Thursday, September 11, 2014

Building TLS Tiffany Reefers as C&S Rebuilt Cars Circa 1903 To 1916 | 12 Comments - Click Here :

Photo 1 - An old On3 model of a rebuilt 27 foot Tiffany Circa 1903. This model was painted orange red and black. Compare these values to those in Photo 14.

     Derrell Poole - I’d been mulling over the Leadville Shops little flat box full of parts for better than a month just looking at the crisp, well made parts and thinking about how I want to build this car. I am a fan of the old South Park but I model the C&Sng. Early C&S. While it would be fun to build and letter it as a Tiffany “Summer and Winter Car” the truth is I would eventually update the model anyway. I’m just that warped I guess. So I finally made the decision I would skip the interim step and make the kit a rebuilt reefer. I've done it before. For more information on the C&S rebuilt reefers see “Colorado Narrow Gauge Quarterly” 1st Quarter 2008.

Photo 2 – The LS kit, additional parts, and tools were laid out on the workbench. 

    So one evening I sat down and began the preparatory work of building the car. I first laid out the parts as diagrammed on page 4 of the instructions. I also gathered up some of the additional parts that would be needed. Since at that point I still didn't have the new “Type B” or Twelve-ton Swing Beam trucks this car required I built up a set of the old Cimarron Works brass trucks. The kit gives you a choice to mount either short shanked Kadee No. 5 couplers or long shanked No. 26 couplers. My minimum curve is 31” so the short shanks on this short car should work fine. I also set out a few of the tools and materials I expected to use.

Photo 3 – The parts are rebagged according to expected sub assemblies after the instructions were thoroughly reviewed.

    Then I separated the larger wooden parts from their laser cut sheets and bagged them according to sub assemblies discerned from reading thru the instructions. Required Reading!! I’m sure most of you mark up instruction sheets according to your intentions to modify a kit. I also highlight important things like part numbers and note the orientation of parts to the “B” (brake staff) end of the car. Nothing like having so much fun only to discover you've mixed something like that up….

Photo 4 – Soldering the brass etched parts to mate the brake lever and other parts together. 

    Step one of the instructions notwithstanding, my first step was to tin, then solder, the brass brake part halves together. In fact, throughout the kit I soldered wherever possible. With the brake lever halves tinned it is simply a matter of fluxing and heating the mating halves. It is a lot easier to hold and control the parts if one half is still held in the etched fret.

Photo 5 – I used a fiberglass brush to clean up the excess solder.

    Even with care and a minimum amount of solder it is usually still necessary to clean excess solder from the parts. A fiberglass brush is effective for this if you exercise care and patience. Even then some of the parts are very delicate and may be bent.

Photo 6 – the completed brake lever assembly and door latches. The two primary assemblies of the levers were simply pinned together so that they could be adjusted when mounted to the cylinder and frame.

Photo 7 – Older issue of Cimarron Works 12 ton Swing Beam trucks.

    I pre assembled my trucks from Cimarron Works brass parts and NWSL Code 88 wheel sets. These trucks use .910” shouldered axles. I did use the truck brake levers from the LS brass etchings.

Photo 8 – Installing couplers on the insulated frame.

     The Kit also offers the choice of building the car with the prototypical insulated frame or the traditional modelers frame which would be open. I’m convinced these and all refrigerator cars of the late 19th and earlier 20th century had insulated frames. But the choice is yours. This is the instructions first step. Subsequent steps build the draft beams and install the couplers. The assembly is devised to hold a Kadee coupler but I found it did not leave room to use the Kadee bronze spring. In order to spring the couplers I drilled a hole in the butt of the coupler. A .010” bronze wire was then inserted into the hole and bent to fit into a “keeper” hole I drilled in the flooring just to the outside of the bolster pad. Study the photo and you will understand what I did.

Photo 9 – various brass sub-assemblies most of which were soldered together.

    As you work thru the instructions the frame quickly comes together. Whether you insulate the floor of not the parts provide laser scribing to aid in locating the parts; using these carefully insures your model will look clean and square and they eliminate most of the need for squares and fine tip markers!

    Very shortly I was at the point where the brake levers and air parts needed to be installed. In Photo 8 I show the complete frame brake assembly as well as the gladhand assemblies and the airline to the brake cylinder. Again, study the photo to see what I have done. I find that one of the most vulnerable parts of a car are the hanging gladhands. I don’t use plastic for these – it gets tiresome replacing them. I also don’t use the rubber parts. Instead I use a short piece of 1/32” brass tubing to couple PSC gladhands to the .020” train airline. Notice that the ends of the wires are bent opposite to the direction that the gladhand hangs.

Photo 10 – The nearly complete frame.

     Parts needed to update the car to early 20th century that were not supplied in the kit are identified in Photo 10 as follows; A - coupler keeper plates (plastic 1x4 plus NBW). B - PSC S scale gladhands 19100 (see photo 9). C - brake cylinder cutoff valve (Tomalco T-3505 or PSC 4852). D - retainer valve airline (.010” wire into the floor). E - cylinder release valve levers (.008” wire and plastic eye bolts). F - cylinder release valve (heavy shanked NBW). G - brake lever assembly hanger (.015 wire double folded and inserted into holes in the floor – make contact with the center member of the brake assembly). H - brake chain (PSC 48472)

Photo 11 – Add weight to the frame.

    To finish off the frame (at least as far as is required at this point) I added a couple of pieces of steel usually supplied in plastic kits such as PBL, OMI, and Berlyn. In my opinion the stock plates are too heavy so I cut them up in to quarter lengths. With the trucks installed the frame weighs nearly 2 ounces.

