Saturday, August 12, 2023

Pennsylvania SS Box Car 45648

A Westerfield single USRA single sheathed box car (SS), kit 3356, was moved to the work desk from the to build cabinet.   The kit builds into a rebuilt Pennsylvania (PRR) class X26 single sheathed box car in series 44076- 46725.  My kit was a gifted one that had only the one piece body, underbody, Youngstown doors, longitudinal running board, two bolster cover plates (four are needed), decals and the instructions in the box.  I was pleased to get the kit, even with all other parts missing, since they could made or replaced with detail parts available.

Already in my fleet is Pennsylvania 104882, PRR class X26C box car I built in 2019 The PRR class X26C cars were the USRA PRR class X26 steel sheathed and reclassified X26C and placed in series 104260-107759.

PRR 104882 PRR Class X26C
(click or tap on this or any image to enlarge)

The prototype USRA single sheathed cars received by the Pennsylvania (PRR) were built by American Car & Foundry in 1919 and 1920.  Original cars had Carmer uncoupling levers that remained on cars rebuilt beginning in 1934.  In 1934 rebuilt cars received Hutchins roofs and various type doors.  One door type was the Youngstown Corrugated Steel Door.  Beginning in 1941 the cars were equipped with AB brakes and the second grab iron on the left end of the side.  The cars rode on Andrews trucks as specified for all USRA box cars.  The cars were painted iron oxide red on all surfaces including trucks and couplers.  An excellent set of photos I used for my build can be found in Railroad Prototype Cyclopedia, RP CYC 17 (RP CYC Publishing Co., 2008).  Other articles with photos and plans for USRA single sheathed cars have appeared in various model railroading magazines over the years.

PRR 46096,  Chet  McCoid  Photo, 1951,   Bob's Photo
 Author Collection

I began the build of PRR box car I numbered 45648 with the work on the underbody.  I fitted the underbody via sanding; however, not installed until car weighted.  The truck kingpins and the coupler pad mounting holes were drilled with a 2-56 drill and tapped for 2-56 screws.  Kadee #262 coupler boxes with Kadee #148 couplers were installed with Fastenal 2-56 x 3/16” screws.   Tahoe Andrews, TMW-012, trucks were installed with Fastenal 2-56 x 1/4” Fastenal screws.  Lead free stick on tire weights were added to obtain a car weight of 3.8 ounces.   The underbody was now installed in the car body with CA.   Before ending this modeling session I glued the latitudinal running board with ZAP Formula 560 Canopy glue to the roof saddles.  I place a ruler and weights on the running board and let the car sit overnight for the glue to setup.

Lead free tire weights

A M&N box car with running board with ruler and 
weights to enable Formula 560 Canopy glue to setup.

I continued the build by adding Tichy Train Group (Tichy) 18” drop type grab irons, #3015 on sides, ends and for ladders.   Tichy 18” straight grab irons, #3021, were installed on end sills.  And, I fabricated the end placard boards using Evergreen strip styrene for a master.  The master was used to make a mold for casting placard boards.

Grab irons and grab irons for ladder installed.

Mold has placard boards on bottom
between door and retainer valve.

After placard boards were cast from resin in M&N Shops and installed,  the brake step and brackets from Tichy AB set #3010 were installed.  A brake shaft step was bent to shape viewed in prototype photos from an A-Line sill step #29000, style A and installed.  Next a resin retainer valve cast in the M&N Shops was installed.  A retainer line, Tichy #1100.008” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW) and brackets, bent from Tichy #1101 .010” diameter PBW were installed.

Install of B end details underway.

Before adding the vertical brake shaft and brake wheel on the B end,  I wanted the roof work done.   I cut a latitudinal running board (end walks, laterals, corner boards), 25” wide and 3 fleet 10 inches long, from Evergreen .030” sheet styrene.  I scribed board lines on the styrene to create the four boards that run from the longitudinal running board to the side roof edge.  I added some additional details as fasteners before using my master to make a mold to resin cast needed end walks.  At this time in the build I also made a mold to cast the bolster covers plates needed for the underbody.

Mold on right has end walks on left side and
mold on left has bolster cover plates on top right.

After casting the needed latitudinal running boards I installed them on the roof.  A “L” shape mounting bracket, .030” wide, was cut from .005” sheet brass allowing the bracket to go under the front end of the end walk with the legs long enough to be bent over the fascia on the side and end.  A second “L” mounting bracket found on USRA car drawings could be made for the rear portion of the end walk that mounts to the longitudinal running board.   I chose not to make the rear bracket.  One could also use the Yarmouth Model Works (YMW) running board braces, YMW #260, to make this “L” mounting bracket.           

Mounting brackets for
latitudinal running boards.

