Saturday, December 16, 2017

San Joaquin Daylight RPOs (Part 2) - SP 5069

In Modeling SP's San Joaquin Daylight Protection RPO SP 5124 (Part 1) I discussed the basic body changes I made to two SC&F 69-BP-30-2/3 RPO cars to make them into models of the cars assigned and painted for service in the 1941 San Joaquin Daylight.

Here SP 4352 Starts No.51 departing from Bakersfield with SP 5069 or 5070 coupled to her tender. - Eddie Sims Collection.

Now in Part 2, I will be showing the additional kitbashing required to model the roof changes of the SP 5069 and 5070 which were streamlined to match the new lightweight streamlined cars of the 1941 San Joaquin Daylight.

SP 5069 - The "Monster-Bash"

The Starting Point

Here's the starting point for the SP 5124 and SP 5069, two SC&F 69-BP-30-1/2/3 kits and an extra 70-B body.

The Goal

The goal will be to convert the parts shown above into models similar to The Coach Yard brass models below.  The Coach Yard car is the modernized version with ply-metal doors.  I will be making this kitbash as the cars appeared between about 1949 and mid-late 1950's installation of the ply-metal doors. - No, I didn't buy this car, but was able to photograph it with the owner's permission.

Left side of TCY San Joaquin Daylight SP 5069/5070 with late ply-metal doors.

Right side of TCY San Joaquin Daylight SP 5069/5070 with late ply-metal doors.

While the SP 5069 starts out looking the same, it will become quite a different car by the end of the kitbashing.

1. The 5069 and 5070 had the rounded down ends of the roof changed to a tapering end that stepped down smoothly to the profile of a lightweight streamlined passenger car.
2. The endsills were also extended and squared off to make a solid mounting point for the Full-Width Diaphragms (FWD).
3. The trucks were moved inboard, toward the car center, to make room for the end skirting which would mount the corner step grab irons like a LW Pullman or chair car.
4. The skirting would continue between the trucks and holes for the baggage and RPO steps were also cut in the skirts.
5. Garland Vents were installed, similar to what the lightweight cars had.  The SP 5124 also received modified vents as well.

The view below shows some of the conversion details, however I think the arch of the 'streamlined roof' section is not correct, it's too high and arched.  The contour should match a 1941-Pullman LW Daylight car, which is how I'll be building the model.

Detail view of TCY SP 5069/5070 showing squared off ends with streamline styling, skirting, and new roof vents.

Start Cutting

For completeness I will also show the way I did the splices slightly differently on the SP 5069  than I did on the SP 5124.  This is because of the initial cuts being in a different part of the carbody.  These basic cuts would be the same if you're making any of the 70-BP-30-2/3 class cars using a SC&F kit.

Southern Car & Foundry 70-B-series baggage section (left) with 69-BP-30-2/3 RPO section (right).

Southern Car & Foundry  69-BP-30-2/3 RPO section (left) with 70-B-series baggage section (right).

The baggage car body is cut apart and one half of the body will be used in this conversion. - The other half went to the SP 5124.  The RPO section of the 5069 needs a bit of extra work.  Unfortunately, when I was doing this phase of the kitbash I had not realized that the RPO door and windows were closer to the end of the car than the 69-BP-30-2/3 starting point model has them.

Rearranging the RPO Doors and Window side sections. - sigh.

Due to this mistake, I had to move the whole RPO door and window section over two feet.  If I were to do this again, I would make a clean cut and shorten the RPO end of the car by two feet and not have to add an extra splice from the baggage car in the middle!

Splices on the SP 5069

Splices on the SP 5069

The cuts now made, the reassembly of the car starts.

Here's the side panels glued back in place with ACC and some backing splice plates for the joints.

The other side glued back in place and spliced.

Here's a photo of the SP 5124 from this phase of the kitbash. - Almost back together again!

Now with the car back together, let's move on to the next step.

Splicing the Underframe

The centersill is lengthened by 12" for the difference between a 69 ft car and a 70ft car.

Lengthening the underframe is not that hard with a few pieces of plastic.  The resin is soft and easy to cut with the razor saw.  A shim of styrene for the floor and two vertical pieces for the centersill webs are easily fabricated and glued in place with ACC.  The cap flange is also glued in place.  Then I followed the same basic construction as I show in the SP 5199 Build Blog for constructing the underframe and truck bolsters.

