Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Kitbashing a 16-Section Sleeper (Part 1) Plan 2412T&U

Many models of the more common Pullman HW sleepers have been made in the last 10 or so years.  One that I feel that they missed, which shows up in many consists and photos, is the 16-Section HW Pullman Sleeper.

One of my main interests in building a couple of 16-Section sleepers was two fold.  One reason was to fill out an earlier era consist of the Owl (Nos.57 & 58) and also to round out the Pullman Pool for Korean era Military Troop Trains (MAIN - as Military trains were referred to), which worked across the country.  Modelers of WW2 era and well into 1947, would also need a couple of 16-Section sleepers as well.  The troop movements over Tehachapi Pass were made both on the SP and the Santa Fe.  Therefore any Pullman Pool cars that I build are sure to find high use in La Mesa Club Operating Sessions.

History of 16-Section Sleepers


Pullman produced many standard floor plan arrangements for their HW sleeping cars, using almost modular sleeping spaces; Section (upper and lower berths), Compartments, and Drawing Rooms.  One of the most compact designs to get as many lower rate berths into one car was the 16-section sleeper which could sleep up to 32 people.

Walthers PC TC4242

Early cars used open sections, which during the day would be a pair of seats facing each other in each section.  At night the seats would slide down and join together to form the lower berth.  The upper berth would fold out of the overhead paneling.  Heavy cloth curtains would be hung from the ceiling to separate each berth and separate the berths from the central isle.  The Pullman porters would set up the berths from day to night configuration during diner and breakfast.  During the day the section accommodations would resembled a chair car.

Walthers version of later Section sleeping accommodations with rigid bulkheads between sections.

Around 1910 the railroads were involved in a massive upgrade to the passenger fleets throughout the country to build new steel framed and all-steel bodied cars.  Pullman was a major manufacturing company contracted to build the new cars for the railroads as well as upgrade their own Pullman sleeping car fleet into the steel age.

In 1914 and 1914, some of the new 16-section cars built to Plan 2412 (lots 4101, 4304, & 4484) were assigned to SP early on for the Overland Limited and the SP's general pool.

Most of these cars were downgraded during the 1930s to "Tourist Cars", which were ecconomy class Pullmans, which Pullman and the railroads were using to encourage more ridership as the US emerged from the depression of the early 1930s.  Most of the cars assigned to Tourist Car service were equipped with Pullman Mechanical-Brine A/C, while a few had Steam Ejector systems installed.

The Starting Point - Walthers 14-Section


Walthers and Branchline (now produced by Atlas) both produced the same model of a 14-Section HW Pullman sleeper.  One of the oldest of the Walthers cars I bought back in 2003 or 2004 was the Pullman pool (PC) car that I decalled as the "William Osler" which stayed in the pool until 1966 as one of the last 14-Section cars on the rails, although it probably spent the last 10 years or so in U.S. Government storage at military bases around the US for strategic reserve.

Men's side of the PC "William Osler" in extra pool service at Caliente
The four prism glass windows at the left end of the car are the men's lounge and toilet.  At the right end of the car are the two isle windows.   The center section of the car has seven pairs of windows for the sections.

Women's side of a Walthers 14-Section sleeper.

The three prism glass windows at the left end of this side are the women's lounge and toilet.  Notice the longer isle at the right end of the car and seven pairs in the center again for the sections.

The two-tone gray SP car body above was the model I started with to use in my kitbash.  Looking at the floor plans on page 107 in the SPH&TS Passenger Cars Vol.2 - Sleepers & Baggage Dorms, Pullman's modular design of the cars becomes apparent.  The main difference between the 14-Section and 16-Section floor plans was the need to shrink the size of the men's lounge space to make room for the two additional sections.

Interior of the 14-section car with the men's lounge to the right.

On page 111 there's a drawing of Plan 3958A, a 14-Section car, showing the designations of the lounges.  This was the first step in determining which end of the car would have to be modified.

14-Section Mens Lounge and Toilet

14-Section Womens Lounge and Toilet

One other difference between the various 16-Section cars is the number of windows on the isles opposite the lounges.  The 2412T & U plans had a pair of isle windows at both ends.  The 2412E & F had a pair of windows at the men's end, and a single window on the women's end.  The 2412T plan cars had a wider space between the two isle windows on the men's end.  This provides some visual difference within the 16-Section cars.

The Owl (Nos.57 & 58) had two 16-Section cars in its consist when it derailed at Lerdo in 1947, PC TC4242 and TC4244 were the two cars listed, both cars were Plan 2412.

Planning The Cuts


In the process of planning out the cuts and changes I realized that Pullman had actually switched the designations of the men's and women's lounges on the 16-section car.  Looking at the floor plan from the 14-section car's prospective the men's lounge would drop to about 1/2 the size that was before.  As the 16-section cars were expected to be budget accommodations for mostly men traveling, I suspect that it was decided that the men's lounge would need to stay at least 3/4s as big as the 14-section's lounge and the women's much smaller lounge would again drop to about 2/3's as big.

