Category Archives: Rolling Stock

October Update…

As I said I have been busy with the home improvement projects. The biggest being the wall shelf system for my wife. Below are pictures of what I started with and where I’m at.

What I started with.
And where I’m at now.

Since the last photo was taken I have also added a set of drawers across the front for silverware and serving pieces. All that’s left is to add the doors. And enough with the home improvement update, not why you’re here. (Although maybe it is.)

What I have been able to do is get a bunch of new/old cars onto the layout.

First…

I finished the lone Gunderson well car that was lost than found.

The missing Gunderson well car is done and ready for revenue service.
Second…

I also finished up the set of Thrall well cars. The set is now all decaled.

The last set of well cars are finished.
Ready for the rails.
The end of the well car with generator on it.

The last photo shows the end unit with the generator and fuel tank mounted on it. I used a little creative license on it. The “DO NOT HUMP’ and the info decal should have been on the end sill. However it is covered by the walkway on the end, so I moved the decals up onto the base of the generator.

For some reason this set has been a PITA as everything has been a struggle, right up to and including getting them on the rails. Having painted and then finally getting them decaled, I went to place them on the tracks. However I experienced a fit issue on the shared trucks. Though I didn’t have a problem with the first set I finished, this sets female pieces had to be filed down to fit on the truck screw that holds them in place.

Filed the ends of several units for clearence.

Of course then they had to be touched up before service. But they are now done.

And then…

I completed three TOFC flat cars from Front Range Products. These are also from the “inherited fleet”. The cars themselves are pretty basic and go together rather well. The problem is their weight. The cars themselves are very light. With adding the metal wheel sets I got their weight up to 1.2 oz. The weight needed to come from the trailer that rides on them. I added 1 oz. to each trailer, with them riding high I was reluctant to add more. This brought the flat car/trailer weight to 3.5oz. It’s a little light for a car this length but I’ll run them at the end and they should be fine. The problem is, that by adding weight up high I had to replace the push pin style truck mounting with a screw. Actually would have done it anyways, but oh so important on this setup.

The TOFC flat cars ready for service.
Alternate view of the TOFC flat cars.
And lastly…

Also part of the “inherited fleet” were a couple of Front Range Products Front Runner cars. Again, fun and interesting cars, but not without their problems. Mainly the close clearance  in the truck mounting. The single axle truck mounts into a “cutout” in the floor of the car. They are also a push pin mount (obviously Front Ranges go to), but the location of the pins was nothing but a blob on the sprue.

My solution was to drill and tap the center sill for a 2-56 screw. Nothing unusual there. But I had to modify the bogie as well. The bogie is a two piece assembly. With the two pieces stacking at the mounting location. I drilled the top piece so the it would clear the screw body, it’s pivot location. The lower piece was drilled out so that the screw head would sit down in it. This was necessary as the axle is right there also and would have rubbed on the screw head if not recessed.

Drilled and tapped for mounting screw.
Enlarged hole for screw clearance.
Hole enlarged for screw head.

Though these cars did have weight to add to the center sills, still came out the same as the TOFC cars. Again, added the weight to the trailers to bring them close to weight. Ended up around 3.5 oz.

But they’re pretty cool when done and are fun to have as they are different than what you usually see.

The Front Runners done and ready.
Front Runners done and ready for layout.

One other thing, on the car in the back I had to make a new diagonal strut as the kit one was missing. The original was square. I had no square tubing, so the replacement is several round tubing pieces that telescope. The ends are .080 x.100 cut to size and filed to shape.

Next up…

My goal is to return to the layout and start adding more scenery. Moving south from Addison towards Jackson. This means the Drive In theater is next. I have picked an animated sign from Miller Engineering for it. And that’s my next work bench project.

Next project up, Drive In theater sign form Miller Engineering.

Till next time, stay safe and Happy Modeling…

 

 

 

Freight Car Friday #9…

Well it’s been a bit and I apologize, it’s not for lack of trying. Several things happened on the way to this post.

