Full Version: doctorwayne's Get off yer duff Challenge (Part III)
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My original intention was to group all of my freight car projects into Part II of my Challenge, but I think that these scratchbuilt cars might be dealt with better in a thread of their own.
My plan is to build four freight cars pretty-much from scratch although I'll use commercially-available stuff where I think it would be better than what I can do on my own, or where it's more convenient. Trucks and couplers fit into those categories, as do detail parts. My aim is to create four cars for layout use...perhaps a bit more detailed than most of what I have done, but this certainly won't be a "plant-the-tree-wait-'til-it-grows-then-cut-it-down-and-hand-cut-scale-lumber-cast-my-own-trucks-make-working-brake-gear-and-put-everything-together-with-handmade-bolts-and-rivets" kind of scratchbuilding.

Two of the cars are being built simply because I have the proper lettering for them. Both are available as either kits or ready-to-run, but I want to try a couple of techniques I've not used before, and I think that I can make them as good as, or hopefully better, than can be bought.
The other two cars are both from the same railroad, (but different from both of the first two) and their prototypes are therefore very much related. I do have lettering for them, too, and while at least one of them is available as a craftsman-type kit, I want to see what I can do. The real ones are a bit unusual, but were built in fairly large numbers and many lasted into the diesel age.

Construction for all will be mostly in styrene, but don't expect this thread to have daily updates. When there's been progress made, I'll show it here, and my plan is to finish building each car before starting the next.

First up is a 1932 ARA boxcar for the Seaboard Air Line. Atlas makes (or made) a nice r-t-r version of this car, which is quite different from most of the 1932 ARA-designed boxcars which were built (most were built after 1932 but before WWII). I believe Funaro & Camerlengo offers a craftsman-type kit for this car, too.

After researching the prototype, I began by laying out the floor, sides, and ends on .060" sheet styrene. The photo shows the cut-out tabs on the sidesill of one car side and the other side shows the .125"x.125" interior bracing...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20021.jpg]

...I cheated on the centre sill: The prototype used two Z-bars with their upper flanges welded together, and their lower flanges sticking out towards the car's sides. I opted for a pair of solid straight centre sills about .155" high by .060" wide. This was accomplished by using .060"x.125" strips on their narrow edges, with strips of .030"x'060" styrene cemented atop them. No flanges whatsoever - I regretted that, but not until I had already finished applying most of the underbody brake gear. 35 In light of that, I console myself with the fact that it won't be noticeable once the car is on the layout, although most of that painstakingly-applied brake gear won't be too visible either. Crazy Misngth Misngth

Here's an over-all view of the underbody:

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20011.jpg]

...and a closer look...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20018.jpg]

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20020.jpg]

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20019.jpg]

While it's certainly not the calibre of what my good friend Bernhard does, that's about as far as I want to go for a layout quality model.

Here's the sides and ends assembled...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20026.jpg]

...and with the roof (from Red Caboose) temporarily set in place...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20025.jpg]

...and the floor/underbody in place...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20027.jpg]

The roof will eventually be cemented in place, while the floor will be screwed to the heavy bracing already cemented to the lower portion of the sides.

As an aside to this thread, I realised too late that I had neglected to add the 5/8" pipe (prototype size) for the car's retainer valve, which sits up high on the car's end, near the brake wheel.
The underbody portion of the pipe runs from the AB control valve to, and then alongside, the centresill to the end of the car. I had pre-drilled the frame's crossmembers, before installing them, to accommodate the trainline (brakepipe), but had not done so for the retainer pipe.
While I do have a #76 drill bit (.020") long enough to drill through the bolster on which the truck is mounted, it certainly won't reach any of the other crossmembers. Anyway, I drilled through the bolster, then removed the bit and lined it up to make an attempt on the next crossmember, carefully bending it so that its business end was more-or-less parallel to the bottom side of the car's floor and then very carefully turned the pin vise until the bit was about halfway through the crossmember. The bit was then relocated to the other side of the same crossmember and the feat repeated, surprisingly, with success. I had the feeling though, that somewhere, either in the next crossmember or in the crossbearers (the wider members located beneath what will be the edges of the car's doors) that bit was going to break.
For some reason, it dawned on me that I had some .019" stainless steel wire, and I quickly dug out a length of it, and snipped off the end, using side cutting pliers.
That left the end looking like this...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20008.jpg]