Women's side 14-Section with marks for changes

Change "A" will be the addition of a pair of section windows and new blank wall section to the left to transition to the women's lounge window.  Change "D" will be the revised isle windows.

Men's side 14-Section with marks for changes

Change "E" is a fairly simple change by lowering the bottom sill of the middle prism glass window.  Thankfully the modifications at "A" will make several matching prism window glass sections available to use at "E".  Change "B" is the matching extra pair of section windows.  Change "C" is converting the isle window from a single to a pair.

Sacrifice sides marked for cutting

A friend gave me some Branchline car sides that he acquired for the underframes and detail parts.  Normally I would try to use Walthers car sides for this kitbash, but Walthers didnt' have the sides available separately and I didn't want to sacrifice and entire Walthers car to get spare parts.  New England Rail Service (NERS) parts are designed to match Rivarossi car bodies and rivet patterns.  The Walthers and Branchlines both had much finer rivet patters with more smaller rivets.

Re-arranging the Interior


To warm up, I decided to start with the easy part, the interior.  The marks on the car sides can be seen on the car body in the last step.

Walthers 14-Section out-of-box, women's lounge to the left, men's to the right

The kitbashing of the interior for the 16-section car was remarkably easy.  I was also working on kitbashing a Pullman STD 10-1-1 sleeper using a 12-1 as a starting point.  This involved removing a pair of sections from the 12-1 interior.  Done properly, this would allow me to easily add the pair of sections to the 14-section interior, creating the required 16-section floor plan.

Cutting a pair of sections from a Walthers 12-1 interior.  The remainder used to kitbash a STD 10-1-1.

I cut the floor between the seats to minimize disturbing the seats.  The upper berths help set the correct spacing with small notches in their surface.  They were cut and patched into the completed interior below.

The men's lounge in the 14-section interior is shortened to become the women's lounge and extra section inserted.

The old men's lounge was stripped of extra washstand fittings and shortened.  The wall sections closed up again with the new sections added.  Remember that the 16-section floor plan flips the men's and women's lounges, so the men keep the larger space, meaning the left lounge is now the "men's" and the right lounge is now the "women's," confused yet?

Holing and Plugging the Car Sides 


Make the openings for the new plugs by nibbling out from the window openings with a No.11 X-acto blade and smaller flat needle files.  To help see how much more to trim, I did all the joints at an angle.  The plugs were wedge shaped entering from the outside and the carside was also beveled to accept the plugs.  It's pretty easy to see where more material needs to be removed.

Modifications "E" and "A"

This method also allows me to control the depth of the plug by making the plug smaller or the carside opening bigger.  Making plugs that are a prefect without a beveled joint is very hard.

Modifications "B", "C", & "D"

Some of the marks on the carsides are still left over after the plugs were installed.  Finish sanding and filling work can begin now.

Both car sides completed for PC TC4242, 16-Section Sleeper.

Finishing & Painting


I decided that the underbody detailing was acceptable.  I didn't do any additional work other than painting the car and decal it with the Deluxe Gold version of the Pullman Pool cars assigned to UP between 1937-1947 from Microscale.

Men's side of the 16-Section Pullman Tourist Car 4242.

I believe that I used straight SP Dark Olive on this car, which is a bit too light and brownish for the proper Pullman Green, which I usually mix from StarBrand SP Dark Olive Green with a bit of straight Black added to darken the paint.

Women's side of the 16-Section Pullman Tourist Car 4242.

The Branchline replacement windows need sheet plastic cut and glued in with Testors Canopy Cement.  Widow Shades are made the same way as on my SP 1005 coach project and installed.  The roof, underbody and trucks get some light weathering of off-black (Dark Charcoal Gray) to highlight the details.

SP coach 2178 showing the installation of manila-folder window shades with Tamiya Masking Tape and Canopy Cement.

Some models I do some light dry-brushing along the bottom 18" of the trucks and underbody equipment to show the effects of additional road dust and grit kicked up from the roadbed by the train at speed.  I try to temper this effect as these cars would regularly be washed in major terminals between runs during servicing.

Markers into the Night


An SP 12-1 HW Sleeper brings up the marker on an MAIN train crossing in the San Joaquin Valley near an orange grove.

That pretty much covers the conversion of a 14-Section HW into a 16-Section HW sleeper.  In Part 2 I'll talk about building and upgrading a Soho 16-Section "Riverdale"-series model.  I hope this will inspire you to take on researching and doing a similar conversion!

Jason Hill

Related Blog Links:
Modeling Index Pullman & SP HW Sleepers
Modeling Index SP HW Passenger Cars
Modeling the Owl (Part 1) WW2-to-Korea

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