Sunday, January 22, 2017

SP 3300 & 3301 (Part 1) - Kitbashing the 77-CB-1 Combines

This is the first part of my kitbash of a 77-CB-1, also known as a 1937 Daylight combine.  This is also the second car that I'm showing in the San Joaquin Daylight consist that I've been working on with the first car being the SP 5124, 70-BP-30-3 (Part 1).  Also I've posted a page about the various MTH 1939/1941 Daylight car sets and the work that they need.

Top, SP 3300 77-CB-1 Soho model and SP 3302 79-CB-1 MTH model, bottom

Here are the two models we'll be starting with placed next to one another.  The front end of each car is lined up to show the differences at the vestibule end of the car where the baggage elevator is located on the 79-CB-1 car in Daylight paint.  The Soho model has a plated finish, while the MTH model shown is a redecalled MTH model corrected for post-1946 operations as the Coast Daylight's SP 3302.

I will be doing the Soho car as the SP 3300 and a MTH 79-CB-1 conversion as the SP 3301.  This will mean that I'll basically be building two nearly identical cars from different starting points.  In Part 1 we'll look at the prototype history and get into the kitbash of the SP 3301.

Prototype History


The 1937-Built Combines


Soho model of SP 3300 or 3301 as it appears out-of-box with plated finish.

The SP ordered two cars, SP 3300 and SP 3301, to be the lead car in the original 1937 Daylight consists.  These cars were 77ft long over the end sills (which doesn't count the vestibule) with 19 ft-10 inch of that being the baggage compartment for passenger's checked baggage.

The News Agent was a small space set aside on many SP passenger trains.

MTH's out-of-box version of the News Agent desk at the front left corner of the chair compartment.

Upgraded model from MTH Combine with the News Agent space.

The front left window in the chair section was set up with a News Agent's space for selling magazines and snacks.  The News Agent space was immediately followed to the rear by the Conductor's desk, where he would keep his paperwork when not walking the train.

The 1939-Built Combines


MTH plastic model of 79-CB-1 SP 3302 and 3303 after redecalling and some damage to the roof antenna.

In late 1939, with the delivery of the new '39 built 79-CB-1s for the new re-equipped Morning Daylight, the 3300 and 3301 were shopped and transferred to the newly streamlined San Joaquin Daylight.  This left the SP 3302 and 3303, with baggage elevators next to the vestibule doors, for exclusive use on the new Morning Daylights and Coast Daylights.

The 1937-Built Cars to Reassignment & Protection Service


The SP 3300 and 3301 would protect the two new 1939 cars on the Coast route if they needed shopping.  This lasted until 1941 when the 3300 and 3301 were regularly assigned to the newly streamlined San Joaquin Daylight.

If the San Joaquin Daylight's regular combines (3300 or 3301) were in the shop or protecting for the 3302 or 3303 on the Coast line, then the San Joaquin Daylight would then use an extra Daylight pool chair car and a 60ft Harriman baggage car such as seen below.

A chair car, such as SP 2439, also a redecalled and upgraded MTH model.

A car like SP 2424, an Athearn-Genesis 77-C-3 chair car, could also protect in the passenger capacity.

Athearn R-T-R model of the Daylight painted as a protection baggage cars for the San Joaquin Daylight.

The SP painted two 60ft Harriman Baggage cars (SP 6029 & SP 6204) in Daylight colors for protection service on the San Joaquin Daylight.

Full-Width Diaphragms (FWD)


A Full-Width Diaphragms (FWD) was mounted only on the rear of the combines, as the front of the car would be coupled to the road engine on the Coast Daylights, Nos.98 & 99.

Rear of SP 3302 with full-width diaphragm (FWD), which is weathered and greasy where the car washes can't reach.

The front ends of 3300 and 3301 were painted with the orange stripe wrapping around and were never fitted with FWD for their 1941 San Joaquin Daylight assignment.  The FWD's were cut down to standard width diaphrahms around 1954-1955 for safety during switching and easy of mechanical access.

Forward end of SP 3302 with narrow diaphragm and brake wheel

The 77-CB-1 and 79-CB-1s had their brake wheels located at the front right corner of the car.  The wheel should be painted Daylight orange, which will be taken care of later when the model is being touched up and finished.

