As most of you know, Mike O’Connell sold his Chooch business to Walthers. The sale didn’t include the 1/4″ scale Ultra Scale II product line of resin kits and plastic detail parts. As of this date, the line remains dormant. The plastic freight car parts were a source of details for the modeler upgrade older models and the kit manufacturer. The resin kit producers like Southern Car & Foundry, Twin Star Cars and Yarmouth Scale Models are having to work around the situation by finding alternate sources of detail parts. Replacing the plastic tooling would be very expensive and the market size creates a marginal business case.
Well a new Proto48 modeler in Austria decided to tackle the problem. New technology is facilitating a way forward.
The person is Sarah Griessenböck. She has been developing her 3D modeling skills as an aid to model building. Her skill level has amazed me and others with some of the latest parts she has designed and printed. One of the early tasks was to create the classic Camel door closing device. She not only created the “J” shaped lever but the latch. While Chooch had the Camel closing device on his sprue, he did not do the latch. This part is really needed for boxcars. I will be able to go back and add that to my cars as soon as it becomes available.
The parts turned out to be replicas of the prototype hardware. This 3D technoloy can render parts that are nearly impossible to make in tradition injection molding. Dan Dawdy obtained the STL file from Sarah and printed the parts shown below. He also took the photo and posted it on Face Book.
Sarah has created new designs for the Creco (Chicago Railway Equipment Company) door closer device and latch assembly. Creco sold the design to Superior for use on their panel door in the early 1940s. The hardware became know as Superior door hardware.
The closing device is at the top left and the door lock and track detents and stop are below.
The latch pin keeps the door from moving until the handle is pulled up.
Here is the detent that keeps the door open. Otto Vondrak took the three prototype photos shown above.
Photo from Denver Library collection
The Superior door hardware is a first in our scale and be perfect for upgrading a number of models like the Lionel PS-1 or the expected Twin Star USRA rebuild kits.
There are many parts needed in 1/48 and 3D is the way to go. Smoky Mountain Scale Models has demonstrated what can be done with his S scale freight cars. The photo below shows his Milwaukee Road ribside boxcar in S scale. Jim King has offered to produce replacements for many of the old Chooch parts using 3D printing. Parts like the hand brake, ladders and grab irons would be great to have in our scale. Sadly Jim’s offer fell upon deaf ears.
We are very fortunate that Sarah is willing to share her talent with new parts.
Onward and upward!