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

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Three OO cement hoppers

For today the topic is three OO scale cement hoppers, ready for painting. It is an interesting trio. The mostly brass car is Schorr. It was constructed from remnants of another OO gauger's project. What he did was convert two Schorr brass 2 bay cement hoppers into three bay cars. As he used 2/5 of the middle of each car, this left me two 2/5 car ends and two 1/5 car ends. Looking at the parts I thought I could splice the bigger ends together and I could! That car came out fine and will blend in a train easily. As always click on the photo for a better view.

The three bay car in the front is Picard. A few years ago I posted a photo of a vintage example (here), nicely built up in a way but not real prototypical (with the reefer hatches, etc.).  Another car came to me in a group of things, started but not completed, never had ends applied or mounts for trucks. It occurred to me that I could use parts of the 1/5 Schorr ends and make a pretty prototypical model. Vintage wood shapes from the parts supply worked perfectly on this model. It has a vintage look still but will I think be pretty successful when painted and lettered, will be one of the best examples of this car ever built up!

That leaves one more car. I think the story on this Picard hopper is that it was completely built up as an open hopper (what their two bay body was meant to be) but then someone had an idea and put roof stock on it and was working on making it into a covered hopper -- but abandoned the project. I added the hoppers and all of the details, including Schorr hatches from the parts above and the end parts of Schorr roof walks. The main roof walk is HO from probably a boxcar. The car is surprisingly effective, I am very interested to see it with the paint and decals in a string of cement hoppers on the layout.

All three took more time than I thought they would but they were fun projects and I look forward to finishing them up later this summer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Unusual Famoco passenger truck

Before and after WWII Famoco had a full line of American OO products -- locomotives and freight and passenger cars. For an overview see this article.

Their passenger cars came with either four or six wheel trucks. All of their four wheel trucks I had ever seen or made a note of were of the type seen on the left until this past week. Sorting some parts out for use on projects, I noted the pair on the right.

Even with the paint to see through it is clear they are of a different type. The standard trucks as on the left always struck me as being more for an express reefer than for a 70' coach or combine. The trucks on the right would suit a passenger car better visually, with that top beam and a bit more "heft" overall.

The question would be are they factory trucks? I think so, looking at them and the materials involved. As the pair got to me it was missing two wheelsets, which I have replaced with Famoco wheelsets of the type seen in the trucks at left.

The one Famoco catalog I have does not answer the question of there being two types of four wheel trucks or not, as it does not list trucks (yet) for separate sale. The original passenger car kits were just wood and card. From 1939, the catalog states that "Hardware Kits for the above body kits are in production and will be announced when ready. They will include all metal parts necessary to assemble complete model ready to run." That hardware included trucks.

My catalog copy is several generations of Xerox, if you have a better one I wish the photos could reveal the trucks on the cars in the catalog. The kit instructions for the passenger cars however clearly show the trucks of the type on the left in my photo.

Theoretically the trucks on the right could be someone's personal special truck, cast to use a Famoco bolster. The materials seem to much like the die cast materials used by Famoco itself, though.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A simple tank car conversion

This car has been rolling on my layout for some years. An older conversion, I recently spruced it up a bit.

It is a TYCO 315-A tank car, "brown box" era, described in this article in the TYCO Brown Box Trains Resource. Years ago it was the car my daughter considered to be her car, and she would "fix" it and such. Originally I had put "Morlok method" conversion trucks on it. Eventually I used those trucks on another car and had converted it back to HO.

But really it is a reasonable American OO scale 8,000 gallon tank car in a close to prototypical scheme. I decided to put it back on some OO gauge trucks, but this time modified Famoco trucks with new wheelsets, and also decided to add a little lettering. It as built had no car number or reporting marks, this was always a problem in my mind. Now it has some! It is not a great model, will always be a HO train set level car, but I enjoy having it rolling again.