Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Another Bill Welch freight car

I mentioned in a previous post that at this year’s Cocoa Beach meeting, some of Bill Welch’s unfinished or damaged car projects were distributed by Ted Culotta to modelers willing to do what was needed to  repair or complete them. One that came to me was a CGW box car (see the previous post just mentioned, which was about that car: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2023/02/a-bill-welch-freight-car.html ).

I also received a car project that was substantially built, but not finished. It was a Tichy styrene kit for a rebuilt USRA box car, of which Bill had completed all the fussy parts (as most of us would see them), drilling all the holes for grab irons and installing them, and installing a full arrangement of brake gear. He had also painted the car. The underbody is shown below, obviously without wheelsets and couplers.

Bill had not added any weight to the model. The Tichy floor has two molded spaces on top (which will be inside the car) for 1/2-inch steel nuts. I added them, and a third one in the center, with canopy glue. This brings the car weight up to four  ounces.

The body was, as I stated, essentially complete, with detailing very well rendered, a trademark of Bill’s modeling. It was also painted and lettered. It did lack a brake wheel, and he had omitted some of the running board boards, intending to add “replacement” new boards. Note also that he had already added paint patches for reweigh and repack lettering. My intent was to accentuate these and add weathering (and those missing boards).

My first step was to add Kadee no. 158 whisker couplers in the coupler boxes, and to install InterMountain “semi-scale” wheelsets in the truck frames. I also washed the car roof, which had evidently stood for some time on a shelf, and dust had semi-bonded to the paint.  Then I could mate the body and underbody, and add a brake wheel.

With that done, I proceeded to finish the lettering, adding reweigh data and a repacking stencil. I also added the test stencil on the air reservoir, plus a route card on the route card board. Some intermediate light weathering has also been done, but a little more will be added. 

Finally, I wanted to fulfill what Bill had set out to do, and add some unpainted replacement boards in the running board. Simplest way to represent unpainted wood, of course, is to use scale stripwood, which is what I did, scale 1 x 6-inch size, attached with canopy glue. I believe this appearance, with unpainted replacement boards, would have been unusual, but it’s nice to have one example in my fleet.

I enjoyed working with this incomplete project of Bill Welch’s, partly because of my great respect for Bill as a modeler and a person. I look forward to seeing this car in switching moves on my layout.

Tony Thompson

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