Duarte, California (not the current MBS that sells scenery materials!). Though the box was quite different (about 6 x 3.75 inches), the kit inside was essentially unchanged from the GMC kit. 

The kit was also sold briefly by Suydam, but I have never seen a box. After a period of unavailability, it was released again about 1972 by Buckeye Models in Steubenville, Ohio, initially as the same kind of cast metal kit (probably zamac).

The Buckeye kit was available for around a decade, then about 1985, it came onto the  market again, this time being sold by Circle Enterprises, still in zamac, and then in 1988, it reverted to Buckeye Railroad Models as the source. 

Sometime after the year 2000, it re-emerged yet again, this time as an injection-molded styrene kit, marketed by State Tool & Die (Cleveland, Ohio). At first, it was the same as the kit shown above, just in styrene, but soon the kit ladles omitted the raised word “Pollock.” The kit is available today, along with a number of other steel-industry type models (see it all at their site: ).

I am indebted to John Teichmoeller for some of this information, and to other modelers I knew when I lived in Pittsburgh, including Dean Freytag, for other parts.

I decided to sell my Ed-Lee original, and build one of the kits that I received in a GMC box, though it lacked original instructions and some of the parts. Among the missing parts were trucks and couplers, and I wouldn’t want the originals anyway. So I began with the first step, assembling the ladle. After cleaning up the castings, the top spout section is attached to the main ladle, and four 3/32-inch brass pins are inserted into the ladle to serve as supports when the ladle is on the car.

One is supposed to drill the “ears” on the underside of the ladle, for 1/16-inch pins. I decided instead to insert short lengths of 1/16-inch styrene rod in those locations. These pins are for a crane hook to lift one side of the ladle so it can pour out of the other side. The general idea is shown in the photo below (internet image, source not identified), though it’s a different shape of ladle.

The model ladle is shown below, and you can see the white styrene rod at the ladle bottom. The protruding “handle” between the pair of brass pins at left on the upper part is for the main crane hook, as in the above photo. The car body is really just a carrier for this ladle, which can be moved around a mill by that means. 

The remaining part of the project is the car body, a somewhat complicated challenge because of the need to install modern trucks and couplers. I will return to that part of the project in a future post.

Tony Thompson

No comments:

Post a Comment