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

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