Thursday, January 13, 2022

SPMW 161 - Supply Flat - Sac Gen Stores Department

After the last post about SP Supply Train car series (SP Supply Train - Part 5 - SPMW 229 Supply Flat with Sideboards), I was contacted by a client about doing a custom model.  Ideally this new model should be similar to the 229, but in my usual style, I wanted to make it a bit different.

Completed SPMW 161, the fraternal twin of SPMW 229.

Here's the specs on this model:

* ex-SP 41209, F-50-5 class, built in 1916.
* SPMW 161 - converted to SPMW service 12-6-1948.  Shown Jan 1956 assigned to Misc Supply, which includes the Stores Department, which is what I decalled this car as.
* Use and demo OwlMtModels' new F-50-series "Jumbo" decal set.  So this car would use a mix of the new decal artwork.

SP Sacramento General Shops with lots of cars, F-50-series flatcars in various MW assignments. - Inad Akeb collection.

The client wants it to be assigned to Sacramento General Stores Department.  Following the research and mechanical design of the SPMW 229 which received 3-board sides.  However, this time we decided to try painted SP Freight Car Red on the exterior.

As the car was converted in 1948, the car probably still was using K-brakes and the regular T-section trucks.  I believe most cars pulled into company Stores Department (Supply) service were still mechanically in pretty good condition.  No "End of Train Only" stenciling for these cars.  They can be moved anywhere in any regular freight train... well, eventually after about 1956, the continuing cars probably had been upgraded with replacement AB-brakes and U-section trucks.

Building the Model

The basic construction of the model proceeds per the kit instructions.  The deck was distressed lightly before too many details were applied to the bottom of the car.  But this can really be done at any time during the construction, and adjusted later.

SPMW 161's deck with light scratching from the razor saw.

See my video 'Weathering Tutorial Flatcar Decks' on Youtube to see these techniques in detail.

Underframe proceeding

The bolsters, sidesills and endsills and centersills in place. Weights and weight covers are installed. The couplers and roping staples are installed as well.

Needlebeams and brake bracket installed.

The plastic weight cover allows the plastic underframe details to be glued securely with Tamiya liquid solvent glue, welding the parts in place.

Brake cylinder installed

This model is receiving K-brakes as would be typical of SP's older flatcar fleet during the late 1940s.  Some of these earlier F-50-5/8/9 cars retained the K-brakes into 1955, fully two years after they were banned from interchange.  This means that K-brake cars after 1953 had to stay on SP's rails or only interchanged between SP and subsidiary companies.

Trucks test fitted.

The T-section trucks are assembled with Bowser metal wheelsets (included in the kit).

Adding Cut Levers

Formed Eye-bolts from 0.012" wire stock

I fabricated a couple of eye-bolts from wire and glued them into the endsill holes.

Cut levers fabricated from 0.012" wire and installed

The cut levers are then fabricated from 0.012" wire and threaded through the eye-bolt.  A small drop of ACC/CA glue is applied to the hole in the bottom of the coupler box lid and the coupler-end of the cut lever is inserted.  A small drop of ACC is then appled to the eye-bolt to secure the outer end of the cut lever.  Beware, after the cut levers are installed they become snagging hazards until the trucks are installed.

Stirrups & Brake Rods

Stirrups installed

Cast brass stirrups are installed per the kit instructions with ACC/CA glue.  The brake levers have the brake rods of 0.012" wire glued to them and then bent to fit.  Holes are drilled just inboard of the bolsters to receive the bend ends of the brake rods.  The brake levers are then inserted in the centersills and glued with liquid solvent Tamiya glue and the ends are fixed in their holes with ACC/CA glue.

Hand brake chain and lower brake staff installed.

During installation of the brake cylinder I cut the hand brake rod at the bolster so it could be fed through the strap on the needle beam.  At this point I installed the remaining portion of the rod to the endsill.

Finished Construction of Body 2:25

Left side of completed body

The body is complete at this point.

Right side of completed body

  The trucks will be removed for painting and sprayed separately so that the whole underframe can be completely painted.

Building the Sideboards & Painting

Next I painted the body with Star Brand SP Freight Car Red, with a little faded FCR in it to brighten the car.  Before painting and weathering the deck, I made sure that the level of distressing was at the level I wanted, which was 'scratched' board grain, but not gouged or broken.  After all, this car was supposed to get what was loaded in it to the destination.

Interior deck of the car.

The deck of the car was weathered with my standard deck weathering and distressing techniques.  I wanted the deck to look like worn wood.  Not excessively beat up, but a bit weathered, with the look of a coating of dust and dirt ground into the boards, then swept out.  These cars moved rough freight, piles of tie-plates, rails, etc.  So there could even be patches of rust or grease in the wood.

Right side of the SPMW 161 with SUPPLY CAR and assignment decal on the sideboard.

Next came the ABS plastic stakes off spare OwlMtModel 3015 Narrow Lumber Load sprues.  These were glued into the stake pocket notches with ACC/CA glue.  The spare pre-stained scale 2x10 boards from the SPMW 229 and SPMW 2452 cars provided almost enough material to finish the 161's sides and only three end-boards.  I decided to leave a couple of stakes higher than the carside, again to break with the exact look of the SPMW 229.  Some prototype photos show almost every stake higher than the boards, but I decided not to take it too far this time.

Updating the paint on one end to have painted boards.

The sideboards lap over the last stakes in the side sill and the end boards are placed inboard of the draftgear stake pockets.  A smaller vertical board is nailed to the inboard side of the corner stakes to secure the outer ends of the end boards.

Left side of SPMW 161 with assignment, but no SUPPLY CAR decal.

For a little variety, I left the SUPPLY CAR in 6" letters off the left side of the car's side boards.  The 3" "SUPPLY CAR STORES DEPT" decals are still on the lower part of the side sill, and the "SAC GEN STORES" decal is applied to the lower sideboard above the reporting marks.  The assignment being clearly stenciled is to help any trainman to be able to see where the car is to returned to when empty.  The two obvious choices for the SP Pacific Lines are LA and Sacramento General Shops where most of the SP's inventory and manufacturing of parts were based out of.

High angle showing interior and replacement board on the left side.

After thinking about it for a little while, I decided that the left side of the car should have a reason why the "SUPPLY CAR" in 6" wasn't applied to that side... So I retouched the sideboard to represent an unpainted replacement board.

Weathered right side of SPMW 161.

I did some basic weathering on the car.  The client wanted the car to appear typical of the 'transition era' which he models.  So by choosing one of the earliest F-50-5/8/9 series cars to be converted to SPMW Supply Service in 1948, this gives a little time for the car to get a bit dirty, the wood to gray a bit, etc.  

The interior of the sideboards are marked with a mechanical pencil to show the nails.

I chose to give the carsides a basic light dusting of dirt and fading paint over the pre-1948 stenciled data.  If the car was retired when it was coming up to its 48-month reweigh when it was decided to put it into SPMW instead in December 1948, then the previous tare weight would have been around December 1944, which is the decal that I used, which happened to have Tuscon as the station.

Helicon Stacked Photos

I took advantage of some low winter sunshine and the photo-stacking software (Helicon Focus 7) to make some longer depth-of-field photos of the SPMW 161 before shipping it off.

View of B-end of car

I decided that the few 2x8 boards that I had to supplement when I ran out of pre-stained 2x10s would remain unpainted.  The brake wheel was soldered to the brake staff and then glued with ACC/CA glue into the brake staff's hole in the ratchet & pawl cast detail.

Completed left side of SPMW 161.

Finishing touches consisted of a light pass over the older weight data with Territorial Beige wash and some highlights to the truck sideframes to bring out the detail.  A black wash was applied over the springs and truck bolster slots, then a light dry brush with the Territorial Beige to bring out the highlights.

Completed right side of SPMW 161.

 Lastly, I sprayed the car with Testors Dullcote to kill any remaining shine from the decals.  Notice the newer 1948 stenciled lettering "SPMW 161" and the 3" SUPPLY CAR STORES DEPT" are much cleaner than the rest of the lettering on the car.  Also the repack data for the wheel bearings should be less than 4 months old, so it always should be the newest lettering on the car.

Interchange Photos

SPMW 161 at Ryan Dora's layout in So. Cal.

This car was shipped off to the customer recently and he took some photos at a friend's SP steam era layout.

SPMW 161 - Left side

One of these days I need to finish some scenic dioramas for realistic photos on my Jawbone Branch.

SPMW 161 Right side

The right side of the car showing full Supply Car letters.  I hope he enjoys this car running around in his freight trains for many years to come!

In Closing

Side-by-side, SPMW 229 (left) and SPMW 161 (right).

Let's look at the last two projects in the same photos.  The SPMW 229's obvious difference is that the side boards aren't painted, but weathering natural wood, while SPMW 161's painted sides look more prim and proper with extra stenciling.  Note that I've not yet weathered SPMW 229's sides over the decals.

Reverse side-by-side of SPMW 229 (left) and SPMW 161 (right).

This was a fun repeat project; same, yet different.  I may try to work in building-up maybe a batch of 10 kits and offering them for sale.  I'll not be repeating any numbers, if the cars are using historic number series (SPMW roster, ORER data, etc), but without prototype photos (a.ka. 'typical' modeling).  Obviously if I were to create a replica of certain cars, like SPMW 847, for example, then any completed models for sale would be replicating that number.

Jason Hill

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1 comment:

  1. Absolutely love these cars and the way you have finished them!


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