Monday, May 18, 2020

Plastic options for B-50-12, B-50-13, B-50-14 class cars

SP 4279 leads a eastward string of boxcars towards Tehachapi Summit.  Jason Hill photo Copyright 2007.

Prototype Histories

In the last few months I've been looking into building several new SP boxcars.  Let's look at the prototypes briefly.

SP B-50-12 Class

Tichy-IMRC assembled SP 26948, one of the second lot of B-50-12 cars.

1000 cars built 1919 under USRA control
SP 26360-26459, 100 cars
SP 26460-26959, 500 cars
SP 26960-27359, 400 cars

These cars were distinctive on the SP for their hat-section body structure and corrugated metal Murphy 5-5-5 ends.  The best 650 odd cars were rebuilt around 1949 into all-steel B-50-12A cars.  The remaining 350 cars were scrapped or had been retired to SPMW service by that time.

SP B-50-13 Class

PE 2707, Accurail model as a B-50-13, before the group of 200 cars was absorbed into the SP in 1951.

3700 cars built 1924 back under SP control
AE 1160-1409, 250 cars - Columbia T-section trucks
PE 2700-2899, 200 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
SP 27360-29609, 2250 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
T&NO 51250-51749, 500 cars - to T&NO ~1928 - Bettendorf T-section trucks
H&TC 51750-52249, 500 cars - to T&NO ~1928 400 Bettendorf, 100 Symington T-section trucks

Transfer of cars:
AE 1160-1409, 250 cars to SP in June 1924. SP 87935-88184
PE 2700-2899, 125 cars to SP in June 1951. SP 88185-88309

These cars were built with wooden ends and 'Z'-braced body side structures.  They had lumber doors in the A-end, which will have to be added to plastic models.

B-50-14 Class

The B-50-14 were built with wooden ends, but nearly all the Pacific Lines cars of the class were rebuilt in the 1930s with 4-5 Dreadnaught ends.  It appears that the SPdeM cars might not have been given new ends as SPdeM 9451 was shot in 1950, still with wooden ends.

Class car of the first lot of B-50-14, SP 29640 as modeled with an Accurail boxcar.

3375 cars built 1924
SP 29640-30539, 900 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks, Radial Roof
SP 30540-31539, 1000 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
PE 10000-10599, 600 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
T&NO 52260-53059 cars, 800 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
SPdeM 9426-9500, 75 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks, Radial Roof

Transfer of cars:
PE 10000-10399, 376 cars to SP June, 1951. SP 19080-19455
PE 10400-10599, 200 cars to SP July 1925. SP 18880-19079

These three classes are therefore fairly easy to model with existing plastic models or resin models for revenue service.  However, as many of you readers know, I like to mix it up somewhat!  So let's see what I've been thinking about.

Kitbashing Modeling Projects

There's a couple of starting points for these projects.  In the past I've primarily used Accurail boxcars with either wood or Murphy ends.

SPMW 701 - Supply Car

SPMW 701 started life as B-50-13 class, SP 28477 and was retired on 7-21-1951.  It was placed in Misc. Supply service as of January 1, 1956, per the SP Trainline roster of SPMW equipment.

SPMW 701 Supply Car from Accurail steel-end, wood door model

I've had an Accurail model at home for many years.  It has a damaged poling pocket from some long ago trip to the floor.  So that will need to be addressed.  In Anthony Thompson's SP Freight Cars Vol.4 there are no photos that I could find of B-50-13/14s with 7-8 Murphy ends, as the steel-ended Accurail cars have. - So, I might very well be replacing the ends of this car anyway.

SPMW 701 with end damage to poling pocket - Oops.

Also visible on this side of the car is the beginnings of my letter-by-letter application of the "SUPPLY CAR" decal to match my referrence photo from This Is My Railroad, 1946, steam version video.

This Is My Railroad, 1946 - Stem Verion video still frame showing "Supply Car" SPMW 2681's lettering

Three extra ladder grabs and a stirrup step will be added to the Supply Boxcars to the left of the side door for easy access into the car away from freight platforms.

SPMW 438 - Scale Test Repair Car

As I already have the Walthers model of the 4-wheel Scale Test Car, I think building the complimentary Scale Test Repair Car will be a great little project!  SPMW 438 was a B-50-13, SP 25831 and was converted on 8-7-1950 to MW service, by 1956 it is shown in the SPMW Roster assigned to the Scale Test Repair Car service... interestingly the only car so assigned on the roster at that date!