First…

I got the last set of well cars painted, cut out all the decals and had them sorted per my routine for this type of car. Went to start applying them and because of their age they absolutely would not release from the backing. Got a couple softened up enough that I literally pealed the decal off, but it wouldn’t stick. I checked the PPW/A-line/Arrow hobby website and they still had them available, In fact they are a updated set. They arrived yesterday.

The last set of well cars awaiting decals.
Second…

I then decided to try my hand at containers. There are  approximately 18 from Proto Power West that I had bought at the same time as the well cars. I had also picked up decals for them at that time. Painted the containers and went to apply the decals starting with a set of American President lines decals. Guess I liked the big red eagles on the sides. Applied the smaller informational decals first, when I tried to apply the eagles, they disintegrated.

The decal for the APL containers were old and fell apart on application.

I will strip off the decals from the APL containers and try something else. In the meantime I tried a set of Sea Land decals that I had with much better luck.

Completed Sea-Land containers ready for revenue service.

There were enough for eight so I still have another ten or so to go. In addition to the decals for the red well cars I also ordered a set of decals for the stray Gunderson car that I found. I was looking at what I had left from that decal session and found I had used a couple of decals that had not gone on well on the first attempt. Also I picked up some 20 foot containers for variety.

And lastly…

After being stuck in the house for the last six months my wife decided that after 23 years it was time to do a little upgrading around the house. Much like the rest of America. Turns out this means most of our main floor. Most of the rooms will get new paint. A redo of the kitchen (appliances and counter tops as well paint) and a full wall, floor to ceiling shelf system for her dishes (she likes to collect dishes, her hobby). A lot of this will be my doing, obviously not the counter tops. Just everything else.

And that has been what has been consuming my time. No complaints. It’s been awhile since I have had a major project to do and I like doing them. Just like completing something on the layout, finishing these projects is extremely satisfying. And no, that was not put in there in case she reads this.

There will be time in between to get small projects done and as I do I will update you. Looking forward to finishing the well cars and getting back to focusing on the actual layout. Also there are still a bunch of freight cars to be done.

Till later and hopefully not as long as it has been, Happy hobbying…

 

Freight Car Friday #8…

This week I wasn’t able to complete any cars for the layout but I was able to complete some loads for the intermodal cars. I came across four American Limited Models Bulktainers that I had sitting around.

These were 20 ft. tanks used for shipping liquids on intermodal cars. A search on the web will show a variety of such tanks. These make a great addition to the container fleet.

The kits themselves are pretty simple, with a piece count that is relatively low. There is the tank, two ends, a walkway for the top of the car, and an accessory sprue that has a ladder, placards and valves. In addition there is a piece to help align the ends so that the finished tank sits flat. And a decal sheet.

The first step is the ends. They go on with very little clean up and attach easily. The next step is the decals as they need to go on before the upper walkway.

Bulktainers awaiting decals.

One other thing I did before starting the decals was to paint the raised edges on the ends of the tank. As you can see in the photo the end decals are white with a silver border. I didn’t want to try and get these to snug down properly with the raised edge.

Decals for the Bulktainers.
Painted the raised rivets sections silver.
Alternate end of container with paint applied. Yes, I cleaned up the over painted areas.

So I carefully trimmed them down to just the white portion of the decal so they would properly sit within the raised portion.

End decals. Will remove the silver border sections to make application easier.
One decal trimmed of the silver section.

As you will note in the first photo are the black bands for the tank. There is a placement gauge in the instructions for there location on the tank. This is the most time consuming part of the build. Keeping them straight and in alignment is a bit tedious and I know other modelers that have just left them off. With them in place you then add the “BulkTainer” decals over them. The other dimensional/capacity decals then go on.

After the decals are in place and dry (I used solveset to set them, then waited overnight) it’s just a matter of adding the end ladder, placards and valve to the ends.

And BOOM!, just like that they are done..

Like I said they make a great addition and add variety to a container train. Though these are no longer available from American Limited, I have seen them readily available in the hobby stores and may pick up a couple more.

The prodigal well unit returns.

Additionally while searching for unbuilt/unfinished kits on the shelves I came across a Athearn BB diesel engine box in the middle of freight car boxes. Thinking it odd I popped it open and low and behold there it was. One of the reasons I probably missed it before was because as well as the car there were a couple of containers and a bunch of stick on weights. The heft of the box would lead one to believe that there was an engine in the box.

