Monday, July 11, 2022

SP 140234 (Part 1) - Kitbash RC F-50-16 from F-70-7

This is a flash-back of modeling from four years before I started this blog.  I've mentioned over the last 6 years that I have kitbashed this car, but never did a blog on how it was done.  So let's crack open the old photos from late 2012 when I started working on this car.

F-50-16 kitbashed from shortened RC F-70-7.

For many years the best modelers could get was RedCaboose NYC AAR prototype 42ft, fish-belly 50-ton flatcar or even looking back to the Athearn tooled 40ft car.  

My partly completed "stand-in" F-50-16 using the RC 42ft AAR flatcar (7-2022).

However both of these other options lacked the short spacing of the stake pockets between the bolster and the end of the car and the overhanging deck, which was a signature on many later designs of SP flatcar.

Prototype Research - Flashback to 2012!

In late 2012, I was working on kitbashing a 53'6" Red Caboose/SPH&TS F-70-7 70-ton flatcar into a shorter lighter-weight 40'10" F-50-16, which was the smaller sister.  Both classes were built in 1949.

SP 541778, renumbered F-50-16 at Walong in 1971 - Charles R Lange (Cropped) used with permission

SP 140000-140499 (500 cars)
T&NO 24650-24749 (100 cars)
Total 600 cars

Renumbered during the consolidated 6-digit SP freight car numbering system, circa 1956 to 541000-series.


Red Caboose F-70-7 Underside
SP F-70-7 with center underframe cut out for track cleaning slider

For this project I started with an unbuilt Red Caboose/SPH&TS F-70-7 kit.  Shortening of the sides, floor, and deck to 40'10" in length.

Cutting Up F-70-7 Parts

F-70-7 pre-cutting

I marked where the center point of the car will be.  The resulting sides will be trimmed down to final length and glued together.

NWSL "Chopper" used to cut sidesills squarely.

The Chopper was used to keep the cuts square starting off.

Spliced sidesills after gluing together.

Finished sidesills ready to be assembled into body.

Top of marked floor for cuts

My plan on this project was to cut the underframe, keeping the center and ends for the F-50-16.

Bottom of marked floor for cuts

Ideally the cuts were made just inboard of the outer set of crossbeams and just outboard of the inner set of crossbeams.  I marked the B-end of each piece.

Floor cut into five pieces, three to become F-50-16.

Three F-50-16 floor parts set back next to each other.

Time to glue it all back together... but the sidesills will control final length.

Centersill Frame
Centersill-Underframe marked for estimated cuts.

Fish-belly centersill cut apart.

Centersill parts for F-50-16.

The cut pieces will be sanded or trimmed down to make the final fit of the underframe centersills.

53'6" deck cut down for F-50-16's 40'10" length deck.

Deckboards are one of the main features witch will control final length.

Assembly Into F-50-16

Glue the sidesills together into the full length of the 40'10" deck length car.

Sidesill gluing to B-end floor.

I started by gluing the completed sidesills to the B-end floor piece, accounting for the depth of the steel floor weight.

Applying Tamiya liquid glue to side-floor joint.

Making sure the glue joint is good and solid weld of the two pieces together.

Whole side gluing with floor and weight.

Checking the flatness of the car with the steel weight in place.

B-end floor, both sides and both ends glued together.

Here's the completed frames (side and end) around the B-end floor.

Both floor ends, endsills, & sidesills glued together.

Insert the A-end floor into the completed frame.

Top of assembled body with center floor section installed.

Glue in the center section, splitting the under-lenght space to each side of the center section.

Roughing out the positions for the brake rigging under the car.

Center floor section inserted into opening.  AB Brake system check-fitted before centersills are installed.  The centersill frame was installed without problems, but I seem not to have taken photos of that step.

Jump in Time

I missed taking any more photos of the applications of the stake pockets, couplers, etc.  I some medical issues in early 2013, and wasn't able to do fine detail work for about a year or 18 months.  So at some point over the following 2-4 years I did some more body detailing, applying the 24 stake pockets to the car and underbody.


SP F-50-16 painted standard SP FCR.

I masked the deck and sprayed the body with Star Brand SP/UP Freight Car Red.

SP 140234 Underframe, completed after painting.

Underbody painted with FCR, and oversprayed with some weathered/grimy black color (custom mixed).  Note at this point the car still has "shop wheels" which are plastic.  They will be replaced with metal before entering service.

F-50-16 deck weathering with a little FCR overspray at left.

As the F-50-16s were new in 1949, the decks should still be in good shape for the majority of my modeling era of 1948-1954.  I used ny techniques, but in a minimal way to keep the deck from looking too beat up.

In Closing

SP 140234 decalled and waiting for final detailing with grabs, stirrups, and brake staff.

Decals came from the upgraded SPH&TS set included.  I'll need to piece some bits of data together for 50-ton weights (not 70-ton) and the car class.  The final details, like grab irons, stirrups, hand brake details, etc still need to be applied and touched up with finish paint.  Then a bit weathering will be applied.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Athearn 65ft Mill Gondola (Part 2) - SP 94296 G-70-4

Athearn 65ft Mill Gondola (Part 3) - SP 160023 G-70-6

1 comment:

  1. I’m sure your models are more accurate than the F-50-16’s I made from Tyco flats, but I just couldn’t cut up my original RC F-70’s…


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