Friday, March 25, 2022

Chicago Great Western Box Cars 87910 and 87956

With the addition of the Chicago Great Western (GGW) interchange to my Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company (M&N) I continue to add to the number of CGW boxcars I have to serve customers. After upgrading CGW box car 87432, an undecorated Train-Miniature X-29 box car kit, and posting the write-up of the upgrade, I had a friend Bob Wilcox contact me telling me he had three Red Caboose X-29 box car kits I could purchase to turn into CGW boxcars.   Another friend made two undecorated Red Caboose X-29 box car kits he had available.   With the addition of these five kits,  once built I will satisfy my CGW box car needs.

The prototype I chose for two consecutive builds of Chicago Great Western box cars was in CGW series 87000-87998.  More specifically in series, 87500-87998 as this series was equipped with Equipco hand brakes.  The cars were build by Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company in 1933.  The steel-sheathed cars had plate ends and Pullman doors which we modelers have named “Creco doors”.   The cars were painted boxcar red with white lettering.   These boxcars are referred to as “X-29’s” by modelers.

Photo source unknown.
(Click or tap on this or any image to enlarge)

Color photos of these cars can be found in Gene Green’s book Chicago Great Western Color Guide To Freight and Passenger Equipment (Morning Sun Books, Inc., 1998) and builders photos in Pullman-Standard Freight Cars 1900-1960 (Signature Press, 2007).  One of the builders photos of CGW 87886 is a 3/4 view showing the “B” end.

I began the build of two CGW Box cars, CGW 87910 using Red Caboose X-29 Box Car, kit RC-7044-5, and CGW 87956 using Red Caboose X-29 Box Car, kit RC-7010-4.  I first built CGW 87910 and followed with the build of CGW 87956.  Each kit required removal of lettering, including reporting marks CNJ, herald  and number 21637 (CGW 87910), PRR herald, number 51645, and all lettering (CGW 87956) with nylon bristle scratch-brush, Walthers Solvaset, and isopropyl alcohol.   Later on CGW 87910 car class “XM”, reweigh date and build date were removed with the same method.  During the removal of this lettering I decided it would have been easier to remove all lettering as I had done on CGW 87956.  Some of the manufacture applied paint was removed with the lettering.  Therefore, a Vallejo Model Color mix of Vallejo Black Red 70.859 75% and Mahogany Brown 70.846 25% was hand brushed on the exposed areas.

CGW 87910 with lettering removed.
And, paint applied.
(Click or tap on this or any image to enlarge)

CGW 87956 with all lettering removed.
And, paint applied.

With no carving off of molded on items detail items needed (an advantage of using a Red Caboose kit), I could move on to the underbody work.   Underbody work consisted of adding the following details:

  • Install underframe and kit crossties
  • Coupler pockets and bolster kingpins drilled and tapped for 2-56 screws
  • Kadee #148 couplers installed in coupler pockets
  • Coupler pocket covers installed with Fastenal 2-56 x 3/16” screws
  • Tichy Train Group (Tichy) brake components from set #3013 installed.
  • Brake components brackets for AB valve and brake cylinder, Tichy set #3013
  • Air reservoir mounts, cut off plastic sill steps 
  • InterMountain 33” metal wheels installed in kit trucks
  • Accurail trucks in kit installed with Fastenal 2-56 x 1/4” screws
  • Kadee #208 .015” thick fiber washers added to kingpins on GCW 87910 and Tichy set #3013 .020”thick plastic washers on CGW 87956 to obtain proper coupler height 

CGW 87910 shown here. 
CGW 87956 had the same work done.

After couplers and trucks installed the trucks were removed and hand painted with a Vallejo Model Color mix of Vallejo Black Red 70.859, 75% and Mahogany Brown 70.846, 25%.  While the paint on trucks was drying the normal details items were added.