SPMW 438 and SPMW 790 in their post-1958 gray paint. - Eddie Sims collection

I found a photo of SPMW 790 scale test car with SPMW 438. a B-50-13 "Scale Test" repair car.  As I sat down with a undecorated Tichy USRA 40ft boxcar and looked over the details.  Unfortunately the main thing that I discovered was that the Tichy car has a 'hat' cross section on its braces.  The B-50-13/14s had 'Z'-section braces.

So, my undecorated USRA Tichy car will have to become some flavor of SPMW boxcar, possibly a supply car.  Looks like some happy perusing of the SP Trainlines' January 1956 MW roster will be in my future for working on that car.

The SPMW 438 will therefore start as an undecorated Accurail car with wood ends, which will then have the windows made and the diagonal braces removed along with the main sliding door  The end doors will be added, along with new 'man doors' for the side of the car and new headers blocking out the rest of the 6ft doorway.

In Closing

I've been wanting to add a couple more Supply cars to my MW fleet for use with the System Supply Train (See my previous post on Modeling SP Supply Trains - Part 1) and general stores-shops supply service to Bakersfield and Mojave.

The companion car for the scale test car will just add a cool bit of extra operation to the movement of our scale test cars around the layout during operations.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Modeling SP Supply Trains - Part 1

Modeling SPMW cars with Musical Parts (Part 1)

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Kitbashing OwlMtModels (Part 3) F-50-8 - PE 3669

The main point that PE 3669 differs in from the standard F-50-Series car from OwlMtModels is in the Pacific Electric's special hand brake modifications to negotiate the 45-foot radius of the PE in and around Los Angeles.

PE 3669 with Pacific Electric's classic but mysterious brake modification

As a bit of review, we've previously seen the PE 3669 in Kitbashing OwlMtModels F-50-Series Flatcars (Part 1).

SP 38892, ex-PE F-50-8, as it appeared in San Diego in 1955, built from the stock OwlMtModels 2002 kit.

The PE bought or was assigned cars from 160 F-50-4, 350 F-50-8 and 450 F-50-9 class 40ft 10in flatcars.  The F-50-4s are different in that they had single-beam Bettendorf underframes.  So for this model I've selected an F-50-8 owned by PE, as shown on page 214 in Anthony Thompson's Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol.3. 

PE 3669 - 1948 Version

The photo shows the PE 3669 at Glenoaks yard on December 7, 1948, before the car was absorbed into the SP fleet on June 1, 1951 and renumbered into the SP 38840-38985-series.

First positioning of brake cylinder on PE 3669.

In the previous post on the early part of PE 3669 I showed the brake cylinder moved away from the underframe.

Revised Plan for Brake Rigging

After reviewing the PE boxcars in Thompson's Volume 4 and the photo of the PE flatcars in very close detail, I've decided that the cylinder was in the normal mounting point, and the small force multiplying lever for the hand brake rod was extended from maybe 1.5:1 advantage out to about 2.2:1 with the rod circling around the truck and then back to the brake wheel staff with a long section of chain.

Drawing of the underside of F-50-series flat with PE 45ft radius curve hand brake modification.  (Trucks removed for clarity.)

To model this version, I used both chain sections and rods from the Brake Sprue provided in the kit.  One section of chain and rod is mounted to the inside B-End Left corner of the sidesill and endsill at a special corner roller guide.  The rod from this part will extend through two brass hangers, and connect to the end of the extended hand brake lever.  The second rod is cut to only include the chain portion extension, to connect from the hand brake staff to the corner of the endsill-sidesill.

Cutting & Modifying Parts

First roughed in version with styrene lever extension which I decided is too weak.

I finally chose the Phosphor-Bronze lever material over my first try using a 0.010"x 0.040" styrene because of the styrene's tendency to break if accidentally bumped after construction and operational handling.  The PB lever will bend and spring back, not breaking.

Roughed out clevis on brake piston and mounting pad between the frames.

I made a 'pad' for the frame side bearing out of 0.01"x 0.04" styrene strip cut and mounted to the B-End upper cross support between the Centersills of the car.  This shimmed the mounting surface of lever to match the extra slot in the Centersill.

Drilled holes and bronze lever coming together.

