Monday, February 24, 2014

Potty Time | 1 Comments - Click Here :

    I managed to build up a few water closets this past weekend. Another fine product offering once available from Banta Modelworks. Now that the railroad employees have a place to relieve themselves, scratchbuilding of the bunkhouse has begun so they have somewhere to sleep too.
~ Cowboy Up!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

1927 Reefers – Not what you Expected? | 16 Comments - Click Here :

    My other brother Derrell has provided yet another unexpected treatise. This time on modern refrigerator cars. If you haven't had your fix of C&S reefers yet, this should help you out. Thanks again d!

Best –  Poole Collection
    Derrell Poole - In the above photo we see a well-worn paint scheme suggesting it is of some age. This photo was taken in 1936. The Circular Trademark came about 1925. So this example could be ten years old. For the most part we have no reason not to believe it is more or less the original scheme with a few minor changes to the data markings. All of the hardware on the side – well, anywhere, actually – appears to be a darker color than the base color of the side. But it isn’t a color as dark as the black of the Trademark. We can safely assume this color is the standard freight car color or C&S red.

Poole Collection
    This view of the Alma “yards” with an obviously yellow reefer spotted east of the depot further reinforced my conviction of the red hardware on the late ‘20s Circular Trademark Refrigerators. The side ladder especially defies that the hardware was painted yellow.

Poole Collection
    Car 1117 is fairly typical of a narrow gauge reefer in the late 1930's. By this point the narrow gauge was well on its way to abandonment and any pretense of ornate was cast aside. Unfortunately most of the photos of SUF reefers were taken during this final period and our vision of the cars is dominated by this homogenized scheme. The truth is they only looked like this for perhaps 6 or 7 years. Previous schemes were more complex and interesting. A careful study of this car discloses the locations of both the “C&S” Herald and the 10” REFRIGERATOR as paint “shadows” of the old Block scheme. In the discussion about the 1910 reefers I suggested this large refrigerator may have been omitted after 1912 but this car leans to the notion that the word was ALWAYS on the cars during Block Herald use.

Wiess - Poole Collection
    The two cars at Leadville were likely refurbished in Denver before being permanently locked into the Leadville Climax run when the South Park was abandoned. Both cars are still fairly clean and whole in this 1940 view. It is likely the underframe and trucks were now painted the Standard C&S freight car red and that black was limited to the Lettering. Leadville scheme seems to only applies to 1109 and 1118 as I have not noticed it on cars out of Denver.

Kindig - Poole Collection
    Compare 1105 to 1103 in Photo 1. Even tho the view of 1103 is two years older than this photo (and 3 years older than that of 1117) this car still has enough lettering on the button  that it can be read. The scheme on 1105 and 1117 seem to represent a later version of the Circular Trademark likely applied in the early ‘30s. Take note of the location of the repacking data located between the rungs of the end ladder. What other odd details are visible on this car?

Gibson - Poole Collection
    Dated 29 March 1937 this photo was taken at Como. If indeed this was 1113 (and the age of the paint scheme which does not match 1103 in 1936 leads us to accept that it is 1113 – besides Art marked the back of the photos as 1113) it would become RGS property in Oct. 1938. Again the clues lead us to believe this scheme was an early 1930’s version of the Circular Trademark. Unlike 1105 it still has a rain guard over the doors and the red patch of paint to the left of the side ladder at the bottom edge is the wipeout of the tag; UNITED STATES SAFETY APPLIANCES now no longer required by the ICC.

Author Photo
    Which brings us to this photo. Would not this scheme seem to correspond with the car in photo 1? Of course this would be an earlier view of the scheme as applied in the late 1920’s. The weigh date is, in fact, Oct. 1926. The Circular Trademark began to appear perhaps as early as 1925. By the late ‘20s all refrigerators were painted in this Herald.

Author Photo
Not exactly what we were expecting…. 

Author Photo
    Except for the ICC tag next to the side ladder the model scheme is accurate (I did not have a a "Safety Appliances" tag in black). What really astonished me is that the bright Reefer Yellow of the 1927 car appears darker than the deeper custom yellow of the 1910 cars in this B&W view… oh well!

Author Photo
    This launched a bit of an investigation. With a dark background and a “newly” painted boxcar there isn’t any mistaking that the reefer is a much lighter color. However the weathered coal in the background isn’t that much darker than the yellow car.

Author Photo
    So I tried a light background and found that the contrast was even greater between the yellow and either red.

