Saturday, January 18, 2020

Atchison, Topeka And Santa Fe Tank Car 100801

Several years ago I purchased an Athearn Tank Car, kit 1574, lettered for the Atchison, Topeka And Santa Fe (A.T.S. F.) with number 100801.  I made the purchase thinking I had seen a photo of the car in a Car Builders’ Cyclopedia.  I was happy when I found photos of A.T.S.F. tank car 100800, series 100800-100899, Class ICC-103, 16,200 gallons tank car, built by General American Transportation Corporation in the 1940 Car Builders’ Cyclopedia ( Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp., 1940) on page 319.  The photos also appear in Train Shed Cyclopedia NO. 12, Tank Cars 1922-1943 ( Newton K. Gregg, 1973).

1940 Car Builders' Cyclopedia
(Click of tap on photo to enlarge)


And, I was not happy because I was aware of the problems with the Athearn tank car such as dome too short and all tank rivets not correct.  The problems are described in a two part article  “Tank Car Basics” by Tony Thompson in Model Railroad Hobbyist, Part 1 in February 2016 and Part 2 in March 2016.  Knowing the problems, my first thought was to put it on my sale table in my railroad area; however, I finally decided  to build it to test some ideas I had and use it as a reasonable looking stand in. 

On the under body I cut off the coupler pocket covers from the underframe.  I drilled and tapped the coupler pockets and covers for 2-56 screws.  I installed Kadee #148 couplers with Fastenal 2-56 x 3/16” screws.  Next, I cut off the air reservoir and moved it to the Santa Fe transverse position as can be seen in the above photos.  The brake cylinder, control valve  and brake levers were left as molded.  I added the piping, Tichy Train Group (Tichy) .010” phosphor bronze wire (PBW) from the air reservoir to the control valve and brake rods Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter phosphor bronze wire.  The brake cylinder rod chain is A-Line 40 links per inch.



Tank Car underbody.
(Click or tap on this or any other photo to enlarge)


Next, I needed  to correct some of the tank problems.  The major problem the 12” dome height.  Tony Thompson increased the dome height for some SP tank cars using a portion of another Athearn tank car dome.  I felt casting a dome might be easier.  I found the Varney, later Life-Like, to have the proper dome height and made a mold of the Varney dome and cast a resin dome.



Mold being made.

Resin cast dome out of mold.


No harm done to master.


I cut the dome off the tank car with a Xacto fine tooth razor saw and installed the new 24 inch dome.  The dome could easily be sanded to a get a 22 inch or less dome height.  I liked the result and having a mold I can duplicate the dome for other Athearn tank cars.  Yes, the manway is too large and hinges too tall on the Varney dome.  You can remove these and replace them with parts of proper size from Tichy #3007, Tank Car Detail Set.



New cast resin dome added to tank car.


I had already removed the handrails and molded on stanchions on the tank.  I did not have Precision Scale #32110, brass or 32110-1, plastic stanchions or Tichy plastic stanchions in the Tank Car Detail Set in inventory.   Not having any of the three preferred stanchions, I used Precision Scale #374, 3.5 mm long stanchions which I did have and bent them upward with a needle nose pliers.  A last resort method that would work if necessary in the future.

For the handrails, rather than using brass or PBW as on other tank cars I have built, I wanted to try flora wire.   I threaded .018” floral wire through the stanchion holes on each side and joined them inside the stanchion mounted on the tank end.   I quickly found the floral wire I like to use for a train line is a poor choice for the handrails as too soft allowing it to bend easily.  Lesson learned.



Floral wire for handrails is not a good choice.



Other changes on the tank car included removing one of the two rivet rows on the tank  next to the dome via scraping and sanding.  Next, I carved off molded on grab irons and replaced them with grab irons I bent from Tichy #1101 .010” PBW.   I installed a Kadee Ajax brake wheel to replace the kit one.  Plastic ladders from a Roundhouse Products Model Die Casting Inc. 50 ft. tank car kit shortened to fit were used rather than the metal kit ladders.

Double sill steps with angle brace were added next.  I cut off the molded on sill steps.   I bent a sill step from Detail Associates #2524 .010” x .030” flat brass bar stock and attached them to the car.  Next, I cut strips .030” wide  with a Xuron 9180 scissor like cutter ( in my opinion a wonderful tool for cutting thin sheet brass) to create the step in the double step sill and the side angle brace from .005” sheet brass.  A cut strip was used to bend the double step with a needle nose pliers and glued into the previously installed sill step.  A sill step angle brace attached to the sill step at the middle and the end sill was also cut from a strip and installed.  The sill step with angle brace fabrication went well using super glue rather than soldering as I have always done in the past.



Double sill step and Kadee brake wheel.