...a mini spade bit, although somewhat distorted. Chucked into a pin vise, the excess length could be left hanging out the handle-end, then simply advanced as needed as each successive frame member was encountered:

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20009.jpg]

...shown here, it's already through the previously drilled bolster and has taken a bit of a dip through the first crossmember, which had been drilled through from both sides with the bent bit. It's also gone on to, and through, the next crossmember...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20004.jpg]

Here, the tip is already through the first crossbearer, with only one more to go...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20001.jpg]

The installed retainer pipe, .008" phosphor bronze wire, is just barely visible here, running alongside the centresill where it meets the underside of the car's floor:

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20015.jpg]

...I know....nobody's gonna see it after the car gets painted and is running around on the layout, but at least I know that it's there...well, and possibly there will be a few viewers of this thread that will be aware of it, too. Goldth

More to come....

Quote:...I know....nobody's gonna see it after the car gets painted and is running around on the layout, but at least I know that it's there...well, and possibly there will be a few viewers of this thread that will be aware of it, too. Goldth

I know the feeling Doc. I added a set of #6 brakes to my 0-6-0 tender, they are only slightly visible. I just got to get the pics posted.
I always like little details on a model and yours is looking good . As far back as my 1/25 AMT car kits ( 50 + years ago !! ) I was adding little details that only I knew about , it was part of the fun !
Doc, great work!
Complete brake piping and gear - very nice done!
Thanks for the kind comments, guys. Big Grin

I think that sites like this are one of the few places where we can show the effort which we put into our work. After it's on the layout (or on the shelf or in a display cabinet), few observers would even notice, or care, that it's likely a one-of-a-kind item. That's not to say, of course, that no one else could do the same, but each version would be particular to its creator.

This particular car is a pretty slow job - I have a vision of it and a plan to achieve that vision, but I keep noticing details in the prototype photos which I missed on previous viewings. Last night, I had to modify the sidesills and, with that done, today they can then be modified again to better-match the pictures. Some things, though, are either not clearly shown or are beyond my skills. I'll have to wait until it's finished to see if my methods are viable or only a learning experience on what-not-to-do. Crazy Misngth

Quote:I think that sites like this are one of the few places where we can show the effort which we put into our work. After it's on the layout (or on the shelf or in a display cabinet), few observers would even notice, or care, that it's likely a one-of-a-kind item. That's not to say, of course, that no one else could do the same, but each version would be particular to its creator.
Cheers That's why we are here...
Applause Applause Applause
Great work Wayne! Thumbsup Applause

Cheers Lutz
Wayne, you constantly amaze us. Wonderful work. Cheers
Well, I've finally got some progress to be shown.  I had been holding it back, since the methods I'm about to show were somewhat experimental, and I was uncertain about how successful they might be.
As it turns out, my decision to wait was well-founded, as the results are less promising than I had hoped.  However, the following words and pictures may prove useful to others, so here's a look at how I screwed-up.  Crazy  Misngth  35

This first part turned out okay, as it shows the method I used to add weight to this car.  The weights, one in each end of the car, were cast in lead specifically to fit this car, so they're the full interior width of the car so that they can sit atop the interior .125"x.125" styrene strips which reinforce the car's sides.  To hold them in place, I cemented short pieces of the same strip material to the car's sides, trapping the weights in place both vertically and horizontally...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20051.jpg]

The finished car weighs almost exactly six ounces.  Thumbsup   I'm giving it only one thumb-up, though, as I later realised that the weights block interior access to the car's ends, making it difficult to secure some of the exterior add-on details, especially on the car's "B"-end.  35   I did eventually manage it okay, but I've made a mental note to myself about this issue...hope I can find it next time.  Crazy

