Monday, May 2, 2022

Chicago Great Western Box Cars 87420 and 87572

 With the addition of the Chicago Great Western (GGW) interchange to my Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company I continue to add to the number of CGW boxcars I have to serve customers.   After previous posts with write ups of upgrades of CGW box cars, I had a friend contact me telling me he had two undecorated Red Caboose X-29 box car kits, kit RC-7003  he had available.   With the build of these two kits, I will satisfy my CGW box car needs.

The prototype I chose for these two builds of Chicago Great Western box cars was in CGW series 87000-87998.  More specifically in series, 87000-87499 as this series was equipped with Adjax hand brakes and 87500-87998 as this series was equipped with Equipco hand brakes.  The cars were build by Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company in 1933.  The steel-sheathed cars had plate ends and three panel Pullman doors which we modelers have named “Creco doors”.   The CGW cars had “reverse three panel doors.  The cars were painted boxcar red with white lettering.   These boxcars are referred to as “X-29’s” by modelers.

Unknown collection.
(click or tap on this or any photo to enlarge)

Color photos of these cars can be found in Gene Green’s book Chicago Great Western Color Guide To Freight and Passenger Equipment (Morning Sun Books, Inc., 1998) and builders photos in Pullman-Standard Freight Cars 1900-1960 (Signature Press, 2007).  One of the builders photos of CGW 87886 is a 3/4 view showing the “B” end.

I began the build of two CGW Box cars, CGW 87420 and CGW 87572 using Red Caboose X-29 Box Car, kit RC-7003.  This time rather than build one and then the other, I built CGW 87420 and 87572 at the same time.  I installed the underframe and crossties following kit instructions.  Next the coupler pockets and truck kingpins were tapped for 2-56 screws.   Coupler pockets with Kadee #148 couplers and Accurail trucks were installed with Fastenal 2-56 screws.  The Accurail trucks were soon changed to Bowser coil-elliptic with InterMountain 33” metal wheels installed which are correct for these cars.

Basic underbody work done.

After the basic underbody work was done the cars were each weighted to 3.8 ounces with tire weights.  After weights were installed in car body interior, the roof that could not be glued in place until the weights were added was now installed.   Next ladders were installed on the sides and ends.  I took time to create space between the ladders stiles and car sides using a single edge razor blade as a spacer.  Install of the running boards with Testors Tube Cement for plastic models followed.

Weight, ladders and running boards installed.

Better view of ladders installed.

I moved onto the underbody where I installed a bell crank from Tichy Train Group (Tichy) from set #3013 before moving onto the “B” ends.  On the “B” ends I installed the kit brake step and brackets, kit provided brake housing, chain, brake rod with clevis connected to the previous installed bell crank.  The plastic brake rod was now cut off using a single edge razor blade between the end of the chain and the bell crank clevis.  And, a  Precision Scale retainer valve, # 31796, was installed.

"B" end work started.

Grab irons bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW) were installed on sides and ends in manufacturer drilled holes.  On the sides kit sill steps were installed.  And, after glue was set the step portion of the sill step was cut off leaving only the mounting portion of the sill step left on the car sill.  Roof grab irons bent from Tichy #1101, .010” PBW with Yarmouth Model Works eye bolts without shoulder for corner legs were installed.

Grab irons and sill step mounts installed.

Better view of sill step mounts.

Back to the “B’’ end where running board supports cut from Evergreen #8102, 1 x 2” strip styrene with MEK Goop (plastic melted in MEK) fasteners were installed.  A new brake rod cut from Tichy #1102, .015” PBW was installed.  A retainer line and bracket fabricated from Tichy # 1100, .008” diameter PBW were installed.  A Kadee Equipco #2031 brake wheel was installed on one car and a Kadee Adjax #2020, brake wheel on the other.  And, kit provided placard boards were installed.

"B" work with only brake wheel needed.

Adjax and Equipco brake wheels installed.

Returning to the sides, Tichy #3015, 18” drop type grab irons were installed under the ladders on the sides.  A-Line sill steps, #29002, sill steps were installed in #76 drilled holes.   MEK Goop was used to connect the mounting bracket on the side sill to the A-Line installed sill steps.

Drop grab under ladder and sill steps installed.

Drop grab iron under ladder and
sill step with mounting bracket 
connected to sill step with MEK Goop.

