Sunday, November 4, 2018

NP 64109 52 FT Flat Car

After upgrading several plastic refrigerator cars I pulled Speedwitch Media, resin kit K119, Northern Pacific (NP) 52 ft. flat car from the unbuilt kits cabinet.  The prototype steel, straight sill flat car, with sides only 13 inches high, a wood deck, and large fish belly center sill underframe was built in the Northern Pacific  Brainerd Shops to the standard NP straight sill 1936 design.  The Speedwitch Media decal instruction sheet  history states the NP built at least three series to this design; 60250-60499 built in 1936 in NP Como Shops, MN, 63000-63379 built in 1937 by Bethlehem Steel  and 64000-64195 built in 1949 in NP Brainerd Shops, MN.  The 1948-1949  built cars had wood decks that extended over the side sills with notches at the stake pockets.  After reviewing the numbers available on the decal set for this kit I decided on number 64109, series 64000-64195, built in 1949. An excellent builders photo of NP 60450 is in the kit instructions.  A photo of 63263 is in the NP Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment  by Todd Sullivan (Morning Sun Books, 1995). A photo of NP 64058 built in 1947 is in the collection of Gary Wildung purchased from Jay Williams & Big Four Graphics.

NP 64058  from Gary Wildung collection.

I began the build by cleaning the flash from the center sill section and frame except for the stake pockets.  Next I glued the center sill section to the frame creating a false bottom under the floor to add a weight.  I cut a weight to fit the false bottom area from .040” sheet lead.  In addition, I cut .040” sheet lead strips to fit in the center sill, three fit side by side, and glued them into the open center sill in a vertical position leaving open the areas where brakes levers will pass through center sill.  Placing the strips in a vertical position not only adds additional weight, it also keeps the resin deck added later and car from flexing.  The sheet lead weights brought the weight of the car to 2.8 ounces.

Sheet lead cut weight installed.
(click or tap on all photos to enlarge)

Sheet lead cut strip weight installed in vertical position.

Once center sill weights were installed I cleaned the flash from the stake pockets on the frame using broaches.  A broach is a cutting instrument that cuts on the back stroke ( to see photo and other uses click on Broach under Labels).

Flash has been removed from stake pockets.

Next I installed the underframe center sill  flanges to which are attached the flanges for other frame members and the brake component mounting brackets included in the kit resin parts per kit instructions.  I now drilled and tapped the coupler pockets and bolsters for 2-56 screws.  The coupler pocket covers with Kadee #148 whisker couplers installed were installed with Accurail #150 2-56 x 3/16” pan head screws.  The Accurail #164 ARA cast steel with spring plank trucks with InterMountain 33” metal wheels were installed with Athearn #29002 2-56 x 1/4” round head screws.

Under body ready for brake components and other detail.

The excellent kit instructions have you cement the deck to the frame next.  I did not do this as I did not want to attach the deck until the deck was stained and the car had been painted and decals applied.  Keeping them separate I feel makes it easier to finish each and no taping is necessary.  Therefore, my next step was to add the under body detail.  First, Tichy Train Group (Tichy), #3010, brake components with holes drilled for piping were installed on the brackets already installed for each.  The Tichy, # 3013 set, and wire for piping and rodding was not included in the kit.  Piping from the air reservoir to the control valve was done with Tichy, #1101, .010” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW).  Pipe from the brake cylinder is Tichy, #1106, .0125” diameter PBW. Brake levers are made from Evergreen #8108 1x8” and #8106 1x6” strip styrene. Brake rodding is Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW, with Tichy #8021 turnbuckles used for clevises to attach brake rods to brake levers. Chain from brake rod to brake cylinder lever is A-Line, #29219, 40 links per inch.

Deck not glued in place at this time.

Under body detail installed.

A closer look at under body detail.

Next I added the “B” end and “A” end detail.   For the “B” end I cleaned the flash from the kit provided brake shaft bracket and brake step and glued them on.  A square brake shaft, a really neat feature of this car, was cut from a piece of square wire gifted to me by Bill Welch at the 2017 Chicagoland RPM and installed followed by a Tichy brake wheel  from set #3013.   Uncoupling levers installed on both ends were custom bent  from Tichy, #1106, .0125” diameter PBW with a bracket eyebolt bent from Detail Associates, #2503, .010” diameter brass wire.  Finally the grab irons custom bent from Tichy, #1101, .010” diameter PBW were installed on both ends.

Note the square brake shaft.

Time to complete the work on the sides. I installed custom bent grab irons using Tichy, #1101, .010”diameter PBW.  And, A-Line, #29000, style A, sill steps were installed.  With side detail added the car was moved to the paint shop.

NP flat is ready for paint shop.

In the paint shop the under body was sprayed Vallejo Model Air, #71.054, Dark Grey Blue.   I sprayed the flat car body Vallejo Model Color, #70.950, Black.  Once dry the car body was sprayed with Model Master, 4638, Gloss Clear Acryl to provide a gloss surface for a decal base.  After drying overnight, Speedwitch Media Decal set D106 was used to apply the decals.  Enlarged photos of decal lettering applied on the car are included in the kit instructions to help choose and locate hard to read decals on the decal sheet.  Once dry a coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish, 70.520, was sprayed over the car body to protect the decals before weathering.

NP 64109 out of paint shop.

Note the one tiny decal to right of coupler.

Next the resin deck needed to be dealt with.  At this point in the build the resin deck is still not cemented to the frame.   I brushed the deck with Floquil Depot Buff, R87.  Yes that is an old, old bottle of paint.  I would have used Floquil Foundation if I had any left.  I let the Depot Buff dry and applied a coat of  Red Oak stain using Minwax Wood Finish stain marker #215.  Again I let if dry.  If I wanted a new looking deck I would have stopped here; however, I wanted a weathered looking deck so I applied a wash, really more of a sludge, made using Scalecoat thinner and Floquil, F110013, Grimy Black paint.  I do not know the ratios of the mix I used.   Once I was satisfied with the weathered deck look I glued it to the flat car frame.

Deck glued to frame after finishing.

I enjoyed building this kit.  If you are one who does not apply under body detail this is, in my opinion, an easy resin kit to build.  Northern Pacific flat car 64109 is now in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company.

NP 64109 on GN Interchange waiting pickup.

NP 64109 on GN Interchange another day waiting pickup.

NP 64109 on GN Interchange.

I wish to thank Gary Wildung for his help with photos and Bill Welch for his gift of square wire to properly fabricate the brake shaft.

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

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