  • Brake cylinder lever, made with Evergreen #8108, 1 x 8” strip styrene
  • Brake floating lever, made with Evergreen #8106, 1 x 6” strip styrene
  • Slack adjuster, styrene from bits box with holes drilled with #80 drill (CGW 87910).  No holes drilled (CGW 87956).
  • Brake lever hangers, cut off kit grab irons
  • Brake piping from air reservoir to control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW)
  • Brake pipe from brake cylinder to control valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW 
  • Brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
  • Brake rod clevises, made with MEK Goop (CGW 87910), Tichy turnbuckles #8021 (CGW 87956)
  • Chain, A-Line #29219, black 40 links per inch
  • Dirt collector, Tichy set #3013 (CGW 87910), resin cast in M&N Shops (CGW 87596)
  • Bell crank, Tichy set #3013

CGW 87910 brake rod clevises made with
MEK Goop and Tichy #3013 dirt collector.

CGW 87956 with Tichy #8021 turnbuckles for clevises
and resin dirt collector cast in M&N Shops.

Once underbody work was completed, the car was weighted to 3.8 ounces using the kit weight and electrical outlet box punch outs on CGW 87910.  CGW 87956 was weighted to 3.8 ounces with 1/4 ounce tire weights.  After weights were installed in car body interior, the roof that could not be glued in place until the weights were added was now installed.  Next, the running board which measured .022” when checked with a caliper was installed with Testors Tube Cement for plastic models.  The install of kit provided longitudinal running board end brackets followed since they were of proper size.  Roof grab irons bent from Tichy #1101, .010” PBW with Yarmouth Model Works eye bolts without shoulder for corner legs were installed.

CGW 87956 with running board and grab irons.
CGW 87910 looked the same as CGW 87956 with
running boards installed..

Now kit ladders were installed on the sides and ends.  I took time to create space between the ladders stiles and car sides using a single edge razor blade as a spacer.  Tichy #3015, 18” drop type grab irons were installed under the ladders on the sides.  After ladders were installed grab irons bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW were installed on sides and ends in manufacturer drilled holes (an advantage of Red Caboose kit).  On the sides kit sill steps were installed.  And, after glue was set the step portion of the sill step was cut off leaving only the mounting portion of the sill step left on the car sill.   Yarmouth Model Works sill steps, #213 double angled leg, were installed on CGW 87910 and A-Line #29002, style C, sill steps on CGW 87956.

CGW 87910 with ladders, grab irons and sill steps installed.

CGW 87956 with ladders, grab irons and sill steps installed.

At this point a majority of detail work was finished with “B” end work remaining.  Kit provided brake housing, chain, brake rod with clevis connected to the bell crank were installed on CGW 87910.  On  CGW 87956 only kit brake housing and chain were installed.  The brake rod clevis for CGW 87956 came from Tichy set #3013.  Next the kit brake step and brackets for CGW 87910 and resin cast brake step (master for mold from CGW 87910) and kit brackets for CGW 87956 were installed.  The plastic brake rod was now cut off on CGW 87910 using a single edge razor blade between the end of the chain and the bell crank clevis.  A new brake rod cut from Tichy #1102, .015” PBW was installed on both cars.  The kit retainer valve was cut from the plastic kit retainer line and installed on CGW 87910.  A resin cast retainer valve in M&N Shops was installed on CGW 87956.  A retainer line and bracket fabricated from Tichy # 1100, .008” diameter PBW were installed on both cars.  A Kadee Equipco #2031 brake wheel was installed on both cars.  And, kit provided placard boards were installed on both cars.

CGW 87910 with "B" details installed.

CGW 87956 with "B" end details installed.

Again as had been done with previous added details parts and trucks, the added detail parts on the “B” end were hand painted with a Vallejo Model Color mix of Black Red 70.846, 75% and Mahogany Brown 70.839, 25%.  When dry uncoupling levers bent fabricated from Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW.  Eye bolt brackets were bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.

CGW 87910 with uncoupling levers installed.

CGW 87956 with uncoupling levers installed.

Before heading to the paint shop Creco doors, resin cast in M&N Shops, were installed on CGW 87910 and kit doors on CGW 87956.  The Creco doors for CGW 87910 were cast in M&N Shops using the door from CGW 87956 Red Caboose X-29 kit as a master.  The resin cast doors were sprayed with Vallejo Surface Primer 70.601 and when dry with the Vallejo Model Color mix of Black Red 70.846, 75% and Mahogany Brown 70.839, 25%.  The kit door guides with the triangle supports cut off as not on CGW door guides per prototype photos were installed.  The door and door guide color were lighter than I wanted on CGW 87910 after spraying due to thinning paint so they were taped off and resprayed.   