The missing well car unit.
Missing well car unit and it’s company in the wrong box.

With it located I can now finish it off and complete the five unit set.

That’s it for this week, as promised up next is running the wiring for the lights in Addison. And all the drama that was involved.

Stay safe and we’ll see you next week…

Freight Car Friday #7…

This weeks freight car is another ACF 3 bay hopper. It is from Accurate Finishings Inc. Actually I thought the car itself was from again, Front Range Products, as it was the same as last weeks cars and it had their stampings on the car. I figured Accurate Finishings was like Bev Bel from the late 70’s, early 80’s. Bev Bel would buy undecorated Athearn cars and do limited runs with them.

Started doing a little research so as to give you a little background. Wow, what a rabbit hole that was. Tried googling Acccurate Finishings and all I got back were old kits for sale. Either online stores or Ebay. Tried it again with the mailing address and that where it got confusing and interesting.

With the mailing address I got two things. First was some patent application numbers/dates. The second thing that popped up was Accurail. Thought that it was kind of weird and then I noticed that the mailing addresses were the same. Further research turned up that after Front Range Products went under, Accurail bought a bunch of their molds.

Without contacting Accurail I not sure of the actual connection between Accurate Finishings and Accurail. But, I’m going to go with Accurate Finishings being a division of Accurail doing limited runs of cars and it didn’t work out.

The car itself is just like the cars I talked about last week except that the weight for the car was now a one piece stamped steel plate instead of two smaller ones. With the new one piece weight the car came in at exactly 4 1/2 oz as recommended by the NMRA RP-20.1 weight standard.

The only problem with the kit was the trucks were warped. Not sure if they originally came like this or they warped over time. Fortunately I had a pair of 100 ton trucks on hand to replace them with. Additionally, the supplied scale couplers had to go.

It’s been so long , the trucks have gone bad. Luckily I had replacements on hand.
And the supplied couplers absolutely needed to go.

The models info.

This weeks project.

And the finished car.

The finished car,

If interested, there are a lot of Accurate Finishing cars available. On Ebay there were quite a few different hoppers for smaller roads, private industries and grain Co-ops. Also there are some box cars for again, smaller roads and industries.

Thanks for following along. I’ll see you next week.

Happy Railroading…

Freight Car Friday #6…

This week we have not one but twelve cars. They are Front Range Products ACF 3 bay Grain Cars. Front Range Products were around in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Their demise is something of scandal, but their products had some of the nicest detail at the time.

A side note. Most of the Front Range cars that I have are “inherited”. I was working with a guy back in the early 90’s who was “in search of a hobby”. After talking to me and another coworker about model railroading he thought it might be for him. Doing some research he decided on the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range. He bought a bunch of engines and cars. I helped him finish off some space in his basement for a small layout and work bench.

One day he walks up to me and tells me he’s getting out of the hobby. It’s just not for him. He was able to return some of the stuff to the LHS. Sold some of it off. And he gave me a bunch for helping him out. Thus, “inherited”.

Anyways, I pulled one of the boxes out from the “to be built” shelf. It was a Southern grain car. No Instructions in the box. Although the only thing I really needed to know was the correct placement of the triple valve and the brake actuator. Remembering that I had seen some more FRP cars down in the “completed” section (I keep the cars grouped pretty much by manufacturer) I went and looked. Turns out there were a dozen cars there. Going through the boxes I found that they were in various stages of disarray. A couple were not assembled, some were OK and others had various things broken off.

And so the construction and repair began. FRP used pins to hold the trucks on. My friend used super glue to hold the friction pins in place. Most were either too tight or not tight enough. He also used super glue to secure the draft gear boxes. Some of the couplers were glued in place.  I assembled the cars that weren’t put together, the one Southern car, a Chicago & Northwestern car and a CanCarb car. On these I tapped out the truck mounting hole and used 2-56 screws to hold them in place. The draft gear boxes I went with the friction fit covers and if they were a bit loose I used canopy glue on them. Canopy glue is great, it’s tacky and sets fast, dries clear and you can remove the part without damage if you need to.

