Saturday, May 1, 2021

Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern Ventilated Refrigerator 942

While watching a presentation by Eric Hansmann on ventilated boxcars the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern (FtDDM&S or FDDM&S) appeared on a chart showing it had ten ventilated box cars.   I thought I might build one; however, it was not to be as no photos available.  After the presentation I checked the 1953 Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) finding seven ventilated refrigerator cars, class VS, of series 932 - 946 (evens) on the roster.  In  the 1955 ORER there were still three cars on the roaster in this series.  A FtDDM&S ventilated refrigerator became the new build project.

I contacted Eric asking about the ventilated refrigerator series as I was considering building a model of one for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company (M&N).  Eric provided the information he had and referred me to Ray Breyer who might have information on the ventilated refrigerator series.  Ray not only had information, he also provided a photo of FtDDM&S ventilated refrigerator 942.   The photo made the build of the  FtDDB&S  942 ventilated refrigerator possible. 

Ray Breyer Collection
(click or tap on this or any image to enlarge)

Ray’s suggested choice as a starting point for the build was an Accurail wood refrigerator kit.   I agreed as outside dimensions compared well with those in the ORER for this series.   Therefore, I picked a 5th Avenue Car Shops ventilated wood refrigerator from my inventory.  A car manufactured by Accurail, a 4800 series wood refrigerator, lettered from Illinois Central (IC) drawings for the IC for 5th Avenue Car Shops.  The IC ventilated refrigerator was out of service by my M&N late spring 1955 time period making it available for the build.

I began the build by removing the IC lettering: name, number and reporting marks, from the car with a cotton swab dipped in 91% isopropyl alcohol and a nylon scratch brush.  The reweigh date was changed later.

Lettering removed.

Once lettering was removed molded on grab irons, ladders, and brake step (platform) were carved off and sill steps cut off.   I used the remaining ladder lines to drill #79 holes for wire grab irons and ladder rungs.  I touched up the sides with a Vallejo mix of 2/3 Model Air Gold Yellow 71.078, and 1/3 Model Color Flat Yellow 70.953.

Grab iron and grab iron ladder holes drilled.

After another review of the “B” end on the prototype photo, I knew the fascia on the end of the car body needed to be changed and a new end sill added.  I cut the fascia to the shape of the prototype with a #11 scalpel blade in a scalpel blade handle and #17 chisel blade in and Xacto handle..  I scribed the board lines with the back of #11 blade in an Xacto handle.   I used a circular saw blade mounted on a mandrel in a  Dremel tool to cut away the sill boards to install a new steel end sill cut from Evergreen #273, I-Beam .100.”  The poling pockets cut off the car prior to the new end sill install were now installed on the new end sill.

New steel end sill with poling pockets installed.

I installed a brake shaft roof/fascia bracket, Sunshine Models resin part from parts box, on the car body.  I set the car body aside and I glued a .040” x .040” styrene piece to the top of the draft gear boxes on the under body to form the draft gear casting (casting around coupler on sill).  I installed Kadee #148 whisker couplers in the draft gear boxes and Accurail ARA cast steel with spring plank trucks with InterMountain 33” metal wheels on the underbody.   The kit provided weight was installed with Formula 560 Canopy glue bringing the car weight to 4.0 ounces.  The weight had to be clamped to the underbody while the glue dried.  After glue set the underbody was installed in the car body.  

Note brake shaft roof bracket and styrene strip
added to top for draft gear to form
draft gear casting.

Now I cut three small right triangles from .010” sheet styrene and glued them to the earlier installed .040” x .040” styrene strip to complete the draft gear casting.  I also installed the brake shaft sill step that had been cut off the removed sill portion after the molded filled portion was removed by drilling a hole into the mold filled center and cleaned up with a broach.

Note draft gear casting around coupler and
 reworked brake shaft step. 

Next I milled the kit provided running board to a thickness of .020” using a jig and a Dremel #199 cutting bit installed in a Dremel Tool mounted in a Dremel drill press stand.  On the top of the running board I made cuts to represent board lengths and installed it on the car body with Testors tube cement.

Running board milled to .020" and installed.

Note board length cuts in running board.

Now the running board end brackets made with Evergreen #8102, 1” x 2” strip styrene and MEK Goop fasteners were installed.

Note running board bracket.