After the end walk bracket is glued to the running board with CA with the long leg extending to the end of the car and the short leg to the side of the car, the running board is glued to the longitudinal running board with CA (if the rear bracket is not used).  The legs of the L are bent over the end and side and cut to fit and CA applied.  I used MEK Goop to create mounting bracket fasteners.

End walks installed on Hutchins roof.

Closeup of end walks and mounting bracket.

I returned to the B end to continue adding details needed there.  The running board extension brackets, YMW #260, were installed on the B end and the A end.  The brake shaft cut from Tichy #1102 .015” diameter PBW was installed.  The upper mounting bracket was cut and bent from .005” sheet brass and installed.  If one does not want to make the upper mounting bracket the Tichy upper brake shaft bracket from Tichy AB set #3013 could be used.

Additional B end details installed.

Better view of brake shaft bracket and note
the bend in the brake shaft step as sill.

With the car body detail install work except for uncoupling levers done, the underbody work was done.   First I installed the resin bolster plates I cast in the M&N Shops.   The  remaining underbody work was completed as follows:

- Brake cylinder, brake cylinder piston and bracket, Tichy set #3013

- AB (Control) valve and mounting bracket from Tichy set #3013

- Air reservoir on cut off sill step brackets

- Above brake components were predrilled for piping

- Slack adjuster, made with scrap styrene

- Brake cylinder lever, Evergreen #8108, 1” x 8” strip styrene

- Brake floating lever, Evergreen #8106, 1” x 6” strip styrene

- Brake levers hangers, wire grab irons

- Brake piping from air reservoir to control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter 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

Chain, Precision Scale # 48553,  34 links per inch

- Train line, .018” diameter flora wire

- Dirt collector

Underbody details before train line, dirt collector and
underframe sections from bolsters to coupler pockets installed.

Train line, dirt collector and underframe sections
between bolster and coupler pocket installed.

Back to the B end to add the Carmer uncoupling levers.  A mounting bracket or pad, cut from scrap styrene with a hole drilled using a #80 drill bit was glued to the car end sill.   A piece of Tichy #1101 .010” diameter PBW was installed in the hole in the bracket.  Yarmouth Model Works #400 Carmer uncoupling levers were installed with the hole in the Carmer lever placed over the already installed wire.

Carmer uncoupling levers installed.

PRR 45648 was ready for paint.   All added details to car body and underbody were hand painted Vallejo Grey Surface Primer #70.601.  Trucks were hand painted with Model Master Oxide Red Flat #4882.

Car body in Vallejo Grey Surface Primer.

Car body in Vallejo Grey Surface Primer.

When the primer was dry the car body and underbody were airbrushed with Vallejo Model Color Saddle Brown 70.940.   In my opinion, if you look at the photos and compare the Model Master Oxide truck color on the trucks to the Valley Saddle Brown car body color they appear to be an exact match.

Underbody airbrushed Vallejo Saddle Brown.

Car body airbrushed Vallejo Saddle Brown.

Car body airbrushed Vallejo Saddle Brown.

Again when dry, the car body was airbrushed with Vallejo Gloss Medium 70.470 for a gloss base for the kit decals.  After drying overnight, decals were applied.  Kit decals were used except for the repack date from a used PRR decal set.   I used photos of PRR box cars in the instructions and in Railway Prototype Cyclopedia RPC CYC 17  as a guide to apply decals for my built PRR box car I numbered 45648.

Due to the age of the decals, the kit decals were coated with Microscale Liquid Decal Film before application.  When dry, 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 Flat Clear, #4636, to protect decals and provide a flat finish for weathering when applied.

Decals applied over gloss base.

Decals applied over gloss base.

One more step before putting Pennsylvania 45648 in service was to weather the car with Artmatic eye shadow and Pan Pastels.  An Artmatic eye shadow color like a Dark Box Car Red was applied over entire car body.  Pan Pastel Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1  was used on the roof and lightly over safety appliances on car body.  Pan Pastel Neutral Grey Extra Dark 820.2 was applied with a soft sponge tip to side braces and end placard boards only.

PRR 45648 weathered.

PRR 45648 weathered.

PRR 45648 weathered.

Pennsylvania USRA single sheathed boxcar 45648 was ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for PRR 45648, the final step to put the a car in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.

PRR 45648 sitting in Chestnut Street Yard in
Minneapolis, MN waiting delivery.

PRR 45648 sitting in Chestnut Street Yard in
Minneapolis, MN waiting delivery.

PRR 45648 sitting in Chestnut Street Yard in
Minneapolis, MN waiting delivery.

PRR 45648 sitting in Chestnut Street Yard in
Minneapolis, MN waiting delivery.

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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