Sunday, February 25, 2018

Modeling SPMW Supply Train (Part 2) - The Caboose

SPMW 740 -  Ex-Baggage-Club turned Supply Caboose.

The SPMW 740 was assigned to the Sacramento Shops based Supply Train during the 1940s.

SPMW 740 with large door opening.  Tony Johnson Collection, used with permission.

The SPMW 740 started life as a Baggage-Club Car which fell out of favor during the late 1920s.  This car was from the preceding generation of wood framed 'truss rod' cars, and was out of regular passenger service as the new All-Steel came into service.  Many of these older cars were fitted with steel center sills and underframes and continued in service through the late 1930s, eventually being replaced with the newer cars and streamlined trains of the late 1930s.

Left side of SPMW 740.  Kitbashed about 1998 by a much younger Jason Hill.

My model started life as a MDC/Roundhouse undecorated 80ft "Palace" 'combine' car from the 1890s, it too really a Baggage-Club Car not what we normally thing of as a baggage-coach 'combine, still a "combine", but not the normally associated version.

Right side of SPMW 740, with added window and half door blanked out.

This was a fairly easy conversion.  I didn't try to rebuild the windows to exactly match the prototype photos, but I did cut a hole in the right side for an extra window.  I used some flavor of metal window casting, not sure where I got it from.  Extra grab irons and stirrups were formed from wire and installed.

Rear 3/4 view of the SPMW 740 showing the changes to the rear of the car..

The curved 'caboose' style grabiron was installed at the vestibule and I cut open the vestibule doors.

The underframe of the car is pretty basic; tool boxes, a couple of tanks, at some point I should probably install a Cal-Scale UC brake set or maybe an older set of brakes.  The trucks are old Rivarossi trucks.  I'd use Walthers trucks today, and I might upgrade the trucks if I plan to start operating this car more or put lights in it.

Front of SPMW 740

The front half of the baggage door was blanked off to match a photo in Bruce Petty's Southern Pacific Maintenance of Way book, which was my only reference for this car at the time.  I put a Tichy door over the front of the baggage  I've since seen a photo of this car from Tony Johnson's photo collection showing it with a full baggage door.  Probably some more digging will be needed to see if the door was cut down to half size later in life.

Patchy 'tar paper roof' applied to the model.

During the late-1990's, I was playing with various ways to do tar paper roofing and patches.  The method I developed came from model airplanes and 'doping' of tissue paper onto the model surface, then stretching it out before it dried.  Instead of normal model aircraft 'dope' I used Floquil paint.  I've since used this technique with Polly-Scale brand acrylic paint with equal success. 

Wrinkles and other 'mistakes' happen, and one of the 'fun' things in doing the technique was to try to adjust it before it dried.  One of the main challenges was what to do when you tore a hole in the paint soaked tissue.  These are usually places I cut another piece and 'patch' after the first application has dried.


Although I've not worked on this car in 20 years, it still holds up pretty well.  This car won a podium place at one of the last SPH&TS Conventions (2016 maybe, I don't recall now) in the MOW category.  While I might do some future upgrades, I don't plan on it anytime soon.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Modeling SPMW Supply Trains (Part 1) - An overview of the SP Supply System.

Modeling Ex-EPSW 40ft Ballast Gondola - How to make an inexpensive car correct for a obscure prototype.

Mistakes in Modeling - Part Oops! - Fixing that mistake you find doing further research.

Modeling SP Road Switchers - (Part 1) Small Steam Engines - S-class, M-class, C-class, and T-class engines of the SP.

1 comment:

  1. Thorougly enjoy your articles as they give me more information when it comes to finding different prototypes for SP rolling stock.


Please identify yourself at the end of your message. Please keep comments relevant to the post or questions to me directly.
All comments are moderated and must be approved, so give me a bit of time to approve them.
No random solicitation in comments. Spamming and phishing comments will be deleted or not allowed to post.