Friday, May 24, 2024

Building a ClassOne Model Works car load

I have to give full marks to the people at ClassOne Model Works. They are not only making some interesting new freight cars, but are also offering 3D-printed loads for them. Awhile back I bought one of their 125-ton depressed-center flat cars for evaluation (if you like, you can see my full review at: ). Then I thought I ought to try one of their loads too. 

They have offered two different transformers, but I already have a couple of loads like that. I decided to order an interesting load that relies more on the depressed-center character of the car than on its tonnage capacity. It is a de-watering drum, provided with shipping supports, a pair of what are called “bearings” (one is shown below) and some floral wire to make tie-downs. Here is the link to their site: , the source of this photo.

The part comes with pale gray paint. I decided to vary that, and painted the outside a different, slightly darker, gray color. Then I masked the outsides, and painted the entire interior as unpainted steel. For the latter, I used Tamiya “Semi-gloss Bright Gun Metal,” TS-100, which is really a bare-steel color.

Next I painted the two “timber” supports, the slender pieces you see at the left of the drum in the ClassOne photo at the top of the post, a “natural wood” color, and glued them to the drum using canopy glue. In the view below, you can just see the supports on which the drum is resting.

Meanwhile, I had also painted the two additional parts (the “bearings”) with the same gray as the drum, and the bearing supports the same wood color as under the drum.

The kit for this load includes about 8 pieces of floral wire to use for the long hold-down rods or cables, which is 0.015-inch diameter. This would in fact be rather heavy rod (around 1.25 inches diameter in HO scale). The good news about floral wire is that it is fairly soft and easy to form; the bad news is that it is equally easy to deform in a way you don’t want. One could of course substitute 0.015-inch brass wire. I tried both.

I began by drilling no. 75 holes in the flat car decks at about the right distance — much like what is done on the prototype, where drilling holes or welding attachment brackets to the deck is routine. After fitting individual rods to the distance of the drilled holes, I had to decide what to do about their appearance. 

The floral wire is bright and shiny silver, looking like polished steel, which I think is not realistic; and brass wire of course is entirely the wrong color. The floral wire could be given a coat of flat finish; or it as well as the brass could be painted with the same Tamiya “Steel” color (TS-100) as the drum interior, to look like plain steel rod, which is what I did.

I assembled everything, with the “bearings” on the near end of the car, and I added a crate of additional parts on the far end. (Crates like this commonly accompanied shipments of equipment.) The load and these details are placed on the Erie flat car that I originally reviewed, at the link in the first paragraph of the present post.

I haven’t decided whether to make this load permanent, or removable as are most of my open-car loads. (That way, I could also operate it on my SP version of this same car; see: .) But removability is primarily valuable for cars that are switched to on-layout destinations, and would then be picked up empty. A load like this isn’t realistic for local unloading on a layout like mine, so will be operated in main line through service. I’m eager to see this load in that role!

Tony Thompson

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