Author Photo
    Overall the light background, which might equate to a lighted sky, does drive the value of all the colors on the cars down.

Poole Collection
    And so it would seem in this view of Alma around 1930. By this point the boxcar was a bit faded and the background was not quite so bright. While I am perhaps one of the earliest to suggest the railroad had Red Reefers I have never embraced the notion fully and despite photos that seem to defy any expectations of yellow in B&W photos I am ever more skeptical of such paint schemes… sorry Duncan.

    In summary the Steel UnderFrame Refrigerators built by the C&S were painted in at least 5 schemes between 1909 and 1942. Yet our typical image of a C&S narrow gauge reefer is based on the last two schemes which really represent two of the least colorful and atypical versions. Granted the first scheme was the shortest lived (Jan. 1909 to June 1912) but for the next roughly 20 years they really didn’t appear so much like what we expect these cars to look like. It seems clear hardware was always painted a different color than the car sides right up until the early ‘30s. When I finished painting the model of 1113 I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it. The scheme was based on the the best information I have – that being photos (some of which I share here). So I am confident the scheme is accurate as can be expected. Still. It’s a little hard to put my brain around.

    The car itself is a Triangle Scale Models kit built by an unknown modeler. It came to me from Dan Kempf and perhaps at one time it belonged to my friend Bob Axsom who passed away in 2012. It was lettered as RGS 2102 – thus 1113 as the logical backdate to a C&S number. The build job was not bad but I felt the car could be improved with a few upgraded parts. These included ladders and brake hardware (staffs brackets cylinder piping etc.) as well as an old but correct modern roof walk not suitable for my 1910 cars. I didn’t try to add the sub-flooring to the frame. The car isn’t perect; I feel that the dimensions of the body are a little off and a crooked grab iron or two detracts a little from the overall appearance. And, as I pointed out, one part of the lettering was not available to me. Still it is an interesting car and I will be sending it along with several other modern cars for use on Darel’s Dickey layout. Watch for them there (D will be expected to take photos of the doin’s at Dickey from time to time).

    I truly hope the information I share helps many of you in your modeling fun. Please keep in mind that it is my pleasure to share with you but also that all of the material is provided with the understanding that anything more than personal use is beyond my permission. Please don’t copy any of it. Thanks!

Keep the Faith – God Models Sn3!
Derrell Poole
Hamilton, MT

Monday, February 10, 2014

C&S Refrigerator Cars - Part Four | 2 Comments - Click Here :

    Following is the conclusion of Derrell Poole's series on building early C&S refrigerator cars. Once again, I want to do a huge shout-out to Derrell for making this information available for all of us to enjoy. I think it was a great success and I hope to post more of Derrell's work in the future.  If he feels up to it!
    And again, I welcome anyone one else who would like to share their Sn3 modeling with the rest of the world.

Perhaps the largest collection of Circa 1910 C&Sng SUF reefers in the world? Does anyone have any more in any scale? Be sure and let us know – it’s always fun to share.

    Derrell Poole - The lettering set that provides all of the marking needed to do these cars were available from C-D-S. Well, C-D-S has long since ceased operation so you may have to hunt for Set S-241. Unfortunately there seems to be 3 versions of this set and only one provides all the necessary elements for these 1910 cars So be sure to examine the sets before you buy them (or ask if by mail order). The photo below shows the three varieties. One in particular is to be avoided because the end lettering was printed in black. I am not aware that any of the C&S schemes used black lettering on the ends. Some S-241 sets lack the word “REFRIGERATOR” located on the right side of the door. This set is probably useful for post 1911 sets after the cars were renumbered. At some unknown point it appears “REFRIGERATOR” was omitted from the scheme.

All three of these lettering sets are number S-241. But they are not the same. The best set for our circa 1910 cars is on the left. The set on the right is not fully useful because the end of car letters should be white but they are black. The middle set would probably be useful for cars circa 1912 to 1925 because it lacks “Refrigerator”.

    There are other sets of C&S reefer decals including the Block style used from June 1906 until 1925. But any of the sets I am aware also lack the big 10” word “REFRIGERATOR”. They also may not have the builder’s markings. And usually the weigh dates are too modern.

I lettered my car with C-D-S dry transfers. Transfers are tedious since they require care to locate them exactly where they belong before applying but there is no film edge to deal with. If you find they are reluctant to come off the carrier try holding it near a light bulb to warm it up.

