Saturday, August 18, 2018

SP F-50-Series Flatcar (Part 3 & 4) - Trucks and Couplers by OwlMtModels

In the last post I covered Parts 1 & 2 (Basic Body and Underframe/Brake Details) of my construction techniques I use when building OwlMtModels (OMM) F-50-Series Flatcar kits.

Video Instructions (Parts 3 & 4) - Couplers and Trucks, and Comments on Stake Pockets

In Part 3 of the Video I cover the installation of Couplers and Trucks for both the 2002 and 2003 kits.  Then I move on to the last details.  In Part 4 I hit quickly on several techniques for working with the solid stake pockets on these models and possible load securing methods.

Additional Comments on the Couplers and Trucks

The Couplers and Trucks are fairly straight forward to install using the kit's provided 2-56 screws.

The Couplers and T-section Trucks on OMM 2002 kit.

Red Caboose T-section trucks are included in F-50-5/8/9 cars of kit 2002.

Accurail U-section trucks on OMM 2003 kits for F-50-10/12 and retrucked -5/8/9 class cars.

The SP bought the first 1650 cars of F-50-5/8/9 classes with T-section trucks followed in 1927 by the last two classes of 950 cars F-50-10/12 which received U-section trucks.  By 1940 some cars of the earlier classes were being retrucked with U-section trucks, as needed.

Coupler Box Design

The OMM flatcars use longer 'whisker' Kadee couplers and a narrower than standard HO coupler box.  This is the OMM solution to the small size of the flatcar ends.  Normal 1/4" wide coupler boxes would have absolutely destroyed the prototypical look of the end of these cars.

An AC-11 shoves hard on an SP freight entering Caliente eastward.

In testing of the first prototype car of this design at La Mesa Model Railroad Club.  I intentionally tried to make the car derail.  I ran the car at the head end of a large train, no problem.  I tried running it just ahead of a helper mid-train, with the car being shoved on.  Also no problem.  When I finally decided to see how much the car would take, I found it took about 40 cars being pushed ahead of the OMM car, before the car pushed out to the side.  This test was preformed on 2.2% grades and several reversing curves of 48" radius.  Of course to be fair, I was using an Intermountain AC-12 with a long front coupler and no restriction in the draft gear, so that coupler could move very far off to the side when under buffing force.

I believe that any other car weighing only 3.25 Oz would have derailed before I reached the point I was pushing 40 cars.  In fact it makes since that the OMM narrow coupler design is less likely to derail when being pushed.  Derailments under extreme buff force happen when the couplers 'collapse' and push out to the side far enough that the pushing force is being directed away from the centerline of the car at the car end, which causes the end of the car to 'push out' and derail to the side.

Cut (Uncoupling) Levers

This is a quick blog post in association with OwlMtModels showing how to upgrade the OwlMtModels F-50-series kits (OMM #2002, 2003, 2004, & 2005) kits with late-style bottom acting cut levers and Hi-Tech Details 6038 Rubber Air Hoses.

Here's a string of OwlMtModels SP F-50-series flatcars, photo by Jason Hill at La Mesa Model Railroad Club.

Prototype Cut Lever Brackets & Levers

Outside view of the cut lever bracket on an SP F-50-10/12.  Photo by Jason Hill Copyright 2011.

In the photo above we see the cut lever, coupler pin, and lever bracket.  The OwlMtModels 2002 and 2003 kits have this style of bracket molded into the endsill of the car, with a call out to drill a No.78 hole for a "d" shaped eye-bolt (not provided) to hold the cut lever (also not provided).

Inside view of the cut lever and bracket on an SP F-50-10/12.  Photo by Jason Hill Copyright 2011.

There are several styles of handle shown in photos of the F-50-series cars in Tony Thompson's SP Freight Cars Vol.3 Automobile Cars & Flat Cars.  Some have this recurved shape, like the photo above, while other cars have a simple straight style.