The new lever is fabricated from a section of phosphor-bronze "coupon" sprue, left over from my SP 2701 Chair Car lighting project's OwlMtModels 10001 pickup etching.  The piece is 0.01" x 0.03" and cut to about 0.640" long.

Flat brass wire formed from DTA 2522 bar stock.

The two new hangers are formed from DTA 2522 Flat Brass Bar (0.010"x 0.018") and formed to the general shape as shown in the photo.  No.72 drill is used to make the mounting holes as shown in the drawing above.  The hangers are glued in place on the side sill with CA/ACC.  These hangers are about 0.09" wide and 0.100" high.

Second section of hand brake chain cut to fit across the end of the car to the corner roller guide.

The second part of molded chain to extend the brake wheel staff chain to extend around the corner roller guide.

Detail view of the PE 3669 with a coat of SP FCR on it.

The new exterior hung rod is threaded through the two new hangers and glued in place at the lever-end with a small amount of ACC.  I lightly bent the bronze lever to line up with the rod in the hangers.

Overview of the left side of PE 3669 with a coat of SP FCR on it.

The two clevises are formed with strips of 0.010"x 0.030" styrene strip cut to about 0.093" long and mounted to the top and bottom of the brake rods and lever.  I finished these up and then

Painting & Decalling

PE 3669's over-sprayed deck.  I will weather the deck from this starting point.

I airbrushed the car with Star Brand SP Freight Car Red.  I did not paint the top of the deck at this point, which will allow me to do my various weathering techniques after decalling.

PE 3669 with decals applied.  The PE 3669 used the standard reporting mark size, however some PE cars used loose stenciled 3 or 4" reporting marks.

Decalling was pretty standard, using the OwlMtModels 1210 decals with MicroScale Micro-Sol to get the decals to "snug" down over the details, especially under the overhanging deck details and rivets.

Finish weathering will come later with a light colored dusting on the trucks and wheels, and lower carbody.  The photo of PE 3669 in 1948 also shows some substantial muddy spray up the endsills from the adjoining car's wheelsets.

In Closing

The last bit to put on the PE 3669 is the brake wheel and staff, which I will follow my usual method of soldering the wheel to the 0.025" PB wire, then installing it in the hole.

Overview of the completed brake rigging and decals.

This brake rigging modification is also applicable to the PE's B-50-series boxcars.  Hopefully you have enjoyed seeing the process of kitbashing this unique Pacific Electric variation.  I should add that SP's F-50-series flatcars were also from time to time fitted with this same type of exterior brake rod for tight radius operation, but they were a bit "more kludgy" in installation.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Kitbashing OwlMtModels F-50-Series Flatcars (Part 2) - SPMW 847

SPMW 847 - Wheel Car (Part 2)

The next steps in the kitbashing of the SPMW 847 wheel car is scratch building the bulkhead ends to match the photo.  

This is where we left of on SPMW 847 in Part 1.

I finished up the first round of modifications with a bit more Squadron White Putty on the remains of the stake pockets.

Flatcar deck = 0.036" thick, 1.165" wide SPMW 847  Between Bulkhead Braces = 5.100"

Fabricating Bulkheads

The Bulkheads appear to be about 30" high above the deck.  Naturally the bulkheads end at the end-stake-pockets.  The ends appear to be just inside the endposts, which would be using the end-stake-pockets.  The diagonal brace sheets extend inboard about 5'2" and are made from 0.010" sheet styrene.  The top edge reinforced with a strip of 0.01x0.03 styrene.  The end sheets are also 0.010" sheet, cut to a width of 1.165".  I made my vertical posts out of left over stakes from OwlMtModels' 3004/3005 lumber load kits.

Bulkhead, 0.800" & 0.775 long brace.
Bulkhead 30" above deck = 0.344",  Braces Height 0.036+0.344" = 0.380" plastic

SPMW 847 with 0.010" sheet styrene marked up to cut the Bulkhead parts from.

I trimmed the plastic sheet parts out with a pair of scissors.  Unfortunately, I missed the need to overlap the diagonal braces past the end sheets to support the exterior end posts.

Cut out pieces for the first attempt at the Bulkheads.

I'm using a couple of spare stakes off OwlMtModels' 'Narrow' Lumber Load kit for the center bulkhead posts.