SP 3301 - Planning a Starting Point


Currently most models available are of the 79-CB-1, (SP 3302 and 3303) which have the baggage elevators and were delivered in 1941 for the upgraded Coast (Morning) Daylight.  Both MTH and BLI have brought models of this class of car to the market.  Both should be fairly easy to acquire at the time I'm writing this in December 2016.

I've settled on MTH as my plastic manufacturer of choice because they have screw mounted trucks and couplers and rubber diaphragms that work pretty well with a little bit of adjustments.  The problems with the MTH models mainly center around the fact that the "Southern Pacific" lettering is wrong for post-1946, and MTH doesn't seem to be willing to look at any photos to see their error.  They used the same letter graphics as the "Southern Pacific Lines" pre-1946 lettering, but simply dropped the "LINES" off the end and recentered it.  I will show how to fix this issue in my blog post on MTH Daylight Cars - Upgrading and Detailing.

I still prefer the issues with the MTH cars to the problems mechanically with the BLI cars, which have a very strange extending drawbar system for tighter radius curves, press-pin truck mounting, and rigid plastic diaphragms which when operating on curves open up to reveal black plastic behind the painted outer part. - These problems with the BLI car are not so easily solved to bring up to my mechanical standards, therefore I use the MTH cars.  If you have BLI models, the same kitbashing should be able to work as well.



The 8-car 1941 Daylight set from MTH comes with a 79-CB-1 combine (SP 3303), a 79-C-1 Chair car (SP 2439), the Triple-unit Diner (SP 10259 Diner, SP 10260 Kitchen, & 10261 Coffee Shop units), a 79-T-1 Tavern (SP 10313), a 79-PR-1 Parlor (SP 3003), and a 79-PRO-1 Parlor-Observation (SP 2953).

MTH has also released the same set, minus the triple-unit diner, which will still get you the Combine and the Parlor car (which I will use later as a parts donor body).  The 5-car set has the Combine, Parlor, Chair car, Tavern, and Observation car only.

These sets of MTH cars and the add-on Chair and Articulated Chair cars are meant to model the 1941 Coast Daylight, more or less.  My interest is creating a San Joaquin Daylight, so I'll be using what models I can and modifying others.

Enough about the MTH sets, let's get back to working on the kitbash.

Planning How to Shorten the SP 3301


For now I will focus on the 79-CB-1 combine (SP 3303) which I will be kitbashing.  This will involve shortening the car by 24" and removing the baggage elevator.

Soho model top, and MTH model bottom

One interesting detail to point out now is that both the Soho model 77-CB-1 and the MTH model 79-CB-1 have the same window size and spacing measuring from the front of the car.  The Soho model is actually not correct, as the real 77-CB-1s had a different size windows and column post size.  Once I noticed this aspect of the Soho model by placing it up again the MTH model, this kitbash to make a stand-in model actually becomes easier.  This means that the Soho model was actually made to incorrect drawings.

Left side of the two models for comparison

I'm guessing the draftsman drew the plans for Soho's 77-CB-1 and 79-CB-1 from photos and noticed that they had the same window arrangement, but missed the differences in size and columns, resulting in the 77-CB-1 model not being correct.  Trying to fix the Soho model or completely kitbash the MTH 79-CB-1 to be fully correct for a 77-CB-1 is too much work.

In a way this actually makes the modeling of these two cars easier, as I mainly want to remove the baggage elevator.  While some readers might call this a "stand-in" model, it will be good enough for me to change this primary spotting feature that all modelers look for to tell the difference between the 1937 built 77ft cars and the 1939 and 1941 built 79ft cars.  The goal therefore is to make the MTH 79ft car look as much like the Soho 77ft car as possible, and leave it at that.

Prep Work


FWD removed from body shell for safe keeping.

Before I start cutting, I remove the FWD with the four small screws that hold it to the vestibule end of the body.

Removing the body shell from the under frame of the SP 3301.

