Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Spokane, Portland & Seattle Gondola 23038

Having completed the build of a Northern Pacific (NP) gondola to add to the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company fleet I felt it best to build the Sunshine Models resin gondola, kit 67.25, as the kit build would be almost the same as the NP kit.  Therefore, to me it just made sense; however, I would not build it as an NP gondola since I already had built two gondolas as NP.  I would build this one as Spokane, Portland & Seattle (SP&S) gondola 23038, SP&S series 23000-23199, to add my first SP&S gondola to my fleet.

Choosing to build the Sunshine Models gondola as an SP&S gondola required I obtain SP&S decals to letter the built gondola as the kit NP decals could not be used.   I found and ordered a set of decals from National Scale Car for this series of gondolas, set D221.

The prototype Spokane, Portland & Seattle (SP&S) 70 Ton 41-foot gondola was build by American Car and Foundry (AC&F) in 1952-1953.  On delivery the cars were assigned into SP&S series 23000-23199.  The cars had a  41 foot 6 inch inside length, 9 foot 6 inch inside width and a 4 foot 7 inch height.   The sides had 13 box-like irregularly spaced riveted posts, improved Dreadnaught fixed ends with rounded corner posts, and Miner handbrakes.  The solid bottom floor consisted of alternating steel and wood floor planks to provide a nailable floor.  The cars rode on A-3 Ride Control trucks.  The delivered cars, including trucks, were painted oxide red with white lettering and had the SP&S oval herald with caboose red background applied..

Photo from Sunshine Models Data Sheet #67.3

     (Click on this or any image to enlarge)

Photos of these gondolas as delivered are in the instructions.  A photo showing a three quarter view showing the “B” end of SP&S number 23038 is in Sunshine Models Prototype Data Sheet #67.3 (see above).  And, there is a photo showing a group of these gondolas (see below).  A three quarter view of SP&S X-543 can be found in Spokane, Portland & Seattle Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment (Morning Sun Books Inc., 1998) after a number of these gondolas were assigned M-of-W service in 1968.

Photo from Sunshine Models Data Sheet #67.3

To build the SP&S gondola I used the instructions in kit 67.25, the same instructions I used to build NP gondola 59204.  Since the build was the same, I will not describe details of the build steps here.  Rather I ask you to read the build details of Northern Pacific Gondola 59204 - Part One Here I will just show photos with captions of the build at various steps of the build.

Photos of build of SP&S Build.

Car body assembled.

Grab irons installed.

Grab irons and ladders installed.  And,
"B" end work started.

"B" end work finished except for uncoupling levers.

Uncoupling levers installed.

Underbody before brake detail installed.

Train line and brake details installed.

The final step prior to sending SP&S 23038 to the paint shop was to install retaining clips on the sides.  I hand painted the added detail parts with Vallejo Surface Primer, Vallejo Grey 70.601.  After Vallejo Surface Primer was dry the gondola was sprayed in preparation for applying Archer retaining clips ( tie downs).  I used Tamiya TS-79 Semi-Gloss applied with rattle can.   When dry, I used a paper guide to apply a straight dashed line with a pencil on the side for applying the Archer retaining clips.  

Marking side with line for retaining clips install.

And, the Archer retaining clips were applied.  After application of Archer retaining clips (tie downs) my gondolas was ready for finish paint.

Archer retaining (tie downs) applied.

Gondola is ready for paint and lettering.

With the build of Spokane, Portland & Seattle 23038 gondola ready the painting, lettering and weathering, SP&S 23038  was moved to the paint shop.  In the paint shop the interior of SP&S gondola 23038 was done first.  The interior was airbrushed with Vallejo Model Color Black Grey 70.862.  Once the Black Grey was dry the interior was weathered with Prismacolor pencils:  Cool Grey PC1061, Light Umber PC941 and Burnt Ochre PC943.

Interior painted and weathered.

Interior painted and weathered.

Next the underbody was airbrushed Vallejo/Micro-Mark Model Color Tarnished Black X29022X2.

Underbody airbrushed and trucks hand painted.

Now the car body was airbrushed with an oxide red mix:  Vallejo/Micro-Mark Model Air Box Car Red x29015X2, 7 drops or 70% and Vallejo Model Color Flat Red 70.957, 3 drops or 30%.   Once dry the car body was sprayed Vallejo Gloss Medium 70.470 to provide a gloss base for decal application.

Car body airbrushed mixed oxide red color.

Car body airbrushed mixed oxide red color.

After gloss finish was dry,  decals, National Scale Car set D221, were soaked off in distilled water and applied to the car body where MicroScale Micro Set had been applied with a brush.  After decals were 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 was sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Clear Varnish 70.510 to better hide decals edges.

I was not happy with the decal edges so I airbrushed the car body with Model Master Gloss Clear Acryl 4638.  And, when the car body was dry,  I sprayed the car body with Model Master Flat Clear Acryl, #4636, to protect decals and provide a flat finish for weathering when applied.

Decals applied.

Decals applied.

My last step before putting Spokane, Portland & Seattle gondola 23038 in  service was to weather the car.  I used Artmatic Eye Shadow makeup, a box car red color, applied with a sponge applicator on the panels.  Pan Pastels Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1, applied with a sponge applicator, was used on the car body rib tops and lightly over safety appliances on car body.  Black 800.5 applied with a fine blue microbrush applicator, on the rib sides.   Burnt Sienna Shade 740.3 was used to simulate the rust areas on the trucks.

Car weathered.

Car weathered.

Spokane, Portland & Seattle gondola 23038 was  ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for SP&S 23038, the final step to put the cars in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.  As on the SP&S gondola 23038 will be hauling scarp on the M&N.

NP gondola has been pulled and SP&S 23038
being spotted at Leone Foundry in Eureka Center, MN.

SP&S gondola 23038 spotted for unloading.

SP&S gondola 23038 spotted for unloading.

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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