CGW 87910 with doors lighter than desired.

CGW 87910 with doors resprayed.

Once kit doors were installed on CGW 87956, the car body and underbody were sprayed with the Vallejo Model Color mix of Black Red 70.846 and Mahogany Brown 70.839.

CGW car body 87956 sprayed.

CGW 87956 sprayed.
CGW 87910 under body looked similar after spraying.

When the sprayed car bodies were dry both car bodies were sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Medium 70.510, to provide a gloss decal base.

CGW 87910 sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Medium
to provide a gloss decal base.

CGW 87956 sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Medium
to provide a gloss decal base.

After drying overnight, decals from various sets were applied.  Decals sets used were the following:  Microscale #87-1400 for road name, reporting marks, heralds, and dimensional data.  Chicagoland 2017 kit for numbers , reweigh date, build date and repack data,  Sunshine Models CGW XM-1 set for repack data and build date, and Champ HN-50 for heralds for CGW 87910.  Capacity and weights data is okay on both cars.  The dimensional data from Microscale set #87-1400 applied to CGW 87956 matches prototype photos while Red Caboose dimensional data does not; however, it may have been correct for a CNJ box car (reason for removal).  The build date for CGW 87956 is not correct; however, it can be corrected in the future if I can find the correct year "33" or letter size to make a decal.  I used photos of CGW box cars in books mentioned above as a guide to apply decals.

Decals 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.  Again when dry, car body sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Varnish 70.510 to better hide edges of decals and protect decals during handling.  Again when dry, the car body was sprayed with Model Master Acryl, #4636, flat to protect decals and provide a flat finish for weathering when applied.

CGW 87910 with decals applied.

CGW 87910 after decals applied.

CGW 87956 after decals applied.
All lettering is correct except build date should be 1933.

CGW 87956 after decals applied.
All lettering is correct except build date should be 1933.

One more step before putting Chicago Great Western (CGW) box cars 87910 and 87956 into service was to weather the cars with Artmatic eye shadow and Pan Pastels.  An Artmatic eye shadow color like a Dark Box Car Red was applied over car bodies.  Pan Pastels Burnt Sienna Shade 740.3 was used on both car bodies.  Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1  was used on the roof and lightly over safety appliances on car body.

CGW 87910 weathered.

CGW 87910 weathered.

CGW 87956 weathered.

CGW 87956 weathered.

Chicago Great Western 87910 and 87956 were ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for CGW 87910 and 87956, the final step to put the a car in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.

Recently added CGW cars to fleet
on CGW Interchange in Randolph.

CGW 87956 on CGW Interchange in Randolph.

CGW 87910 on CGW Interchange in Randolph.

Recently added CGW cars to fleet
on CGW Interchange in Randolph.

I want to say, “Thank You” to Bob Wilcox for making available the cars I purchased from him to help me increase my Chicago Great Western freight car roster.  And, another “Thank You” to a friend providing the prototype photo to share in 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 sign your comment with your name if you choose to leave one.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.

Lester Breuer


Monday, March 14, 2022

Saws for Modeling

Let us look at one of the basic tools we find in every railroad modeler’s tool drawer, the saw.  A basic cutting tool we may use when building freight cars.  There are many kinds of saws consisting of a blade, wire, or chain with a toothed edge. In the hobby our saws are normally the blade type only with or without a stiffener on the back of the blade. I use the saw to cut heavier materials for the saw will cut thicker materials faster than making repeated knife cuts. And, if you cut metals the saw is one of the better tools to use.

What type of saw do we buy?  Well take a look at one of my tool drawers that I have filled with various saws. How did I accumulate the number you see?  It began when I decided to purchase my first saw.  I headed for the local hobby shop and thought I would grab one until I looked in the tool section and found that a variety were available.  At the time the manufactures I found at my local hobby shop were  Xacto and Zona. I decided to buy a Xacto saw since I had bought their knives and they worked well. Another good reason to purchase Xacto saws was they needed handles and would fit in the Xacto handles I had purchased for the knives.

Tool drawer holding saws.
(Click or tap on this or any image to enlarge.)