Photo 12 – Frame painted and preliminary weathering with trucks installed.

Photo 13 – Close-up of the “B” end of the frame.

    My car will represent one of the 3 or 4 cars of this class still in action in late 1910. I haven’t decided the car number yet. Only the most dedicated modeler would install Link & Pin couplers to a model of this scale. And frankly these are or at least have been available from Grandt Line. Part no. 158 (for the 8 ton Porter) are actually O scale parts but they are so small as to be about perfect for these fine S scale cars.

Photo 14 – C&S car 597 at Black Hawk.
    The above photo of rebuilt 27 foot Tiffany car 597 is thought to have been taken around 1903. The location was at the lower Black Hawk yard. The photo doesn't show support that these cars had roof hatches even after rebuilding. They really didn't change much in overall appearance with the majority of the $175.00 cost of each going to the removal of the siding and the Tiffany apparatus (airflow). Note that the large air vent on the end was gone. 597 was rebuilt in May 1902 – one of the first 27 foot cars to undergo the upgrade. Other changes seem to include the level-bottom end fascia, angle mounted end grabs, stirrup irons under the corners and other hardware that upgraded the braking system. The poster in the upper corner at the far end was probably a placard that assigned this car to a specific use rather than a billboard. A vender’s “poster” may have been used to dedicate this car to that company for regular service. The car was probably painted a deep yellow. It could have been orange but there has been no evidence to support this. Based on both the St. Charles cars and the later C&S cars it is assumed the ends and roof were the C&S mineral red while the under-frame, trucks, and major hardware were painted black. The lighting and exposure of this photo seems to make the colors exceptionally dark.

Derrell Poole
Hamilton, MT.
12 Comments - Click Here :
  1. Sweet build. I don't think my soldering skills can handle this kit.

  2. You can use ACC as recommended by the kit instructions. I happen to despise ACC tho I certainly use it. Soldering was my option and I demonstrated it here to point out that these kits offer this degree of versatility. Part of the value in building a kit is to enjoy DOING the process. Frankly, it is entertainment - with the wonderful reward that you get to keep the results! Don't let my nu-ro-sees scare you off from trying one. They ARE easy to build.


  3. Hi Derrell,
    It is educational to watch an expert build a car kit. The trick installing the coupler is neat and I will use it. The enclosed frame on a refrigerator car makes sense. Keep up the good modeling, research and articles.

  4. Looks outstanding Derrell! Thanks for sharing!


  5. Derrell,

    Beautiful, clean model building. Excellent description of techniques and clever ideas, i.e. coupler springs. Clear well labeled photos and accurate historical knowledge. I could not ask for, well yes we could ask you build the 3 or 4 companion cars thought to exist in that time frame. Thanks for sharing your excellent work.

    Lee Gustafson

  6. Great job Derrell. Excellent as always!

  7. I appreciate all of your comments. It makes it all worth while. I enjoy sharing but it requires encouragement to do so because it is a HECK of a lot of work. It is especially hard to be accurate. I like to think that I am and so must correct something I said before. In checking my notes there were actually 6, 27' reefers in service in 1910. MAYbe I'll build all of them. I nearly have all of the SUF cars. I'll discuss road numbers as the need arrise.

    Thanks again.


  8. Derrell,

    Your model building techniques are educational and I appreciate them. I have found, I should not approach a project with the attitude I don't have the skills and can not proceed. Instead I need to both problem solve and develop the skills to accomplish whatever I want to build. Your posts share problem solving ideas along with the photos of the models and accurate historical information. This is a great resource. In discussion with you, I know you were not born with the skills you share with us but worked long and hard to develop them. Model building at the level you do is a developed craft and skill that we all can learn from. Thank you and please continue to share.

    1. Lee - I don't think anyone could explain craftsmanship in any simpler term; "I have found, I should not approach a project with the attitude I don't have the skills and can not proceed." Craftsmanship is 70% determination and 20% skill. That, what determines - ... hmmmmm... what’s wrong here? Tch. something... perhaps some other nu-ro-sees thing ...?

      Anyway. I think this came home to me one day in an Art Supply store when talking to a clerks about watercolor. The clerk pointed out that we see a truly well done Watercolor and we marvel! But the truth is no one ever starts out knowing how to paint a particular painting. The artist literally learns how to paint EVERY painting as he paints them - the truth! - so the painting we see may be the last of perhaps 30 efforts. Watercolor is so unforgiving that one mistake and he must over. He knows this but the observer doesn't.

      At a train show, a man told me he'd love to model narrow gauge but he could never do what I did. I said; “you see my engine as a finished product but if you came to my house I could show you a drawer full of "bust" parts where it was better to just start over.” Things don't just happen. He was probably as good a modeler as any of us. He just didn't recognize the importance of determination and dedication. Who teaches these things? What magazine “Expert” ever tells us about his failures? I'd say the best modelers are those who simply refuse to say, “that's good enough”. I know several of those modelers.

      Larry Edwards, Doug Heitkamp, Bill Meredith, Robert Stears, David Steer, Darel Leedy, Joe Crea, Patrick Tillery.... See? Y'all know them too.These ain't all of them either.

      Uh... I think the missing 10% is this simple bit of wisdom; “…I should not approach a project with the attitude I don't have the skills and can not proceed.”

    2. Thanks,I needed that!

  9. Derrell & Darel,

    My apologies for failing to sign my previous post.

    Lee Gustafson

  10. Absolutely great model work!
    Wish to see more such fine projects!

    Cheers, Bernhard