Sunday, October 24, 2021

Spokane, Portland & Seattle Box Car 12900

After reading James Kinkaid “Spokane, Portland & Seattle (SP&S) 40-ft. Boxcar” article with history, photos and drawings in the August 2021 Railroad Model Craftsman (RMC) I decided to add two of the SP&S cars to the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company (M&N) roster.  I found as James stated in the article, “ no one makes an exact model of this car”; however, the car could be modeled using InterMountain carbody and underbody and CB&T Shops ends.  After speaking with George Toman I learned he was also thinking of building  a model of this car and found that Branchline Trains ends could be used.

Before starting the model I reviewed information I had for the prototype cars.  In addition to the Kinkaid article I have the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment (Morning Sun Books, Inc., 1998) in my railroad book collection.  As the RMC article, the Morning Sun Color Guide had a short history and color photo of car 12972 with a later “billboard” lettering scheme.


From the above data sources and study of prototype photos I learned the SP&S ordered this 40-foot steel boxcar from the Northern Pacific (NP) Shops in Brainerd, Minnesota.  The SP&S built cars, delivered in October 1953 and February 1954, were assigned to series 12500-12999.  The cars had ten-panel sides, a 5/6/6 corrugated 6 foot wide door, inside height of 10 ft. 6 in., Murphy diagonal panel roofs with Kerrigan running boards and improved Stanray r+3/4 improved dreadnaught ends with Ajax (the first 250 cars) and Universal hand brakes.  One special feature of these cars was the straight sill unique to this SP&S car series.


Based on the prototype data and photos I decided to use InterMountain kit 41805-04, modified AAR boxcar with CB&Q lettering ( only kit I had ).  The InterMountain kit provided the car body and most correct underframe.  The kit did not have the required diagonal panel roof so I used one from InterMountain undecorated kit 41098 for a master to make a resin casting in my M&N Shops.  The InterMountain kit also does not have the correct r+3/4 ends so I cast resin ends using ends cut off a CB&T Shops 1944 AAR 40’ box car car body kit for a master.   Of course, you do not have to cast resin car body parts if you use the plastic InterMountain car body, diagonal panel roof and Branchline Trains or cut off CB&T Shops r+3/4 plastic ends.



Cast roof and ends installed.
(Tap or click on this or any image to enlarge)



One additional problem with the InterMountain or CB&T Shops kits, they do not contain the correct doors for the SP&S car.  George Toman found correct 5/6/6 doors can be obtained from Tangent Scale Models.  You can also use prior produced Branchline Trains doors which I used for a master to produce resin cast doors in my M&N Shops.  The Tangent doors have the correct door latch which is not on the Branchline Trains doors.  And, I have hand painted the areas with lettering removed with Vallejo Model Color Cavalry Brown 70.982.



Cast resin 5/6/6 door using
 Branchline Trains door for master.



Once I had the diagonal panel roof, r+3/4 ends, and door castings made I was ready to assemble the car body.   Before starting to install parts I removed the lettering from the InterMountain car body with 91%  isopropyl alcohol and cotton swab. With CB&Q lettering removed I fitted the resin cast roof and installed the ends with CA.




Cast resin roof and r+3/4 cast resin ends installed.



After the roof ( fitted; however, not glued until car weighted ) and ends were installed I continued  with the work needed on the side to create a straight sill.  I cut the sill tabs off and filled the remaining areas with Evergreen #8206, 2 x 6 strip styrene.   Another way to make the straight sill  needed for this car would be to cut off the entire sill and make a complete new sill from styrene.  Later in the build, I also used Testors white contour putty, No. 3511, to add a skim coat over the added sill parts to fill any gaps.  I also used the Testors contour putty to fill any gaps on the end corners.   When the putty was cured I sanded the sill and rounded the end corners to match prototype photos.




Car body sill with styrene added to
 create straight side sill.



Next I installed the underbody into the car body.   On the underbody I removed the train line and replaced it with a wire one using flora wire with .018” diameter.  Coupler boxes were cut off and replaced with Sunshine Models draft gear from my parts box with Kadee #148 whisker couplers installed.  Incorrect Accurail cast steel with spring plank trucks with InterMountain 33” metal wheels were installed to get car weighted correctly with tire weights to 3.8 ounces.  Later, correct trucks Kato A.S.F. Ride control, #31-601, were installed.  Draft gear and trucks were installed with Fastenal 3/16” and 1/4” screws.   At this time, cross bearer cover plates cut from .005 sheet styrene with rivets made with RP Productions RB-T009 riveting tool were also installed.  And, the roof was now installed with CA.




Train line, bloster cover plates, draft gear,
and trucks installed.



I moved back to the sides to install the side ladders followed by the end ladders.  Since this car had eight rung ladders and flared end ladders, the kit ladders could not be used.  I used the Thales Theorem (dividing a line into equal parts ) to determine the 18” wide side ladders had 16” rung spacing.   I used Yarmouth Model Works #303, photo etched stiles bent with UMM USA bender with Tichy Train Group (Tichy) #1101, .010 diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW) bent rungs to build the ladders.  The 16” wide end ladders had to be bent to except two 18” rungs at the ladder bottom.  The bends in the ends ladders were made after the stiles were cut with a Xuron #9180 photo etch cutter.  The same cutter was used to cut away a portion of the stile on the top ends of the ladders to enable the top ladder curve to be bent.  After ladders were made, bits of scrap styrene from bits box was used to make mounts for the ladders.


Thales Theorm spacing to determine ladder stiles.



Ladder assembly using UMM-USA bender to
bend stiles and jig I made to add rungs.



Ladders assembled and installed.



On to the roof work to install Kerrigan running boards.   One problem, I am not aware of any model manufacturer producing a Kerrigan running board; however, Richard Bale in his article on “Freight Car Roofs of the Twentieth Century” (Model Railroad Hobbyist, December 2016) states,” The Kerrigan design was visually like the Blaw-Knox except they used a spiral rod to hold the serrated strips in position.”  He tells us it is difficult to distinguish among the Kerrigan, Blaw-Knox and Apex Tri-Lok running boards.  Therefore, I installed a Kadee Apex running board, #2000, on the roof with Formula 560 canopy glue.



Kadee Apex running boards installed.



After the running board glue was setup, I installed Kadee bracket grab irons,#2250, on the sides.  No holes needed to be drilled for the Kadee grab irons on the sides as the holes in the sides drilled by InterMountain for grab irons work fine.  All you have to do to Kadee bracket grab irons is to cut off two mounting pins which I did with a PBL nipper to install.




Kadee Bracket grab irons installed.



Since I used a resin r+3/4 casting for the ends I used a #75 drill to drill holes to mount the end Kadee bracket grab iron.  I also needed to make the left side mounting bracket for the sill grab iron.  To make the bracket I cut a small triangle from styrene from the bits box that was glued to the sill.  Two mounting rivets made with MEK Goop were added to finish the bracket.  With the left side bracket in place a grab iron was bent and cut from Tichy #1106, .0125” PBW and installed.


I continued working on the “B” end.  A Plano photo etched Apex metal brake step, set #1132, with kit brackets was mounted per photos.   Before continuing with the “B” end work I mounted the kit bell crank with chain and rod on the underbody on end sill making sure it lined up with the notch in the brake step.  I cut the brake rod clevis off the kit plastic brake rod and glued it to the bell crank.  The kit brake wheel housing was cut narrower and triangle mounts added to sides and reworked kit retainer valve, to better resemble prototype photos, were installed.  A retainer line and brackets, Tichy #1100, .008 diameter PBW were installed next.  A chain, Tichy #3013, was added to brake housing followed by a brake rod, Tichy #1102, .015 diameter PBW was cut to fit between chain and bell crank clevis.  A Kadee #2030, Ajax brake wheel was installed.  My car number 129000 choice, a later build car, probably should have a Universal brake wheel.



"B" details applied.