The rest were handled on a case by case basis. All had the truck pins removed (ie. broken off) and then I drilled and tapped the hole and mounted the trucks with screws. The couplers that were free moving I left alone at this time. The ones that were frozen (glued) in place or didn’t move freely were handled like the trucks. I broke the cover off and then drilled and tapped for a screw.

The broken truck mounting pin.
Holes tapped for the 2-56 screws, ready to assemble.
Trucks and one of the draft gear boxes done.
Both trucks and both draft gear boxes.
Trucks done, the draft gear boxes are using the push in plates to hold the couplers.

As it turned out, the Southern car was one of a six car set. Each had it’s own separate reporting number. There was one car I tossed. The weights inside had come loose and he had glued the car together. So no fixing it. It was also missing a bunch of parts. So rather than having it sit around, away it went.

And I present to you the cars…

The Front Range Products fleet of ACF grain cars.
The Southern set of grain cars.
The miscellaneous grain cars.
And that’s not all…

Rather than a separate post, I’ll just include them here. I came across another bunch of center beams. It’s a three car set from Walthers. Same as the others, I added a load and secured it using thread to simulate cabling holding the load in place. Because the cars were a lighter paint color, I painted the spool of the ratchet black so that it looks like more cabling is wrapped around it. The single thread stood out as just that, a single thread stuck to the side of the spool. It looks pretty good painted.

The latest found set of center beams.
Painted the spool of the tie down ratchet so that the thread by itself doesn’t look weird.

Have a great weekend, I’ll see you next week. Till then…

Freight Car Friday #5…

This weeks freight car Friday is a bit late, sorry, small family emergency.

This week I have a Con-Cor PS-2 covered hopper from 1989. Grabbed it off of the shelf thinking it would be one of those quick builds. Turns out back in the 1980’s the cars had pin mounted trucks with the coupler as part of the truck. It’s my understanding that these cars were originally from AHM and that Con-Cor had bought the molds.

The truck mounted couplers for the Con-Cor hopper. They had to go.

Didn’t want truck mounted couplers and the trucks themselves were horribly out of scale.

The first step was to drill out the pin hole and put in a new styrene post. Once the glue had hardened I made a spacer out of .060 sheet styrene. This gave me the correct height for the thickness of the new trucks to be mounted.

.060 cutting spacer in place.

It was then just a matter of cutting off the excess post.

Cutting down the truck mount pin.
Cut down truck mount ready for the drill and tap.

I then drilled out the post and tapped it for the 2-56 screw. In the photo you can see the shim for the coupler mount. The styrene for the shim was included in the kit. Con-Cor had not yet started to change over the kits to body mounted couplers. They did offer very basic instructions for mounting Kadee #5 couplers and boxes. In the instructions they wanted you to cut off the coupler mounting portion of the truck. That would have made an ugly truck just that much more ugly. That’s why I replaced them.

Adding the coupler mounting draft gear (the box the coupler goes into) was very easy. The shim was the proper height so it was just a matter of drilling a hole and then tapping it for the mounting screw. Once mounted I gave it a quick coat of Green Zinc Chromate paint as it was the closest to BN green that I had.

Coupler box installed and painted. The truck bolster is drilled out and tapped.

After that it was ading the trucks along with 1 1/4 ounces of weight to get it to NMRA standards.

Finished Con-Cor hopper.

Con-Cor is still selling HO scale cars, however the PS-2 hopper are not currently something they offer. And the couplers are now body mounted. It really is a rather nice basic car and will be a nice addition to the road.

Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you next week. Stay safe and Happy Railroading…

 

Intermodal Update #2…

In a couple week, something of a marathon session I have gotten all painted intemodal cars decaled. The process got off to a slow start as I tried to figure out how to keep track and apply so many different, small decals to each car. With the first unit it was locating and identifying each small decal on the sheet. Then cutting out and applying the decal. Time consuming and tedious. Plus I had to use a magnifying lens to read most of the decals.

After doing only one side of one car I figured there had to be a better way. My solution was to grid off a sheet of paper. Then each square was labeled with each decals text, large enough to read.

Decals for the Gunderson Twin Stacks cut out and labeled. Makes application go quicker then cutting out each one as needed.