The photo of SPMW 847 shows that the bulkheads are just inside where the end-stake pockets are located, which makes since for them to anchor into the stake pockets.  I cut some spare stake posts from OwlMtModels 3004/3005 kits, which are good ABS plastic, and should weld to the ABS deck well.  I checked them for square as I glued them in place with a steel scale rule, letting them dry well before adding the 0.010" styrene end sheet.

The 30" high 0.010" styrene sheet is glued to the inboard side of the posts.

The styrene end sheet  is centered up on the posts and glue is flowed along the bottom edge and up the joints with the stakes.

The diagonal Braces are glued in place.

The first version of the diagonal braces were glued on.  Then it became apparent that there was not going to be an easy way to secure the exterior posts to it!  The first version was also a bit short of matching up to the remaining over-hanging deck section.

Second attempt at the diagonal Braces with backing sheet for exterior posts.

I decided to replace the diagonal braces with new ones that overlapped the end bulkhead sheet by about 0.050", to support the exterior posts.  I also remeasured the length of the overhanging deck and the space between the overhanging and the bulkhead.  Two pairs of new diagonal Braces were cut from the 0.010" styrene sheet.

The marks are made with a mechanical pencil, which works well for marking the sheet styrene.  The next several shots show the revised brace pattern.

Side view of bulkhead brace.

Additional stake posts from the OMM 3004/3005 kit are used as the exterior posts.

The new diagonal Braces sheets overlap the new exterior posts and will be trimmed up later.

Overview of the deck and bulkheads on SPMW 847.

Posts trimmed flush and new 0.010"x 0.030" styrene strips along the top edges of the brace sheets.

The last major addition to the Bulkheads is adding the small flange reinforcing strips of 0.010"x 0.030" styrene.  I also added the same strips down the inside of the braces to help glue it to the deck and up the inside corner with the end sheet to simulate the prototype sheets bent or angle bar in the joints.  I'm not sure from the prototype photo if there was a horizontal cap strip over the tops of the Bulkhead posts or not.  At this point, I left any more supports off, but it would make sense to have a good solid top bar for the top of the Bulkhead to keep any shifting wheelset from just punching through the steel end-sheet and then be stopped at the axle when it hit the vertical posts.

Building the 33" Wheelsets

Tichy Train Group's 3004/3010 sprue

The wheels are from Tichy Train Group's 3004-3010 kit.  I desprued the parts with my P-B-L flush cutting sprue cutter, allowing minimal cleanup of the molding lines and gates.  I lightly cleaned the holes in the wheels with a drill bit to ream any flash out.  The axles are also lightly cleaned on the mating surfaces with the wheels.

Tichy 33" Wheelsets

Liquid Tamiya plastic glue was used to 'weld' the wheelsets together.  I first pre-wetted the mating surface of the axle, then pressed the wheel onto the axle, making sure the wetted plastic 'mushed' slightly as it slide into final gauge at the small flange-stop cast into the axle.

I checked the gauge of the wheels as I made them to be sure they would fit my inner-gauge rack.  After the first few, it becomes pretty repetitive and can be done fairly quickly.  I assembled 12 of the 33" wheelsets, enough for a full load on the flatcar deck.

Wheel Rack

Part way though the building of the Bulkheads I shifted and spent a few minutes laying out the Wheel Rack.

Lines are scribed lightly into the top of the deck, just inboard of the wheel gauge.  The Tichy axles work out to a back-to-back distance of 0.560".  The full deck width is 1.282".  Setting my calipers to a inset from the outer edge of the wide deck at 0.361" allows me to lightly mark the location.  The ends are scribed with an inset about 0.045" less, accounting for the narrowing of the deck at the end of the car.

Exterior posts are cut to fit from nearly the bottom of the sides past the top of the Bulkheads.

I roughly mark the spacing of the inside of the wheel gauge with the pencil on the deck.  Inset for wheel blocks = 0.361"  I used this dimension to lightly scribe a line inboard of the overhanging deck.  I then adjusted for the narrower deck and lightly continued the scribe to the inside of the Bulkheads.

Mock-up of the wheel rails to keep the wheelsets on the deck of the car.
I used a couple strips of 0.060" x 0.125" strip styrene to mock-up the guide rails for the wheelsets.  These I feel are too wide, so I looked for some narrower stock for the final versions.

