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

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Time was not kind to these cars

Several recent posts have featured models by James Trout. These two are also Trout models and I believe when new were outstanding models.

Then here we are today. To the caboose first, it is beautifully scratch built and has a complete interior! It is missing the glass from one window but the really sad thing is the cupola is completely gone. I suppose the crew has a great view but it is a bit breezy! It is lettered, by hand for his personal road, the West Coast Southern.

The reefer is also a bit sad to see now too. While complete, obviously the material used for the sides (some sort of tinplate) of this completely scratch built model did not hold the paint well. The lettering is all by hand, and from prior posts you may recall that Trout was a Disney illustrator, it is beautifully done. Note in particular the Santa Fe heralds, the second photo being the one on the opposite side of that seen in the first photo. It is not a decal, and it is just amazing to me that painting this by hand is even possible. He had the skill to do it.

As to these two cars and my plans for them, the reefer I will probably always leave like it is. The hand lettering is still intense to see in person, if only the paint had stuck better to that metal! The caboose though, I have another Trout caboose built from wood in better shape, and it has a cupola of a design that I can likely duplicate. I will certainly give that a try at least to match the paint well and get it back to closer to the way he intended it to look.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Schorr wedge plow

The name of Fred Schorr should be a familiar one to regular readers. Up today for a look is a rarity, a wedge plow he built.

It is decorated for his road, the Yorkville and Western and is scratch built from wood, sort of the classic scratch building job of a model never offered in American OO.

The wings on the side are fixed in place, this type of car is always one that would be rarely run (unless you model winter!) and probably was spotted on some siding normally.

The bottom view shows a few more details of the model. The blade must have taken some time to form, in particular. And of course the car rides on Schorr trucks.

I am glad to have a group of cars from his layout, at some point I should shoot a short video showing some of these models in action.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Simple rebuild: Lionel PRR boxcars

One thing I try to do is always have different types of projects going on of different levels of difficulty.

In this case, readers should easily recognize the models, they are Lionel boxcars decorated for the PRR. They had been probably built from the kit version of these models and came to me in not very good shape at that, with heavy paint and decals flaking off.

So in the summer I stripped the models (soaking in 90% isopropyl alcohol for days and scrubbing, repeated several times) and repainted them in a batch of boxcars using Scalecoat paint.

I did want them to be nice enough for the layout and used HO Microscale decals and Kadee couplers. Simple projects -- they took a few months, but a nice break from more involved rebuildings and kitbashing.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

ATSF heavyweight baggage cars and RPO by James Trout

Following up on the combine (rider car) for the Fast Mail seen last week, we have these three ATSF heavyweight passenger cars (potentially for the same train) by James Trout, two baggage cars and an RPO.

To the baggage cars first, they are lettered as cars 1826 and 1599. The latter model has the distinctive fishbelly sides seen on some ATSF baggage cars. Both cars are built with the same sides which are copper and appear to be photoengraved. The rivets are very small but very distinct, the effect is wonderful compared to say pre-war J-C models sides. Comparing the sides to a set of Exacta Pullman sides, the details match very closely in style, so my conclusion is that he almost certainly used Exacta #501 baggage car sides on these two models (my overview article of the excellent sides offered briefly in the post-war period by Exacta may be found here).

Another neat feature are the trucks. What he laboriously did was remove material from standard Scale-Craft truck sideframes to upgrade and change their appearance. One set he mainly just opened up the filled in areas between the journal boxes, this I have seen done before. But the other pair was more of a project, he modified the sideframes extensively to match or at least closely approximate a design used on ATSF baggage cars. They end up looking a bit like Famoco passenger trucks from the side but heavier duty. As always, click on any photo for a better view.

The RPO model is lettered as ATSF 77. This model is scratchbuilt. The sides are a thin tinplate material and have rivets pressed in in the same manner as the combine. As with the baggage cars there are a lot of little details here, quite a bit of soldering and fabrication was required. There are no interior details, but the metal bars in the windows are a nice touch. Also note, on this and the other cars, the shape of the fillet at the top of the roof is nicely continued down to the end of the cars.

To the final photo, the trucks on the RPO are Kemtron, a post-war product described further in this article. They are built up from lost wax castings and look great on this nicely detailed model.

All three cars have Devore couplers and of course the sides of all these cars are hand lettered. Also you will note little dings here and there. I am not going heroic on restoration on these but one of the baggage cars did require some rebuilding of the frame, possibly damaged in shipping. Many of the cars I have from Trout have this type of light damage, and as I work them over I will feature them here.