Monday, March 1, 2021

Northern Pacific Box Car 12833

 My latest build is a Sunshine Models, kit 52.3, Northern Pacific double-sheathed boxcar 12833.  I had this flat kit in the to build cabinet for some time before Rapido Trains, Inc. produced a very accurate Ready-To-Run (RTR) version of this box car in several paint schemes.  Since I purchased several of the RTR cars this kit was not high on the build list; however, I felt it was time to build it to join the NP Rapido cars on the roster.

The prototype cars were Northern Pacific (NP) 10000 series double-sheathed boxcars built by various builders between 1923 and 1932.  NP assigned the cars into several series starting at 10000 and ending at 14499.  The double-sheathed box features included radial roof, Murphy 7/8 corrugated ends on the first 4000 cars,  Miner Ideal lever style brake, massive fish belly center sill underframe and a three brake lever arrangement on the underbody per NP series 10000 underframe diagram.  The cars rode on 40 Ton trucks.  Photo sources and additional information on the cars can be found in:  Sunshine Models Prototype Data Sheet # 52A provided in the kit, Railroad Model Craftsman, July 2003, Ted Culotta’s article, Essential Freight Cars: 4, NP’s 10000-series double-sheathed boxcars, NP Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment (Morning Sun Books, 1995) and Railroad Picture Archives.

Railroad Picture Archives
Paint scheme prior to the one in photo below.
(click or tap on image to enlarge)

After reviewing photos I had available, the kit contents and decals provided, I decided to number  my car 12833.  The prototype was built by General American Car Company in 1923 that Northern Pacific (NP) assigned to series 12000-12999.  Over the years these cars had different lettering schemes.  Since my Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company railroad is set in the spring of 1955 I would use the scheme adopted in the early 1950’s that featured the arched Northern Pacific, the 48” monad herald and the slogan “Main Street of the Northwest.”

Sunshine Models Prototype Data Sheet N. 52A
A car with paint scheme in the series I was building.

As with every flat kit I began the resin car body assembly consisting of sides and ends.  An underbody support, the length of the car, cut from scrap resin was installed on each side.  Baffles cut from Evergreen .060” sheet styrene were added inside car body to prevent inward bowing of car sides in the future and to help support the underbody upon install.  The radial roof was installed to complete the car body.

Car body assembled with underbody supports
and baffles.

Radial roof installed.

With the car body assembled I continued with the underbody.  Coupler pads and bolster center plates were drilled and tapped for 2-56 screws.  Kadee #262 narrow draft gearboxes with Kadee #148 whisker couplers installed were installed with Fastenal 2-56 x 3/16” screws.   Tahoe Model Works 40 Ton ARA trucks, TMW-115, were temporarily installed with Fastenal 2-56 x 1/4” screws. Weight was added to the inside portion of the underbody to bring the car weight 3.8 ounces and the underbody was installed.

Under body installed.

I removed the trucks to continue the underbody work.  I installed the bolsters, bolster rivet plates,  cross bearers and cross ties.  

Bolsters, cross bearers and cross ties installed.

Next I installed the brake mounting brackets and Bowser brake components provided in the kit.  The mounting brackets for the air reservoir are plastic sill steps cut from a plastic car, slack adjuster for floating brake lever is from parts box, and third lever mounted in front of the brake cylinder lever is one from a Tichy Train Group (Tichy) set #3013 with a bracket made from scrap resin flash.

Brake components installed.
Note: third lever in front of brake cylinder.

The car body was ready for detailing.

"A" end with lumber door.

I started car body detailing with the roof.  The wood longitudinal running board (kit) was installed with Formula 560 Canopy glue.  For end brackets Yarmouth Model Works photo etched end brackets were installed.  Roof lateral running boards (kit) were installed with brackets I made from photo etched brass.  I used a scrap “L” shaped photo etched brass piece so I only had to bend the ends downward to mount on the sides and ends.  Bracket fasteners were made with MEK Goop.   Roof corner grab irons (kit) were installed with Yarmouth Model Works eye bolts without shoulder for corner leg.

Roof details installed.

Note lateral running board bracket.

With roof detailing finished, I moved to detailing the sides.  Straight grab irons (kit) were installed for side ladder rungs in holes drilled with No. 79 drill.  One unique NP feature on the side ladders was the last rung has a drop shape (step) on the right side. The other grab irons I bent from Tichy #1101, .010” phosphor bronze wire (PBW). 