The measurements I used were as follows:
Tichy Wheel Back-to-Back = 0.560" 1/2 = 0.280"  Full Deck Width = 1.2825" 1/2 = 0.6125"

Inset for wheel blocks from outer deck edge = 0.361"

The Second version of the wheel rack for the SPMW 847 is an outside L-cross-section

I built the first removable rack with 0.080"x 0.040" styrene strips, with 0.015"x 0.125" strips along the bottom, forming an L-cross-section towards the inside of the rack.  Looking closer at the photos I think there must be a thin sheet of steel under the wheelsets.  I built a second rack with the same parts, but the flange to the outside. 

SPMW 847 with second rack rough fitted to deck.

Short blocks of 0.04" x 0.08" strip are cut to 0.425" spacing the guide rails apart.  I decided to use four of these short pieces.  Strips of 0.015" x 0.125" strip are layed across the ends of the rack to help center the rack inside the bulkheads.

Tichy Wheel Back-to-Back = 0.560" 1/2 = 0.280"  Full Deck Width = 1.2825" 1/2 = 0.6125"

Space Blocks = 0.057"x 0.078" strip styrene (2x) = 0.104" - wheel back-to-back 0.560" - 0.104" = 0.456"

Priming, Filling, and Sanding

I wasn't planning to 'paint' this model before finishing, but the Bulkhead-Carside joints needed some sanding and filling, so it was easier to see with a couple coats of paint.

Car primed with FCR to smooth the joints between the braces ant the carside, where the prototype sheets overlapped the sides.

Filling and sanding proceeding on the SPMW 847

I used Squadron White Putty placed on to the model with a No.11 X-Acto blade.  Sanding was done with fine sanding sticks and in some of the tighter corners around the inner corners of the bulkhead braces with the plastic sanding 'needles' 320 grid by Alpha Abrasives.

SPMW 847 about halfway through sanding and filling.

I am trying to keep about 0.005" of sheet over the car sidesill to replicate the overlap on the prototype.  I may come back and add single rivet decals along the bottom edge of the overlap and two over the bolsters, above the two in the roping staple castings.

Painting and Decalling

I'm not worrying too much about the deck weathering, etc on this car.  As it was converted into SPMW in 1951 and was certainly fitted with the wheel car setup by Nov 8, 1953, so the car should still be fairly clean, as in the photo.  Some of the SP's newly converted TOFC flats were fitted with new decks and seem to have been painted FCR too.  I wouldn't be surprised if the SPMW 847 had its deck painted as well when it was reapplied and modified for wheel car service.

SPMW 847 Wheel Car with decals, bulkheads installed.

At this point I stopped trying to putty and sand the joints.  The glossy surface of the FCR paint is making the joint 'appear' much more than it will after I apply a coat of Dullcote onto the body at this point after decalling should pretty well hide the joint.

Just before the last steps of painting, I noticed that the prototype car had vertical hand grabs on the exterior bulkhead posts, in addition to the regular F-50-9 grab irons.  I bent extra 'long' grab irons on the kit's jig and drilled holes in the top of the posts.  Then I drilled holes at the correct offset lower down the posts to mount the grabs.  The grabs were glued in place with ACC/CA glue.

SPMW 847 end lettering

A quick pass with the air brush with FCR across the ends and the bulkhead braces finished up the rest of the painting.  I used some small 3" reporting mark decals on the right side of each bulkhead.

In Closing

The prototype photo shows the car with ten 36" wheels.  The Tichy wheelsets are 33" and I can fit twelve on the car.  I decided to build the racks as removable so I can swap the loads between the wheel sizes and empty options for the returning trips to Sacramento General Shops.

SPMW 847 with second wheel rack removed.

I'll probably do a small amount of light weathering on the deck, right around where the racks sit.  In the next part, the final steps are painting and securing the wheels to the rack.  I'll probably do 36" wheels by combining Kadee wheels with the Tichy axles once I get the 33" wheels finished up.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Kitbashing OwlMtModels F-50-Series Flatcars (Part 1)

Open Loads (Part 3) - Deck Weathering

Friday, March 20, 2020

Kitbashing OwlMtModels F-50-Series Flatcars (Part 1)

So, given that we're all down to recommended 10 people gatherings, it is a nice time to get back to my modeling bench... some minor unburying is required!  I've been wanting to get into some more serious kitbashing of OwlMtModels' F-50-series flatcars.  Oh, right and I'll be starting another Part 1, not finishing or continuing other posts.

