Thursday, August 31, 2023

New Tangent SP B-50-28 and T&NO B-50-32s - Review

Stock Tangent Models SP B-50-28.

Tangent Scale Models has now (2023-08) released SP B-50-28 and -32 (T&NO) models.  


Built 9-12/1950 thru 6/1951 *
    SP 102100-103599, 1500 cars
    SP 104100-105099, 1000
    SP 105100-105599, 500
    T&NO 59750-60249, 500
    T&NO 60250-61249, 1000

Totaling 3000 Pacific Lines, 1500 Texas Lines = 4500 cars combined

The SP models from the first run seem to be confined to the first 500 car numbers, with their details for hand brake, roof walk, and trucks.  So while the class had 3000 Pacific Lines cars, I hope that they will do other detail versions for future releases.  Currently, I have ordered one model and will see how it looks.  If other versions are done later, I may pick up a couple more to fill out my post-war fleet.


Built 2-4/1953 & 1953 by P-S
    SP 107100-107699, 600 cars
    T&NO 61250-62249, 1000 cars

Totaling 1600 cars combined

Currently, I have ordered one SP model and will see how it looks.  If other versions are done later, I may pick up a couple more to fill out my post-war fleet.  The T&NO offering of the -32 puts this model right towards the end of my current modeling era.  So while I generally highly support main-line modelers to pick up the often forgotten and under represent T&NO cars, I'm going to skip getting a T&NO car at this point.  (Yes, my wallet is still licking the wounds from getting multiple Rapido B-50-15/16s last month!)

Stock Model Photos

Tangent Models # , SP 102176, one of the first 500 cars of the B-50-28 built

Tangent is offering the first run of models to replicate the first group of 500 cars of the class.  I have several photos of SP 102856 at Owenyo circa 1954, which shows they did get up there within the first few years of their service lives.

Excellent detail on trucks and B-end details. (color rippling is from photostacking artifact, not the model)

While not an exact model of the prototype photo car that I have, I certainly will put this car to use on the Jawbone Branch to fit the bill for post-war SP all-steel boxcar need.  The 7ft door on the 40'6" body certainly makes this model stand out compared to the pre-war '37 AAR boxcars that I have several of already.


The fully detailed underframe is very nice, even including the bleed rod to the triple-valve on both sides!

Tangent has tooled their trucks to include the 'snap-on' brake shoe piece, much like Kato pioneered 20 years ago with their ASF A-3 trucks on the 70-ton Covered Hoppers.

In Closing

A little weathering and this B-50-28 will be ready to join the fleet.

Overall, I think that the Tangent Models car is a good model for post-1950 SP modelers to have.  I look forward to Tangent releasing other detail versions in the future to round out this large class of cars.  As for this car, I'll be doing a separate post on the weathering and finishing of this car for service.

Related Articles:

SP Post-War Boxcars (Part 2) B-50-24/25/26/27/28/29 classes - Prototype research on these class based on roster data from Anthony Thompson's SP Freight Cars: Vol.4: Boxcars book.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

36ft Fowler Boxcars - NC&StL 15337 (Part 2) Details & Decalling

Nearly completed NC&StL 15337 at the end of Part 2

In the last post in this series (Part 1), I was starting to work kitbashing an Accurail 36ft Fowler car to be a late-serving NC&StL car into the late 1940s.  Well, the time has come to finally get the decals together for my kitbash of an Accurail Fowler 36ft boxcar into NC&StL 15337, an XM-27 class car from July, 1948.  

NC&StL 15337 - Fowler -TRRA photo, East St Louis, July 1948, Illinois, Joe Collias collection, Ted Culotta collection with permission.

I reviewed my reference photo from the article on kitbashing Accurail Fowler cars, specifically the picture from Ted Culotta collection of the NC&StL 15337.  Thanks to Ted for permission to use this photo for this series of modeling posts.  The photo shows a couple of minor details that I hadn't bothered changing during Part 1.  So I'll be addressing those now, then doing a bit of minor paint touch-up around those spots before proceeding with the decalling.

Additional Kitbashing

Original Accurail Fowler Boxcar with low door stop.

