More brass-bashing

posted Sep 10, 2011, 7:42 PM by Randall Hammill
So along with laying additional track and reorganizing the basement a bit, I'm continuing with a few projects. I'm still waiting for some parts to arrive for the cabooses, so here's what's left of a Nickel Plate Products brass box car. The box says it's a 50' X-32 box car, but it's really an X32a. There were numerous detail issues:
  • The doors were too short and had primitive door tracks (so they would operate).
  • All of the grabs were straight grabs, the side and one of the end ones should be bracket grab irons.
  • The running board was attached directly to the roof with no supports. I haven't been able to get the lateral running boards off yet.
  • The underframe consists of a center sill and rudimentary bolsters.
  • The brake gear was just the basic components.
My original intention was to rework this as a N&W B-3 class. I have a couple of pictures of one in New Britain yard in 1949. They are at an angle, though, and I didn't have any good pictures or information other than the fact that they were similar to the PRR X32a cars. After asking the experts at the Steam Era Freight Car group I have learned that it is not a good match. The model has a door opening of about 12 1/2', close to the early PRR X32a of 12' 1". The B-3 class cars had a 14' 6" door opening which also means that the side panels are incorrect.
So, the question is, how will I proceed? I know I'll be substituting a Bowser underframe, and I can use the Bowser doors if modeling a Pennsy car. I could get rid of the rivets on the sides and replace them with Archer rivets. Fortunately the model doesn't have panel lines so I wouldn't have to contend with that.
Another option is to make a casting of either the whole car body, or perhaps just the ends. If I do the ends then I could scratchbuild the body for the B-3 (and maybe some other cars) and then finish this one as a PRR X32a.
So we'll see. At this point is doesn't surprise me that it won't be as simple as I thought it would be. That's nothing new. At least I know I can get the correct coil-elliptic-coil trucks from Tahoe Model Works. In any event, it's been fun disassembling the car. And if you haven't guessed, this one may go back on the shelf for a bit while I work out the details.
In the meantime, more turnouts are on the way so the priority work (building the layout) can continue...