Tag Archives: penn central

Eisenbahnstudio Is Back!

It’s been quiet here at Eisenbahnstudio for a while. In fact, there haven’t been any project updates in nearly three years! My modeling hasn’t moved forward at a very fast clip, but there was steady progress and you’ll see more frequent albeit shorter updates in the future.

More than two years ago, I joined the oldest model railroad club in the country – The New York Society of Model Engineers – based in Carlstadt, New Jersey, where I enjoy fellowship with other modelers, run the occasional train, and work on my models in the shop. This shop has been a godsend because it has a spray booth where I can paint models – something that’s impossible in the confines of our Midtown Manhattan one bedroom.

I have also done a lot of research in US railroad prototypes. Starting out with Penn Central models from the late 70s turned out to be a good thing, because I decided to model the early Conrail era around 1980 in the greater Hartford area. Having lived in Connecticut for almost ten years, this area is very dear and familiar to me and the industries east of the Connecticut River in East Hartford and Manchester are particularly interesting and well documented.

Thanks to those who have faithfully checked this blog. Here’s photo of a recently completed project with more to come soon. It’s great to be back!

Rail Yard Models Penn Central G47 gondola

Rail Yard Models Penn Central G47 gondola (click image to enlarge)

2010 Glottertal FREMO:87 Meet

I just returned from a very nice visit to Germany, where I stopped by the 2010 Glottertal FREMO:87 meet. Even though I didn’t run a single train during the operating sessions, it was great to be back, talk shop and catch up with friends and fellow modelers from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The modular Proto:87 community seems to be growing quite nicely in Europe and I hope that we US modelers can soon start our own Proto modular system.

ETA 515 makes a quick stop in Seeburg

An ETA 515 makes a quick stop in Seeburg (click to enlarge)

The layout was compact but offered a few interesting features including a short narrow gauge set-up that crossed the standard gauge line on a few dual gauge modules. A completely separate test layout with two fiddle yards allowed for running unfinished projects, locos and cars from other eras/continents including my just completed Penn Central X58.

My Penn Central X58 361825 on a test drive

My Penn Central X58 361825 on a test drive

The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw was in wide use and seemed to help speed up coupling and uncoupling – otherwise quite tedious tasks, which tend to slow down switching and lead to time-crunches during operating sessions.

The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw speeds up switching

The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw speeds up switching

I left the meet inspired to pick up the pace on my modeling projects including a few converted Proto:87 engines. My goal is to help prepare enough era 4 German rolling stock to allow for an operating session with more modern material by 2012.

Below are a few more scenes along the right of way taken with my new DSLR. Enjoy!

Taking a breather on the front porch - a popular scene on the FREMO:87 layout

Taking a breather on the front porch – a popular scene on the FREMO:87 layout

VT 95 in the colorful fiddle yard Rambach

VT 95 in the colorful fiddle yard Rambach

Missed photo op at a level crossing

Missed photo op at a level crossing

A local freight train on the way to Gutach

A local freight train on the way to Gutach

Getting milled lumber ready for pick-up in Gutach

Getting milled lumber ready for pick-up in Gutach

The local freight train arrives in Heiligenthal

The local freight train arrives in Heiligenthal

93 1099 with an afternoon freight train on the way from Fornsbach to Iserlohn

93 1099 with an afternoon freight train on the way from Fornsbach to Iserlohn

A VT 95 and ETA 515 meet in Heiligenthal

A VT 95 and ETA 515 meet in Heiligenthal

Building a Penn Central X58 50′ Box Car (Part III)

It’s been a few weeks and I am happy to finally report on the progress of the Penn Central X58 project in this last installment.

Because I am painting inside a small apartment, I decided against using the solvent based Scale Coat Penn Central Green sold by the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society. Instead, I painted the car with the water based Floquil Polly Scale paints Penn Central Green for the car body and Flat Aluminum for the roof.

Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 after paint job

Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 after paint job (click to enlarge)

A few days later, I added a glossy finish using Badger Modelflex paint. The outcome was less than desirable as the glossy paint seemed to crystalize in some spots. In my next project, I am going to mix Model Master glossy paint with the Polly Scale green to save me a step and minimize the risk of messing up a nice paint job.

I let the glossy finish dry for a few days as recommended in the X58 instructions and then started to apply the decals.

The decaling was an easy albeit slow process because I was customizing the lettering based on a prototype photograph. After cutting the decals, I prepped the surface with Micro Set, slid the decals on it and let Solvaset work its magic. Excess fluid was sucked off using a cotton swab. The cotton swab did a great job in removing fluid but occasionally left tiny fibers behind. Next time, I will try a micro fiber cloth used for cleaning lenses instead.

Putting the decals on the X58 was a slow process

Putting the decals on the X58 was a slow process

Two evenings later, I was ready to decal the other side. I thought about a way to peek at the other side without turning the car over all the time. The solution was to make a copy of the decaled side. Make sure you cover the area around the car with blank sheets of paper to avoid wasting a lot of black ink.

Copying the decaled side for reference

Copying the decaled side for reference

The copy turned out to be just a tad smaller than the actual model but I found that when referencing lettering to other parts such as ladder steps it was still helpful to use and sped up the decaling process. Every now and then I did take a digital caliper to measure key proportions on the other side, though.

Using a copy of the decaled side of the car sped up the process

Using a copy of the decaled side of the car sped up the process

So here it is, the finished product complete with roof, brake hoses and extra weight.