The first change needed is with the door stops, they should be in a higher position than the stock Accurail model has them.

Right side of the boxcar with moved door stop and guide-strap added.

This wasn't too hard to do with a No.11 blade, shaving them off, then scraping some of the newer paint off, and reattaching them up at the correct position with Tamiya liquid plastic cement.

Adding Strap & Wood Block

Next I added a piece of Phosphor-Bronze etching sprue, bent to shape, then glued in place with thick ACC/CA cement (aka super glue).  The strap is bent to wrap around the two Z-braces.  The strap squeezed extra glue out, which I cleaned up with a paper-towel tip and scrapped away with the No.11 Xacto blade.

On the left side of the car the car had an interesting vertical wood block added.  I fashioned this "wood" block from a piece of left over OwlMtModels lumber sticker from building a load.  These are molded in straw wood color.

Overall of left side.

I then repainted the car-side again with FCR color.  The wood block is scrapped to match prototype photo.  I used an old wooden close-pin which resulted in the wood grain form being transferred.  


NC&StL 15337 - Fowler -TRRA photo, East St Louis, July 1948, Illinois, Joe Collias collection, Ted Culotta collection with permission.

The car that I'm modeling is a challenge to find the right decals for.

New decals from K4 Decals - NC&StL Caboose & Boxcar sets

I went with K4 Decals' sets for NC&StL 36ft, 40ft Boxcar White and NC&StL Caboose White sets to get the mixture of data for the little 40-ton Fowler and also the right heralds and slogans for the 1940s era.  This will allow me to decal-bash and get the right bits to make this car match the prototype photo.

Starting to apply decals to the car.

The trouble with the decal sets that have been offered is that none of them have exactly this scheme's slogans, heralds, and even the "&" used in the reporting marks is different.  The "Caboose" set has the proper large san-serif paint-brush "TO AND FROM DIXIELAND" slogan and the "NC&St.L" Herald, as opposed to the older script "Dixieland" version and "The DIXIE Line" herald from the "Boxcar" set.

Partly done decals (left side)

The car number requires rearranging the numbers, and also some shuffling of the lower roadnumber stripe lengths.  The K4 Decals boxcar set doesn't have a data set for the XM27 class, but for XM28... So I cut out the "8" and replaced a "7" from the end-lettering set.

The "fat" style & in the reporting marks... isn't right.

I looked around through the two decal sets and found the other half of the "Boxcar" set has a non-extended version of the "&" which looks more like the prototype photo (below).  So I ended up removing the extended & from the model before it was fully set.

NC&StL 15337 - Fowler -TRRA photo, East St Louis, July 1948, Illinois, Joe Collias collection, Ted Culotta collection with permission.

So this car certainly is a tricky car to get the right combination of decal parts to match the photo.

Prototype left side of the car

Here's the revised bashed decals, using the "&" from the caboose set, along with the slogan and herald.  The rest of the reporting marks are from the boxcar set and the modified data set.  I still need to add all the build date and tare data as well.

Theorized right side of what the car should look like.

Decals are almost done here.  On the right side of the car, I just sorta went for the "typical" guess of what it might look like.  I didn't apply the same door-stop board on this side.  Otherwise it's very similar, so that either side looks highly detailed, no matter which side is viewed in a train.

Finished Decalling

K4 Decalling complete on NC&StL 15337, before applying chalk marks & OMM Routing Cards.

The remaining decals to apply are the tare station and date (N E 4-45), and some fine stenciling below the herald for the Dirt Collector and AB Brake equipped markings which I will draw from the spare OwlMtModels data sets.  Then I'll just go for the amount of weathering shown in the picture, which I'll do for Part 3 as I finish up the details and get the car ready for service.

In Closing & Sneak Peak to Part 3 - Weathering, Routing Cards & Chalk Marks

The car's not too beat up in the prototype photo, so as I'm modeling roughly in the 1947-1951 era, when this photo was taken.  Weathering will come in Part 3 of this series.

Finished model with Chalk Marks and OwlMtModels 1220 Routing Cards applied.

I also applied Gel Pen Chalk Marks and OwlMtModels Routing Cards to the car after this.  I've covered those techniques in their own blog posts. 