While I wasn't yet ready to add those external details, I did have to figure out how they were to be done before I could continue.  The biggest issue seemed to be with the car's grabirons, which on the prototype are the bracket-style.  I cursed the idiot who dreamt-up this style, as I've not found any HO scale ones that accurately replicate the real ones:  some are too bulky, others are well-done, but in engineering plastic, which cannot be secured to the car's sides.  Intermountain makes one on which the bracket portion is solid (rather than open like the real ones), and since it's rather small and not too apparent, I opted for that version.
Here's a photo of some real ones, courtesy of Ted Culotta's excellent book Focus on Freight Cars - Volume 4:  Steel Box Cars.  The photo, scanned from my copy of the book, has been cropped, but may have been originally from the collection of Dan Smith, via the late Richard Hendrickson...

[Image: Bracket-type%20grabirons001.jpg]

As you can see, the real ones have two bolts or rivets holding each bracket to the car, and another two bolts or rivets holding the grab iron to the brackets - six potential points of failure which could have resulted in injury or death to a switchman!  

Unfortunately I didn't have any such Intermountain grabs on-hand (I did have the other types mentioned above, just so you know that I've explored my options).  I introduced a fourth option, and simply built my own.
Here's one, with its faux brackets ....

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20054.jpg]

Now to the experimental part of the construction.  Since this is meant to represent a metal boxcar, what better material to use for the sheathing than...metal?!!
In this case, it's aluminum, in the form of duct tape....not the cloth-like stuff with which most of us are familiar, but actual aluminum metal in tape form.
Mine came on a roll about 5" in diameter, with the tape about 3" wide, and weighs about a pound and a half.  This is an industrial grade tape, and is, I'm told, rather expensive.  The roll, however, will probably do several hundred boxcars.

Here's the first panel in place.  The adhesive is very strong, but the bond is increased by rapidly burnishing the surface, the heat caused by this action apparently causes a reaction within the adhesive:

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20039.jpg]

Each successive panel overlaps the previous one...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20040.jpg]

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20041.jpg]

Here's a panel not yet burnished in place...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20042.jpg]

And a couple of views of the completely-clad car:

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20045.jpg]

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20044.jpg]

After all of the panels were in place, I used the edge of a #11 blade to apply ca along each overlapping joint.  My thought was that the tape-on-tape bond might be more susceptible to drying out over time, and that perhaps the ca would prevent that.  This step later came back to haunt me.

To be continued...
The next step was to apply rivet detail. This was done using three-dimensional decals from Micro Mark. The usual process is to use a pencil to draw alignment marks on the surface to be decaled, but the shiny metal doesn't accept the pencil markings with even semi-permanence, although the tip of the pencil will actually create a depression in the foil....that's not a good thing. On the car's sides, I used the panel overlaps to determine the vertical rivet placement - the reflective quality of the foil makes viewing difficult, but the decal strips generally ended up where they should have....

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20056.jpg]

On the ends, the only overlap is a horizontal one, but the prototype has three internal channel members to reinforce each end, standing vertically and each attached by double rows of rivets. To situate the vertical rivets, I used dividers to check and compare the spacing of the rows from the car's sides...

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20059.jpg]

I didn't realise until I had all of the end details cemented in place, and was about to begin painting, that I had used the wrong rivet strips for the verticals. Wallbang Misngth Here's another Seaboard car done in the same manner, but with the correct rivet spacing:

[Image: Modifiedrollingstock046.jpg]

I thought about attempting to redo them, but stripping off the incorrect rivets risked damaging the foil, which would have necessitated its removal and that would have required removal of the end details - not something which could have been done without damaging or destroying the details.
I opted instead to go with the wrong rivets, as who else was going to notice....? :hey: 357