Time to finish the underbody work.   On the underbody the following details were installed:

  • Brake cylinder lever, made with Evergreen #8108, 1 x 8” strip styrene
  • Brake floating lever, made with Evergreen #8106, 1 x 6” strip styrene
  • Slack adjuster, styrene from bits box with holes drilled with #80 drill and MEK fasteners
  • Brake lever hangers, cut off kit grab irons
  • Brake piping from air reservoir to control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW)
  • Brake pipe from brake cylinder to control valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” dia. PBW 
  • Brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
  • Brake rod clevises, made with Tichy turnbuckles #8021
  • Chain, A-Line #29219, black 40 links per inch
  • Dirt collector, Tichy set #3013
  • Bell crank, Tichy set #3013

Under body work done.

With the underbody done it was back to the ends to add the final detail, the uncoupling levers.  The uncoupling levers were bent from Tichy #1106 .0125” diameter PBW.  An eye bolt bracket bent from Tichy #1101 .010” diameter PBW was installed in a hole drilled near the poling pocket and one hole drilled in the corner of the coupler pocket were used to install the uncoupling levers.

Uncoupling levers installed.

All that remained to be done before moving the cars to paint shop was to install the “reverse Creco Doors.”   The installed resin reverse three panel doors were cast in the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Shops using a rubber mold.  To make the mold I was able to use Red Caboose doors as masters found in Red Caboose kits RC-7048 (with herald) or RC-7210 (with side sill patches and no herald) provided by my friend John Hotvet.  The molded on door handles were carved off and replaced with wire door handles made with Tichy #1106, .125” diameter phosphor bronze wire. The kit door guides with the triangle supports cut off as not on CGW door guides per prototype photos were installed.  Kit placard doors were installed on the doors.

Resin reverse Creco doors installed.

The cars were ready for the paint shop.  Before I airbrushed the cars I hand painted all added detail parts except the doors which were sprayed with Vallejo Model Air Light Grey 71.050.   After the Grey was dry, the car bodies were airbrushed with Vallejo/MicroMark Box Car Red, X29015X2.  Once dry both car bodies were sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Medium 70.470, to provide a gloss decal base.

Added detail parts hand painted.

After drying overnight, decals from various sets were applied.  Decals sets used were the following:  Microscale #87-1400 for road name, reporting marks, heralds, and dimensional data.  Chicagoland 2017 mini kit for capacity, weights, reweigh date, and repack data,  Sunshine Models CGW XM-1 set for repack data and build date, and Westerfield MILW set D12001 for numbers.  I used photos of CGW box cars in books mentioned above as a guide to apply decals.

Decals were soaked off in distilled water and applied to the car body where MicroScale Micro Set had been applied with a brush.   After the decal was applied in the Micro Set and positioned the edges had MicroScale Micro Sol applied.  Any excess solution was sucked away with the torn edge of a paper towel.  Again when dry, car body sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Varnish 70.510 to better hide edges of decals and protect decals during handling.  Again when dry, the car body was sprayed with Model Master Acryl, #4636, flat to protect decals and provide a flat finish for weathering when applied.

CGW 87420 painted and lettered.

CGW 87572 painted and lettered.

CGW 87420 and 87572 painted and lettered.
Note slight difference in color.

One more step before putting Chicago Great Western (CGW) box cars 87910 and 87956 into service was to weather the cars with Artmatic eye shadow and Pan Pastels.  An Artmatic eye shadow color like a Dark Box Car Red was applied over entire car body.  Pan Pastels used were Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1, on roof and over safety appliances on car body, Red Iron Oxide Extra Dark 380.1,  on car body over rivet lines and especially near side sill to show need for patch panels added on prototype when rust areas required repair and Neutral Grey 820.5, on placard boards.

CGW 87572 weathered.

CGW 87572 weathered.

CGW 87420 weathered.

Chicago Great Western 87420 and 87572 were ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for CGW 87420 and 87572, the final step to put a car in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.

Cars sitting on CGW Interchange in Randolph, MN.

Cars sitting on CGW Interchange in Randolph, MN.

Cars sitting on CGW Interchange in Randolph, MN.

I want to say, “Thank You” to John Hotvet for the Red Caboose doors he provided for masters to help me make a mold to produce the “reverse three panel doors” for the build of these cars.

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 sign your comment with your name if you choose to leave one.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.