Histories of Three Cars

In this batch of constructing three flatcars, I'll be building and kitbashing one OwlMtModels 2002 kit, two of either the 2002 or 2003 F-50-series kits, as I'll be replacing the trucks to match the prototypes.  The only difference in the kits is that the 2002 kits have T-Section Trucks supplied and the 2003 kit has a U-Section Truck, which were first applied to the F-50-10 class cars, and also started appearing after about 1940 as replacement trucks for the earlier classes' T-Section Trucks.

For those of you following my blog, yes you've seen the SPMW 7021A before... but I'm going to do it over again!

I've covered the basic construction in in my previous posts, including SP F-50-Series Flatcars by OwlMtModels Part 1 & 2 - Basic Body and Brake Details.  Several links are available to several videos that I shot of building the flatcars.  This post will mostly focus on these kitbashes aspects of the following cars.

SPMW 7021-A (top), SPMW 847 (middle), PE 3669 (bottom)

PE 3669 - F-50-8 with Blackburn Beet Rack

Modifying the OwlMtModels kit with PE's unique 45ft radius brake gear modifications.  I'm also assembling one of the OwlMtModels' new Improved 1924 Blackburn Sugar Beet Racks for use on the PE flatcar.  The PE owned 300 of the 2600 cars in the F-50-5/8/9/10/12 series of cars, so it should not be unheard of for a PE car to be used in beet service.  There are a number of photos showing T&NO flats on the west coast in beet service as well.


The PE 3669 will have the least modifications to the construction process.

PE 3669 with basic body assembled.  Laying out off-set brake components.

The main modification is moving the hand brake rods and chains to run around the outside of the B-End truck.

SP 12070, a TM Hart-Gondola, which I kitbashed has a similar arrangement for the brakes.

The photo of the PE 3669  is on Pg. 214 in Anthony Thompson's book Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol.3 Automobile Cars & Flat Cars.  The photo shows the K-Brake assembly about half way out to the sideframe of the truck, judging by the shadows cast by the sidesill of the car.  The hand brake rod shifts out to the sidesill about even with the 3rd stake pocket inboard from the B-End with a small  lever which increases the mechanical advantage of the handbrake.

I moved the brake cylinder mounting bracket location around somewhat to match the position from the view of the photo on page 214.  Settling on it being in line with the normal bracket position, but pushed outboard about 15-18 scale inches, about half way to the sidesill.

PE 3669 with rough layout of modified brake rigging.

The new lever will go where the solid black line is, just towards the B-End (left) of the 5th stake pocket from the B-End.

The OwlMtModels kit contains two sets of Brake Cylinders and Hand Brake Rods; one is for the AB-System, the other for the K-Brake System.  With creative use of the second chain portion, the Pacific Electric version of these brakes can be suggested.  I'll carry this part of PE 3669 in the next installment of the blog.

Photo from the OwlMtModels' website of the new Blackburn Beet Rack.

I'll also cover building up a Beet Rack to match a photo from Anthony Thompson's Southern Pacific Freight Cars; Vol.3 soon!

SPMW 847 - Sac General Stores Wheel Car (Part 1)

Anthony Thompson's book Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol.3 Automobile Cars & Flat Cars has a lovely photo of SPMW 847 on page 217.  Originally F-50-9 class, SP 43708, became SPMW 847 on 12 December, 1951.  In the 1956 SPMW Roster shows the 847 as a Misc Supply car The SPMW 847 was converted to a single-stack wheel car and assigned to Sacramento General Stores.

Given the late date of the conversion and high-mileage assignment in wheel supply service, the SPMW 847 is fitted with AB-schedule brakes and new U-Section AAR cast trucks.  In this case I'm using a set of Tahoe Model Works 209 'Barber Lateral Motion 50-ton trucks.  The truck pair that I am using came with code 88 tread metal wheelsets.