I then remove the roof of the car, followed by the screws holding in the lighting system.  The car body will be put on and taken off several times during the course of cutting the vestibule off and shortening the body to protect the stirrup step details at the lower corners of the skirting.

Repainting of the interior will come later after the floor and frame have been shortened.  Thankfully the friction connection of the lighting contacts are at the front end of the car, not the vestibule end, so no problems there.  The lighting bar should be able to have a 1/4" cut off the vestibule end, making it again short enough to be placed in the rebuilt car.

Start Cutting


Marks made in pencil for the cuts.

I use my big 12" calipers to measure the length of the Soho model and the MTH model.  The MTH model has the small wind-wing shields that the brakeman and conductor would use to catch orders on the fly at speed just forward of the vestibule.  I don't want to remove or damage that detail, so the first  (rear) cut needs to be made forward of that, but behind the elevator.  I plan the rear cut to come down into the elevator.  I will then file it to the rear until I have a good joint surface and any trace of the elevator post is gone.

The rear cut extends from the roof down to the bottom stripe.

The forward cut is made from the bottom of the car side up past the elevator controls and slightly into the window panel, which is smooth.  This will make any sanding and filling easier to do later.

Left side with marks and cuts being made.

I make a mark vertically 0.300" forward of rear pencil mark.  This will be a safe amount of the roof and sides to remove.  The elevator will need more removed than the 24" of length reduction will achieve, so a plug will have to be made later to fix the resulting hole.

Removing the 24" section of sides and roof.
The removed and shortened end of the car.

I remove the vestibule door glass and scribed a line above the elevator with a No.11 X-acto blade.  The roof and sides were able to be broken out and removed.

Side view of the removed end of the car

I then carefully continue the rear cuts down from the roof to just above the lower strip.  Make sure that the cuts go all the way through the car side.  Flush-cutting pliers are used to cleanly cut the vestibule loose from the rest of the car body.  This was done with a diagonal cut, so I can keep the transition from the full skirting at the vestibule to the 3" skirting over the truck cutout.  This would still be needed for later era modelers, as the skirting was only removed between the trucks later on, and the cars kept the end skirting full height to cover the vestibule steps until very late.

That will do it for Kitbashing 77-CB-1, SP 3301 (Part 1).

Closing Thoughts




In Part 2, I will go into cleaning up the cut ends of the 3301 body to length, cutting down the floor to length, and cutting a plug out of the side of a sacrifice car body and fitting it into the shorten body.

Jason Hill

Links:


Friday, January 20, 2017

Modeling SP's Road Switchers (Part 1) - Small Steam Engines

My last major blog page update was focusing on the biggest of SP's steam engines, IMRC's AC-12 Cabforwards.  There's been some questions about small SP steam engines recently.  So I thought I'd put together a quick post covering what models are out there and also can be made into excellent runners.

SP 1774, an M-8 at Bakersfield, CA.  Eddie Sims Collection

SP 2850 next to the Carpenter Shop at Bakersfield.

I should also be quick to point out that current production of the "Plastic RTR Steam" is approaching the price of most of the following "budget brass" options, so don't think that 'Oh it's brass, so I can't afford it."  Many of my friends are spending more to buy a current production DCC+Sound equipped steam engine model than it would cost them to buy a 20-30 year old brass model, possibly repaint it, and equip it with DCC.

I'm including price ranges for what I would expect to pay and consider a 'fair price' in 2016 USD.  Obviously a model in better condition, no wear on drivers, no tarnish, and a great paint job will fetch a higher price.  I have seen prices lower than this which I would consider a deal, but I don't expect to find cheaper models without being willing to put in extra effort to make them run well.

M-4 Class 2-6-0 by IHC (Plastic) - $70-140


My old IHC M-4 with new cab and kitbashed cylinder jacketing.  A new headlight and bracket are coming too.

Pacific Lines M-4's

The M-4 class Moguls were mostly built in 1899-1900.  More than 100 were built, numbered between SP 1615 and SP 1719 for the Pacific Lines.  They received some upgrades over the years, but most were not superheated during the 1930s and were cut up for scrap during the depression between 1930 and 1935.

