Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Northern Pacific Hopper 70168

While setting up for an operating session, I pulled Northern Pacific hopper 70168, Train-Miniature (TM), kit 2964, out of storage to haul a load of coal from the Great Northern Interchange track to J. D. Owen Coal in Little Chicago.   As I placed it on the on the GN Interchange track I thought it was time to upgrade the hopper I had acquired from a friend who passed a year ago.  The  level of upgrade would depend on if a prototype existed.

I found the hopper was close in dimensions to NP prototype, class HM series series 70050-70199 built by Pressed Steel Company in 1932.  A hopper car diagram with dimensions is available from the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Society.  Based on photos many details such as the number of gussets on offset side, rivet patterns and brake gear end need to upgraded.   A photo of 70162 with lettering style like TM hopper 70168 is in the NP Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment ( Morning Sun Books Inc., 1995). A photo of 70065 with earlier lettering style is in Train Shed Cyclopedia, No. 5, Gondolas and Hoppers from the 1940 Car Builders’ Cyclopedia (Newton K. Gregg/Publisher, 1973) or 1940 Car Builders Cyclopedia, Fifteen Edition (Simmons-Boardman Publishing Company, 1940).

NP Historical Society diagram
Click or tap on this or any photo to enlarge.

Bob's Photos Courtesy of Gary Wildung

I began the upgrade on the sides by carefully carving off the gussets on the offset sides except for the end and middle gussets.  Careful removal of the three gussets between the end and middle gussets is necessary as two of the removed gussets need to be reused to correctly position two gussets, the first 4 ft. 6 in. from the end gusset and the one nearer the middle again 4 ft. 6 in. toward the middle gusset.  The proper positioning of gussets results in 7 gussets , each 4 ft. 6 in. from the next.  After, the gussets were set I used Evergreen 1 x 4 in. strip styrene to make the triangle portion of the gussets.   The 1 x 4 in. strip styrene was cut the length of the a gusset using a Northwest Shortline Chopper as 14 pieces are needed.  The rectangular pieces are glued to the gussets and after glue is dry trimmed to the triangle shape using a sprue nipper. 

NP hopper 70168 prior to upgrade.

Gussets have been installed in new location.

Triangle pieces added to gussets  to complete gussets.

The  rivet rows that were under the removed gussets were carved off next.   Next the molded on sill steps were cut off.  New side sill Tichy Train Group (Tichy) #3043, double step side sill steps were installed  in holes drilled in the bottom of the side sill with a #76 drill.  However, the sill steps are not complete as they also have a end sill mounting leg.  The sill step portion located on the end sill was made by inserting and gluing Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW) into a #79 drilled hole.  Once glue was set, the wire was bent toward the side double sill step at a 45 degree angle and cut off where it was touching the  side mounted double mounted sill step.  Glued was applied to the joint completing the double step sill step.

A closeup view of the wire portion of the double step
sill step located on thee end sill.

Sill steps are installed...

Now the side and end molded on grab irons were cut off or carved off followed by cutting off the side ladder rungs.  The side grab irons and the long end grab iron were bent from Tichy  #1106, .0125” PBW and installed.   Ladder rungs bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW were installed.  With the side ladders done I turned to the end ladders repeating the method used for the side ladder to create them.  The end ladders were done after the side ladders were complete to maintain ladder stile strength for drilling and inserting wire rungs.  End grab irons bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW, were installed.

Molded on ladder rungs on end removed. Also,
note the wire bent leg of the double step sill step.

Wire ladder rungs and grab irons installed on "A" end.

Time to move to the “B” end work. The molded on chain and brake rod along with surrounding areas were removed to create the opening between the braces. The removal was done by drilling numerous #79 holes in the unwanted portion, cutting out with knife and cleaning up the opening with broach and sanding sticks. The brake step as molded was too narrow; therefore, it was extended with styrene from the bits box. 

Molded on chain and brake rod removed.
Brake step extended with styrene.

A screwdriver was used to pop out the brake cylinder, control valve and air reservoir all molded together as one part.  The control valve was cut off, drilled for piping, turned ninety degrees and glued back to the molded plastic between the brake cylinder and control valve.  The molded plastic with molded piping on the back of the air reservoir and brake cylinder were cut off leaving only a strip of plastic to which the control valve was glued between them.  Before inserting the brake components part back into the “B” end, piping from the air reservoir, Tichy #1100 .010” diameter PBW, and a plastic pipe from the back of the brake cylinder to the control valve were installed.  And, a brake lever cut from .005” sheet styrene was glued to the brake cylinder piston clevis after half of the clevis was cut off.

