Twin Star is the creation of Ross Dando a number of years ago producing HO products. Ross started the business up recently with the strong design to produce accurate 1/4″ scale products for his favorite railroad, the Rock Island. His first creation is a stunning 53’6″ flat car kit. It surpasses nearly every flat car produced in 1/48 scale. The kit is primarily made from high quality urethane cast from patterns produced by Ross. He entrusted the patterns to Jon Cagle who runs Southern Car & Foundry. Jon is the go to guy when it comes to difficult jobs requiring a great deal of care and precision. The basic patterns set this model above the field in terms of accuracy and fidelity to scale.
Ross is on the left side and Jon Cagle is in the background on the right. The picture was taken at March Meet.
Detail like producing two different stake pocket designs that were crafted in 3D CAD and printed on a high resolution SLA printer. The resulting parts were then cast in urethane by Jon Cagle for construction of the tooling master.
Here are two views of the flat car showing the different styles used on these cars.
A clue to the history of these Rock Island cars are the large splice plates on the sidesill. The railroad’s shop extended two groups of shorter and older cars to produce a contemporary size for the era. The cars would be able to handle the loads as the AAR 50-ton flat cars.
The detail is complete on the underside of the car. The San Juan AB set provides the proper brake gear.
Ross developed this model while discovering information as he went along. One example is the hand brake set used by the Rock Island. The initial look pointed towards a Universal hand brake with a drop shaft. Ross found a drawing on eBay that showed a Ureco hand brake set for this car. This was after Terry Van Winkle had designed, printed and cast a number of sets. Ross decided to bite the bullet and get the right brake set made. Terry did a remarkable job of taking the drawing and converting them into a set of exquisite brass casting. The CAD drawing shown below is the Ureco design.
Drop style hand brakes used a square staff on most designs. Ross decided that he needed to do this. He used a jewelers draw plate to form a square post out of round brass wire.
The hand brake is shown installed on the flat car.
Twin Star Cars will offer this hand brake set separately soon. The Ureco hand brake was a commonly used appliance by a number of railroads. I did find that the Northern Pacific 52′ flat cars had this style as well.
I have added the order announcement from Twin Star Cars. Quality like this does cost more than a generic model made in China. This kit will produce an exquisite and unique model. I hope that Ross will produce more kits of this quality.