Once this was done I then selected the needed decals for the car side I was working on and laid them out as they would go on the car. This sped up the process greatly. I would do a side, hit them with Solvaset and while they dried lay out the decals for the other side. With this method I was able to get a couple cars done in an evening.

Side note, the decals are from Proto Power West / A-line and I bought them at the same time as the cars. For their age I had very few problems. I had considered buying new except that PPW/Aline was only selling off what they had left and I figured what they had left might be as old as what I was using.

After each car was decaled it then moved to the paint booth for a coat of Dullcoat.

The first problem…

One thing that did slow me down for a night was that I found one of the SeaLand mid unit cars was missing the brake piping along the side. I had to add the brake piping, piping protectors and then paint that side of the car. After letting it dry for a day it was then ready for decals.

Some how missed the extra detail on one of the cars and had to add after painting, before decals.

After the cars were all Dullcoated it was time to add the wheel sets. The wheel sets on the ends of the 5 unit set are 33″. The wheel sets on the shared bolsters are 36″. I had use a  spacer washer on the 33″ trucks to get the cars to set level.

And then the second problem…

As part of the construction process I ran a drill through all the holes in the metal parts that act as bolsters or car connectors. I then tapped any hole that would be receiving a screw. And that was working perfectly till I was screwing on the last (why is it always the last) truck. The screw got stuck. I could not screw it in and when I tried to back it out it broke off. I removed the bolster from the car with the thought that I would try and grab the screw with a pliers and turn it out. There wasn’t enough to grab onto. My thought then was to drill it out. The problem there is that the screw is harder metal then the bolster.

The casting with the broken screw. Tried to drill out, but the screw is harder then the surrounding metal.

The bolster was toast. So I built a new one out of styrene. And I believe that it turned out rather well. For your consideration.

Because it’s the way it always goes. Screw broke off in casting. Had to make a new one out of available styrene.
Replacement in place ready for paint.
Replacement painted and ready for service.

Anyways, the Sealand cars:

The SeaLand set done and ready to hit the table.Next up the cars in TTX yellow.

And the BN Gunderson set:

The second set of Gunderson TwinStacks decaled and ready for the layout.

And finally the Thrall well cars:

Alternate / better view of the Thrall well cars.

I still have the set to be painted, but I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment getting these done after all these years.

Maybe next time I’ll have the last set done. Till then, take care…

 

Danny, This One is for You…

About a week ago, I was contacted by a gentleman who was building a Quality Craft Model of the GATX #96500 whale belly tank car. He was having trouble deciphering the drawings/instructions for mounting the bolsters to the tank. He asked for some pictures of the bolsters. I have tried emailing these to him but have had the emails returned.

So, Danny, if you stop by again here are the photos that you requested. I will try again to email them to you also.

GATX 96500 bolster detail 1.
GATX 96500 bolster detail 2.
GATX 96500 bolster detail 3.
GATX 96500 bolster detail 4.
GATX 96500 truck detail.

And to everyone else. If you have questions, need clarification, additional photos or my opinion on something, I”l be happy to help you out.

Till later…

 

Freight Car Friday #4…

This edition of freight car Friday was two weeks in the making, so I apologize about missing last week. Things kind of piled up on me and I ran short of time. That, and this weeks car was not a casual 1 night project.

This week I present to you – a Custom Rail 89′  C&NW Bi-Level Auto Rack, part #4382. There was no notation of which year this was made and a quick check of the “Google” did not reveal anything. In fact I came up with very little info other than it represents a early 80’s auto rack. And they did not seem to be very well received. In fact the quote I came across in a review was as follows: “The Custom Rail cars were based on the old Custom Rail 89′ flat car which the whole kit was not all that user friendly to build and in all my travels I’ve seen few assembled examples so they didn’t seem to go over well.”

Wow.

Had I read that before starting the kit it may still be sitting on the shelf waiting to be built. And, that description was rather accurate in retrospect.