The Baggage end Bolster for the SP 5069.

Here's a few photos from this 2011 build as an overview.  I built the SP 5199 in 2016 with the understanding of the kit construction I learned on the SP 5124 and 5069 mechanical construction five years earlier.  Remember that the SP 5069 and 5070 as part of their rebuilding had their bolsters moved inboard to allow room for the skirting and corner steps at the end of the car.

The RPO end of the SP 5069.

With the truck bolsters installed, I hold off on installing the coupler mounting pads until the ends are built and the diaphragms are installed.  I do this so the couplers will be exactly the right length for the diaphragms to work properly.

A 1941 Face-Lift for 5069 & 5070 - Streamlining the Car -

In the photos above I've already cut the end out of the RPO side of the car for the streamlined end.  Now I cut out the Baggage end.

Always pre-mark your cuts!  Here's the section of the end I will be removing.

Once the bodies were sorted out I started working on the stream-styled roof ends and squaring up the ends of the body.  I ended up cutting out the whole end of the car and the roof round-down and replacing all of it.

Removing the side of the baggage end of the car.

The moment of truth, converting the car to the streamlined version... The ends have been found guilty of not being prototypically correct and salvageable for this model...  They have to come off!

Down comes the guillotine!  Off with the ends!

On the end cuts, I found that I needed to angle in slightly to clear the inside of the end casting.  I decided that I would be building the end of the car out anyway, so it wasn't really an issue if I cut a saw blade width of the carside away anyway.  This sacrificed section includes the mounting bolt details for the vertical hand rail, which was moved out to the new end of the car anyway.

The other end comes off as well.

The New Ends

Now that the ends are off the car, I start fabricating the new scratch built ends for the car.  I threw a primer coat on the car to get the feel for the way the car would look painted. - At this point in 2011 the SP 5124 was nearly done and I was trying to keep the SP 5069 build at the same pace.  Obviously, the 5069 fell behind during the next phase of the build.

Rough outline build up and glued onto the baggage end of the car.

Looking at the plans of SP 5069 and 5070 in SPH&TS's SP Passenger Cars Vol.3, the SP build a new end for these cars, so I'll do the same.  The new end extendes out to the length of where the collision posts at the doorway were located.  This is about 1/8"  I laminated several sheets of 0.04" styrene together, cutting out the interior to form a doorway.  I salvaged a Full-Width-Diaphragm (FWD) off the MTH Parlor-Observation, as I will not be using that car in my trainset for the San Joaquin Daylight.

End-on view of the replacement plug.

I cut the top of the plug-end to match the MTH FWD.  The bottom I left rough.  I filed a notch to clear the coupler for the test fitting of the underframe which is critical to building these kinds of builds.  Holes were drilled for the four FWD mounting screws, a few of which were off a bit.

Here's the rough spots on the end.

The sides will be filled and sanded clean.  New Archer Rivets will also be installed to the new corner of the car.

The Streamlined Roof

Everyone seems to be very concerned about doing one of these streamlined roof retrofits.  They don't seem that hard to do if the setup is correct.  Let's see what I did next.

End wall marked with Sharpie for contour offset for the contouring roof sheet.

The first step is to mark the end of the car for the thickness of the sloping contour sheet.  I did so in black Sharpie as shown above.

Here I'm starting to file down the end wall to shape.

The next step is to make a contour bulkhead for the inner side of the contour sheet to rest on.  I tried a couple of times to lay out the sheet of plastic without it, but it was too hard.  If something's too hard, figure out a fixture, guide, or some other way to make it less complicated to solve!

Fitted with the new inner bulkhead, the FWD, time to mark and notch the new end.
This inner bulkhead is fabricated from a piece of 0.250"x 0.08" or so styrene.  I slapped it across the walls at the cut end of the roof and drew a line around the outer edge of the Harriman profile roof.  Then I rough cut it and filed-sanded it down to shape.  In the photo above, I've reached the point where I added a thinner strip of styrene after over cutting the heavy block.  This was because it was rather fiddly to get the block exactly correct angle to mate with the end wall contour as well.

