Thursday, April 8, 2021

Soo Line “sawtooth” Box Car 39334

 It was time to stop putting off build of one of the two Dennis Storzek Modelmaker kits in my to build cabinet.  I purchased two flat kits, # 1920, to number one for Soo Line and the other for subsidiary Wisconsin Central.  Both kits produce the same single sheathed wood boxcar assigned to either railroad.  The only difference in appearance was the number series and a small W.C. stenciled at the upper left corner of the car side.  The cars were built by several manufactures from 1912 to 1923.  Car features include the distinctive “sawtooth” design, five-foot doors, post ends, peaked roofs and fish belly center sill.  All number series built had a small lumber door on the “A” end except the last series.

Cars remained unchanged into the sixties except for removal of lumber door as ends were re-sheathed and AB brakes replaced the original K brakes.  The cars rode on Andrews trucks until the late fifties when replaced with AAR trucks.

The flat kit can build into a car that can be numbered for cars built in different years by different manufactures.  I chose to build and letter a car for a 40 foot Soo Line boxcar built in  1923 by AC&F (Lot 9465), one of 500 cars assigned to the 39200-40198 series.  Before beginning the build I searched for prototype photos.   Photos for the build were found in the the following three sources:  Soo Line Freight Equipment and Cabooses (The Soo Line Historical and Technical Society, 2014), Steam Era Freight Cars Reference Manual, Volume One: Box & Automobile Cars (Speedwitch Media, 2006, 2007) and article “Essential Freight Cars: 32 Soo Line single-sheathed boxcars”, Railroad Model Craftsman, July 2006.

Wisconsin Central "sawtooth" Box Car 133654
W. Danke photo, from William Raia in
Kenneth J. Soroos Collection

The build began with the assembly of the car body consisting of sides, ends and roof.  The assembly was not my normal resin car body assembly process of ends to sides to form the body and add roof.  The kit instructions suggest first glue ends to roof and then add sides.  After careful review and dry fit of parts I decided to glue ends to roof first due to the careful alignment of ladder rung fasteners on sides to those on the ends.  The sides were glued to the roof with ends to complete the car body.

Basic car body assembled.
(Click or tap on this photo or any other to enlarge)

Once the car body was assembled I cut and added baffles cut from Evergreen .060” sheet styrene for strength and to prevent inward bowing of sides.  The length of the baffles had to allow them to be glued just below the cast in floor support.  A feature I wish all resin kits had.  After baffles were installed I fitted the underbody.

Baffles installed.
Note underbody support cast into sides.

Next the top plate flanges, 1/4” strip styrene provided in the kit, were glued in the molded in groove at the top of each side and end. The same 1/4” strip styrene is used to cut to length and install the door track on each side.

Top flange being installed on "B" end.

Top flange installed.

Door track installed.

Since I ended the install of the last top plate flange on the “B” end, I continued the install of retainer valve (kit) and white metal brake shaft step bracket (kit).

Retainer valve and brake shaft step installed.

Now I began work on the underbody.  Center sill (kit) and metal cross-bearers (kit) were installed followed by the brake components.  I used Tichy Train Group (Tichy) AB brake components, set #3013 and the kit provided brake levers.  The brackets used were a Sunshine Models bracket from my parts box for the brake cylinder and plastic sills steps cut off a freight car for the air reservoir.  I mounted the control valve on a Tichy bracket on the stringer.  The location I chose for the control valve mount made it difficult to install piping and dirt collector.  A better choice would have been to mount the control valve closer to the side sill on a bracket located between the side sill and stringer allowing easier install of the already mentioned parts.  A train line, .018” diameter floral wire, was installed later.

Underframe parts and braked components installed.

I continued underbody work by installing the bolsters.  I did not use the metal bolsters supplied in the kit on the underbody; however, I did use them as a master to make a mold to cast resin bolsters I used.   I cast the bolsters from resin to make fitting easier as I rather work with resin then white metal.  Once bolsters were fitted and installed, coupler pads and bolster center plates were drilled and tapped for 2-56 screws.  Kadee #262 narrow draft gear (coupler) boxes with Kadee #148 whisker couplers were installed with Fastenal 2-56 x 3/16” screws.  Accurail Andrews #166 trucks with InterMountain 33” metal wheels were installed with Fastenal 2-56 x 1/4” screws.