The kit could be built as just an 89′ TOFC flat. It has all the pieces for that. Or you can build it as the intended enclosed auto rack. Additionally as the individual metal panels are applied to the side frames, I believe you could probably build it as an open auto rack as well. Also, since the panels are applied separately the etched metal panels from Plano Model Works might work and give the car a far more “open” feel. In which case you could then place scale cars on the rack and be able to see them inside.

Anyways on to the model. As I said the side panels are separate from the side frames and need to be glued on.

Prepping the first side for assembly.
Side panels glued in place.
Assembled panel from the outside.

Having done this I ran into the first”fussy” part of the build. You are to glue the second deck on to the inside of the side frame. There are very slight indentations marking where they go. In fact they are so slight that I tried to take a picture of them but they really didn’t show up. My fix, though a bit heavy handed, was to glue a strip of .100 x .100 styrene to the inside just above the indentations. And then glue the deck to the side and the styrene strip.

Reinforcement for the second deck.
Second deck glued to side and reinforcement.

This was not at all noticeable from the outside.

Outside view of side panel. Reinforcement strip does not show.
Two side panels glued to center deck ready for attachment to main deck and roof.

Next was the base deck of the flat car. The basic assembly is pretty straight forward. There is a stamped flat sheet weight that is glued on to the bottom (it was painted TTX yellow to match the underside) with the center sill glued on over it. The brake equipment is glued into place, although the is no marked location, you just work from the diagram as to where they should be.

The swing couplers are the big hang up. Things are kept pretty tight for prototypical appearances. Meaning that there is a very narrow cutout at the end of the car for coupler movement. Having doubts, I did a basic assembly to make sure there was enough swing for my 30″ radius  curves. That is how little swing there is. They worked though I’m not sure how much smaller a radius curve they would work on without modifying the underside of the car. Also, I did quite a bit of sanding/filing to get things to move freely, so that they could get around the curves.

The finished basic flat.

The main deck of the auto rack. could easily be finished as a 89′ TOFC.

Then it was time to mount the enclosure to the flat. There are only the base of the upright supports that make contact with the deck. Additionally these are close to scale thickness, so the contact surface is very small. It took time and patience as you worked you way down one side then the other.

Assembly finished, ready for decals.

One side note, I did not install the outside break levers to the side. The diagrams did not match anything on the parts sprues and nothing looked like what was on the Walthers model that I had on hand. So better then throwing something on that looked funny, I left it off.

Then it was time for decals. The decals were made by Microscale. However, the instructions are so poor and blurry that placement was totally unreadable. Luckily I had a Walthers C&NW car that I used for reference.

Assembly finished with Walthers C&NW Auto Rack behind it.
Decals applied and ready for revenue service.

I needed to add 1 1 /4 ounces to weight to the car and it received Kadee couplers. Metal wheels will have to wait till I can round up 28″ wheels.

It was a bugger to build but the finished car is nice. If you find one around I would recommend it, but know what you’re getting into.

That’s it for this week, till later…

Freight Car Friday #3…

 

Today for Freight Car Friday I assembled a Walther’s Single Bay Airslide Hopper #932-4611. The kit is from 1990.

Walther’s Airslide Hopper from 1990.

I like these cars as the little Airslides were some of the first covered hoppers used by the railroads. The 2600 cu ft hoppers were introduced in 1953 by General American Transportation Corp. (GATX). They were used to transport dry, granular or powdered commodities.

Compared to it’s bigger brother which was last weeks freight car, this one was a far more involved build. Whereas the PD hopper from last week has basically the same look/equipment, this one has a higher piece count. Case in point would be the top loading hatches. Most of the previous kits that I have built with top loading hatches, they have everything molded together.

On this kit the top hatch consists of four pieces, the round hatch and three retaining bolts. The bolts are molded more as long pins that push between fingers on the hatch and then into a hole on top on the car. Nothing wrong with this and not a problem while assembling the kit. It just made for a more involved build. Fortunately for these aging eyes, they included extra small parts in the kit.

It also got the Kadee’s and metal wheel sets. The weight was almost spot on to the NMRA recommended practices. I only added a 1/4 ounce to bring it to weight.

Again, much like last weeks build, this one was a nice, relaxing build. Though not available from Walthers anymore, you can find them readily available on secondary markets.

Till next week, take care and stay safe..