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

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