Brake components with piping have been inserted.

After inserting the brake components, all still connected together as one part, a retainer line Tichy #1101, .008” diameter PBW wire was installed to replace the carved off molded one.  The chain from Tichy set #3013 and brake rod, Tichy #1102, .015" diameter PBW were installed.  

"B" end chain and brake rod  are installed.

With brake gear detail finished, a Kadee #2020 ajax brake wheel was added.  Another must hopper end detail added was the slope sheet braces made from Plastruct 3/64” angle.  If you do not want to make the slope sheet braces you can purchase a Westerfield hopper detail kit, Hopper Car Details #2190, that contains the slope sheet braces.

Kadee brake wheel and slope sheet braces are installed.

Finally, uncoupling levers bent from Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW with eyebolt mounting brackets bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW were installed.  Prior to installing the uncoupling levers, the eye bolt mounting brackets were installed in small plates, small squares cut from Evergreen .005” sheet styrene, glued to the end sill and double sill step mounting leg on the end sill.  

Uncoupling levers are installed.

Back to the sides to make wine door locks.  Styrene  from the bits box was used to cut small squares that were glued to the bottom side of the hopper doors.  The molded on hopper door bars were extended again with styrene from the bits box.  Finally MEK Goop ( styrene melted in MEK) was used to make the fasteners and door lock hooks to go over the extended bars.   As with the slope sheet braces, if you do not want to make the door locks yourself you can purchase the Westerfield hopper detail kit that contains the door locks.

Wine made door locks are installed.

Only underbody details were left to install.  The screw hole in the sill in between the hoppers was filled.  A long brake rod, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW, was mounted over the molded on brake rod.  Plastic grab irons cut from other cars were used for the brake lever hangers.  The train line on a hopper is a must detail.  Therefore, a train line, .018” diameter floral wire, was installed with eye bolt mounting brackets bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.

Under body prior to upgrade.

Under body details, brake road and brake rod hangers .

Train line made with floral wire due to easy bending installed.

Under body finished.

The car was ready for finishing.  Finishing was easier since all detail parts were hand painted with Vallejo Model Air 71.251 Nato Black or Model Color 70.861 Glossy Black as they were installed.  For the car to have a correct reweigh date, a change was made to the lettering:  the “N” was removed from the “NEW” and half the “W” was removed with a Euro scratch brush to get “EV” which stands for Everett , Washington.  And, the build date was changed from 1952 to the year 1932.  After these lettering changes were made a gloss coat, Vallejo 70.470,  Gloss Medium was sprayed to provide a gloss surface to install Archer decals rivets and end decals.

Archer Resin Rivet Heads, AR8803, alternate Center Rivets were applied using Microscale Micro Sol.  Decals for end reporting marks and numbers were made with Clover House Dry Transfers #9600-11, Railroad Roman condensed Bold-White applied to clear decal paper and coated with Microscale Liquid Decal film.   In twenty minutes Liquid Decal Film was dry, so the decals were cut out and applied with Microscale Micro-Sol.  Once the decals were dry the carbody was sprayed using an air brush with Vallejo Matt Varnish 70.520 to provide a protective coat for handling and weathering.

NP hopper with  Archer rivets applied.

NP hopper with Archer rivets and end decals applied.

The weathering was done with Pan Pastels applied with makeup brushes, foam makeup applicators and micro applicators. Pan Pastel colors used: Paynes Grey Ex Dark 840.1, Burnt Sienna Shade740.3 and Burnt Sienna 740.5.  The car with the Pan Pastels weathering applied was ready for service as no protective coat is sprayed as I find it is not necessary.

Weathered hopper with Pan Pastels applied.

Weathered hopper after Pan Pastels applied.

With the upgrade finished NP Hopper 70168 went back into service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company. The upgraded car may not be perfect; however, whenever on the railroad the upgraded NP Hopper 70168 will bring back the memories of a good friend, Ken Herman.

Northern Pacific hopper 70168 on Great Northern Interchange
with load to be delivered to J. D. Owen Coal in Little Chicago.

Northern Pacific hopper 70168 on GN Interchange
with load to be delievered to J.D. Owen Coal in Little Chicago.

I want to Thank Bob's Photos for permission to use his photos with credit and Gary Wildung  for letting me use his photo for the build and publishing it on this blog.

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