This car will be modeled with the setup to SP's earlier wheel car arrangement with one row of wheelsets resting outside of a pair of longitudinal guiding blocks.  In the reference photo, SPMW 847 has 10 wheelsets fitting between the bulkheads.  These wheels must be 36" passenger wheelsets because 11 33" wheelsets can fit easily on the model, which is the correct length.  At this point, I'm not sure if I'll make a 11 wheelset 33" load or if I'll find a way to make the correct to the photo version with 10 36" wheelsets.  Part of the 'playablity' of the model in operations, possibly including unloading at Bakersfield's extensive wheel shop, would probably mean 33" wheels were the norm, as not many passenger cars were rebuilt at Bakersfield!  I'll certainly go ahead and finish the model with the prototypical 'Sacramento Shops' assignment stenciled on the side of the car.  I'm sure Sacramento Supply cars went to Los Angeles and possibly even farther, as Sacramento's wheel foundry supplied the whole system.

By the late 1950s SP changed to double rows of wheelsets resting in alternating cradles over steel perforated deck plates.  The 1956 SPMW Roster doesn't show it specifically fitted for wheel service.  Some cars in the roster are shown as "Misc Wheels" or Misc DD Wheels" as their assignment.  I'm guessing that the cars marked as "DD Wheels" are the double rows of wheels, where they are staggered in a 'rack' on the flatcar deck, rather like the Tichy wheel car add-on kit.


While much of the SPMW 847's build is stock, I've moved around some of the steps to allow heavy modification to the parts or their assembly.

SPMW 847 with the edges of the overhanging deck cut away near the ends of the car.

The Deck is narrowed at the ends for the future mounting of the bulkhead braces which come several feet inboard of the bolsters!  Given that I'm working on three very different flatcars at the same time, I made sure to keep the underbody of each car clearly marked with the reporting marks!

SPMW 847 needs the sub-deck blocks and overhanging deck cut back at the ends of the car for the new bulkhead braces.

My changes to the 847 will be fairly extensive.  This involves removing the sub-deck blocks  from the ends of the sides for the new short bulkheads to be attached.

The Stake Pockets are also cut down to match the size of the sub-deck blocks in the center of the car.

The stake pockets in the middle of the car are cut down even with the sub-deck boards and will be filled and reshaped to match the sub-deck blocks to appear solid the whole length of the center of the car.

Normal Carbody Assembly - Sides, Ends, weight, etc.

I'm leaving off the Roping Staples at this point, so they don't get knocked off or in the way as I do the later kitbashing.

Installing the Weight Cover with ACC directly to the weight.  Underframe Centersills are next.

I've found a couple of models that have been assembled without gluing the weight cover to the weights have 'puckered' the 0.010" styrene sheet around the UF centersills and cross beams.  For these three cars, I'll be gluing the weight covers to the weights with ACC.

Underframe Centersills installed and brake components coming together too.

The photo of the SPMW 847 in 1953 shows the car with AB-schedule brakes, so I'm using the appropriate parts from the kit.

Correct trucks for SP F-50-10/12 and some replacement trucks on earlier classes, such as F-50-9, SPMW 847 in 1953.

and replacement U-Section AAR trucks, but not the supplied Accurail pattern truck.  Tahoe Model Works makes the correct truck (TMW 209) which is a pattern with the Barber Lateral Motion installed.

Installing TMW 209 trucks on the SPMW 847 to match photos.

The rest of the modifications wait until I have the sides and ends glued to the deck.  This strengthens the sidesills enough to be worked on as one large unit.  It also makes hanging onto the carbody easier.

Detail view of plugging the Stake Pocket cutouts in the Deck.

The SPMW 847 shows in the photo that the stake pockets are removed, the sub-deck blocks are made continuous, thus the deck is relayed and overhangs the sidesills for the whole length of the deck between the bulkhead braces.

Here's the contrast of the stake pocket cutouts being plugged (bottom) and open (top).

I'm using the left over trimmed off sections of the overhanging deck from the ends of the SPMW 847.  I chose and cut the plugs to match up the plank lines as best I can.

Finished plugs and the deck.

A little bit of filing and light sanding to smooth out the plugs cleans up the reconfigured deck.

SPMW 847 with stake pockets filled with Squadron White Putty.

At this point, I'm going to set SPMW 847 aside until Part 2.  The last steps for the body will include making and installing all the grab irons, the roping staples and the stirrup steps.  I'll probably also install cut levers and air hoses to the car as well.

However, the next major step in construction will be making the bulkheads and longitudinal gauge blocks for the wheelsets to sit over, just inside of the wheelsets.

