The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Blow-Smoke Final Issue, part 1: The New Steel Side Scale-Craft Passenger Cars

Nine issues of the Blow-Smoke newsletter were produced between 1938 and 1941. The last issue of the Scale-Craft Blow-Smoke newsletter was the Spring 1941 issue, of which this is the cover. I will break my coverage of this last issue into three parts, this being the first.

A recent post featured a Scale-Craft Pullman and in yet another prior post I outlined that there were only a few makes of metal sided passenger cars. The only ones in steel were these three cars from Scale-Craft, featured in the photo below.

These new cars were the big news in OO. They have a different look than their die cast coach and baggage as the cast cars have rivet details and are shorter in length. The copy read as follows.
Here they are, three new, steel side passenger cars that will bear handling as well as running. A Pullman, a Diner, and an Observation Lounge Car. All three with Terne plate sides, die-cast ends, stamped brass vestibule steps, and choice of monitor or air-conditioned roofs at no extra charge. Highly developed, cast underframes, sturdy wooden floors, and faithfully accurate detailing on letterboard and window sill beading. Everything in realism, strength, and runny balance has been built into these new passenger units. They are receiving an enthusiastic welcome along the line, and we can truthfully say we have spared no expense in bringing out this line of cars.

They are light enough to be easy on motive power, strong enough to bear the rigors of layout operation, and close enough to the prototypes without being flimsy and non-practical. They are real passenger units—build one, and prove it to yourself.
Actually, they were not new models, as they were listed in their 1940 catalog. But they were something to keep getting the news out about.

I was curious about what exactly Terne plate is, and learned from the Wikipedia that it is a type of tinplate process.
Terne is used to coat sheet steel to inhibit corrosion. It is the one of the cheapest alloys suitable for this, and the tin content is kept at a minimum while still adhering to a hot-dipped iron sheet, to minimize the cost.

Terne metal must be painted. If the paint is maintained, terne metal can last 90 years or more.
These cars were in production for only a short time before the war but returned after the war and are seen fairly commonly. The sides lack rivet detail as seen on paper side cars such as those by J-C but on the positive side if a car needs new paint and decals you can relatively easily completely rebuild one of these Scale-Craft metal cars. With paper side cars you are pretty much out of luck. Also the metal sided cars will hold up much better if you want to have a removable roof.

Continue in Blow-Smoke series

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