Side view of the installed contour sheet.

In these three photos, the finished contour sheet is seen installed.  This would not have been easy to photograph!  However as long as I don't have a camera in my modeling hand, I was able to trim a piece of sheet styrene down to match the compound curving shape of the inner Harriman roof.

Slightly end view of the FWD and the contour sheet.

Then mark where the sides of the car will be.  Finally marking the end wall of the car and cutting it off

Here's the contour sheet installed without the FWD.

A bit of extra sanding and filing to get the new section of roof to blend into the existing cast resin roof is in order.

Inside view of the completed streamlined roof installation.

In this internal view the new end sheet, corner blocks, and inner roof contour block are visible.  I am not worried about the heavy contour block hanging down into the baggage and RPO space.  If needed I could thin it with a Dremal motor tool now that the car is all glued up and rigid again.

The completed end of the car with the FWD and streamlining.

Here's how the end looks with the FWD and the sloping roof panel.  I probably will apply some Archer Rivets on the roof and new end extension before I consider the car completed.

Wrapping Up

The next steps coming up include the installing of the doors and windows, fitting the mail catcher arms, roof vents, and grab irons.  On the underframe the end skirting with the grab irons needs to be done, as well as the steps under the baggage and RPO doors.  After everything's done, I'll go back and touch up the rough paint job.  This will include cleaning up the edges of the masking between the red and black and red and orange stripes.  Also decalling is still to come.

No.51 Departing Bakersfield - Eddie Sims Collection

The SP 5069 certainly has come a long ways.  At this point the project has been stalled for several years while I have pondered how to do the skirting and not have problems with how the car is assembled...  I do have some ideas on this.  But is 2017 almost gone already?  WOW!

Well, life has a way of putting projects like this on the back burner for a while.  Hopefully, this project will come back near the surface in 2018 and get finished so I can replicate the photo above of the San Joaquin Daylight at the Bakersfield Station on the layout of the La Mesa Club in San Diego.

Jason Hill

Related Links:
SP 5199 - Building a SC&F 69-BP-30-3 Resin Passenger Car (Part 1 of 7) - This is an in-depth look at building Southern Car & Foundry's beautiful one-piece-body resin passenger car.

Modeling SP's San Joaquin Daylight Protection RPO (Part 1) - SP 5124

Mistakes in Modeling - Part Oops! - How to fix those decalling mistakes and researching blunders.

SP 10250-51-52 (Part 1) - Diner-Lounge 1949 - Converting MTH 3-Unit Diner for seasonal service on the San Joaquin Daylight.


  1. Thanks for paving there way Jason. I have a similar car to do for the Cascade. That, too, will begin with the SC&F car.

    Bill Decker

  2. Correct Bill,
    The SP 5070 was assigned to trains 9 & 10 during the April 1953 HW car assignment published in SP Trainline No.116, Summer 2013 on page 44. The SP 5069 was repainted in Stainless Steel (Sunset-Golden State scheme), along with SP 5067, 5068. SP 5065 and 5066 were slated at the time to be repainted into Stainless Steel (Sunset style scheme) as of the list's effective date. SP 5124 on April 15, 1953 was still assigned as protection car for the San Joaquin Daylights after the conversion of SP 5217 & 5218 a couple of years earlier.
    Jason Hill

  3. The distance from end sill to center line of bolster on 70-BP-30-2's (SP-5124) was 8 foot 0 inches. For 70-BP-30-3's (SP 5069, 5070) the distance was 8 foot 9 inches. This was due to the -3 class having improved draft gears. The 70-B-8's (San Joaquin and Lark) were also set at 8 foot 9 inches from the original end sill. A suggestion for the modification of your car ends. Fasten the new lightweight end directly to the original car end, then add your roof taper and side extension transitional elements. This is the way SP actually did the modification. The original car end was not removed. This would eliminate a lot of cutting in order to remove the car end.
    Steve Peery

    1. Hello Steve!
      Yes, I did move the bolsters. At the time I didn't have a full sacrifice carbody of an MTH car to use. Also I was scheming to keep the very nice resin end for other MDC kitbashes in the future.
      Jason Hill


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