The 23 or so that were not scrapped were used on various light branch lines.  I'm still trying to figure out exactly where they were used.  There's photos of them working near Schellville on the branch lines out of Fairfield, and also roster info showing them leased to the SPdeM in Mexico and working the lighter branches in Arizona.

Texas Lines M-4's

The Texas Lines (T&NO) received 60 M-4 class engines numbered in the 950-series until the renumbering in 1950 to the 410-series.  This renumbering was to allow the most of the Pacific Lines F-5 class 2-10-2s to be transferred (leased) to the Texas Lines 900-series.  About 35 of the 60 engines started life as Pacific Lines M-4s and were transferred to the Texas Lines in 1901 and 1902, only a few years after being built.  All of the Texas Lines engines we superheated around 1920 and served until the early 1950's in the flatlands of the Texas Lines.

The Models

While most of the models I'm looking at are brass imports from the 1980s, I feel that IHC's M-4 2-6-0 Mogul is worth mentioning.  PFM/Fuji (iirc) imported M-4 class brass models, however the IHC model is about as good in terms of running quality as the small old brass models.  If the option comes to buy an IHC, a brass M-4, or a brass M-6/9 (which I'll talk about below), I would go for the M-6/9 model as they are more useful in general.

The tender that comes with the IHC model is a larger square tender, and really doesn't fit with most of the SP square tenders without some serious modifications, the engine is actually pretty nicely proportioned.

I've not been in the market for one of these IHC models in 15 years, so I'm not sure what the 2016 price for them is.  I remember buying this one for around $70 from a mail order discount store in the early 2000's.  A quick search of Ebay shows prices from $60-130, so my guess is about right.

Here with a Sunset tender from a M-6/9 the M-4 will likely be assigned to switching duties.

I plan to team this little critter with a brass tender of some flavor.  Another option for modelers who can't get their hands on an appropriate brass tender is the old MDC/Roundhouse Vandy tenders.

SPMW 8241, a lightly kitbashed MDC Vanderbuilt Tender.

Here is one of the MDC tenders assigned to SPMW for water/fuel service supporting pile drivers and cranes.  These models could also have their bunkers narrowed to match the brass tender shown with the M-4 above.

M-6/8/9 Class 2-6-0 by Sunset Models (Brass) - $250-350


A Sunset M-6/9

The following larger class of Moguls were built in 1901 and 1902.  M-6 Class were assigned to numbers SP 1725-1769 and SP 1780-1803.  The M-8 Class were assigned to numbers SP 1720-1724 and SP 1770-1779.  The M-9 Class were built in 1908 and numbered between SP 1804-1822 and SP 1826-1830.  Follow-on engines were assembled from parts during WW-1 and classed as M-6, numbered SP 1823-1825.

Also numbering over 100 engines, it's surprising that no plastic manufacturer has produced these engines which use a larger boiler and could be made to pull significantly more cars in HO scale.  Thankfully several brass importers have brought these classes in over the years.

During the 1980s and again in the late 1990s Sunset Models imported the more useful and common M-6 and M-9 class 2-6-0s.  I'm sure most of you are asking, so what's so great about the M-6/9s?  Well, briefly they were much more common in the later years of steam service on the SP than the M-4s.  Some of the M-6/8/9s were still regularly working the branch lines around Fresno in 1956 in sizable numbers.

Modifications


Here's SP 1774, an M-8 at Bakersfield with a 90-R-series tender.  Eddie Sims Collection

The Sunset's early imports of these models are nicely made.  One issue is that the pilots are about 12" too long, which results in the pilot bracing rods being at too shallow of an angle.  This is partly caused by the model being equipped with a 36" pilot wheel instead of the correct 33" wheel.  This isn't too hard to change.

Here's a model painted, minus the pilot which was removed for modification.

I plan to shorten the pilots on the Sunset Models engines I am working on.  I am sure this modification will be the feature of a future post on this blog.

T-28 & T-31 Class 4-6-0 by Westside Models - $225-400


Westside Models has also produced very nice Ten-Wheelers in both T-28 and T-31 classes.  These models run very smoothly after having minor cleaning and lubrication.  These Ten-Wheelers were built for passenger service with 63" drivers.  In the early years they were photographed pulling various passenger trains before the train weights increased, at which time they were downgraded to medium freight work and branch passenger service.  - As I show in my SP-SD&AE Passenger Service (Part 1) bog post.