Metal and resin cast bolsters.

Resin cast bolsters installed.

The install of car body details was next.  Ladder rungs and all grab irons whether kit or ones I bent were installed in holes drilled with #79 drill.

Grab irons installed.

I moved on to work needed on the roof.  The wood running boards were assembled per kit instructions using the kit supplied lumber.  I did add the grooves to simulate boards lengths on the 42’ 6” longitudinal running board.  End brackets were fabricated from Evergreen #8102, 1 x 2” strip styrene and MEK Goop fasteners added.  The latitudinal (laterals, corner platforms) running boards did have the mounting brackets cast into the roof making for easy assembly after boards cut to 2” 4” length on Northwest Line chopper.  A Model Railroad General HO Scale Converter Dial Caliper was use to set the unusual length.  Evergreen strip styrene, #8102 was used to make the end brackets on the longitudinal running board.  The corner grab irons bent from Tichy #1101, .010” phosphor bronze wire (PBW) with Yarmouth Model Works photo etched eye bolts without shoulder for corner legs were installed.  The corner grab iron fasteners, rivets (kit), followed.

Running boards installed.

The work on the “B” was next.  I drilled the upper brake shaft bracket (cast on the end) with a #76 drill.  A retainer line, Tichy #1100, .008” diameter PBW was installed.  A brake shaft cut from Tichy #1102, .015” diameter PBW was installed followed by the kit provided brake wheel.  A top brake wheel fastener was made with MEK Goop.  Uncoupling levers bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW installed with kit supplied eye bolt brackets.

"B" end details added.
Top brake wheel fastener not yet added.

I returned to the sides to install the white metal sill steps and to the “A” end where I installed the white metal cast lumber door provided in the kit.

Sill steps and lumber door on "A" end installed.

With the car body complete I moved to the underbody to install the the following details:

  • Train line, .018” flora wire
  • Piping from air reservoir to control valve Tichy #1101 .010” diameter PBW
  • Piping from brake cylinder to control valve Tichy  #1106 .0125” diameter PBW
  • Dirt collector, Tichy set #3013
  • Brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
  • Clevises are made with MEK Goop
  • Chain, A-Line #29219 black 40 links per inch
  • Center sill extended between bolsters and coupler boxes with scrap styrene

Underbody details installed.

Note the center sill extended to fill gap
between bolster and coupler pocket.

One final addition to the car body before painting.  The resin cast doors (kit) were installed.  Later, the molded on door handles were carved off and replaced with door handles bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.

Doors installed.

Soo Line “sawtooth” boxcar 39334 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 wood running boards and added detail parts hand painted Polly Scale Milwaukee Road Gray, F414158.

Car body installed details hand painted
Milwaukee Road Grey

The car body was sprayed with Vallejo Model Air Brown RLM26 71.105.  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 was sprayed Model Master Acryl 4636 Flat Clear Acryl to protect the car during handling and provide a base for weathering.

Soo Line 39334 painted and lettered.

Once the flat clear coat was dry light weathering using Pan Pastels was applied with a makeup brush.  Pan Pastels used were as follows:  Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1 on the roof, sides and ends.  Burnt Sienna Shade 740.3 on truck springs and wheels.   In addition to Pan Pastels, Artmatic eye shadow makeup was applied on sides and ends with a makeup brush and micro brush applicators between ladder rungs.

Soo Line 39334 weathered.

Soo Line “sawtooth” box car 39334 joins Soo Line “sawtooth” box car 39826 in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for Soo Line 39344,  the final step to put the cars in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.

Soo Line 39334 at Sussex Team Track

Soo Line 39334 at Sussex Team Track

Soo Line 39334 at Sussex Team Track

A  big “Thank You” to Ken Soroos for the prototype photo to help with build of this car and for permission to use photo 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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