I was saddened to read that James Hickey had passed away. He was an acquaintance who I met through Jim Zwernemann and Bruce Blalock. I had admired his work for years and exchanged emails with him from time to time. It was my thought we should do something to recognize his passing. I asked Jim Zwernemann to write about his good friend.
I started to build this Rio Grande freight car in January 8, 2017 blog post. Over the past sixteen months, I have described my approach to scratchbuilding this interesting 50 foot car in styrene. My source of information was a set of drawings obtained from the Everette DeGolyer Library at SMU. Along the way, I was able to collect a number of photos to supplement the drawings.
The prototype had several interesting features like the reverse Dreadnaught ends and radial roofs. The wood siding is a false tongue and groove 5.125″ wide boards. It took a while to figure out how to create the type of siding. My rendition is slightly off but I was able to catch the look of the prototype. The cars wore a mixture of standard 3.25 t&g siding and the wider 5.125″.
The car had 50-foot deep fishbelly underframe. Cars built in the teens and 20’s were overbuilt with stout underframes that easily outlasted the body. These cars were built in 1927 by Mt. Vernon Car Manufacturing Company. There were two lots with the first series in 1926 (61200-61399) and the second a year later (61400-61699). Rails Unlimited has produced a kit for the first series. These cars had Murphy ends and a door and half configuration. These cars stayed around until the early 1960s.
The car was painted with Star Brands STR-01 D&RGW Freight Car Red. I like to glossy finish for decal application. The decals are Protocraft. The set provides numbers and data for the earlier series of cars. I had to do a little cut and insert to come up with a suitable number.
Once the decals are set, I shot Star Brand clear gloss to seal the decals and give a good surface for the start of weathering. I like to apply Vallejo black wash over the whole body. Do the sides and roof and ends one at a time. The next step is to use Mean Green cleaner that is applied with a cosmetic/makeup sponge sparingly to remove most of the black wash. The remaining black is left in the “nooks” like scribe line, rivets and steel strips. Use very little cleaner on the sponge. Next I applied a flat lacquer finish sealing the acrylic weathering.
The next step was to apply a dust or dirt color to the body. I used Ammo MIG Oil Brusher paint. The oil paint is dabbed on scrap plastic and applied with Mineral Spirits as the vehicle. Go light with this wash. It quickly changes the body color with just a little oil paint. The oil paint will not disturb the acrylic wash previously applied If you apply too much you can use the mineral spirits on a brush or towel to remove the “dirt color”. The oil takes a while to dry even with Japan Drier added. My last step is to use a thin wash of black to add a “pop” to the details.
The above photo shows what happens when too much oil paint was applied. It was not the look I wanted so cleaning was necessary.
Well, it is done. On to the next project. Hope you enjoyed the build.
I am wrapping up the Rio Grande 50′ autobox after over a year of dabbling at it. I will post more information on the final form at the end of the week.
Stop back soon.
: Lee Turner is a very busy guy working on client models. He has managed to find time to do something for himself.
As you may know, Lee is a real fan of the old Lehigh Valley. His dad working in Sayre, PA at their major shop. Lee built this USRA twin hopper and lettered for the Susquehanna & New York. The S&NY disappeared in 1942 with small part of it acquired by the Lehigh Valley.
The hopper is an updated Intermountain kit. Lee replaced the grab irons and sill steps with brass parts. The rusty and sooty interior is fantastic. Lee has captured the look of an old car that has seen a lot of use.
Thank you Lee for the contribution of this material.
Lee Turner just sent several photos and description below.
Rails Unlimited has released a several new urethane kits that are available as a flat or with pre-assembled bodies. They sent several photos of their Rock Island stock car kit. It is a classic design that was rebuilt from Fowler clone boxcar. The Rock Island ran these cars for a long time well into the diesel era.
The patterns and the pilot model were done by Jeff MacDonald. I understand the production kits were cast by Westerfield. The castings look very nice based upon a photo sent by Ross Dando.
Mike Cougill is a skilled modeler with a strong sense of seeing the scale and features of a model or scene. I found the picture shown below on how to create an effective scene that creates interest and draws the person into the work. You should check out Mike’s work at OST Publications.
Thanks for stopping by
Smoky Mountain Model Works (SMMW) has finally released their urethane kit for an AAR 70-ton flat car. The wait was worth it. Jim King crafted a very highly detailed model of a common prototype. The kit is composed of urethane castings for the body deck and details. The master was created using 3D CAD and printed by a high resolution printer. The resulting model was molded and cast in urethane. The castings are beautiful and amazing with deep undercuts and details on the exterior and even inside the sidesill.
The frame is very accurately rendered. SMMW didn’t miss anything when it comes to capturing the prototype.
SMMW provides a steel bar for weight. It will be less than nine ounces without trucks. I might suggest adding additional weight in centersill.
The deck is textured to look like wood and steel over the body bolsters. The stake pockets are accurately shaped and well formed.
The prototype used 70-ton trucks which are now available from Protocraft in several flavors. Protocraft has a range of decals for this kit. You won’t need to dig into your old stash of Champ or Walthers decals.
This one of the finest urethane kit I have seen. It is on a par with Jon Cagle’s kits. Hopefully, this will be the first of many kits from this company.
And now a little Zwernemann to finish out the posting.
Jim Zwernemann crafted these two attractive freight cars. The West India Fruit reefer was built from a Chooch Ultrascale FGEX kit. Jim had to reduce the side height to match the prototype. W.I.F. got their cars from Fruit Growers Express so it was a good starting point. By the way, Jim mastered the original kit for Chooch Enterprises.
The FW&D boxcar was built from an old Atlas (Roco) X43 boxcar. The Roco model is a 10′ 6″ interior height car with diagonal panel roof and an improved Dreadnaught ends. Jim added details and built new Superior doors.
Thanks for stopping by,
A friend asked if I had some magic approach to weathering freight car roofs. In particular, he was interested in failure of the paint and car cement on galvanized roofs.
The picture above was taken in 1936 shown a string of 36′ boxcars with major failure of roof paint.
I reached out to Lee Turner on how he does it. He sent me an email with his approach to creating this effect. The following text and pictures are from Lee.
I’ll start with a near complete failure. Mask and paint the entire roof, spray with the galvanized color (mixing instructions below) Take some of the leftover mix and add a couple drops of black, just enough to make a slightly darker shade. Take an irregular hunk of sponge foam (like brass is packed in) and dip it in the darker shade, wipe most of the paint off like you were dry brushing and then lightly tap the foam on the roof being careful to turn the sponge and vary the pressure. This gives the roof the mottled appearance of exposed galvanized metal. The next step is to brush a dark gray along the rib seams and around the roof ribs being very random, mother nature doesn’t like regimented weathering. Also don’t cover anything completely leave plenty of open spaces. Then go back with a very slightly darker shade of the sides and randomly paint splotches of remaining paint on the roof ribs and under the running board and even some along the eaves anywhere there is an edge, fold or seam. Use a fine brush. Usually for a complete paint failure it could take 15 or more years on the prototype in which time the rest of the car may have been repainted so you can spray just a little body color overspray around the perimeter of the roof.
For just some light peeling I would take the galvanized mixture and a fine tooth brush and freehand paint chips starting in the center of panels over the roof which should be painted body color. With a thin dark paint, airbrush along each rib to give the impression that the car cement is starting to bleed though.
The galvanized color is half model master gull gray and half Testors Model master acrylic “steel’. Galvanized steel should be a light gray with just a hint of metallic.