Lester Breuer


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Small Tank Facility

 Since I model spring 1955 I have a coal facility located in the town of Little Chicago on my Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company.  I always felt I should also have small tank facility as the one I modeled which I saw in many small towns during railfan trips.

Doug Harding Collection
(Click on this or any photo to enlarge)

This past winter I started to look for an area that might hold a small tank facility in Little Chicago on my railroad.  At first I thought land (a space) was not available; however, one day the “light bulb” went on.   I could see a location.  An area, 5 x 6 inches, between the stock pens and backdrop that would work.

Area for tank facility next to backdrop

First the few trees and bushes on the sight were moved to new locations on the railroad.  The ground was scraped, painted with a tan latex paint I like to use under ground cover and a fine sifted common sand from a local road was shifted with a a tea strainer over brushed on white glue.  The tanks were added next.

Prepared area for tank facility and basic tanks.

The tanks were cut from old Roundhouse tank car kits I have had in freight car inventory since 1982.  The tanks were in inventory as too modern for the railroad.  And, maybe the lettering?  The lettering on the tank cars was removed by light sanding with fine grit sandpaper.  After sanding the tanks were wiped down with isopropyl alcohol to remove all residue.

Roundhouse Tank Car Kit Used for tanks.

The details added to tanks came next.  I added Walthers ladders and Williams Brothers (I believe no longer available) pipes and valves.  Walthers piping (available) would work as well.

Piping and fittings used.

Piping and valves added to tanks.

Standpipes for unloading tank cars were needed at the facility.   Photos of appropriate standpipes for unloading tank cars a this type facility were received from friends.   In addition to photos, plans from a May 1997 RailModel Journal were provided to aid in the build.   Standpipes (prototype I measured 2 1/2 inches in diameter) were built with Williams Brothers piping and fittings.  A piece of scribed balsa wood was used for the base.  The scribing represents the boards used to form the cement base.

Standpipes installed.

Closer view of standpipes.

The final items needed to finish the facility were a pump house and truck loading platform.  I used measurements I took of these structures at small three tank facility in Buffalo, Minnesota in the early 1970s to build these structures.  The facility is no longer in existence.

I built the pump house (prototype 8 x 10 ft. x 8 ft. high with door 3 feet wide 7 feet tall) using parts from my box of left over kit parts.  The rounded corrugated roof had a prototype distance of 1 foot 5 inches at it high center point above the door.

The truck loading stand  (prototype 3 feet 10 inches wide by 8 feet long) was scratch built.  On a prototype I measured, the truck loading stand was located 2 feet 8 inches from the pump house. Components for the truck loading stand were as follows: the floor a scrap piece of styrene, Plastruct railings, Walthers stairs ( prototype 1 foot 6 inches by 2 feet 4 inches wide), Walthers stair railing and Williams Brothers pipes and fittings.

During railfan trips most of the small tank facilities I visited had the tanks painted white.   Therefore, I painted the tanks in my new tank facility an enamel white using a rattle can. 

Tanks painted white.

I felt a tank sign was needed to identify the tank facility.  A search of 1955 signs on the internet produced a Mobile sign I liked.   A print screen, and image crop with Photoshop Elements produced a sign ready for sizing.  I asked a friend to down size my image to a HO scale 5 feet wide sign which he did.   I printed the digital Mobile image on white letter computer paper, cut it out, and applied it to the entrance tank with Elmers white glue.

Sign glued to tank with white glue.

The final step was to enhance the backdrop behind the tanks.  I painted the masonite backdrop area behind the tank facility with a latex sky blue color used on all my backdrops.  I had the Sky Blue color mixed at the local paint store to match sky color from photos taken.  I used a photo I took of an open grass area with trees in the distance to provide depth behind the tanks on the backdrop.  I printed the photo on letter size computer and cut it to fit the backdrop.  I sprayed the back of the printed backdrop photo with 3M Scotch Super 77 Multi-Purpose spray adhesive and applied it over the sky blue painted backdrop.

Backdrop behind tanks added.

Now all I have left to do is create tank car movements in my card system to the new tank facility for operating sessions.

I want to say, “Thank You” to Doug Harding  and Ron Christensen for the photos they provided to help me with the build of my tank facility.  And, another “Thank You, Thank You and Thank You” to Doug Harding for providing the prototype photo, the standpipe plans and reducing the Mobile sign I sent him to scale for use on the tank.

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 sign your comment with your name if you choose to leave one.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.

Lester Breuer