More work on ends needed to be done.  At the roof corners the roof corner flanges were made from resin flash with rivets added with MEK Goop.  Archer rivets, AR88026, 5/8” head diameter were added to roof flange after Future Floor Finish was applied.  Kit placard boards were installed.  All detail parts with fasteners had them added with MEK Goop.




Archer rivets applied to roof overlap on end.
Fasteners made with MEK Goop.



Finally the last detail, uncoupling levers, were added to the ends.  Uncoupling lever brackets, Yarmouth Model Works, #507, were installed as were the levers bent form Tichy, #1106, .0125” diameter PBW.




Uncoupling levers  installed.



Back to complete the work on the sides.  A-Line sill steps, #29001, style B, were installed in holes drilled with a #76 drill.  Resin cast 5/6/6 corrugated doors were installed and bottom and upper door guides ( added later )were added with MEK Goop.  Wire door handles bent from Tichy #1101, .010 diameter PBW installed.  Archer rivets, AR88026, 5/8” head diameter were applied to sill at bolsters, cross bearers and cross-ties locations per prototype photos.



Door installed and sill rivets applied.



Reinforcing plates, with MEK Goop rivets, at lower sides of door and on sill were cut from styrene and installed.  A door latch was made from plastic brake rigging cut off underframe.  Kit provided door placard boards were installed.



Reinforcing plates at lower door after painting.



With the car body finished the underbody work was completed.  To the already installed kit underframe to which cross bearer cover plates were installed, the following underbody details were installed as follows:


  • Brake cylinder and piston, Tichy set #3013 on Sunshine Models resin bracket 
  • Control valve (kit) on bracket form Tichy #3013 set
  • Air reservoir (kit) on scratchbuilt brackets
  • Above brake components were predrilled for piping
  • Slack adjuster, universal type from parts box
  • Brake cylinder lever, Evergreen #8108, 1” x 8” strip styrene
  • Brake floating lever, Evergreen #8106, 1” x 6” strip styrene
  • Brake levers hangers bent from Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
  • Brake piping from air reservoir to control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” dia. PBW
  • Brake pipe from brake cylinder to control valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” dia. PBW
  • Brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW with clevises, MEK Goop
  • Brake rod clevises, cut from Tichy #8021 turnbuckles
  • Chain, A-Line #29219, black 40 links per inch
  • Train line, .018’ diameter flora wire
  • Dirt collector (kit)



Underbody details parts installed.



Off to the paint shop for paint and lettering.  After review of the numbers in the Microscale decal set I chose number 12900 for the car number.  I found it interesting the decal set had a reweigh date with the symbol “V” which represents Great Falls, Montana on the Great Northern.


First the underbody was sprayed Model Color Vallejo Black Grey 70.862.  Trucks were also hand painted Model Color Black Grey 70.862.



Underbody spray painted.



Next the car body, after color photo review, was sprayed Model Color Cavalry Brown 70.982.  After drying, car body was sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Medium 70.470 for decal base.  After drying overnight, decals from Microscale decal set 87-1026, for Spokane, Portland & Seattle boxcars purchased via the internet and repack date from a Northern Pacific set were applied.  I used photos of SP&S box car 12640 and 12649 in the RMC Kinkaid article 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.




SP&S 12900 painted and decals applied.



One more step before putting SP&S 12900 in service was to weather the car 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 Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1  was used on the roof and lightly over safety appliances on car body.



SP&S 12900 weathered and ready for service.



Spokane, Portland & Seattle boxcar 12900 was ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for SP&S 12900, the final step to put the a car in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.



SP&S Boxcar 12900 at Eureka Center Team Track.



SP&S Boxcar 12900 at Eureka Center Team Track.



SP&S Boxcar 12900 at Eureka Center Team Track.



I want to say, “Thank You” to George Toman for letting me purchase the InterMountain kit from his freight car inventory, for finding Branchline Trains produced r+3/4 ends and Tangent Scale Model produced doors available for the build of this car.  I will use these parts to build a second SP&S car in this series at some future date.