T-28, SP 2349 worked the last few years in the San Joaquin Valley around Fresno and Bakersfield.  Eddie Sims Collection.

All of these two classes lasted until at least 1949, many lasting into 1956 and even a few to 1957, making these some of the best little engines to have switching your packing sheds or working a local assignment.

T-28 Class


Left side of SP 2339, a T-28 Class 4-6-0 with Stephenson valvegear

Right side of SP 2339, a T-28 by WSM.

The T-28 class were built in 1907, 1909, and 1911 as larger versions of the T-26 class Ten-Wheelers.  They were assigned numbers SP 2311-2352.  All of the T-28s were superheated between 1917 and 1920.  Three T-28s also received Feed Water Heaters (FWH) in 1935 and 1937.

Westside didn't import as many of the T-28 class models, so these are harder to find than the T-31 version.  Many of the T-28 models also included valvegear to rebuild the model into T-31s.  This is somewhat of a problem as the T-28s were about four times more numerous on the prototype than the T-31s!

T-31 Class


Left side of  SP 2355, a T-31 Class 4-6-0 with Walschaerts valvegear

Right side of SP 2355, a T-31 by WSM

The T-31 class were built in 1912 numbered SP 2353-2362.  All of the class had the boiler pressure increased to 210 PSI in 1926-27.

Westside imported about three times more of these models than the earlier T-28 versions.  The T-31s I've seen as low as $125-175 on occation because they are so common.

C-Series Class 2-8-0


SP 2601 with 73-SC tender at Bakersfield, CA. SP 2601 was vacated and scrapped in 1951.  Eddie Sims Collection

Probably the best class to equate to modern 4-axle diesel road switchers would be the 57" drivered C-class 2-8-0s which were numbered between SP 2513-2830, by far one of the largest of any single wheel arrangement steam engine SP ever owned.  Additional non-Common Standard engines were placed in the SP 2861-2868 and SP 3400-series.

C-2/3/4/5 Class 2-8-0 by Oriental - $350-500


The older Common Standard 2-8-0s were numbered 2600-2693.  Built between 1899 and 1901 as various combinations of two and four cylinder compound engines, they were the mainstay of SP's heavy mountain divisions until the bigger 2-10-2s took over.  

Oriental C-2/5 model with Balboa 100-C-tender

The compound engines were simplified between 1904 and 1919.  Most of the early C-class engines were superheated in 1919-1924.  Many engines lasted until after WW2, a few even past 1950.

Oriental C-2/5 model with 73-SC-tender

Notice how low the boiler of the early C-2/3/4/5 class engines sit on the cylinders and the drivers compared to the "taller" C-8/9/10s built as simple engines.  The boilers of the later class engines was also straighter, while the early engines had a pronounced tapered look.

C-8/9/10 Class by Challenger, Balboa, Key, and Sunset - $325-450+


SP 2527, a C-9 class with switching pilot steps

The balance of the SP's 2-8-0s were the larger C-8, C-9, and C-10s were built between 1904 and 1908, with addition engines being built during WW-1 from 1917-1919 from spare boilers or new SP-built boilers.

Left side of SP C-9 class by Sunset Models

The Sunset and Balboa C-9s are the 'budget brass' models of choice.  Key are higher end and usually fetch a higher price and Challenger models are absolutely beautiful, usually resulting in asking prices in the $1400+ range.  That said, unless one of the Keys or Challenger Import models drops into your hands from a rich uncle, I am still more than happy to work with Sunset or Balboa models of these engines.

Right side of SP C-9 class by Sunset Models

The C-class engines lasted well into 1956 and were seen on every division of the Pacific Lines until finally displaced by diesels.  Many photos towards the end show late model C-class engines working as heavy switchers in yards and making occasional trips out on local switching assignments.

Steam Switchers


While this post is mainly focusing on the SP's Road Switchers which also were used as heavy switchers, it's only fair to briefly talk about the two main types of strictly Switcher engines the SP used for about 40 years.