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Detailing Accurail Fowler Boxcar

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Open Loads (Part 7) - Shifted Lumber Loads

SP F-70-6 with a heavy load of lumber that has shifted, probably straining the stakes in the process.

I've built many lumber loads over the years, and I've been wanting to build some shifted loads for many years.  I finally bit the bullet and have built a couple now.  Let's have a look at them.  One of the photos in Anthony Thompson's SP Freight Cars Vol.3: Auto Cars & Flatcars, shows several photos with shifted loads, including one where the steel banded units of lumber have shifted, breaking the stakes, and it would appear that one whole unit has slid from the top-end position, off the car, and onto the adjacent flatcar! - Maybe I'll get around to doing something that crazy one of these days... but for now I'll be looking at more moderately or lightly shifted lumber loads.

A few prototype examples linked to us by Bob Chaparro:

Let's see what a real one looks like

LS&I 6284 with shifted lumber load -Lake States Archive - Bob Chaparro collection

Note that this car is using saplings instead of saw-cut stakes.  The base of the saplings are taper-cut to fit into the stake pockets like the regular stakes.  It also looks like the switching crew might have ignored the "Do Not Hump" placard.

Shifted Loads?!

Gondola with shifted load -  Bob Chaparro collection

This one really has shifted and those stakes and top boards are a mess!

IC 200581 shifted lumber in gondola against boxcar - Bob Chaparro collection

Ouch!  Ok, make sure you're not tying the handbrake on that boxcar when the shift happened!  I don't think this is a good option to model, as it will foul the boxcar going around curves.  But it certainly could be modeled with the load shifting over the mid-point of the coupler plane.

OMM 3004 in a Red Caboose/IMRC NP GS gondola.

Lookout, that load's starting to shift!  Maybe the carmen would bad-order the load to be 'shifted' at the RIP track.   So time to pull the car out of the train, set it over, and spend a day 'fixing' it before sending it on its way.  This 3004 could simply be shifted towards the center of the car, or the right stack could be reversed in the car, making the overhanging load unit bias away from falling off the car!  Just a couple tricks to make an interesting car load.

Likewise a 3005 kit could have 1/3 set up as a severely over-end shifted load, which would require routing to the RIP track, then trading out the whole stack for the other version, which was in good order.  Ideas like this can be used to increase the function of your open loads in your operational scheme on your layout.  Make that RIP track actually serve an operational use, not just for the random new car coming into your operating sessions from the work bench.

Falling Off the End?!

How about a load that really has shifted?

On this load, I decided to get more adventurous.  The car was really whacked by the switch crew, or it had a bad trip over the division... or maybe those new retarders in the hump yard still need some adjusting.  In any case, that unit of lumber in the top right has seen better days.

It has shifted on its 'stickers' several feet, clearing the center car lateral stake tie-boards, and smashed several lateral board sets on the 2nd level near the A-end of the car. Good thing that's not the B-end or we might be looking at replacing damage to the handbrake!  The center and right second level units have also shifted to the right it looks like, as they are overhanging more on the A-end, reducing the space for a brakeman or switchman to get up on the end of the car.

Shifting Too Far!

Maybe you'll want to have a load that's really sketchy and looking like it shouldn't be moved much more at all.  Maybe 3/4 of the stakes are already shattered?!  Did a whole unit of lumber get pushed off the end of the car onto an adjacent car?  There's certainly a case to be made to make a more dramatically shifted load, if you want to.  Prototype photos of such certainly exist.

This is an earlier step in this load construction - before the mitigation of adding the iron wire and bracing was applied.

In this case, it certainly would be good to get this car to the RIP track at the nearest division point and get the units re-shifted back to a more stabilized position.  The top A-end unit certainly needs to be shifted back if possible.  Another set of stakes need to be added on the A-end if the lower levels can't be shifted back too.

Quick Fix?

To the RIP Track!

The load has been stabilized somewhat, maybe that was the last division point's work, or maybe a brakeman did what he could when he found it.  There's some new longitudinal bracing between the four stakes on the A-end and iron-wire with a scrap 2x4 to tourniquet the wire around the stakes in place of wooden lateral ties.