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




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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Minneapolis & St. Louis SS Box Car 18972

The Dominion Car & Foundry Fowler design was one of the most important designs in the evolution of the box car.  I wanted to build a forty foot version of the Fowler design single sheathed box car.    Having a good number of freight cars for Canadian and various U.S. roads that owned the Fowler design cars I chose the Minneapolis & St. Louis (M&St.L) to make an addition to my freight car fleet.  Therefore, I purchased Westerfield Models, kit 4453,  a Minneapolis & St. Louis (M&St.L) single sheathed (SS) box car of Fowler design for the project that I numbered 18972 .

In 1916 the Minneapolis & St. Louis purchased 500 cars from Betterndorf and assigned them to the 18000-18998 series, even numbers only.  The cars were all retired by 1948 , before the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company time period of late spring 1955; however,  I felt one car on the roster was fine.


There are no photos or mention of a M&St.L car in the kit instructions. Therefore,  I needed to find a photo or photos for the build.  I found one photo with a side view of a M&St.L Fowler design SS box car, number 18942,  in Steam Era Freight Cars Reference Manual Volume One: Box & Automobile Cars (Speedwitch Media, 2006, 2007).  In addition,  Doug Harding and Clark Propst helped with photos to aid with the build.



Sirman Collection, courtesy of Clark Propost
(Click or tap on any photo to enlarge)



After studying prototype photos I found I had to make some changes to the kit to build the M&St.L SS box car I wanted.   So be it.  I began the build of this flat kit with the build of the basic box.  For the basic box an end is glued to a side making an “L” and the two “Ls” are glued together to create the basic box (car body).  The basic box is strengthened with the addition of the roof and underbody.



Basic box after two "Ls" glued together.



Normally when building a flat kit I like to add the roof next; however, this kit  has a flat roof consisting of two pieces that are glued to a truss support structure that you assemble.



Flat roof and truss pieces



Therefore, I fitted and installed the floor and underbody because it was a one piece casting.  In this case, easier to install to provide strength to the car body that I felt was needed before adding the roof. 



Underbody installed.



Once the underbody was installed , coupler pads and bolster king pins were drilled with a #50 drill and tapped for 2-56 screws.  I installed the Kadee #262 draft gear boxes with Kadee #148 whisker coupler inserted with Fastenal 3/16” screws.  Next Tahoe Model Works #115,  40 Ton ARA trucks with Intermountain 33” metal wheels were installed with Fastenal 1/4 “ screws.



Trucks and couplers installed.  Roof not yet
installed.  Only placed on car to get it weighted properly.



After install of draft gear and trucks, I went back to complete the install of the roof.  A couple of tasks needed to be done before roof install.  First I added a baffle, cut from Evergreen .060” sheet styrene, to the center of the car body to prevent any bowing in of the sides in the future.  Tire weights, 1/4 oz., and some sheet lead were added to bring the car weight with trucks and couplers to 3.8 ounces.   Now the truss assembly was built per kit instructions and the flat roof cut in the center, bent and installed.



Baffle installed.



Weights installed.



Roof installed on truss assembly.



With the car body assembled,  adding of details could begin.  I began by installing the roof running boards.  The latitudinal  running boards were mounted with brackets made with brass 10” x 30” strip in the kit.  The longitudinal running board end brackets were made with Evergreen #8102, 1 x 2 strip styrene.



Running boards and brackets installed.



Next I installed the upper corner braces on the sides per M&St.L photos using strip styrene provided in the kit.  Corner brace fasteners were added with MEK Goop.  Now, ladders not in the kit were installed.  The side ladders are Kadee #210 ladders.  End ladders are ladders with matching rung spacing from the parts box.  On end ladders rungs were cutoff and Plastruct #90850, .010” diameter styrene round rod was used to cut and install new rungs.  At this point ladders are not the correct five rung  length.  



Ladders prior to shorting to five rung.




Ladder shortened to match prototype and ladder
rungs replaced.  Corner braces have fasteners added.



After replacing the ladder rungs on the “B” end I continued working on the “B” end installing the fascia brake shaft bracket (resin casting in kit) and the sill bracket shaft bracket from Tichy Train Group (Tichy) set #3013.  In addition, the kit provided resin retainer valve was installed.  Next a retainer line and brackets, Tichy .008” phosphor bronze wire (PBW) were installed followed by the brake shaft, Tichy #1102, .015” PBW,  with a brake wheel also from Tichy set #3013.