I still needed to add uncoupling levers.  An uncoupling lever bracket was made with a styrene angle, cut from Plastruct #9501, 3/64" styrene angle,  glued to the double sill step with the angle facing outward and drilled with #79 drill to make a hole into which a Detail Associates #2206,  eye bolt was installed.   An uncoupling lever bent from Tichy #1106, .0125” PBW was installed using the made bracket and gluing the end in a hole drilled in the bottom of the couple pocket cover.


Uncoupling lever bracket and uncoupling lever.


The final details to be installed were the diamond metal shaped placard boards in the kit and forged flanges for the tank head (the round item at the top of the tank on the end).

The car parts not already hand painted with Vallejo Black 70.950 were now painted. Once dry a coat of Vallejo Gloss Medium 70.470 was applied to get a match sheen on car and decal application on ends.



Car painted and sprayed with Gloss for decal base.



Decals for ends were made with Clover House Railroad Roman Alphabet Condensed Bold White #9600-11 dry transfers applied to decal paper and coated with MicroScale Liquid Decal Film.  The decals were applied with MicroScale Micro Sol.  When decals were dry, the car body was sprayed with Vallejo Matt Varnish 70.580 to protect dry transfers and decals during handling and for weathering.




End decals with reporting marks and numbers applied.



I weathered the tank car with Pan Pastels and makeup brushes using the following colors: Payne’s Grey Extra Dark 840.1 and Burnt Sienna 740.5.



Car weathered with Pan Pastels.


Once I had the tank car weathered I printed a car card and placed A.T.S.F. 100801 in service.   I took a photo of it sitting at Meyer Oil in Northfield, Minn. served by Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, “Serving Today, Shaping Tomorrow.”



A.T.S.F. tank 100801 sitting on Meyer Oil siding in Northfield, Minn.







Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.


Lester Breuer













Wednesday, January 1, 2020

ATSF Boxcar 274525 Roof Repaint

Sometimes after I finish a freight car I obtain additional data regarding the prototype.  The new data may require a change to a freight car I built that I thought I had finished.  And, that was the case with ATSF 274525.  I was informed the roof of this car should be black.

Ed Hawkins, well known historian, author and Publisher/Managing Editor of the Railway Prototype Cyclopedia seriesinformed me that starting in 1931 it became Santa Fe standard practice thru the mid-1950s for new box cars with steel roofs to have black car cement applied to them. Several examples of paint spec documentation in ACF bills of materials (available for review at the Barriger National RR Library) confirm this to include Bx-13 in 1931, Bx-27 in 1937, Bx-59 in 1951, Bx-69 in 1955. 

John Hotvet, Santa Fe modeler, informed me the Santa Fe did start painting the roof red in the early 1950's.  But the straight line map says this car is still wearing its original paint so the roof would be black.  When it got repainted into the "Ship and Travel…" scheme then it would have received the red roof.



Santa Fe Historical And Modeling Society


ATSF 274525 had to go back to the paint shop to get the roof painted black to look as black car cement was applied.  First I had to remove the Pan Pastel weathering.  Since I do not apply a clear coat after weathering this was not a difficult task.



Roof weathering has to be removed for spray painting roof.
(Click or tap this or any image to enlarge)

I used makeup swabs dipped in tap water to remove the initial Pan Pastel weathering followed by makeup swabs dipped in  91% isopropyl alcohol to finish removal of any remaining weathering.



Makeup applicators used to remove weathering.
(Click or tap on this or any photo to enlarge)


With weathering removed I set the model in a painting jig I made.  I used Scotch blue  Painter’s Tape to tape off the roof area to get the roof ready to be sprayed black.  




Roof taped for spraying roof black.


I sprayed the roof with Vallejo Model Air Black Grey RLM66, 71.055.  Model Air is to be air brush ready out of the bottle; however, I have found after sitting in the paint drawer for a while the paint needs thinning.  I thinned the paint 50% paint  and 50% custom mixed thinner.  The custom thinner  mix is distilled water, Vallejo air brush thinner and Vallejo flow improver.


Roof sprayed with Vallejo Model Air Black Grey RLM66.


After tape was removed I touched up the weathering with the Artmatic brown eye shadow makeup I had used to initially weather the car when built.   



Artmatic eye shadow makeup used to touch up weathering.



Brown eye shadow makeup used to touch up weathering.
It matches the car body color well.




After roof  was painted black and weathering touched up
ATSF 274525 is ready to go back in service.


And, sometimes after I refinish a freight car I obtain even more data regarding the prototype.  The new data may require another change to a freight car I built that I thought I had finished.  And, that was the case with ATSF 274525.  I was informed the roof of this car should be black; however, the running board should be galvanized since my car was in original paint.