Fabricating the Cut Levers

Here's the way the end of the car looks without the air hose or cut lever.  There is a hole cast into the coupler box (Draftgear Cover) lid and a hole called out in the endsill for the cut lever eye-bolt to mount into.  (Note: I've posted the following info on a post last year, but I'm including it again here, in context.)

Here's my pin vise and small drill index No.60-80 bits

Using my trusty pin vise with spiral handle drive and small drill bits I drilled the endsill hole before assembling the car.

Upside down OMM F-50-series flat showing the holes for the cut lever to be mounted in.

I started with some 0.012" wire and bent it into a offset "d" shape eye-bolt.  The next batch I do I'll probably see about using 0.008" or 0.010" wire, for a finer looking finished product.

Fabricated 0.012" offset eye-bolts.

The eye-bolt is mounted into the endsill and secured with a small drop of ACC on the end of some 0.02" wire from the back side.

Eye-bolt installed under the left side end grab.

Next comes fabricating the cut lever rod.  I made a bend about 0.03" in from the end of the stick of wire at about 45 degrees.  This will 'tweak' the rod out towards the coupler when mounted into the hole under the coupler.  Then a 90 degree bend to the left, sending the rod out to the left side of the car when viewed from the end.

Bending 0.012" Phosphor-Bronze wire to shape for the cut levers.

Next, I measure from the center of the coupler box hole out to the side of the car, then bend the wire down about 95 degrees to form the handle.

Upside down again showing the installation of the coupler-end of the cut lever in the hole under the coupler box.

At this point I cut the Kadee uncoupling pin off and installed the air hoses (detailed later below).

Here we can see the need for that slight tweak on the cut lever rod just about where the eye-bolt is.

In reviewing the photos, a small bend should be made about 1/16" in from the handle to level the cut lever rod out parallel with the ground.  Otherwise the lever will climb up too close to the end grab iron on the car when installed.

Carmer Levers?

Some of the earlier class cars used Carmer cut levers, but those will require removal of the existing bracket on the OMM car and fabrication of the center pivot for the Carmer lever off the endsill.  Yarmoth Models makes etched Carmer levers.  I have a set and will try installing them on one of the OMM F-50-series cars soon.

Air Hoses

I'm using Hi-Tech Details 6038 22" AAR Air Hoses on this project.

Hi-Tech Details AAR Air Hose 22" w/o Brackets, enough for four cars.

These are very nice air hoses, which are molded in rubber!  There's enough to detail four standard freight cars.  I cut the hoses off from the sprue with a straight razor blade with about 3/16" of the hose on the anglecock, which will allow plenty of material inside of the endsill to glue.

Cut Levers and Hi-Tech Details Air Hoses added to the model.

I decided to slightly over-drill the air brake pipe hole in the endsill with a No.71 drill.  This is so I don't have to deal with any rubber 'flashing' on the sides of the pipe, but there's not much there.  I didn't have any trouble threading the 'wet noodle' rubber pipe through the endsill.  Again a drop of ACC on a piece of scrap wire worked very well in securing the hose-pipe inside the endsill of the car.

Here's the F-50-series car with Air Hose and cut lever installed.

As I mentioned above, I plan to tweak the angle of the cut lever out-board of the eye-bolt before I consider this finished and paint the cut lever.  I plan to do a little highlighting of the air hose and paint the metal anglecock and the gladhand coupling.  I'll put up some additional photos once I do these last steps, but this should give you a basic understanding of what the cut levers and air hose installations look like on the OMM F-50-Series Flatcars Kits.

In Closing

SPMW 3605, which I cover in more detail in the future post.

In my next post I'll be showing painting, lettering, and weathering that I've done on several of these models.  Eventually, I may also do a video on painting, lettering, and weathering if there's enough interest.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

SP F-50-Series Flatcars by OwlMtModels (Part 1 & 2) Basic Body & Underframe and Brake Detailing - Video Instructions & Comments.

SP F-50-Series Flatcars by OwlMtModels - Overview & Weathering - Various cars I've worked on Painting and Weathering Techniques.

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