"B" end work completed.



After receiving additional prototype photos, I found all ladders needed to be shortened from six rung to five rung ladders with ends curved.  Therefore, I shortened  the ladders and used MEK Goop to round the ends.  Next all kit grab irons were installed.  For roof grab irons corner legs, Yarmouth Model Works photo etched eye bolts without shoulders were used.  And, sill steps, A-Line #29000, style A , were installed in #76 drilled holes.



Ladders shortened and grab irons installed.


Time to  work the underbody.  The underframe resin kit parts: crossties, crossbearers and their coverplates and bolster cover plates were installed.  The brake components, AB set #3013, air reservoir and AB valve were installed using Tichy set #3013 brackets and the brake cylinder was installed on a Sunshine Models bracket from my parts box.  I used Tichy phosphor bronze wire (PBW) I provided for the piping and brake rods.  On the underbody the following details were now added:


  • brake cylinder lever made from Evergreen #8108, 1” x 8” strip styrene (not in kit)
  • floating brake lever made from Evergreen #8106, 1” x 6” strip styrene (not in kit)
  • brake lever hangers, wire grab irons in kit
  • floating lever fulcrum (mounting plate at center sill) cut from resin strip in parts box
  • piping from air reservoir to control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW
  • pipe from brake cylinder to control valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
  • brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
  • brake rod clevises, Tichy turnbuckles #8021 (not in kit)
  • chain, A-Line #29219, Black 40 links per inch (not in kit)
  • train line, .018” diameter floral wire (not in kit)
  • dirt collector, Tichy, set #3013
  • train line couplings, dirt collector tee, and fasteners, MEK Goop



Underbody details added.



Back to the ends to install uncoupling levers and eye bolt brackets bent from Tichy #1206, .0125” PBW.  And, kit side doors with molded on door handles were carved off and replaced with wire door handles bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.   A side door stiffener extension located near the door lock was added with the strip styrene in the kit.



Uncoupling levers bent and installed.



Note lower door stiffener extension and
lower wire door handle.



M&St.L single sheathed Fowler design box car 18972 was ready for paint.  The trucks and wheels were hand painted with Vallejo Model Color Black Grey, #70.862. The car underbody was sprayed Model Color Vallejo Dark Grey Black, 71.054.  The car body was sprayed with a Vallejo Model Color Calvary Brown 70.862.  Once the paint was dry, the car body was sprayed Vallejo Gloss Medium 70.470 to have a Gloss base for decal application.



Car body sprayed Vallejo Calvary Brown.




Underbody sprayed Vallejo Dark Grey Black



After drying overnight, decals provided in the kit except for the chalk marks from Speedwitch Media set D-145 ( now National Scale Car) and repack date from a Marty Vaughn M&St.L set 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.  When dry, car body sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Varnish 70.510 to better hide decals edges.  Finally, the car body was sprayed was sprayed Model Master Acryl 4636/Flat Clear Acryl to protect the car during handling.



Decals applied.



Decals applied.



One last item before putting M&St.L Box Car 18972  in service was to weather the car 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 the roof and lightly over safety appliances on car body and Red Iron Oxide Extra Dark 380.1 to fade lettering.



Car weathered with eye shadow makeup
and Pan Pastels.



M&St.L shingle sheathed Fowler design box car 18972 was now ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for Minneapolis & St. Louis box car 18972,  the final step to put the cars in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.



M&St.L  Box Car 18972 sitting
 on Chicago Great Western interchange in Randolph, Minn.



M&St.L  Box Car 18972 sitting
 on Chicago Great Western interchange in Randolph, Minn.



M&St.L  Box Car 18972 sitting
 on Chicago Great Western interchange in Randolph, Minn





A  big “Thank You” to  Douglas Harding and Clark Propst  for the photo to help with build of this car and for permission to use a photo from their collection in this blog post. 



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

 


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