Steve Hile informed me that in Richard Hendrickson's Santa Fe painting and lettering book he states within the section on house cars between 1931 and 1951 that steel grid running boards were left unpainted since they were galvanized.

John Barry informed me if your car is in original paint, metal running boards should be galvanized. If they represent a repaint, the running board should match the roof, non-skid black prior to 1951 and mineral brown after that.

ATSF 274525 had to go back to the paint shop one more time to get galvanized running boards.  I again used Scotch blue  Painter’s Tape to cover only the black roof and hand painted the Morton running boards with Model Master Steel #1780 to give them a galvanized look.



Running board was painted to give it a galvanized look.



Now ATSF 274525 with it’s black cement looking roof  and galvanized running boards could now go back into service serving customers as IB Fine Woolen on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”



ATSF boxcar 274525 sitting at IB Fine Woolen.



Right side of ATSF boxcar 274525.



Left side of ATSF boxcar 274525.



I want to say, "Thank You" to Ed Hawkins and John Hotvet for providing information regarding roof being black due to black car cement being applied to Santa Fe boxcar 274525.  And, "Thank You" to Steve Hile and John Barry for providing information regarding  galvanized running board.





Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.


Lester Breuer







Thursday, December 26, 2019

Atchison, Topeka And Santa Fe Boxcar 274525

In 2013 I purchased an Atchison, Topeka And Santa Fe, ATSF, CB&T Shops kit with a box label reading, “1944 AAR Box Car Limited Edition Set #1 produced exclusively for Div. 6, MCR , NMRA, Columbus, Ohio.”  The kit was purchased from an estate dealer at a local train show because the steel AAR box car, numbered 274525, had 6 panel sides on each side of the door.  I knew the Great Northern had this type car; however, I did not know if the Santa Fe did.  Recently I decided it was time to build and upgrade the car if it had a prototype.  Not having much reference data on the Santa Fe I asked if the car had a prototype and information regarding the car on RealSTMFC website.  I quickly received informative  responses with photos and data on the car.

Pullman-Standard builder's photo courtesy of Tim O'Conner

The Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society 


The car had a prototype, Santa Fe class Bx-48, series 274000-274739, built by Pullman-Standard  in 1946 including the following features: 12 panel riveted steel sides, 4/4 corrugated rolling pin ends, Murphy panel roof, improved Youngstown doors with three panels, and American Steel Foundries ASF-A3 trucks.  The side panel near the ends on  the prototype car was larger than the other five panels whereas all the panels on the model were equal in size.  A discrepancy I could live with so the upgrade of the car began.

I began the kit build with the underbody which had molded brake components, levers, piping and brake rods.  I drilled and tapped the couplers pockets, pocket covers and bolster center plates for 2-56 screws.  Kit weights and electrical outlet box punch outs were used to weight the car to 3.8 ounces.  I installed Kadee #148 couplers with 3/16” Fastenal 2-56 screws and Kato, #31-601, ASF A-3 ride control trucks with Fastenal 2-56 1/4” screws.

I cut off the molded on brake components; however, I did not remove the brake levers, brake rods and chain (I do not have a underbody diagram to know if correct).  I used styrene round rod from the bits box to complete the missing portion of the molded on train line.  I drilled the removed air reservoir for piping and mounted it in a transverse position, common for the Santa Fe.  I replaced the brake cylinder, control valve and brackets with Tichy Train Group (Tichy), set #3013, parts drilled for piping prior to install.  I fabricated a Royal F slack adjuster as the car lettering next to the left side of the door reads the car has.


Brake components and missing train line portion installed.
(Click on this or any photo to enlarge)


I added piping, Tichy # 1101, .010” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW), from the air reservoir to the control valve.  And, the pipe from the brake cylinder to the control valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW.  A resin cast dirt collector using Tichy dirt collector as a master from set #3013 was installed.  Finally, brake lever hangers, plastic grab irons in the parts drawer saved from some plastic kit, were installed.

Underbody with piping installed.  Brake lever hangers not yet added.


I moved on with the build installing kit provided corrugated 3 panel 6 ft. doors.  Next, I installed the car ladders as I use them for positioning other added safety appliances on sides and ends.  I felt the ladder rungs were very oversize so I cut them off saving the stiles.  New ladder rungs bent from Tichy #1101 .010” diameter PBW were installed in holes drilled with a #79 drill.





Ladder stiles with wire rungs installed.


I installed Kadee bracket grab irons in the manufacture and my additional drilled holes.  The additional holes were marked for drilling using a Yarmouth Model Works Kadee bracket grab drill template designed to aid in layout of the holes for Kadee bracket grab irons.  I cut off the molded on door handles and bent and installed new ones from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.  The kit provided sill steps were discarded as they are grossly oversize.  Before new sill steps were installed the sill tabs at the ends of the car were cut shorter to match the prototype.

