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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Found: Examples of the Nason Flat Car and Gondola

After years of looking I was excited to recently purchase examples of two rare Nason cars, their flat car and their Gondola.

The flat car is the earlier of the two, having been introduced in 1937. The catalog photo shows the C&NW version of this model, but this example is the other version offered, for the B&O. In the photo the model is seen on top of the comparable Scale-Craft flat car, which was not introduced until 1939. The Nason model in a number of ways is more finely detailed. Note the rivet details and the more finely scaled stake pockets, for example. The printed lettering is very clean and on the same type of cardboard stock used for their box car and reefer sides.

Turning the models over, you can see the frame area is much more realistic on the Nason model as well. This is the bronze frame at work. Note that as sold to me this model has Scale-Craft trucks; I will convert it over to a set of proper Nason trucks soon. The couplers are Nason couplers, but cast in aluminum rather than the more commonly seen bronze.

Compared to the instructions the main detail missing is the deck. There should have been a “black scored material” supplied with the kit; the builder opted to leave it off, simply painting the (flat) deck (the wooden frame of the car) black. They also opted not to put on the brake cylinder, which I may opt to add.

The other model to feature is the gondola. This model was mentioned in their 1940 catalog as a model under development, and it was released in late 1940. It was not the first gondola produced, but it was quite a bit better looking model than the earlier (and quite rare) 1938 Hoffman gondola. In the photo my Nason gondola is seen with a Graceline gondola. This model was also introduced in 1940, and it and the very comparable gondola cars by Eastern (postwar) are seen here.

The Nason gondola has printed sides for two roads, PRR and B&O. The most notable feature is that the sides are printed and had alignment marks for the side ribs, which you can see in the photo as the marks are a bit wider than the ribs. These are brass and were attached top and bottom with pins. This particular gondola actually presently has Hoffman trucks on it, which will be replaced soon with a good set of Nason trucks. And note the Graceline car has Schorr trucks, much more finely scaled.

Looking from the top you can see the sides/ends, how thick they look with the wooden body and also the ribs and their pins. This was actually a mistake on the part of the builder, the instructions describe how the ribs were to be notched in on the top and then the top edge of the car covered with a “moulding” cut from “the tuscan red 3-ply cardboard.” Actually also the builder left off the brake platform and wheel, so both cars are missing a couple details. This car presently has Scale-Craft couplers, the underframe setup is complete, and this all in all is a nice example of a very rare model.

Speaking of underframes, I have several more Nason underframes for the flat car. With a complete, original car now in hand I am pondering using them for kitbashing projects, hoping to match the proportions of this car, perhaps using lengthened Tyco sides. A project for another day -- for now I am just happy to have tracked down examples of both of these rare cars.

UPDATE: Digging around in the Nason parts supply I discovered that I had an uncompleted model for the Nason flat. The first photo shows the bottom (click on either for a larger view) and the bronze frame and the original wood parts are very visible. Also note the builder followed the instructions and there is a screw that you would use a nut on to hold the trucks.

From the top you can also see the remnants of the "black scored material" that was to be the deck. The sides are gone and I think the builder was probably not pleased with the model. As to me, at some point I will add some sides and a top to what remains.

One other note being both of the cars featured above are now on proper Nason trucks with good wheelsets! Ready to make an appearance on the layout.

UPDATE II: For an example of flat car kit and more on the production of both of these models see this article. 

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