The usual procedure when using the rivet decals is to apply them on a glossy surface (the aluminum tape couldn't be any glossier), then add decal setting solution to make the decals conform to any surface irregularities. I made the first application using Microsol, then followed it up with multiple applications of Solvaset. Unfortunately, not only did the decals not conform to the surface, they also failed to adhere to the surface of the foil with any certainty. (I had previously wiped down all foil surfaces with alcohol to get rid of any fingerprints or surface oils, and allowed it to fully evapourate before decaling, to help ensure decal adhesion.) After several days of applying setting solution with no improvements, frustration got the better of me, and I decided to try something a little stronger. What sprang to mind was MEK, the same solvent used to cement the styrene parts of the car together. I dipped a small brush into the container of MEK, then quickly and lightly, ran it down a rivet strip. Almost immediately, the liquid was drawn under the decal film, and then the film settled over the lapped joints in the foil....success!! I did find, though, that too much MEK or too slow of a pass had the annoying effect of lifting the resin rivets from the decal film, and a couple of seams needed a re-application of rivet decals.

With everything finally securely in place, it was time to paint.
Soon after deciding to use the foil to represent the car's sheathing, I made some paint tests on scraps of foil, with Floquil Grey primer on one, regular Floquil paint on another, and regular Pollyscale paint on a third. The following day, the Floquil primer and paint both scraped off easily, while the Pollyscale seemed to be firmly bonded in place.

Incidentally, if you plan to use this type of foil in a similar manner, I'd suggest cutting it from the back: The foil on the roll has a paper backing which is to be peeled off just prior to installation. I used a sharp #11 blade in my X-Acto (and honed it frequently to keep it sharp so that it wouldn't tear the foil) to cut the foil into strips, but if the foil is cut from the face side, the blade will raise the edges of the tape on both sides of the blade as it passes. Cut from the paper-side, the cut is still clean, but without the raised edges.

Anyway, I mixed a suitable colour using Pollyscale paints, and airbrushed the entire car, as the underbody and truck sideframes on these cars were all painted the same shade of boxcar red as the car's body:

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20062.jpg]

[Image: SCRATCHBUILT%20SEABOARD%201932%20ARA%20B...%20063.jpg]

Some areas along the rivet strips seem to have lifted, although it's not overly noticeable in the photos. Since the paint is water-based, I can only guess that the application of MEK, used to set the decals, also reacted with the ca applied to the joints at the overlap of the panels, Before painting, this was imperceptible, but the coat of paint clearly showed where the ca had been too heavily applied, and it also showed where the painted ca had released from the surface of the foil. I use a knife to cut along the worst of the blemishes, then lifted them off, and applied paint, using a brush, to re-cover the bare areas. At least the decals remained attached and intact.

I'm not too pleased with the results, but am going to press ahead and hopefully bring the build to its conclusion. I'll wait a week-or-so to allow the paint to fully harden, then overcoat it with Glosscote to facilitate the application of the decal lettering. That lettering, from Ted Culotta's Speedwitch Media, was the impetus for building this car in the first place, so it's going to be used despite the current state of the car.

In the meantime, I'll begin work on the NC&StL Fowler boxcar, again using experimental (for me, anyway) methods to replicate (hopefully) the prototype. That work will be shown in this thread, too, likely beginning when the Seaboard car is done.

I hope that my mistakes shown here will at least help others to avoid such missteps.

in the beginning it was simple plastic only. And what for an end!
Great - and congratulation! Wonderful craftsmanship!

That looks great!! No one wil notice the errors unless you point them out. Smile

That is :o Thumbsup Applause Worship 8-)
And who cares for rivet counters? Often they only can do nothing else than counting rivets Wink
Eins, zwei, drei, ganz viele ... (one, two, three, very much more ...)
Thanks for the words of encouragement, guys. I'm hoping that the lettering, which will be one of very few on the layout in a "billboard"style, will help to direct attention away from the flaws. If not, I can't hide it with much weathering, as the car would be only two or three years old in my operating era.

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