SPMW 7021A - Rail & Tie (switch) Relief Car

This is going to be my 'New' OwlMtModels replacement for assignment to the Bakersfield Wreck Outfit, replacing my 15-20 year old kitbash using a Walthers/TrainMiniature flatcar.  Originally F-50-5 class, SP 41224, the prototype car was converted to MW service at Bakersfield for the Wreck Outfit on the 19th of October, 1939, showing as a Tool car in the Derick Tender (DT) catagory.

My original SPMW 7021A, with scratch built over-deck rack.  I'll be trying to do a better job of this with the new build.

While the Tie-Rack on my original Walthers/TM SPMW 7021A was a blast to build, the new one will be built without any good side shots of the car from Bob's Photos, only three 'over spray' photos of the adjacent cars in the Bakersfield Wreck Outfit show the last couple of feet of the 7021-A.

Yes, this is SPMW 7021B, however at the far left you can see the end of SPMW 7021A! - Eddie Sims collection

As the car was converted in 1939 and I don't have a good photo of the the sides of the car to see which brake system it had on it, I'm selecting the K-brake system for the SPMW 7021A.  Many revenue cars kept the K-brakes past the replacement date for interchange of 1953, into 1955 being used on the SP and its subsidiaries.


The changes to the basic body of the 7021A will be mostly from  involve removing many of the characteristic sub-deck support blocks, but not removing the stake pockets.

SPMW 7021-A with marked Deck Overhang for removal.

The first step I took on the deck modifications to the 7021A is removing all of the overhanging deck sections.  I went ahead and mounted the underframe centersills and some of the cross-beams below the weight cover.

SPMW 7021A Underframe detailing

I went ahead and put on some of the rest of the underbody assembly before cutting off the Sub-Deck Blocks.

SPMW 7021A K-brake brakets, Kadee 0.015" Red Truck Washer.

Vulcan Truck Change

The photos of SPMW 7021A that I do have show it to have Vulcan Trucks, so I'll be changing out the T-Section Red Caboose trucks for Kadee Vulcan Trucks (KD-573).

Vulcan Truck Kadee-573 assembled with the clip on the screw to keep it together.

I'm using one of the new 'HGC' versions of the Vulcan truck, not the older cast metal sideframe version with the very fine wire springs, which create a un-prototypical see-through look to the spring package in the truck.

Kadee Truck Collars, on the left is stock version, on the right is the shortened version, cut down by 0.035"

I've modified the bolster hat collars to allow the trucks less rocking left-right, but still able to turn, per-LMRC standards.  I also installed the height shims for the Accurail trucks provided in the OwlMtModels kit, although these are shaved down to only be the shim, and allowing the KD collar to form the center bushing.

I scribed the top and bottom with a No.11 X-Acto blade, then easily cut them on the score marks with my fine P-B-L flush-cutting sprue cutters.  A quick few passes with a mill file clean up the remaining board ends, even with the inner edge of the Stake Pocket cut-outs.

The completed narrowing of the Deck Boards.  End gaps will be rescribed later.

The process of cutting out the sub-deck blocks is fairly easy to do by scribing with an No.11 blade along the edge of the narrowed deck between the stake pockets.

Process of removing the Sub-Deck Block - left to right, block, scribed block top, scribed through block and removed.

Continue the scribes, until the block is loose.  try not to carve away the stake pocket mounting rivets or the stake pockets themselves.  The SPMW 7021-A didn't have any of the L-brackets under the blocks left, so I'll take the whole block down to the sidesill frame.

High-angle view of the SPMW 7021A with Sub-Deck Blocks removed.

Here's two photos of the car with the Deck overhangs and Sub-Deck blocks removed.

Side view of the car without the Sub-Deck Blocks and upgrade to the Kadee Vulcan trucks.

As with the other two projects, this completes the main body kitbashing to the SPMW 7021A.  The next major steps of this kitbash will be building the new over-deck Tie Rack.

In Conclusion

While the basic OwlMtModels' F-50-series flatcars are very cool on their own.  I've wanted to do some kitbashing!

I've enjoyed sitting down and starting three new projects that I've been pondering building since OwlMtModels released the F-50-5/8/9/10/12 series flatcars in 2017.  I hope these photos encourage more modelers to attack as 'simple' or 'complex' of kitbashes as you'd like with these kits.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Modeling SPMW 7021 the Bakersfield Wreck Outfit (Part 1)

Modeling an MOW Supply Train (Part 1)

Modeling SPMW cars with Musical Parts (Part 1)