SP 1278, an S-12 Class 0-6-0 works as a passenger switcher with herald and green boiler jacket.  Eddie Sims Collection

S-8/9/10/11/12/14 class 0-6-0 by Sunset, Challenger, etc - $200-350


While not used as road switchers very often, the 0-6-0s served the unsung roll of switchers both in freight yards throughout the SP system and also the prestigious passenger terminal switchers, often with colorful green or blue boiler and cylinder jacketing.

Left side of SP 1213 by Sunset Models

Right side of SP 1213 by Sunset Models

While I'm not getting into too much on these very light engines in this post, I will say that the model of the 1213 surprised me a bit when I was able to get it to easily pull 25 cars on level track.  So the idea that a small model like this is gutless isn't true.  At the same time, don't expect it to switch a cut of 40-60 cars without doubling it over.  Most switching moves were made without air on the cars and also were limited by the crew's visibility and ability to relay signs to the engine with only 3-4 men on the ground.  These factors combined resulted in most switching moves having, at the most, only 10-20 cars.


SE-3/4 Class 0-8-0 Heavy Switchers by Balboa - $250-400


Left side of SE-3/4 built by KTM for Balboa

Right side of SE-3/4 buitl by KTM for Balboa

In 1930, SP was looking for a new heavy switcher to work the major yards of the Pacific Lines.  The Sacramento Shops turned out eight 0-8-0s using the boilers from retired A-3 class 4-4-2s.  The engines were originally numbered in the SP 1300 series, then moved to the SP 1400 series as the new diesel switchers arrived before WW2.  Finally they were moved to the vacant SP 4500-series to free up the SP 1400-series numbers for the newest diesel switchers.  The SP 4508, was the last of the Pacific Lines' eight engines, and was not assembled until 1937, becoming the last "new" assembled at Sacramento Shops and the last steam switcher acquired by the SP.

The Houston Shops turned out four additional SE-3 class engines for the Texas Lines.  In 1952 and 1953 the four Texas Lines engines came west and were assigned numbers between 4509 and 4512.

SP 4508 working as a heavy switch engine on the Pacific Lines after 1946.  Eddie Sims Collection

Many of the SE-4s worked in LA, Roseville, Oakland, and Bakersfield, often many photos show at least two or three working or being serviced at the same time.  One photo I know of shows three 0-8-0s at the "whisker" tracks at Bakersfield being serviced, and in the Southern Pacific 1941 video by VideoRails, now Pentrex collection, shows three 0-8-0s working Roseville at the same time.

The model comes with a square tender and narrow bunker on top, I cover it in more detail below.  The SE-3/4s also used small Vanderbilt tenders as well, such as I show above with the M-4 class.

The SE-3/4 class engines lasted until 1956 and 1957 before being retired and scrapped.

Various Tenders for Small Engines


I cover more of the various tender models that can be found on my SP Tender Swapping blog post, but here are several related to the engine types shown above.

90-R-series Tender from WSM


WSM 90-R- Tender

Westside Models (WSM) has imported the correct square tender for the 1774 above.  They usually show up behind models of the PR-1 Class 2-6-2 Prairies, but I believe they're also available separately.

Square Tender with Narrow Bunker - from Balboa & WSM-KTM built SE-4 models


Left side of KTM-built Balboa and WSM tender for SE-3/4 class models (This one has fairly heavy tarnishing)

Right side of KTM-built Balboa and WSM tender for SE-3/4 class models

73-SC- "Whalebacks" from Various Importers


SP 1765 with 73-SC-tender.  Eddie Sims Collection

Near the end of the SP 1765's life it was fitted with a 73-SC-type tender during its triple header on the Fairwell to Steam trip with the SP 2248.

Left side of an Oriental 73-SC-series tender

In Closing


SP 2717, a C-8, at Port Costa which was not vacated until 1957!  Eddie Sims Collection

I hope this gives some ideas of what small engines to look for to fill out your operations around your yard and outlaying switching areas.

Jason Hill

Related Links:



SP-SD&AE Passenger Trains (Part 1)  - Passenger Consists for your Small SP Steam Engines