Sill tabs near ends prior to modification.


With the end sill tabs shortened, A-Line #29002, style C, sill steps were installed.  On the sill corners, sill step hangers, cut from .004” resin kit flash,  were added and hanger fasteners created with MEK Goop.  Adding kit modified placard boards on the doors completed the work on the sides.

Sill tabs shortened to match prototype and sill steps installed.



Side view with all upgrade details added.



Time for the easy roof upgrade work.  The kit running boards were discarded.  I installed Kadee Morton #2005, running boards.  The mounting pins on the Kadee running boards were cut off as were the mounting pins on the longitudinal mounting brackets to allow install directly onto the molded roof saddles.  I installed Morton running boards after consulting Ed D. Hawkins, well known historian, author and Publisher/Managing Editor of the Railway Prototype Cyclopedia series, who stated there is photo proof of Morton installations; however, with 740 cars built it is possible other types were used.


Morton running boards installed.


Next I completed the install of the “B” end details.  A photo etched Morton brake step, Yarmouth Model Works, YMW #252, was installed with brackets cut from Evergreen # 8102, 1 x 2” strip styrene.  A Sunshine Models resin retainer valve from the parts box followed by a Tichy retainer line and brackets, Tichy #1100, .008” diameter PBW were installed. Tichy brake gear including chain and bell crank from set #3013 were installed.  A brake rod cut from Tichy #1102, .015” diameter PBW followed with the clevis connecting it to the bell crank made with MEK Goop. A Kadee #2020, Adjax brake wheel was installed.



Morton brake step and other "B" end added details.




Now I installed the grab irons: Kadee bracket grab iron on the left side and sill grab irons bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.  Another detail item to be installed was a resin placard board from the parts box mounted on mounting strips cut from .004” resin kit flash with fasteners made with MEK Goop added.





Finally, the uncoupling levers bent from Tichy #1106, .0125” PBW with a custom made bracket were installed.  The bracket was cut from Plastruct #90501, 3/64” styrene angle glued to the sill corner and after glue was set shaped with a PBL #803 Gate Nipper for despruing small plastic parts. A hole was drilled in the shaped bracket with a #80 drill for the bent uncoupling lever.


Uncoupling levers are installed.


Uncoupling lever bracket.



Another view of uncoupling lever bracket and
sill step mounting bracket.


With the “B” end completed I moved the car to the paint shop.  The underbody and trucks were hand painted with Vallejo Model Color Black Grey, 70.862.  The car body details were hand painted with a Vallejo Model Color mix:   2/3 or 66%  Black Red, 70.859 ( 2 drops in a bottle cap) and 1/3 or 33% Saddle Brown, 70.940, (1 drop in a bottle cap).  Once the car body applied paint was dry the car body was sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Medium, 70.470, in preparation for decal application.




Vallejo Gloss Medium applied.



The CB&T Shops applied lettering on the car sides matched the prototype except for the missing "Royal F brake" next to the door.  I added it from an old Champ HB-20M Santa Fe "Super Chief" boxcar set.  All decals for the end lettering were needed.  Decals for ends, reporting marks and car number, were made with Clover House Railroad Roman Alphabet Condensed Bold White #9600-11 dry transfers applied to decal paper and coated with MicroScale Liquid Decal Film.  The type of "wheels" decal came from an old CNW Herald King decal set.  The decals were applied with MicroScale Micro Sol and Walthers Solvaset Decal Setting Solution.  When decals were dry, the car body was sprayed with Vallejo Matt Varnish 70.580 to protect new decals during handling and for weathering.

Decal applied left of door and car body sprayed to protect.

Decals applied and car body sprayed to protect.


Underbody hand painted.


After the protective finish was dry I weathered the car body with brown Artmatic eye shadow makeup applied with a makeup brush on the sides and ends and Pan Pastels.  Pan Pastels used were the following: Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1 on the roof, underbody and very lightly on the car body and Red Iron Oxide Shade 380.3 on the trucks.  With the Pan Pastels applied another build finished enabling it to be put into service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company "Serving today, shaping tomorrow."



ATSF 274525 sitting at IB Fine Woolen



Right side of ATSF 274525



Left side of ATSF 274525.



"B" end of ATSF 274525 at IB Fine Woolen



I want to say, "Thank You" to Ed Hawkins, Andy Carlson, Brian Carlson and Tim O'Conner for their help with information for this build.  I also want to say, "Thank You" to Tim O'Conner, Bob Chaparro and Santa Fe Historical and Modeling Society for photos to aid with this build.




Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.


Lester Breuer