Looking at the blade variety I found a saw could have a fine, medium or coarse toothed blade which is defined by the number of teeth on the saw blade. The most common measurement of the frequency of teeth on a saw blade is teeth per inch usually abbreviated TPI. At the time I thought I did not need three saw types. I would buy one as I had planned. But wait there was more to decide before making the purchase. You could buy the saw blades with different depths: shallow, medium or deep.  Well I decided to buy a medium blade with a shallow depth.

I soon found the medium blade with a shallow depth did not solve all my cutting needs. One example, the shallow saw blade may not reach the bottom of the slot in a miter box as only the deep blade can. As I built more kits and rolling stock I purchased one of each saw types.

Saws wit various teeth and blade depth.

Not done yet, one more item to consider.  Next to the saw types I saw there were miter boxes that would guide the saw when making straight cuts and were also made to assist with angle cuts. The miter boxes came in wood or metal. I chose the least expensive, a wood one which I soon would find out was a mistake as the slot for the saw in a short time will not stay true and soon you are making poor cuts.  Therefore, over time several metal miter boxes were purchased.  When buying a metal miter box one feature I suggest it have is a lip on its bottom side that catches on the edge of your work surface to help hold it in place when making your cuts. 

Several miter boxes.  Note the one on the left has
 lip to place against work surface when cutting..

As time went along I found the miter box to have another neat use.  I could cut multiple items of the same length when needed.  You clamp a stop block in the miter box at the length desired, slide the material to be cut up against it, and make your cut.  Repeating these steps you can cut any number of pieces needed to the same length.  However, this method soon was rarely used when I discovered the NorthWest Short Line (NWSL)  tool - “The Chopper.”  The chopper is a great tool; however, I find times I still prefer to use the miter box for certain cutting tasks.  One example of such a task is cutting metal tubes.

Miter box showing two examples of added stops
using clamps.

"The Chopper"

Even purchasing one of each saw type did not solve new problems encountered when building various kits or rolling stock.  One example, I could not use the blades I had to cut out windows in a structure kit-bash or certain cuts I wanted to make in reworking rolling stock. The normal Xacto saw blades were of no use. I needed a much smaller saw blade.  I found you could purchase a Xacto blade that was the shape and size of a number eleven blade and fit the same handle.  I soon added them to my saw collection along with a few other small shaped blades and saws I found.

Various small saw blades useful for modeling tasks.

Another of my later finds is a saw with a blade shaped liked a razor blade with very fine teeth that fits into a comfortable handle. I purchased one from MicroMark with a plastic handle (no longer found in catalog).  At Trainfest, a train show held in Milwaukee, I found one with a wood handle and better construction.  It is the "micro combo" saw available from UMM-USA (see internet site).   And, hence the nickname “UMM saw” in my modeling community.  It was well worth the purchase and has become one of my favorite saws.  If guided correctly it will make a cut that needs no or very little sanding.  After the saw was on the market for a time, a mini miter block came out for it.  The micro miter block is available from MicroMark.  The mico, and two larger sizes of the miter boxes or as a set are available from UMM-USA.

UMM saw and plastic handle saw.
Note website address on card in case.

UMM saw used to cut off ends on freight car.

UMM saw in micro miter block designed for this saw.

One more saw blade I use almost ever modeling session is a saw blade with very fine teeth mounted on a mandrel in a Dremel tool to provide me with a motorized saw.  As the razor type blade in the hand UMM saw, it makes a very fine cut that like one made with the hand UMM saw requires very little sanding.

The use of this saw blade requires a steady hand and continued focus when using it as the blade can easily bind in the material you are cutting. One slip and you will have a very nasty cut that could require a trip to the hospital emergency room. You can purchase a guard to use with this saw to protect yourself when using. I purchased my saws blades from the Tool Man (no longer in business due to retirement) so I am not sure of a source at this time.

Saw blade with mandrel in Dremel Tool with collet.

Note Dremel #4486 chuck replacing collet.
Allows quick and easy change of accessories.

Side view of saw blade with mandrel in
 Dremel tool with #4866 Dremel chuck.

We have now explored the contents of the tool drawer near my workbench.   My saw drawer filled with saws with various toothed blades is one reason I have my friends calling me a “tool junkie.”  Remember “Modeling is Fun” and I believe “Modeling is Fun at a higher level with the right tool”.

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