    I am not aware of any photos that can be used help place the lettering for this period. I put the square period of the large “S” in “C&S” over the door guard on the left side of the door. This is because I wanted to paint these black and there would be an odd disparity on that side of the door if the period and door guard were not one and the same. This is my call. This was my key on where to place the large herald. You could forgo painting the door guards black and place the C&S differently if you wish – none of us could argue your choice as long as it was reasonable. 

    On the right side of the door center “Refrigerator” between the doors and grab irons. I put the bottom line of the letters in line with the 3rd grab iron up.

    The car report markings and builders tag were placed near the bottom edge of the side on either side of the door respectively. These locations were typical of boxcars and it is reasonable to use the same locations on the reefers.

To help consistent location of lettering car to car I cut edge templates from card stock and align the figures while still on the carrier. “Refrigerator” is centered between the doors and ladder and along the line of the third rung (grab iron). Study the photos for the other locations.

    The Cars were numbered 500 to 519 when they were built in January and February 1909. By way of note the ex–Tiffany cars were numbered 574 thru 599 and the St. Charles cars were numbers 550 – 555. In 1912 the C&S renumbered the reefers 1100 thru 1130. The SUF cars took the low numbers to 1119 and the remaining Tiffanys and the 6 St. Charles cars filled out the roster with the St. Charles cars holding the highest numbers (1125 to 1130). Place the 10” numbers on the sides centered between the door and grab irons and vertically more or less centered between “Refrigerator” and car report markings.

    It seems that by the time SUF cars were being built the railroad was in the habit of lettering the draft gear markings on both ends of the cars. The reefer hardware prevented the marking from being placed to the right of the striker near the bottom edge so I placed it above the grab irons and centered horizontally. Is this correct? Couldn’t tell you since I haven’t found a photo clearly showing the location. On SUF Boxcars built in 1910 (and maybe the batch of 1909) this lettering was in the lower right corner. The other detail that is a bit of a challenge find is the retainer’s settings diagram to the left of the brake staff. In truth I am still missing the warning text that should appear below this diagram… oh well! I scavenged the diagram from a set of RGS decals. Scavenging decals and transfers will become a “vise” if you do much of this kind of backdating.

Ends lettering and detailed. Unfortunately none of the C&S sets provide the Retainer diagram. These came from a RGS set of decals. The draft gear data is on both ends. You’ll notice the roof walk is not “painted”.

    One last note on the C-D-S set S-241. The most correct version only offers one numeral “5” in the 10” figures per side. So if you are going to do cars 505 or 515 you will need an extra set for each car. On the other hand if you have a non “REFRIGERATOR” version it does have an extra “5” per side. The white numbers are fine on either set.

    After lettering my cars and painting all the details I used Microscale’s clear coat products to seal the finish and transfers. This is an excellent protective product that my friend and fellow custom builder Larry Edwards turned me on to. These finishes are standard to my Locomotive paint jobs because they dry to a very tough and pleasing finish. And they work very well in this application. I use the Satin finish for the car sides and ends and the Flat finish for the Roof and Underframe including the trucks.

Once the cars are painted and lettered I seal them with Microscale Satin on the sides and Flat on the roofs and underframes. Thin this material 50-50 with denatured alcohol and spray at 25 to 30 psi with a large tip on your airbrush.

    At some point I will weather the cars. Weathering is both rewarding and risky. It is the only part of model building I consider to be Art. Models are by definition craft. And we all hope our results can be considered Fine Craft. The cars were about 1 ½ years old by late 1910, my chosen point of interest. So the weathering needs to show some aging of the car finishes but not too much. They are still fairly new by this point.

    That concludes this discussion. I hope you enjoyed what I’ve shared and I hope you will be inspired to take the challenge of building back dated cars. But all building is fun. Hope you can share some of your efforts – but of course we must consider Brother D’s time too. And I want to thank Brother D for providing this wonderfully informal and informative site on which to discuss our passions! Thanks D!

Keep the Faith – God Models Sn3!
Derrell Poole
Hamilton, MT

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A note from Brother d | 6 Comments - Click Here :

received the following note from my other brother Derrell. If interested, you may contact him at: 
The conclusion of his series on building C&S refrigerator cars will be posting soon.

