Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Vintage Brass

Unlike vintage wine, vintage brass does not always age well. Models we thought that were "perfect" back in the 1970's and 1980's have many errors and/or lack detail of todays brass and plastic models. That being said, there are some useful models out there, especially passenger cars, that are just not available in plastic. Modern brass passenger cars are works of art, but can cost upwards of $800 per car.

First up is the Nickel Plate RPO. This is a model of a NYO&W car, but is useful for New England modelers as it can be used by NH, B&M and perhaps MEC and BAR modelers. The box just says RPO so you have to take a closer look. 

Other then being an RPO (and not even a full RPO) not much info about the car.

As you can see it is a 30' Apt RPO/baggage car.

The underframe is a very sparse, a battery box, a generator and air tanks.  No brake gear or center sill detail whatso ever. It does include trucks that seem to roll ok.  

Next up is a brass kit. For a while NJ International produced brass passenger car kits for a variety of Pullman Standard lightweight cars. I would stay away from the fluted side kits as the fluting is awful. I picked up a 13 double bedroom car for use on the Bar Harbor Express. I got lucky finding a nicely built one. Normally the come as a formed body shell made up of the sides and roof, stamped ends a floor with center sill, bolsters and detail parts of grab irons and roof vents. No underframe detail included. The model I purchased came with trucks, but the cars normally do not.

Not bad looking cars, with some work they will fill a roll on my railroad. The nice part is the two cars totaled less then $90. These cars would be major kitbashes and would still coat at least the same as the brass models. I will go into detail on detailing and painting these models in future blog postings.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Clover Glade

I finished up Clover Glade and I an not very happy with it.  I will never attempt using a Bachmann Pullman as a core kit.  I had issues with the roof and the sides lining up the way I wanted. I ended up using the ordinal Bachmann roof which is not the correct roof. In the future I will stay with Branchline as my cores. I will use it for now and add it to the redo list down the line. 

It will be fine in my Bar Harbor Express, which I am down to needing only to finish up a coupe of cars.  We will talk about those next time.  I am off to more projects, happy modeling.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Visting Bob Murph's Fantatstic New Haven Raiload Layout.

Back in September in conjunction with the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association annual reunion, I had the opportunity to visit Bob Murphy's beautifully done model railroad. The layout is operated based on the Norwich and Worchester line of the NHRR, but is scenery in a more generic New England, just using real location names. This is not a criticism as the layout looks fatalistic, operates flawlessly and is very comfortable.  The last is an odd statement, but the aisles are wide, there is carpet on the floor. the sound equipped locomotive are not too loud, making it a nice place to just sit at watch the trains go buy and visit with fellow molders. I am just going to show a bunch of phots to show of his great work.


Bob was also a most gracious host, I hope to have more opportunities to visit his layout. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

New Haven C-425s and How we used to have to build models.

Getting a New Haven U25b was relatively simple, just give your favorite hobby shop a fair amount of money and bring home a lovely Rapido model. There is also the Bowser, formerly Stewart model of the GE U25b. I have a few of those, all under various states of being built.  I am rethinking my plans for those models. I am not sure if I still have it, but I even kitbashed a U25b out of a an Ahearn U28b. There was an article in an early 1980's issue of the NHRHTA Shoreliner by Rolly Olson. You took a piece of the long hood from behind the cab and moved it to the short hood, cut open the rear grill area and added the steps on the rear of the walkways. I did most of the body work but never finished it. I should see if I still have it. Rolly also did an article on making a C425 out of a Rivarossi C424. I never built that one, but I did use some of his techniques in modifying early runs of the Atlas. You can see below my mid 1980's build of a New Haven C-425.

From this angle you can see how I added the vent shield per Rolly's article. It is just thin sheet brass bent into shape. I cut it with a pair of shears. The NH's units had the batteries mounted under the side sills so removed the battery boxes from around the cab walkways and just built small steps in front the the doors. This also meant that the handrails needed to be modified to fit the new all level walkways. 

Here is the front of the unit, I modified the cab by removing the cast on headlight and adding one that runs horizontally and air horns mounted above it. This came from Rolly's article. 

Here is the other side, same as the first side.

As time went on I became less happy with the models. The cab steps were not great, I really wanted belter handrails and they needed DCC. I decided to go an easier way, I found two NH painted shells in the correct phase on eBay.  Atlas drives have always been solid performers so I was happy to keep the original drives.  I will note the changes in the captions. 

Here is the newer Atlas model, it is the correct body phase, has great handrails, working drop steps, separate grads and the correct headlight on the cab. Leaps and bounds ahead of the first release from them, which was state of the art at the time. 

Here is the biggest flaw with the body from Atlas for a NH locomotive, it has dynamic brakes. They do not make an non dynamic version. I had visions of removing the hatches on the roof and filling in the vents on the side that this project has been sitting for a couple of years. I visited Bob Murphy's fantastic NH layout back in September and he ran a these with out removing the DBs and it looked fine. 

This photo shows how I modified the fuel tanks on the model, I do not know how the new models work, but on my old Kato made units, the bulges would pop off the basic square tank. It left two small holes that I filled in with some bits of styrene and filler nearly 4 decades ago. (I feel real old all of a sudden.) I cut off the fuel filler to the center of the tank. I just added a small pipe that is only on the fireman's side of the fuel tank. It adds a bit of detail to the plain tank.

If you want to mount the new stye shell on an old drive, you need to add a mounting pad on the body for the couplers.  I cut a small section of square styrene to fit the spot and drilled and tapped the hole for screws. I painted them flat black.

Here is the other end.

This is the material I used for the coupler pads.

These are the air horns I used on the models, I used the existing bracket to mount them. I believe the ones on the Atlas shell was not correct for the NH. A quick note about antennas, the NH did add them some time around 1967 or 1968, but they were delivered with out them, so up to you if you want to add them.

There is a quick how to on how I created my C425 models. I did add DCC and sound and the look great running with my new Rapido U25b. They do still need a bit of light weathering, or even heavy weathering as the New Haven kept these things moving being the newest and most reliable power they owned. 

Friday, November 10, 2023

U25-b, C-425 and Detail vs Accuracy

I was able to pick up one of the new Rapido U25-b locomotives.  The good news is it seems to be dead on to the NH's first 10 unis wit the large single window pane and the handrails mounted to the top of the walkways. When I received it a month or more ago, all the details were attached and it sounded great, but would not move. I sent it back to Rapido and they made repairs. Turns out the front truck pin had been sheared off and they replaced the frame. I have it back and it runs great. 

Typical packaging used by manufactures today

This is an Atlas C-425. 

The Atlas C-425 is a very nice model, not to the detail level of the Rapido model, but not so much that it does not look good with it. Now while both models are nicely detailed, the Atlas model is not 100% accurate. I choose to not remove the dynamic brakes from this model. I had planned to fill the side vents high up on the car body and remove the hatches off the rood, then fill and sand a patch pat the area and weather it all to blend it together. Now I know I will not be the only one who will notice, but I have a model ready to use on the lay out or at the club, instead of a box of parts. Changes I did make was to put the correct air hors on above the headlight and remove the fuel tank bulges from the fuel tanks. In full discloser, I built the fuel tanks i the 1980's when Atlas first released the C-425.  I was not happy with my modeling and paint job on the early models and I bought the decorated shells off of eBay.  I think the models look great together and am glad wit the route I took to get a model complete. 

Here is a quick video of the two models.