Grab irons for ladders and other installed.

Now I began the most difficult part of the build; the end ladders which per NP 10000 diagrams were 15” wide ladders.  Frank Hodina, who created the masters, created the 2” x 2” stile near the corner with the ladder mounting brackets that look very good.  Therefore, I kept the molded on end stiles.  The most difficult task was cutting the inner resin ladder stile from the molded parts sheet and sanding it and thinning it with a single-edged razor blade to proper width.  In addition, the drilling of the resin stiles with a No. 79 drill is not easy and has to be done with great care.  Once done and installed as on the sides the straight grab irons except the last rung which as on the sides has the drop shape (step) on the right were installed.

End ladders installed.  Note last rung with
drop shape step) on the right side.

With the ladders complete, the “B” end detail work was next.  The brake step (platform) with rounded corners (kit) and brackets cut from Evergreen #8102, 1” x 2” strip styrene with MEK fasteners was installed.  The brake rod sill step, a A-Line #29000 sill step, was bent to shape per prototype photos and installed.  Now I added the, Minor Ideal lever-style hand brake.  I used the body (kit) after some shaping and adding the portion ( black portion) I could see in photos on the left side.  Before adding the Tichy, set #3013, plastic lever (in my opinion the resin lever too fragile), I installed the retainer valve (kit).  After adding the handle, the brake rod, Tichy #1102, .015” diameter PBW and retainer line Tichy #1100, .008” diameter PBW were installed.  Placard board (kit) with MEK made mounting straps was installed here and on A end.  Next, grab irons I bent using Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW were installed.

"B" end all details installed.

Back to the underbody to add the piping, brake rods and other details as follows:

  • Train line, .019” flora wire with green color
  • Chain from brake cylinder lever to third lever, A-Line #29219, black 40 links per inch
  • Bracket for third lever I attached to cross bear flange, resin flash
  • All fasteners MEK Goop ( plastic melted in MEK)
  • Piping from air reservoir to brake cylinder, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW
  • Pipe from back of brake cylinder to control valve, Tichy #1106. .0125” dia. PBW
  • Brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
  • Brake rod clevises formed with MEK Goop
  • Slack adjuster on floating lever from parts box
  • Dirt collector, flora wire pipe with scrap plastic pieces and MEK Goop
  • Dirt collector pipe to train line tee, MEK Goop
  • All fasteners MEK Goop

Underbody from third lever side.

Underbody from slack adjuster side.

With underbody work complete I went back to the sides and installed the kit doors.  I like to install them as near the end of the build as possible to have an area to hold car during build that will not be visible on the finished car.  I did remove the molded on handle and replace it with one bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW ( can be only seen in car painted photos).  I added the sill steps, A-Line #29000 bent to shape using NP photos, in No. 76 hole drilled in side sill. 

Doors and sill steps installed.

Back to the B end to add the uncoupling levers.  I bent the uncoupling levers from Tichy#1106, .0125” diameter PBW and installed them with the Detail Associates eye bolts, #2206, provided in the kit.

Uncoupling levers installed.
Note the sill steps to match NP prototype.

NP double-sheathed boxcar 12833 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 Air Vallejo Dark Grey Blue, 71.054.

Underbody painted.

 The car body was sprayed with a Vallejo Model Color mix:  Black Red #70.859 70 percent and Flat Yellow #70.953, 30%.  Once the paint was dry, the car body was sprayed Vallejo Gloss Medium 70.470 to have a Gloss base for decal application.  After drying overnight, decals provided in the kit 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 Model Master Acryl 46636/Flat Clear Acryl to protect the car during handling.

NP 12833 side view painted.

NP 12833 3/4 view painted.

NP 1283 "B" end painted.

And, after clear flat coat was dry, I weathered the car body with Pan Pastels Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1 applied with a makeup brush.  A damp Q tip was then used to wipe away some of the applied Paynes Grey Extra Dark in various areas.  A Prismacolor pencil, warm grey PC 1054, was used to streak a few boards here and there.  Artmatic brown eye shadow makeup was to add rust to trucks. 

NP 12833 has been weathered.

NP 12833 has been weathered.

NP double-sheathed box car 12833 was ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, "Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made,  the final step to put a car in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.

NP box car 12833 spotted at Wooden Container

NP 12833 spotted at Wooden Container Company.

Some Little Chicago industries and CNW Interchange
being pulled allowing NP 12833 to be seen.

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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