Freight Car Friday #72 – CP 80967 Model

CP 80967 is a simple study in very minor paint and decal tweaks to update the appearance of a (basically) RTR car.

The subject is a factory decorated model originally produced by Life Like under the Proto1000 brand label. (This tooling is now owned by Walthers.) It’s basically Ready to Run, other than the ladders and door rods being modeler-applied parts although they don’t really take any special skill to install.

One thing about the model is the colour of the roof. The roof is factory painted a pale grey colour to represent a bare galvanized steel roof, but just being a flat grey fails to really “pop” properly. So to improve the car (actually a trio of cars I have in these colours) I masked off the roof and re-sprayed it with Model Master “Steel”. The overall colour is almost the same shade except the Steel actually gives it a proper metallic finish. Next, as the 80967-81216 (yep, this car is actually the “class unit” for the series) were delivered in 1967 and actually originally painted in script, the Action Green MultiMark represents a repaint of these cars, and a little bit of Action Green overspray was added around the edges.

Standard decal additions of COTS and U-1 stencils in varying locations on the different cars and updated weigh dates completes the standard lettering updates before weathering.

One really neat feature of this model also needs to be addressed here. Life Like tooled two body version with different styles of plug doors – an inside-post (flush appearance) as shown on this car, and an exterior-post (recessed appearance). The interior post doors were on cars built up to 1968, and cars built 1969 or after had the exterior post doors. Another key difference between the earlier and later cars was the wheelbase, with cars built up to 1967 having a shorter 38’10” length between truck centres, and cars built 1968 and later have a longer 40’8″ truck centre distance. The model does something super clever here that a lot of people may not even be aware of – the truck bolsters are actually separate pieces that can be removed, rotated 180 degrees and reinstalled to shorten the wheelbase. (The truck centres should be narrowed on this car, but I took the photo before addressing the trucks.)

A roster of prototype cars that match the models, with door and wheelbase information (via Jim Eager on the MFCL list):

Series Date Door Wheelbase UF Notes
CN 401483-401882 12/66-1/67 YPD 38’10” C
CN 400600-400999 1-3/67 YPD 38’10” C
CP 80967-81216 4/67 YPD 38’10” C
PGE 4601-4642 5/67 YPD 38’10” U re# BCOL 4601-4642
CN 400350-400599 6-7/68 YPD 40’8″ C re# CNIS 400350-400599 /70
DWC 403000-403149 1-2/69 YPDX 40’8″ C
CVC 402000-402499 2-4/69 YPDX 40’8″ C
PGE 4651-4750 4/69 YPDX 40’8″ U re# BCOL 4651-4750
CPI 85000-85499 5-7/69 YPDX 40’8″ C re# CP 85000-85499
MDW 7001-7099 7/69 YPDX 40’8″ C re# CPAA 86000-86099 /88

Door: YPD = regular interior post Youngstown plug door, YPDX = exterior post Youngstown plug door.
Underframe (UF): C = cushioned underframe, U = un-cushioned underframe

Steam Generators: One step back, one step forward

Sometimes a project takes a step back before going forward. It can be easy and natural to only share successes, but mistakes are also a source of learning.

The Algoma Central’s quartet of home built steam generator cars were built in 1951-52 using the frames of old 40’ steel braced wood boxcars. These wood boxcars were a pretty good match for the Accurail car and I have a trio of these decorated for the AC using CDS transfers. In building these scratchbuilt heater cars, I built them to fit the same Accurail 40’ boxcar underframe, since the real cars were built on the same boxcar frames.

Except…

With the .040” styrene walls of the scratchbuilt body married to the Accurail frame the overall width of the new body was only equal to the width of the wooden sheathing of the original box and did not take the width of the car bracing which would have been attached to the outside of this. The original scratchbuild was FAR TOO NARROW and at least a foot or more narrower than the other passenger cars they will run with.

This major error has really bothered me, as while otherwise the cars built up quite nicely so far, the too thin bodies can’t be unnoticed. So being unhappy with its current state, the project was shoved off to the side for a while.

Teardown and disassembly of assembled car to salvage the sides.