Top Load Shifter rig at Taylor Yard in Los Angeles, CA. Brian Leppert photo, Bob Chaparro collection.

Guillotine-looking "Top Load Shifters," like this one, were used to corral the wayward open loads back into place.  Crews that had to shift the load out iin the field, or in yards without such devices often resorted to, "Well, hit it the other way." with a rough coupling the other direction.. sometimes with mixed results.

Swap to a "Good Load"?

Operationally, I would plan to swap the "Bad Order" load out with another that was re-shifted or a "good" load.

Notice this 3003 kit is in good shape, a good candidate for swapping for a "Bad Order" load at the RIP track.

This is a great load for the staging yard crews or clerks to throw into a session to see if the yard crews are watching out for unsafe loads.  Once the load is spotted to the RIP track, at the end of the session, the load is traded out, the car can be released next session to continue the trip and the "Bad Order" load is taken back to the staging yard to be used again... maybe even the next session.  

In Closing

A cropped view from SP Trainline on Bakersfield showing the "Grave Yard" tracks around the inbound leads to the roundhouse and carshop at top of photo, circa 1956-1958.

On a large operating layout with 100's of lumber cars, having 4-6 of these "Bad Order" loads in rotation.  These loads would be showing up regularly to simulate the dozens of cars that would be needed work regularly out of these large lumber trains would add a certain prototypical operational flavor to sessions and keep the crews on their toes.

Here's a closeup of the end of the shifted load, next to a heavy double-48" unit stacks of lumber on an SP 70-Ton flatcar.

I'm going to wrap up this post here.  More lumber load posts will be coming over the next few months as I've been on a "Lumber Kick" for the last couple weeks.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Open Loads (Part 2) - Lumber in Boxcars - Ideas for building lumber loads inside boxcars.

Lumber Load in Gondola SP 160522 - MDC Kitbash - Modifying OwlMtModels 3004 Lumber Load for gondola with false-load below gondola sides.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Lumber Load in Gondola - SP 160522 - MDC Kitbash

Southern Pacific G-70-7 stand-in kitbash from an MDC Thrall gondola. - Time to build a load!

Starting in 1951 SP ordered pairs of 52ft 6in mill-type gondolas, the first pair G-70-7 & -8 were built with all-welded construction.  The -7s came with fixed ends and 5ft IH sides, while the -8s came with drop-ends and 3ft IH sides.

SP 160522, kitbashed stand-in SP fixed-end gondola of G-70-7 from MDC/Roundhouse Thrall 52ft gondola.

A number of years ago I kitbashed an MDC/Roundhouse Thrall 50ft gondola.  The ends were replaced, small fish-belly sides were added.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a spare body at the time to increase the height to the proper 5ft, so for this model the stock MDC 4ft IH had to do.  I used spare RC G-50-22/23 ends to replace the much more modern Thrall ends.  Proto2000 trucks were used on this stand-in model.

Faux Lumber Load 

I'm using an OwlMtModels 3004 "Narrow" two-stack load, and stretching it with a false-floor level with the top of the car-sides.  Not much to say in the construction of the lumber units, other than to say that I built them in layers, not per unit.  This allows me to tightly pack the stacks together to fit in the slightly shorter gondola interior than the standard 52'6" gondolas the 3005 kits are designed to fit tightly in.

Styrene used to lift the load to near the top of the car sides.  Extra support is added in the middle.

OwlMtModels 3004 Kit is plenty to fill the gondola above the sides, if I don't fill the load below the sight lines.

The load still looks good from the outside!

I ended up cutting the stakes off a bit shorter with a diagonal cut to allow them slide easily into the gondola without catching on the sides.  I may add a think styrene sheet to help support the remaining stake stubs and keep any light from going under the faux level of the load.

In Closing

Here's the completed OwlMtModels 3004 Modular Lumber Load in the G-70-7.

A quick coat of Tamiya Light Sand misting adds some good tan wood color.  I'll probably add a light wash of darker color just to highlight the board edges.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Freight Car Modeling Index - General index of my freight modeling projects.