    In the interest of community (this Blog), a couple of things I'd like to offer and request. As you can imagine I have a box full of SN3 surplus parts (not O scale, not HO scale - 3/16ths) that fit modern C&S cars (including PBL, OMI, Berlyn, and a few TSM kits) but not Circa 1910 cars. Reefer ladders for instance. And keep in mind I build all my cars to 1910 so I may have parts for any of the cars. No promises but if you need something drop me a note. If you have kits that are missing instruction sheets I may have what you need as well. I have some decals sets too - but not a lot.
    I'm not looking for money. I'd rather do some horse tradin'. It is more fun and far less formal. Now if you don't have anything to trade I'm not going to be a stickler - you can proabably talk me out of what you need (if I have it) for little of nohing. I have a bunch of code 110 Sn3 wheel sets (Grandtline, PBL, TSM), TSM C&S style metal trucks, a few 3'7" Tomalco truck kits - sell or trading.
    On the other hand I am about to offer on Ebay a total of 7 Cimarron Works Tiffany reefers of both 26' and 27' varieties in Sn3. These will include everything but the trucks. One of the 27' cars is an early run with sides and ends that you will need to build up. Typically these would sell for 39.95 retail - If you are interested make me an offer.
    I'm looking for at least one more OMI Reefer kit, Reefer CDS dry transfers for any of the C&S cars but especially the reefer Block style lettering (again keep in mind I model 1910 and the Block style came along in June of 1906 - the Circular Tradmark in 1925...).
    I'm also looking for (of all things) the old Clear Plastic lift-off lid Tomalco Sn3 kit boxes if any of you have a bunch you are willing to let go of. Or anything generally C&S (another Cimarron Works Spring Beam bridge for instance?) structure kits etc.?

Let's have fun.
Thanks, Derrell Poole

Hamilton, MT 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

C&S Refrigerator Cars - Part Three | 6 Comments - Click Here :

The seemingly unmarked car sitting in front of the Central City Depot in this 1913 Snowy scene.  The contrast in this view would certainly contribute to a darker tone for even a yellow car but if that were the case here one would expect the even darker red cars to be almost black.

    Derrell Poole - Let’s face it; Color isn’t really one of the “charms” of narrow gauge freight cars – weathering might be, but not color. Most narrow gauge freight cars are some kind of earth tone red. This gets monotonous so we try to spice it up with faded red, grimy red, worn away red and bare weathered wood red and whatever other flavor of red we can concoct. But it’s still red and, as nice as red is, too much of it is, well, monotonous.

    There are a few cars that offer a bit of color other than red. Tank cars, for instance, are typically black or silver… or sometimes red. Ugh! One type of car does add a different color. The refrigerators are usually not red. They can be white or yellow, or, sometimes orange. Rarely they could be red, or so the theory suggests. If we modeled standard gauge freight cars we could count on a few blue or perhaps green cars as well. But, well… we model narrow gauge so at most we might go out on a limb and paint our Tiffany Reefers “Mint Green” – oh, it is tempting!

    The point is if you want a little color – other than endless shades of red - you need a few reefers. Perhaps this is the subconscious reason I obsess over reefers so much. It couldn’t be because they are cool!
    Having finished 5 of my 10 OMI Sn3 C&Sng SUF reefers it is time to paint them. In the past I’ve painted the cars the ubiquitous Reefer Yellow (Floquil or Polly S). This is a rich yellow that is probably just as correct as any other cadmium yellow variety. But I have a bad habit of over thinking what I see in old b&w photos when the various gray tones one would expect to see don’t make sense. Too often, in these early views and even later, C&Sng reefers show up nearly as dark as the boxcars. To add to the puzzle the lettering usually seems non-existent. It isn’t really non-existent. It is black. And black didn’t seem to contrast well with whatever color the side of the car was painted.

    What’s going on? Any number of explanations, including the angle of the light source, the weather conditions, the emulsion of the film, exposure of the film, darkroom influences, etc. could be reason enough. But there are several photos taken in different conditions that simply defy these explanations! One must then consider that the very color of the car could have an influence. The header photo in Part 2 is one of those photos. Another would be the header photo here. There is a rebuilt Tiffany Reefer in Blackhawk that truly defies any decent brightness of yellow. It is so dark I’ve speculated that this car was orange. Yet there is plenty of onus that compels us to defend that the cars were indeed some kind of yellow. Contemporary practices as well as photos that leave little question the cars were yellow (even if nothing else can be determined from such photos) are a couple of those reasons.

