Monday, July 1, 2019

Soo Line Box Car 45398 Upgrade

After upgrading Soo Line box car 45938 I felt I should do the same with Soo Line box car 45398, Front Range kit 1951, number 47 of 1000, purchased from the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society in 1987.  The construction on this series of cars, 45100-45498,  was essentially identical to the 45938.  Therefore, the upgrade would be similar.

The prototype was built in the Soo Line North Fond du Lac Shops in 1950.  Construction of this series, 45100-45498, 198 cars for the Soo Line and the rest for the Wisconsin Central, had similar features of the later cars: steel sides, 6 foot doors, R+3/4 dreadnaught ends, Standard Railway Equipment diagonal-panel roof, steel running boards, eight rung side ladders, various hand brakes including Superior or Equipco, nailable steel floor and rode on ASF Ride-Control A-3 or Barber S-2-B stabilized trucks.  One difference was the triangular reinforcing plates added on each side of the doors along the frame.  Another difference was the paint scheme.  The cars had black ends rather than the light oxide ends as the later cars and the billboard lettering was near the doors rather than near the ends.   A black and white photo of Wisconsin Central 137100 ( identical in construction and lettering to Soo Line car except for the additional lettering including a small W.C. in the upper left corner) appears in Soo Line Freight Equipment and Cabooses book ( Soo Line Historical and Technical Society, 2014) on page 20.  Front Range painted box car 45398 an oxide red and lettered it with the Soo Line road name in large white “billboard style” lettering near the doors. The lettering  on the model matches that in the photo  well.  A car diagram can be viewed in Soo Line  Freight Equipment Diagrams ( Soo Line Historical and Technical Society, 2013). 

Author collection
(Click or tap on any photo to enlarge)

Both Soo Line cars have essentially the same construction;
 however, lettering has changed.

I began the upgrade with the roof.  I installed Kadee Apex, #2000, running boards with mounting pins and mounting pins on end brackets cut off to be installed.

Kadee running boards installed.

Next I removed the seven rung side and end ladders (ladders were separate parts, not molded on).  I found I had plastic seven rung ladders ( manufacturer unknown) in the parts box that could be used on the ends.  And, I had several extra ladders so I cut one ladder up to add a rung to two seven rung ladders to make them eight  rung ladders for the sides.  Once fabricated the eight rung side ladders and end ladders were installed.   I chose to leave the side and end bracket grab irons I attempted to replicate when I assembled the model.  If I were to replace them I would use  Kadee bracket grab irons.

Plastic eight rung ladders have been installed.

I still had work on the sides.   I continued the upgrade of the side by cutting off the molded on sill (stirrup) steps and replacing them with A-Line, #29002, style “C”, sill steps installed in #76 holes drilled prior to install.  I removed the molded on door handles and replaced them  with Tichy Train Group (Tichy) #1101, .010” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW).  Now to add the triangular reinforcing plates added on each side of the doors along the frame.  I used Evergreen .005” sheet styrene from the bits box to make them. The reinforcing plates in prototype photos appear to be welded on rather than riveted so no rivets added.

Other details: sill steps, door handles, and reinforcing plates
on side of doors are installed.

The “B” end upgrade came next.  I removed the kit brake wheel, plastic over-sized brake rod ( separate part), solid incorrect brake step (platform) and incorrect brackets.  A brake step was cut from a Kadee Apex running board and installed.   A Plano photo etched brake step could be used.  New triangle shaped brake step brackets were cut from Evergreen .010” strip styrene from the bits box.   A brake rod cut from Tichy # 1102, .015” diameter PBW was installed in-between chain and bell crank.  A retainer valve cast in the M&N Shops was installed followed by a retainer line and brackets #1101, .008” diameter PBW.  Uncoupling levers bent from Tichy # 1106, .0125" diameter PBW with eye bolt brackets formed with wire bending pliers from Tichy #1101, .010" diameter PBW.  The final upgrade item, a Kadee Champion Brake wheel #2044, was installed.

"B" end with details added and painted.

With the car body work done I turned to the underbody which had brake components and molded oversize brake piping, brake levers, brake rods and train line. 

Under body with some molded on brake rods cut off.
Piping and train line still to be removed.

 I cut off the over-sized piping, brake rods except for the one connecting the two brake levers and train line.   I drilled holes in the installed brake components  with a long drill.  Next the piping and brake rods were installed. Piping from the air reservoir to the control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.  The pipe from the back of the brake cylinder to the control valve Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW.  I did not use Tichy turnbuckles to attach the brake rods due to the thickness of the molded brake levers.  Instead, I drilled holes with a #79 drill in the ends of the brake levers into which the ninety degree bend made on the end of the brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW was installed.  A Train Line, .018” diameter floral wire was installed.  The holes for the train line were drilled with a four inch piano wire drill I made from K&S .032” piano wire.  A M&N Shops dirt collector was installed.The chain  between the brake rod and brake cylinder lever is A-Line #29219, black 40 links per inch.  The final detail, brake lever hangers, plastic grab irons cut from other cars, were added.

Under body with upgrade details installed.

The car was ready for paint.  The under body parts were hand painted with a mix:  50% Vallejo Black Grey 70.862 and 50%  Model Color Black #70.950.

Under body with upgrade details painted.

The added car body details were hand painted with Vallejo Model Air 71105, Brown RLM 26, a match for Polly Scale Special Oxide Red.  The trucks were painted Polly Scale Tarnished Black, F414140 when the car was assembled.  Vallejo Model Color Black Grey 70.950 is a match for the no longer available Polly Scale Tarnished Black. Once the paint was dry, weathering was applied with a Pan Pastels sponge applicator using  Pan Pastels: Burnt Sienna #740.5, on roof and sides and Black #800.5, on roof and ends.  The sponge does not get material into small areas such as in-between ladder rungs so micro applicators were used to add the weathering to these areas.

Car weathered and ready for service.

Once out of the paint shop the car was put back into service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company to serve customer needs.

Soo Line box car 45398 in Minneapolis Chestnut Street Yard
waiting to be put into train.

Soo Line box car 45398 sitting in
 Minneapolis Chestnut Street Yard.

Soo Line box cars sitting in Minneapolis Chestnut Street Yard.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment