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

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A closer look at the Nason boxcab “Diesel”

This fall I won an auction for a Nason boxcab diesel switcher. A rather rare model (introduced in 1939), this example is very similar to the one seen in this earlier article (even painted the same colors!), but a different example (compare the roof details, for example).

Looking at the prototype first, I thought it would be easy to find, I had understood it to be based on a New Haven electric locomotive (but built as a Diesel). My first thought on searching online was that it would be based on their EP-1, but that was a dead end. Finally l found a model of the same design (in O gauge by Icken), which would indicate that it is a New Haven EY-3.

To my example, this model is very well constructed, all soldered together (undoubtedly using a torch for the body) and with a two rail drive set up with a rectifier. I have not tested it but I believe old stack style rectifier needs to be replaced at the least. Only two axles are powered and it is heavy! Everything is bronze and it weighs in at 1 pound 11 ounces. The powered end is heavier, with that large radiator on top being a solid metal piece.

It is also exceptionally well made, I imagine someone spending hours and hours building this model during the war.

For now I’m leaving it just as it is, but when I have a block of time I’ll dig in and see if I can get it running.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Models from three forgotten OO roads

Four different types of vintage models I find catch my collecting interests. One type is neatly built models with printed sides by any maker. The second type are Scale-Craft models with the original pre-war decals (more on those here). A third type are cars nicely hand lettered. The final type are nicely built models from freelanced OO lines. The March and September of 2007 issues of The OO Road contain a list of the known “private name” OO lines. When these three models came to me those articles were my first place to look, and in all three cases I drew a blank.

First up is this S-C stock car for the Choctaw & Western. I like the road name choice, looking at it closer it is evocative of the name of a Rock Island predecessor line, the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (more here). That line came under control of the Rock Island in 1902. Looking at this car closer, Choctaw & Western is done with alphabet lettering but the CW logo on the right was drawn by hand. I bought this one originally with the idea of stripping it and lettering it with my Tichy MP decals (more here) but I subsequently instead did a bit of light restoration. It was too nice a vintage model.

Then we have these two coaches. As to the Green Bay & Northern, a number of models for this line passed through eBay not long ago. This S-C coach was in a lot with other models of, honestly, more initial interest. Looking at it closer, I like the road name, it is similar to that of a Green Bay and Western predecessor line (1881-1896), the Green Bay, Stevens Point and Northern Railroad, and I could also see it was nicely built. There was one big problem when it got to me, the celluloid window stock was all badly warped. I removed that, but restored the interior as originally laid out by the builder, and repainted the roof. I like how he built the roof and actually worked up several more similar ones from parts on hand.

Also with a nice interior is this final model from the Northern Central. The real Northern Central Railway was a predecessor line of the PRR, having acquired controlling interest in 1861, but then surviving (on paper) for some 110 years. A nice bit of freelancing to give the line a physical presence in the late steam era. Note the trucks it came to me on, modified from HO, they really should be under a streamlined passenger car and they may find their way to one at some point.

The names of the builders of these models, nicely done for the time, are probably lost to history, but I do appreciate the craftsmanship and the prototypical sounding line names. Hopefully readers have other examples that peak your interest as well. For another model from a less known OO freelanced line see this updated article. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Looking closer at another Nason gondola

The Nason gondola is a late pre-war model not often seen. It came with printed sides and was available in two versions, for the B&O and the PRR. An introduction to this model is here.

Printed side models, nicely built, do catch my attention. It took me years to find my first example of this model, and PRR car number 307036, seen in the front of the photo, was a recent purchase.

While some Nason printed sides were produced with multiple car numbers, so far as I can tell this model was only sold as B&O 250538 and PRR 397036. What this builder did was use a dot of paint to change the 9 in the car number to a 0. The car in the rear in the photo has unaltered sides.

The builder did two other things to enhance the model. One was paint over most of the guide lines lightly, as the ribs are not quite wide enough to cover the printed lines. The other thing he did was construct from brass a cap piece for the sides, and solder it to the side ribs. Those builders back in the day will surprise you with little tricks like this when you look at the models closer. The cap is overly wide of course, but it does cover the visible pins and enhance the look of the sides.

I did some light restoration, adding fresh Nason end sills, S-C trucks and coupers, and touching up the paint with Model Master Oxide red flat paint, which is an excellent match for Nason paint.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Weathered ATSF F-units in OO

I finally have finished a pair of Schorr F units that have been almost finished since 2014!

To the photo itself, I took that on my phone rather than my normal camera with flash, as the blue paint I use comes off as much too "electric" with the flash. The 2014 article (here) has describes these specific models and has photos taken with the flash , but these models really look more like this current photo in normal light on the layout.

As I noted back in 2014, the ATSF had a lot of F3s, but they were passenger engines. But also they had a class of freight F7s that had chicken wire like on an F3, so, those are the inspiration for these models.

In painting the models originally the issue was that the base color is yellow, and then you mask off the yellow and paint the blue over that. The bottom stripe masking tape lifted a bit here and there, so blue paint got in and left it not a sharp stripe. What I thought would work was to weather the models, some extra grime in that area would blend with that overspray and make a nice effect.

I've only weathered intentionally only one (!!) OO model, and that was built in high school. Partially it was not my thing, but also in the bigger picture I felt that weathering might only highlight clearly the lack of some details on these vintage models. So I procrastinated finishing up these Diesels for years and years. Pondered methods, etc. I finally settled on A.I.M. weathering powders, darker grime down near the frame and dust mostly up on the sides and top. Looked at photos, adjusted things a couple times, with the understanding that when I sprayed on the dullcote the weathering effect is reduced a bit.

I'm pretty happy how they turned out, and now I'm wondering why I have not weathered more stuff intended for layout operation previously? I will cautiously be working on weathering more models, especially when there is an issue that weathering might help. The locomotive in this article (just seen in the photo, running with the F3s) is a prime candidate too, for the set of engines to match a bit better as they run together well on the layout.