This past week I pulled the cars from the back of the workbench and resolved to correct the mistake and move forward on the project again. The sides turned out well and I didn’t want to throw the entire project out and re do that effort, so the ends and roof were cut away and the corner trimwork removed with a razor blade. A few minor pieces such as the doors and aftermarket detail parts for the electrical plugs were removed from the original ends and salvaged for reuse. New, wider versions of the ends were fabricated and reassembly of the cars is now well on its way.

Old (left) and replacement (right) car ends.

New underframes will have to be scratchbuilt next, and then hopefully I can continue with fabricating the roof vents and other details for the generator, which I had started but put aside when it became obvious I didn’t want to continue with the original bodies.

Scrapped steam generator components.

More to come hopefully, now that this project is rolling again…

Freight Car Friday #70 – GBW 8077 Model

This car started out as an Athearn RTR boxcar factory decorated for the Providence & Worcester Railroad which I picked up “used”/new in box at a train show about a year ago specifically with this patch job in mind. It was weathered, patched and re-stencilled following a 1989 photo on rr-fallenflags.org. I have a certain fondness for shortline boxcars and patched out reporting marks of cars in second-hand ownership and I’ve been working on collecting a few appropriate cars from nearby US connections that can fit in to my area and era. These ex-PW cars, as well as other cars from the New Orleans Public Belt (NOPB), East Camden & Highland (EACH) and Wabash Valley (WVRC) Railroads, were acquired by the Green Bay & Western in the early 1980s.

Weathering was done in a few layers/stages. The body was given a general airbrush grime coat (with particular concentration along the lower edges and some vertical “wheel spray” patterns on the car ends) and the rust effects on the door were hand painted with acrylics and a fine-tipped brush. The original reporting marks were painted out with some SOO red I had on hand and new reporting marks and numbers added with Microscale stencil alphabet decals. A bit of work with pan pastels blended the rusty areas, added some streaking off the ends of the door tracks, and added light surface rust to the galvanized steel roof. A final coat of Flat Haze sealed the decals and pastel effects and slightly dulled and faded the body colour.

Painting/Weathering Modern Gondola Interiors

If you actually look at most modern gondolas out there today, you’ll find that most open top cars from the last 30 years or so actually don’t have any interior paint or coating, but instead the interior of the cars are raw, unpainted steel (other than perhaps some overspray from the painting of the exterior of the car).

Of course, with some exceptions, most model cars do not reflect this and instead of masking and painting the interior a rust or brown colour (which would really still need to be painted/weathered for a proper rusty steel look anyway) the whole car, interior and exterior, is painted the body colour.

I was having a bit of a painting and weathering weekend this weekend, and got out this sextet of Atlas Trainman SIECO gondolas to paint the interiors “rust”.

Six Atlas Trainman gondolas with the interiors painted to look like bare steel with rust. (Exterior weathering still to be done in this shot.)

To get a good steel colour, I start by giving the inside of the cars a good base coat of Gun Metal. This gives a nice dark metallic colour as a base to work on. Then the rust colouring is added with several very thin coats of Rail Brown, Roof Brown and Rust. These brown/rust coats should be very light and thin, not going for solid coverage and allowing the lower colours to show through. The layers of colours and natural variation created by the light, uneven coats of brown/rust provide a nice rusty steel look.

I may complete the weathering with additional application of rust-coloured powders and some bits of debris from former loads, but the basic painting of the interior to change it from the main body colour (bright blue for the two GTW cars) to something that looks like unpainted steel really gets the cars popping with minimal effort.

Rollup Baggage Room Doors for Wawa

The baggage/express room in the Wawa station featured 8’x8′ roll-up freight doors on both the track and street sides of the station. I scratchbuilt these from a .020″ styrene sheet back and .010x.030″ strip for the grid pattern on the door sections. The outer door frame is .020x.060″ strip on edge.

Doors and corner posts (angle bits in the middle) airbrushed Sylvan Green. The corner posts are made from a 2×2 spacer to match the door frame and a 1×6 front piece with a corner filed off to a curve.

Front (track side) baggage door and corner posts installed: