Tuesday, March 21, 2023

SP Supply Train (Part 7) - 1945 Consist Info From Ken Harrison's SPMW Book

In Modeling an MOW Supply Train (Part 1), I covered the July, 1946 Consist of the Supply Train from Bruce Petty's SPMW book. 

Now in 2023, Ken Harrison's new SPMW book has been printed and released by the SPH&TS.  Included in the Appendix II (pgs. 474-475) is a consist for the LA General Shops Department for Oct 18, 1945.  I'm going to do my usual modeling consist analysis of how to model it with cars available in HO scale.  I'm also going to look at the differences from the previous consist in Part 1.

The new resource for SPMW modeling from Ken Harrison

The consist is basically the same, but it is expanded with extra spare cars, filling the consist from 9 cars to 25 cars.  I wonder what the reason for the 1945 consist of 25 cars verses the consist of 15 months later dropping to only 10 cars (counting caboose).  Perhaps the 1946 consist still had some of the other storage boxcars behind the 'caboose', but maybe the consist really did shortened down as the post-war rebuilding of the railroad was getting caught up after 4-5 years of war time shortages.

October, 1945 Supply Train Consist

1. Gondola, 40ft - Empty
SP 53825 G-50-6/8-class kitbash

If the SP was using revenue gondolas to support the Supply Train, then I would think that they would have been using G-50-6/8 class cars.

SP Rule 229 states that "All coal and wood falling from trains must be picked up from the right of way, piled at section-houses, and held subject to orders from the Superintendent."

So maybe these extra empty cars were filled with this reclaimed material, maybe loaded by hand using shovels?

2. Gondola, 40ft - Empty
Same comments as for Car #1, above.

3. Flatcar, 40ft - Empty
SPMW 1413 with more 'orderly' sideboards than the more random ones I'll show later on 161 and 229.

I do wonder if this empty flatcar would have full sideboards, partial, or removable sideboards.  It's not clear exactly what this car's purpose for being empty is.

4. Flatcar, 40ft - Push Cars & Speeders, etc (this is the first car of the previous consist list from Part 1)
SPMW 1782, while assigned to T&M service, I think would have similar sideboard arrangement.

The speeder car I think would have to use low and removable sideboards, to allow the equipment to be loaded and unloaded.  I also wonder if there was a small jig crane or other mechanical assistance to load and unload this car along the right of way.  I'll probably do a car with "removable" sideboards based on a couple of cars showing that type of arrangement in the Ken Harrison book.

5. Flat or Gondola, 40ft - Lumber Car
NWP 4474 loaded with stacks of rough cut wood.  I would think that the lumber cars in Supply Train would be finished sizes and to order based on the requests from the division.

The source doesn't say if it's a gondola or a flatcar loaded with lumber.  So this car could certainly be a revenue flatcar or a revenue gondola, or just as easily a MW service car, reloaded specifically for the Supply Train.

6. Gondola. 40ft - Load New, S.H., Scrap Rail
Example of one of the few SPMW gondolas, in this case a G-50-3, heavily kitbashed from a Bachmann/Tyco gondola.

The cars assigned to spot #6 and #8, and possibly spots #1 & 2, probably could also be standard revenue gondolas.  I'm showing SPMW "Ready Shop" cars... I'm not sure that the SP used their "Shop" cars in this way.  I need to do more research if 'Shop' cars were used for scrap and secondhand material to haul back to the 'shops' or if they were really used to move 'Shop' supplies, like raw steel from the big material yards, like Sac General Shops to the various outlaying division shops.  Compared to the Supply Cars, there weren't many 'Shop' cars, and no gondolas assigned to Supply service.  Given those conditions, I'm more thinking that gondolas in this consist were revenue cars.

7. Flatcar, 50ft - with Crane SPMW 3400, SPMW 2011 - F-50-14
Likewise, SPMW 5879, also an F-50-14, which was retired to MW service after 1954 and fitted with Burro SPO-257.

The consist shows SPMW 2011, one of only two 53ft F-50-14s retired in 1940, probably specifically for the LAGS and Sac General Shops' Supply Trains.  I believe this assignment would use an electro-magnet on the crane to pick up and handle the steel and iron materials.

8. Gondola. 40ft - Load Track & Car New, S.H., Scrap Materials
SPMW 1162, an ex-EPSW gondola assigned to Ready Shop service.

Same notes as for Car #6.  SPMW 1162 isn't quite done in this shot.  I'll probably do some more finishing work on it, and do it's own blog post at some point.

9. Tankcar, 40ft - Gasoline Supply, SPMW 1317 - O-50-8
SP 58578, while a regular O-50-13, shows the paint scheme that SPMW 1317 used.

This car is equipped with pump, meter equipment in the A-end of the tank and hoses to fill the gasoline cans at each station.  These cars were painted SP Colonial Yellow (light yellow) on the tank with black frames and lettering.

I plan to kitbash an Athearn tank car to model SPMW 1317 as an O-50-8, which will require converting the car to a radial course construction and installing all of the pumping, metering, and hose boxes.  I'll be covering that project when I do it.

10. Tankcar, 40ft - Switch Light Oil, SPMW 1633 - O-50-11
SPMW 1633 Supply - Switch Light Oil Tank Car O-50-11 - Brian Black & Nolan Black collection

The hoses and support gear were fitted for use on the Supply Trains delivering switch light oil.  I'll probably kitbash a model of SPMW 1633 using the various techniques to model the radial tank with teh smaller 54" dome, in addition the boxes for the hoses and meter boxes.

SP 58684 is a later class than the SPMW 1633, but shows the Diesel scheme.

Diesel Fuel Oil and Switch Light Oil cars were painted aluminum (silver) with black lettering.

11. Boxcar, 40ft - Misc Scrap & Old Tools - Pool Car
SPMW 701 Supply Car "Pool Car" kitbashed from Accurail wood 40ft boxcar

I'm guessing this would be a car out of the SPMW "Supply Car" pool, these cars should probably have the ladder and stirrup to the left of the side door.

12. Boxcar, 40ft - S.H. & Scrap & S.H. Picks Only, SPMW 1165 - B-50-10
It would appear that there was an assigned car for this position, probably with tool racks and bins inside.

13. Boxcar, 40ft - Motor Oil, SPMW 1341
The 1341 is a B-50-6, which was retired on Dec 31, 1952, being scrapped in Feb 1953. 

Harrison's new book and roster data CD states that this car is equipped as follows:
    Equipped with six internal tanks and pumps for oil supply service.
    First assigned to Los Angeles. At Los Angeles 8/19/1948. 
    Last assigned LAGS.  Dismantled Los Angeles 2/20/1953.

Interesting statement paired with the Appendex II consist of the Supply Train shows this car was used for Motor Oil, so I'm guessing this was six tanks of various weights of motor oil for refilling cans along the resupplying route.  The car was converted to SPMW service in Sept, 1937 and retired in 1953.

 This car was specially fitted with six tanks for motor oil.  I don't know if this car was replaced in the supply train service with another car before 1956's roster.  I've not seen another car like this in the roster.

14. Coach, 67ft - Office, SPMW 1370
These office and crew cars provided space for the Supply Train crew to stay during their multi-day trips around the system.  At least two of these "Office" cars had to be in service at any point in time, as one Supply Train worked out of Sacramento General Shops and one out of Los Angeles General Shops.
The SPMW 1370 was an ex-Baggage-Club combine car assigned to "Office" service in 1937 at Los Angeles from SP 3077, and retired Oct 31, 1946 and in February, 1953, a retired B-50-13 was assigned to SPMW 1370 as a Bunk car.  

SPMW 740 - Very similar to SPMW 1370 - both were built as wood underframed Baggage-Buffet cars, rebuilt with steel underframes (Circa 1913), and eventually converted to Baggage-Club cars (circa 1925).

SPMW 740 right side of prototype - Tony Johnson Photo Collection (cropped, used with permission)

Previously, I covered the SPMW 740 which was used from circa 1935 from SP 3073, until retired after 17 years in 1952, dismantled in 1954.  The SPMW 598, ex-SP 2935 Lounge replaced SPMW 740 in December 1953, transferring the internal fittings over to the new car.

Given that the 1370 was built in 1899 and was a wood-UF Bag-Club car, it should appear very similar to the 740.  At this time, I'm not sure if I'll repaint my model of SPMW 740 (shown below) or if I'll leave it as 740 (Sacramento Supply Train) and fill the spot in the 1945 consist with a protection coach or something.

15. Flatcar, 40ft - Truck Mat'L
This Supply Car, SPMW 161 with sideboards, I decalled for assignment to Sacramento Stores Department for a customer.

I'm suspicious that this should read "Track" Mat'L... as I doubt that in 1945 "Truck" material would be shipped in the supply train.  Freight car trucks... like brasses? or is it talking about trucks, like the MW support vehicles?  For now I'm leaning towards this meaning 'Track" material.

16. Flatcar, 40ft - Spikes
Another flatcar, SPMW 229, a Supply car assigned to LA General Stores Dept.

There's actually a photo of a Spikes car being unloaded in the new book!  These would be kegs of spikes.  The car has low sideboards, like my SPMW 229, but with a removable door between the center stake pockets.  The crews were using sliding the kegs down to the ground level on the ramp using a C-channel ramp.

The car shown in the new Ken Harrison book is a revenue F-50-1/2/3 class car (40214) with sideboards, like my SPMW 229, but with a center removable section for unloading the kegs.  I may end up building a removable spike load with the sideboards attached that can fit on one of my revenue F-50-5+ series cars to use temporary in Supply Train service.

17. Boxcar, 40ft - Small Supplies, SPMW 3698 - B-50-10
SPMW 3698 ready for its Supply Train assignment.

I'm assuming this one was fitted with racks for small materials, like is shown in SP This is My Railroad 1947 for signal lenses, etc.

The 1956 roster shows a B-50-10 retired in 1951, and also assigned to this service.  Thankfully the 3698 from 1945 is shown in a photograph in Harrison's new book on pg. 336, which clearly shows the car to be a B-50-10.  So I'm guessing that either the 1956 roster is a typo on the date the car was retired... or that the 1945 B-50-10 #3698 was retired and replaced by the new car in 1951 with the same number, maybe for the same assignment.

18. Boxcar, 40ft - Track Tools, SPMW 1343 - B-50-9
SPMW 2272 is a Ready Boxcar, B-50-6/9 were almost identical, so I'm showing it as a stand-in for SPMW 1343.

Probably an assigned car, fitted with tool racks and hangers for the specific track tools.  The 1343 was retired in 1950.

Note that this car is a B-50-9, which is interesting, as this car appears to be the only B-50-9 Supply car, while there were 6 other B-50-6s in Supply Car service.

19. Boxcar, 40ft - Peddler?, SPMW 2164 - B-50-5 (Bunk Car) or SPMW 2195 - B-50-10
No idea what "Peddler" is supposed to mean in this case.  It seems that two cars are assigned to rotate through this position in the consist.  It would seem that these cars were used at least in 1945 Supply Train service as cars with sleeping accommodation for a clerk to keep track of the supplies and storage racks for supplies.
A possible look for B-50-10 with Bruce Petty's "Klamath Falls Supply Car" style windows (using my SPMW 438 Scale Repair Car kitbash as example)

An interesting thought on what this car might be found in Bruce Petty's SPMW book from a drawing on page 25 for a Supply Car for the Klamath Falls Branch from 1924.  This plan shows plenty of windows (4-5 window to each side of the door, and two in the side door) on both sides.  I think the car must have been a double-sheath car, B-50-1/2/4/5 or B-40-series to have so many windows.  The interior shows many multiple compartments for misc tools below the work bench, 'pigeon holes' on about 1/3 of the wall length.  Also there is a berth, stove, closet and lockers, presumably for the Stores Department worker.  I'm guessing this K.Falls car was used to transport on a regular basis, company material for the branch so a multiple car Supply Train didn't need to be sent up the branch. 

Perhaps this is why there are two cars that are assigned to the LA Supply Train, which allows them - or at least one - to 'roam' on the branches, while the other stays with the train.  The problem with this theory is then, why would they need a car like this in the regular train with accommodations, when the "Office" car probably has sleeping accommodations for the regular staff for the Supply Train.

20. Boxcar, 40ft - Rack for Oils, SPMW 2209 - B-50-10
SPMW 2209, assigned Supply Car service.

I'm assuming a car with racks for various oil containers.  The assigned car makes me thin the car is fitted with racks or other restraints for the drums or cans.

On the 2209 I used the "SUPPLY CAR" from OwlMtModel's SPMW (Decal #1214) which is smaller than the "standard" lettering, which I've seen on post-war examples (such as SPMW 2681).  Instead I followed the example found on page 336 of Ken Harrison's new SPMW book, showing SPMW 3698 which has this style of smaller "SUPPLY CAR" lettering.  The rest of the decals came from a mix of the OwlMtModels sets and the SPMW Boxcar and Pullman sets from Todd Osterburg's artwork.

I also applied some of the "KEEP FIRES & LIGHTS AWAY" stencils, as this car would be hauling various oil and petroleum products.  I placed two pairs of these: one just to the right of the weight information and the other on the door near the locking levers. - We're redrawing this stencil artwork for the new OwlMtModels #1218/1219 SPMW Supply Car decal sets which are in the works (2023, May), so it should be more in scale with the photos of other applications (SPMW 3165) when applied to car sides for permanently assigned car loading, instead of temporary placards - as seen on tank cars.

I still need to do a little more on this one with the mid-car ladder and stirrup step fabrication and installation.

21. Boxcar, 40ft - Drums For Oils, SPMW 2196 - B-50-10
Maybe for distributing smaller oil containers.  I'm not sure if those would be loaded or empty.  The assigned car makes me thin the car is fitted with racks or other restraints for the drums. This car should be fitted with "Flammable" placards or stencil warnings for this kind of loading.

22. Boxcar, 40ft - Supplies, SPMW 3724 - B-50-10
SPMW 3724 assigned Supply Car

Obviously the SPMW 3724 was fitted internally with something special for carrying these "Supplies" as it is specified by number for this assignment, possibly racks, etc.

Like the 2209, I still need to do a little more on this one with the mid-car ladder and stirrup step fabrication and installation.

23. Boxcar, 40ft - Misc Supplies, Pool Car
SPMW 2681, pool SUPPLY CAR.

I'm guessing this would be a car out of the SPMW "Supply Car" pool.

24. Boxcar, 40ft - Renewals, Pool Car
SPMW 498, another pool SUPPLY CAR.

I'm guessing this would be a car out of the SPMW "Supply Car" pool.

25. Boxcar, 40ft - Drum Gas, Pool Car
SPMW 2676, the last B-50-12 in MW service and in use as Supply Car.

I'm guessing this would be a car out of the SPMW "Supply Car" pool.  I'm also guessing this car was carrying bulk drum gasoline which could be unloaded at various stations.  This car should be fitted with "Flammable" placards or stencil warnings for this kind of loading.

- BTW, I know this is the wrong car number, now that Ken Harrison's SPMW book came out, the 2676 is wrong decalling, 2767 is actually a B-50-11.  I will have to redecal this car yet a 3rd time to either 3931 or 3932, which were both retired (USRA) B-50-12s and assigned to Supply Service on 17 Sept, 1945 at Bayshore and lasted until July 31, 1953 and April 1949 respectively.

Comments & Thoughts

I tend to disagree with Ken Harrison's assertion in the book that the SP used revenue boxcars in the Supply Train service, as the 1956 roster seems to show about 120 cars, a healthy number of available boxcars, assigned for such use.  

The availability of gondolas on the other hand in the SPMW roster is a problem.  Most are assigned to the SP Shops, not Supply Train service... which I find interesting.  They usually show as Ready Gondolas, and were mostly G-50-2 and G-50-3s, perhaps sand service?  I'm not sure if these would have been borrowed or if regular revenue GS gondolas would have been used in the Supply Train service.  It's also possible that these "gondolas" were actually F-50-series flatcars fitted with metal ends, like the wheel cars and possibly wood sides or stakes that could have been removed easily.

I would guess that the first two empty gondolas in the consist are meant to be available to swap into the 6th and 8th positions when the cars next to the crane get full?  The same is probably the case with the 3rd car, an empty flatcar, but it's not obvious which car this empty is protecting.  Cars 15 & 16 seem to be unloading materials, not loading used material, so they wouldn't get replaced with an empty car.

The SP took delivery of the G-50-22s in the end of 1948, so these were not available for the 1945/1946 consists.

I should also comment that these consists are from 1945 and 1946, several years before the orders of F-70-6/7s, F-50-16 and G-50-18/20/22/23 were built, so the newest GS gondolas available would be the G-50-9/10/11/12 Enterprise cars and the majority rest of the SP Pacific Lines gondolas would have been G-50-3/6/8s which had squared floor-side joints, but only half drop doors.  Likewise the majority of the flatcars in service would still have been the F-50-series cars.  This means that if I was to build this exact consist, for 1945/1946, I couldn't use the Red Caboose G-50-18 and G-50-22s in the train.

In Closing

Supply Cars SPMW 2681, 701, 2676, & Ready Box 2257.

This post was supposed to be mostly a quick update for my Supply Train series now that Ken's book is out.  I'm still planning to do some more kitbashes to better model some of the unique cars used on the Supply Trains.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Freight Car Overview Index - Links to various SPMW blog posts

Modeling an MOW Supply Train (Part 1) - Back to the beginning of this series.

This is My Railroad - Steam Version (1947) - YouTube link

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Modeling SP RSD-5 (Part 1) Horns, Indicators, & Stacks

About 15 years ago, on my original geocities blog, I posted about my Atlas/Kato SP RSD-5 conversions.  It's about time to bring the article up to date and repost it.  Special thanks also to Alden Armstrong, who shared his beautiful photos from the early 1950s!

SP 5301, 5339 & 5337 lashed up.

Atlas' RSD-4/5 model is about the only plastic starting point in HO scale.  Major issues that require buying nearly a whole new hood shell for the units include that the engines used paper air filters, instead of the louvered long-hood doors, tall battery boxes going all the way to the rounding of the short-hood, and dynamic brake slots and sheet metal fins over the end of the short-hood.

"Fixing" these issues is beyond the scope of this kitbash.  The correct long-hood with the paper air filters has been made available by Bowser, I believe as their RS-3 long-hood.  Several people have offered a new roof for the short hood with the dynamic notches, but you're still on your own for fabricating the covering sheet metal parts.

As most of the following models were already factory painted or already had the majority of the custom paint job done, the customer's didn't want to start over and completely rebuild the models from scratch.  Thus the level of rebuilding will be kept to details and added parts, not replacing the whole shell of the model.

Prototype Classes

First, let's look at the prototype engines, and their differences.

DS-114 (SP 5294-5307)

SP 5303 in Tiger Stripes at Taylor Roundhouse, Los Angeles, circa 1953-54 - Alden Armstrong photo used with permission

Super corrected models for SP RSD-5s of class DF-115 (SP 5294-5307) & DF-114 (5336-5339) had large "ash-can" spark arrestors installed and ran long-hood forward.  The DF-114 class, SP 5305-5307 were built as dual-control cabs and train indicators on both ends of the cab, but were designated as long-hood forward as the 'normal' direction.

Front right side of SP 5301 with orange end lettering, per photos

The DF-114s had vertically mounted headlights.  I stopped on these models about half way through doing the conversion, as the next step would be making the outer ring and plate glass cover for the pair of headlights.

I put La Belle crew in both sides of the 5301, and opened the windows, which was common on helpers and as these first generation engines had no air-conditioning.  A-Line photo-etched cab shades were used on these units, as they're about the only ones out there made from brass with the legs to survive being bumped.

Front left side of SP 5301.

I never got around to applying the diagonal "tiger stripes" decals to the fuel tank and lower ends of the 5301.   Perhaps someday I'll get around to it during the next rounds of detail upgrades.  I might get some class lights to put on the long hood too.  I should add that the plastic horn brackets got knocked off over the last 20 years of service, so those will need to be replaced at some point before I put the 5301 back into service on the Jawbone Branch.

5306, one of the three bidirectional RSD-5.

Not much is different on the last three DF-114s, except they were fitted with dual-control stands in the cab and train indicators on the short-hood end of the cab to display their identification when running short-hood forward.  They were to be used on stub-end branch lines, with no turning facilities, but mostly they were used as normal DF-114s in helper assignments, locals, and even showing up on the SD&AE.

DF-119 (SP 5336-5339)

Possibly Walong SP 5339 in original Tiger Stripes, shoving mid-train circa 1953-54 - Alden Armstrong photo, used with permission

The DF-119 class engines were unique in that they were fitted with large "ash-can" style signal lights (white) on both ends and water tanks for the turbo charger ahead of the stack, which the other sister classes did not have.

The SP 5337 was even a bit weirder in that when the engine was assigned to work out of Sparks it was fitted with snow plows on both ends, per photos in Strapac's Alco Road-Switchers book.

SP 5337's short hood end with plow and signal light.

I went ahead and built my 5337 as a black-widow version and as fitted for service out of Sparks, NV on the locals around there.  My engineer is resting his arms on the edge of the cab with the window open on his side of the cab.

Left side of the SP 5337.

The left side of the 5337 has its windows closed and sunshade collapsed down against the cab-side, so at least from this side the 5337 can be realistically used as an MU'd engine mid-consist or trailing engine.

DF-126 (SP 5494-5507)

SP 5498 (right) and 5294 (left) at Taylor Yard engine house, circa 1955-56 - Alden Armstrong photo used with permission

The later class DF-119 (5445-5448) & DF-126 (5494-5507) were built to run short-hood forward and didn't need the arrestor stacks as the exhaust system was improved.  The DF-119 & DF-126 classes were built in 1954 & 1955 respectively, so are after my modeling era.  These two later classes used the two sealed beam main lights (one is a gyra-lite) with the red square signal light above on each end.  The horns moved to the cab roof and were the same 3-chime style.

Kitbashing Parts

Now let's look at the different parts that are needed for all SP RSD-5s.

DF-114/119 Horn Bracket

Nathan P3, 3-Chime horn on plastic bracket

The problem with the plastic C-channel bracket that I used is that it doesn't survive a sharp bump without breaking off.  I'd probably do it again with a piece of bent brass sheet or structural shape.

Train Indicators

SP 5337's train indicators, only on the "front" of the engine's hood.

All of the long-hood forward engines (5294-5307, 5336-5339) were fitted with train indicators just in front of the cab.  The following classes (5445-5448, 5494-5507) were fitted with their train indicators on the short hood side of the cab.

SP 5305-5307 with dual controls and train indicators on both ends.

The 5306 has indicators on the short hood also.  The horn is still mounted on the long hood side of the cab.

DF-114/119 Spark Arrestor Stack - OMM 4079 - $14.95/ea

Scratch-built RSD-5 stack with PSC screen for SP 5337.

Originally, 20 years ago I was scratch-building the large stacks from styrene tube and strips. 

SP RSD-5 3d printed stack with screen on SP 5339 with turbo tank to the left.

In 2021, I did some drawings for OwlMtModels to offer two versions of these stacks for sale.  Contact OwlMtModels at sales at owlmtmodels (dot) com for specific ordering information and availability.

Update: 2023-05-10, OwlMtModels 4079 is available for $14.95/each.

Or open-topped without the screen mesh, which could be made from PSC screen or other vendors' material.

New OwlMtModels 4079, 3d printed stack on SP 5339

DF-119 Unique Parts

SP 5337 with snow plows (both ends) and the signal light.

The DF-119 had two extra features not seen on any of the other three classes.  These units were setup a bit more for road-switcher assignments than the DF-114, which were bought for operations on Tehachapi grades between LA and Bakersfield, and the last three units were regularly used on stub-end branches without turning facilities at the ends.

Turbo Charger Expansion Tank

Top view of SP 5337 with expansion tank and stack - (Sorry for the low-res photo)

The turbo tank was made with styrene sheets.

The new stack with the turbo tank to the left.

Signal Lights

SP 5337 signal light made from DTW's "SP Ash-can" headlight.

I drilled through the back and lit the signal light.  The old MV lens were used with the backing foil removed.  I focused the light once the lens was in place.

In Closing

SP 5339 and 5337 sitting on the west wye switch at Owenyo.

I didn't get into changing the louvers to the paper filters or changing the short hood to model the dynamic brakes with the sheet metal fins.

Jason Hill

Later, I'll add related diesel modeling articles

Monday, March 13, 2023

SP Supply Trains (Part 6) - SPMW 2681 - Repaint & Decal

During the 1997-1998 time frame I built was my original model of SPMW 2681, this was one of my first SPMW cars.  I used a couple of single frames from SP's 'This Is My Railroad' film from 1947 as my prototype reference.  Some minor changes were made as I added grab-ladders to the left of the side doors and stirrups on both sides of the car.  This grab-ladder was typical of MW and Supply Cars so crews could easily access the cars without a platform when distributing materials and supplies along the right-of-way.

Fresh from rebuild, from a full shopping and repaint after 20+ years of service!

Unfortunately, after hand-applying all the SUPPLY CAR decals from the Micro-Scale alphabet sets, the 18-ish year old me didn't moderate the weathering on the car.  Sooo, I've not liked that the reporting marks were overly covered.  Also, the FCR color that I used back then was Floquil Boxcar Brown, which wasn't really red enough for SP's FCR.

My original appearance of SPMW 2681 for over 20 years.

I knew it was time to repaint this car, as for a long time as operators were always complaining about the car number being unreadable, often getting the wrong number on the switchlists as a result.  So, just like the prototype, when you can't see the car number anymore, it's time to fix that with a new coat of paint!

SPMW 2681 Supply Car.  It took several frames to see the whole car number in the few second clip. - Screen shot from the film SP TIMR'46.

The car started as a basic Accurail 40ft single-sheath boxcar with pressed steel ends.  Technically the B-50-10 starting point, probably should still have wood ends, but that would be a bigger rebuild at this point than I'm willing to do, so the car will re-enter service as a stand-in model.   If I ever come up with a simple conversion to make the steel-end Accurail cars like this more accurate, then I'll haul the car into the shop again for another rebuild... hopefully, sooner than another 20 years!

So, Time For a New Coat of Paint!

Alcohol Scrub

Left side after scrubbing off old decals.

I started by washing the car sides with rubbing alcohol and an old tooth brush.  As the decals never really were seated down well enough with smooth paint and MicroSol in the original application... I think I dull-coated the car too soon.  It needed a few more applications of the MicroSol to fully snug down, but I didn't do it.  So this allowed the alcohol under the decals at this point to remove them.

Right side after scrubbing off old decals.

A few parts of the decals around the reporting marks stuck better and were being difficult.  So I used the tip of my carbide scribe to help rub the decals off the rough board details.  The heralds were snugged too well between the ribs, so I decided to leave that alone.

SP FCR Paint

Left side after airbrushing body with fresh coat of SP Freight Car Red paint.

The Star Brand paint went on well, despite the cold wet weather we've been getting in winter of 2023.  Each part of the car was given a light coat from two or three directions to get an even coat.

Right side after a coat of new SP FCR.

I pondered not painting the roof again, but I went ahead and did the whole body.  The prototype car in the 1947 company film was showing the car being completely repainted and in the shot with the crew loading the car for Supply Train service, shows it freshly painted with some over-spray on the stenciling.  So I'll be trying to finish this car as a shop fresh painted car.  The 1956 Roster shows the 2681 was retired from revenue service in May 1943, so for the 1947 film, they could very well have been using the footage from 1943.


Right side with "SUPPLY CAR" decal cut, lined up and in place.

The Star Brand paint went on smooth enough to apply the PDC.ca decals directly over the paint without an additional gloss coat.

Left side after applying the SUPPLY CAR decal

I tried to match the prototype car's placement of the SUPPLY CAR lettering first.  As the prototype is a B-50-10, and the Accurail model's missing a few of the double diagonal side braces at the ends, this was a bit tricky.  But it's nice to be able to follow the board details and line the decals up horizontally to them.

Reporting Marks & Data Decals

All the decals applied to the car's left side.

The prototype car doesn't have LD LMT stencils applied, as it's not needed for company service.  I went ahead and put on the tare date stencil for 5-43 out of Sacramento General Shops, as I think that's where the car was shown being loaded for Supply service.  It is debatable if they would have bothered with this on company service cars.  However, many MW cars have no other weight data stencils other than the LT WT tare weight.

Right side fully applied decals.

I also added the car assignment stencil for SAC GEN STORES above the tare date.  At the far right end I also added the standard repack data stencil.  So this wraps up all of the basic side lettering for an SP Supply Car.

End Decals

A-End reporting mark decals applied.

I went ahead and cut out the end reporting marks in four pieces.  I believe that many of the SPMW cars put the MW ahead of the number on the second line.

B-End reporting mark decals applied.

Technically, a B-50-10 class car should have wooden ends.  In Anthony Thompson's book no B-50-10/11s were shown with replacement steel ends, so I really should have wooden ends more like my model of SP 24864, but even those aren't quite right as the SP included diagonal end braces on the outer sections of the ends.  As this car is a stand-in, I'm not too worried about it.

In Closing

Right side

Back on the layout for some photos.  My SPMW 2681 was originally planned to fit into my 1946 SPMW SUPPLY TRAIN consist, which I covered in Part 1, which was 9 cars and a caboose.

Right B-end view

I don't really plan to weather this car much this time.  I like that the car looks like the one in the movie film.  The trucks and underframe have enough weathering to be suitable for a car in service within a few months of a fresh paint job.

Left side

I tend to think that the SP didn't allow the Supply Cars to get into that bad of a worn out condition, as the cars were still used in regular freight trains to move the supplies around the system.  So it's good to see the car ready to go back into Supply Train service.  

Left A-End view

Coming up next post in this series, will be a breakdown of Ken Harrison's new book, which has a page in the Appendix covering the 1945 Supply Train Consist out of LA!  Boy, will it be a big breakdown - 25 cars long!  I look forward to finishing that post and seeing you there.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

SPMW 161 - Supply Flat - Sacramento General Stores Department