Finished Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 36 18 25

Finished Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 36 18 25

For a first try at a craftsman kit, I am very happy with the result. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I hope you will join me when I report on the weathering after I return from the FREMO:87 meet in Glottertal, Germany.

Building a Penn Central X58 50′ Box Car (Part II)

I have taken the last few weeks off from modeling because I was finishing up some coursework. With my class completed, it’s time to turn my attention back to my Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 project. Today, I am installing a pair of Kadee® Barber® S-2 70 ton trucks outfitted with PROTO:87 wheels, the end platforms, handbrake and the Sergent couplers.

The Kadee® trucks look good and even better with with the PROTO wheels. They have a working suspension, which is pretty cool even though the springs look a little too large. Check out the difference between the factory-installed RP25 wheels and the PROTO wheels. There is no way I am going back to RP25…

Barber® S-2 70 ton trucks with RP25 and PROTO:87 wheels.

Barber® S-2 70 ton trucks with RP25 and PROTO:87 wheels. (click to enlarge)

The hole in the Kadee® trucks is too small to fit over the pin under the X58. A #30 (3.3 mm) drill bit will widen the hole just enough. When installing the trucks, make sure that the screws aren’t too tight so that the trucks can still move freely under the car.

The hole in the trucks needs to be widened to fit under the X58.

The hole in the trucks needs to be widened to fit under the X58.

So far the X58 project went quite well – until it was time to install the end platforms. Bending the platforms just right was a problem and I messed up a few of them in the process. Gene Fusco from Rail Yard Models sent me updated instructions to better illustrate the shaping of the parts, which did help me in my final attempt.

During installation, I also had trouble fitting the parts over the alignment pins on the car. The urethane body is pretty soft and the pins got damaged in the process. Eventually, I decided to completely remove them and install the platforms using scale screw imitations instead.  I shaved off the remains of the pins using an X-acto knife and drilled holes with a #79 (0.37 mm) bit in their place. Then I mounted the platforms with the scale screws, which also makes them feel sturdier.

Preparing the X58 for the installation of the end platforms.

Preparing the X58 for the installation of the end platforms.

B end with with handbrake and end platform installed.

B end with with handbrake and end platform installed.

As a last step, I installed the draft gear with the Sergent couplers prepared a few weeks ago. Looks nice doesn’t it?

The Sergent couplers are installed and the car is ready to be painted.

The Sergent couplers are installed and the car is ready to be painted.

In part III, I am going paint and decal the car.

Building a Penn Central X58 50′ Box Car (Part I)

Back in January, I bought my first craftsman freight car kits from Rail Yard Models. During the Vancouver Olympics, I started working on the first project – a Penn Central X58 50′ box car. I will tell you more about why I chose a Penn Central freight car in a future post. For now, let’s start with unboxing the kit.

As you can see in the following picture, Rail Yard Model kits contains everything you need to build the model. Besides the obvious urethane body, roof, shear plates, bolsters, coupler pocket lids, the two piece bolster alignment jig and many smaller cast parts, the kit comes with trucks and near-scale wheels, brake hardware, etched metal parts, several strands of wire, styrene strips, brake hoses, decals and a CD-ROM containing a 60-page manual, line drawings and a 14-page history of the car.

The only things not included are couplers, which isn’t a big deal. The coupler pockets are designed for Kadee #78s but I am going to use Sergent couplers instead.

Unboxing the Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58.

Unboxing the Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58. (click to enlarge)

After consulting the history, I decided to model the Penn Central 361825. This car is from the first series built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1964 and was equipped with the Hydra-Cushion. The kit comes with parts to either model the Hydra-Cushion or the Keystone underframe details giving you the flexibility to model different versions of the car.

Penn Central X58 with Hydra cushion.

My X58 is outfitted with the Hydra-Cushion.

Installing the brake hardware is fairly easy. All you need to do is put together the plastic brake appliances and mount them using etched metal parts. Getting the brake piping just right was a little challenging because the instructions did not provide a bending diagram. In the end it worked out fine, though.

X58 with brake hardware and piping.

X58 with brake hardware and piping.

Adding the brake rigging wasn’t that hard either but I made one mistake when bending a brake lever support the wrong way. When I tried to fix it by bending it in the opposite direction, the part broke. Luckily, I was able to reorder the etched parts and Gene from Rail Yard Models quickly mailed them.

X58 with brake rigging installed.

X58 with brake rigging installed.

The doors are detailed with styrene rods and strips, which is easy enough. I didn’t measure the strips and inadvertently used one of the pre-cut door tracks as door handles. Once I discovered my mistake, I carefully removed the thicker strip from the door, removed remaining glue and replaced the handles with the correct strips. For the door tracks, I got replacement strips at the local hobby shop. Lesson learned – now I got my digital caliper handy at all times.

X58 door opener details.

X58 door opener details.

In the late 1960s and 70s, some cars including the PC 361825 had the hand brake lowered and the tall ladders cut down when the roof walks were removed. The manual provides clear instructions where the etched ladders need to be cut and how the hand brake needs to be modified.

Cut down end and side ladders.

Cut down end and side ladders.

The PC 361825 had its roof walks removed but the roof walk supports were left in place. The etched supports are bent into an l shape and inserted into holes I had previously drilled.

Roof walk supports without transverse walking panels.

Roof walk supports without transverse walking panels.

In part II, I will install the end platforms, hand brake, PROTO:87 wheels and Sergent couplers.