I continued working on the "B" end installing a resin retainer valve from parts box, retainer line and brackets, Tichy Train Group (Tichy) #1100, .008” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW) and brake shaft, Tichy #1102, .015” diameter PBW with kit provided brake wheel.  Next the car body corner braces, cut from Evergreen .005” sheet styrene, were installed with MEK and MEK Goop used to form fasteners.  “B” end added parts were hand painted Vallejo/MicroMark Model Air Box Car Red, #29015X2.

"B" end details installed.

Corner braces with MEK fasteners/rivets installed.

Wire grab irons and grab irons for ladders I bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW were installed. The grab iron fasteners/rivets, cut from Tichy # 3026, 18” ladder rungs, were installed next.   Roof grab irons were bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW and installed with Yarmouth Model Works eye bolts without shoulder for corner legs.  Sill steps, A-Line #29000, were installed. 

Grab iron fasteners using
 Tichy ladder rungs being installed.

Grab irons, grab iron ladders, grab iron fasteners/rivets
and sill steps installed and painted.

It was time to work on the underbody.  All the molded on brake component mounting brackets were cut off with a #17 Xacto chisel blade mounted in a #5 Xacto handle.  The kit provided center fish belly was installed.  Now the following underbody details installed were as follows:

  • Brake cylinder (kit) on a Sunshine Models resin bracket from parts box
  • Control valve (kit) on bracket form Tichy #3013 set
  • Air reservoir (kit) on brackets (sill steps cut from another plastic car)
  • Brake cylinder lever, Evergreen #8108, 1” x 8” strip styrene
  • Brake floating lever, Evergreen #8106, 1” x 6” strip styrene
  • Brake piping from air reservoir to control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” dia. PBW
  • Brake pipe from brake cylinder to control valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” dia. PBW
  • Brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW with clevises, MEK Goop
  • Chain, A-Line #29219, black 40 links per inch
  • Train line, .018" diameter flora wire
  • Dirt collector, cast in M&N Shops

Underbody details installed.

With the underbody work completed the detail added parts were hand painted with Vallejo/MicroMark Model Air Box Car Red #29015X2.

Underbody painted.

Built Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern 924 ventilated refrigerator was ready for final touch up paint.  The yellow a mix: 2/3 Vallejo Model Air Gold Yellow 71.078 and 1/3 Vallejo Model Color Flat Yellow 70.953 and the red/brown Vallejo/MicroMark Model Air Box Car Red #29014X2.  Next the car body was sprayed Vallejo Gloss Medium 70.470 to provide a gloss decal base.

Car ready for lettering.  Note reweigh date has been
changed to MC for Mason City.

I made the decals, except rivets, for the car using Clove House dry transfers applied to decal paper and coated with MicroScale Liquid Decal Film.  On the ends, the FtDDM&S and number were made with Railroad Roman Medium - White #9601-11 and on the sides Railroad Roman Condensed Bold #9600-12.  I used Archer Rivet Heads, AR88026, 5/8” rivets on the sides.  I used a No. 5 lead pencil to go over the door lines to make them stand out as in the prototype photo above.

Decals and Archer rivets applied.

Decals and Archer rivets applied.

When decals were dry the car body was sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Varnish 70.510 to protect decals and better hide their their edges.  Again when dry, the car body was sprayed with Model Master 4636 Flat Clear Acryl before weathering.

The final step before putting FtDDM&S 942 ventilated refrigerator in service was to weather the car with Pan Pastels.  Pan Pastels used were: Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1 on car body and Burnt Sienna Shade 740.3 on trucks.  The Pan Pastels were applied with a makeup brush on the sides and roof.  And, a Pan Pastel foam pad was used to apply them along the sides sills.

Pan Pastel weathering applied.

Pan Pastel weathering applied.

Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern ventilated refrigerator 942 was now ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for FtDDM&S 942,  the final step to put the cars in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.

FtDDM&S 942 moved off GN Interchange
along the trees to Dawkins siding.

FtDDM&S 942 moved from Dawkins siding
 to Minneapolis Chestnut Street Yard.

FtDDM& Southern 924 sitting on Chestnut Street yard
 track  before being moved into "Extra West" freight train.

A  big “Thank You” to Ray Breyer for data and the photo to help with build of this car and for permission to use photo in this blog post.  A “Thank You” to Eric Hansmann for his presentation providing the inspiration for this build.  And, a "Thank You" to Jon Habegger for data help by providing a scan of the 1955 ORER page for the FtDDM&S.

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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