    Perhaps they were a deeper yellow than we expect. We assume our rich Reefer Yellow was likely correct but what if the early C&S refrigerator color was deeper than that? If this color was almost an orange it could look yellow at times or just defy a light color at all.

These are my three colors; on the left is a Scale Coat II custom C&S Freight car red. It has a slight Tuscan violet tinge to it but it is more red than Tuscan. The Middle color is my Antiqu-ee C&S Reefer Yellow. On the right is Humbrol Matt Black 85. Humbrol is absolutely the finest Enamels in the world.
    The St Charles Car Company painted the 1898 Reefers “Canary Yellow” and the builder’s photo along with a few views of the cars on the road support the expected light tone in b&w. The Tiffany cars were rebuilt in 1902 – 03. They were already a yellow color (or at least we assume so); what if the railroad purposely adopted a noticeably different yellow just to emphasize the newly outfitted cars?

    Well anyway, that’s the theory I’m going with here. I mused that a darker yellow could act like a red pigment with some film types and with some lighting conditions. I also though a new darker mix might add to the antiqui-ee ambiance of these early cars. So you will see that I’ve not used the clean, rich, cadmium color would be Floquil’s Reefer Yellow. My color is a mix of Polly S Reefer Yellow and D&RGW Orange. Since this is purely theory I can’t justifiably share a precise formula but roughly I mixed 5 parts yellow to 1 part orange; just be very careful with the orange.

First I painted the entire car my early C&S Yellow acrylic custom mix. This was to help create a barrier between the styrene and the enamels I use on the various parts of the model.

Let that paint dry a while – even over night – and then mask off the sides. I use auto masking paper and Tamiya tape but you can use what ever you wish as long as the tape isn’t aggressive with finishes and the paper is relatively lent free.

    The early refrigerators are perhaps the most complex paint schemes of any of the common carrier narrow gauge freight cars. Reefers were expensive to build, costly to maintain and, well, a lot of effort to use – railroads in general tended to be proud of them when they owned them (most of them didn’t). If they needed such cars (a lot of ng roads didn’t) they had to spring for them since Exchanges didn’t bother with the little cars. You can imagine, then, that in the “Post Victorian Era” where pageantry was still in vogue, railroads might get a bit elaborate with their “special” cars. The C&S scheme called for a lot of black on yellow and red. Fun. And colorful. And tedious. So when you get all the other colors down and the lettering in place you are gonna have to get out the good quality detail brushes and a bottle of slow drying enamel, drink a few beers (just a few!) and then, in a relaxed sitting position, dab the doo-dads and hanger-ons with black paint.

Then I painted the under frame enamel black. Humbrol Matt Black No. 85 was used but any black will do.

The third color is another custom mix. I found the original C&S Freight Car red intact on the underside of the bench lids of 1006. This mix is my attempt to match that color from the photo I took.

    Knowing this, I sorta thought I’d be clever and use an Acrylic base color to try and take advantage of the differences in the paint binders. I hoped the black enamel would easily scrape off of the yellow acrylic. Ehhh…. marginally successful. The reverse – that is acrylic black on enamel yellow – would probably work a lot better but even the best acrylics dry way too fast for this kind of fine detail work! A little of the yellow paint was used to touch up the spastic-induced boo-boos and all was well. Well… so – so. I think with the last five cars I’ll be looking for enamel colors for the yellow. This project has reconfirmed my distinct dislike for acrylic!

I didn’t mask off the black under-frame to paint the red because a skilled airbrush can angle the gun to avoid a lot of over spray. Besides it is under the car where no one will see it. Once the red is dry (overnight) remove the masking and you are ready for lettering.

    Finally you will need to paint the tops of the running boards as bare wood. Painted wooden surfaces that become wet in the weather are SLICK. Imagine trying to walk a moving train on a rainy night! Today our bureaucratic heavy government would not let that happens but 104 years ago the Bureaucracy was in its infancy! Railroads were in the habit of leaving walks of wooden cars bare to try to reduce this hazardous condition.

Painting the trucks; first washed the Delrin in a solution of water and dish detergent (I used an Ultrasonic cleaner for about an hour). Then rinse in hot water.  With the wheels removed paint the trucks with the Humbrol Black. Hopefully the high quality paint and good cleaning will pay off with fewer paint chips. I dipped the wheel sets in PBL NeoLube. I also paint NeoLube onto the couplers.

I’ll go over how to decal and letter these cars in Part 4.
Keep the Faith – Model Sn3!
Derrell Poole