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Author Topic: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
John-
Wubbel

Posts: 89
Post Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 1, 2018,
Quote

One of my favorite model building projects is taking an old brass kit and redeveloping the model especially freight cars. In this article I am going to do a little writing up on the Arvid L. Anderson kits. I prefer this type of kit because the core body is in the box and while these were not the most detailed, I can embellish it with lots of detail. Also, it seems like the cost of the old kit is reasonable when you can find them and the value relatively high once you are done building it out for running on the layout.

There have been many a number of other manufacturers kits similar to the Anderson kits as well that I have run across and I think many were before we started to see the advent of lost wax brass casting for details. Consequently, castings are missing from the box with the exception of some lead type casting for under body brake rigging.

I am not totally aware of all the brass kits that were produced by Anderson. Apparently Anderson haled from Frederic, WI and also had some structure kits in O Scale as well. The only kits I am aware of are those in my current collection of odds and ends. Consequently, I will name them and describe some of the subtle differences. The kit numbering system has never been clear in my mind and neither has a brief review of the enclosed instructions indicated thus. I think the numbering system on the hopper cars were for run release identification. However, the contents in the box varies only slightly from hopper car to hopper car. Rather than trying to do any deep research or old catalog searches, maybe someone here on the forum can add their knowledge to this subject matter.

Since this is the Prototype Model thread, I will note here that the emphasis may be more about the 2 bay hopper car kit because when you open the box and unroll the instructions the hopper car is a photo of a Virginian prototype. I can remember seeing these hopper cars since being a kid on many layouts of different scales. I guess they hauled a lot of coal, yes? A string of them is definitely impressive behind a steamer dragging them up a grade.

In the next few posts, I will list the kit numbers with photos, show a partially built unit, a finished kit ready for decals and start to open up the boxes to compare what the contents are so maybe as I describe things folks can add to the knowledge about these kits.

BruceB

Posts: 61
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 1, 2018,
Quote

I saw hundreds of those hoppers (Vgn) in the very early 70's in the N&W Watkins Yard in Columbus Ohio. I suspect they were going to scrap?

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 89
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 2, 2018,
Quote

The Arvid L. Anderson hopper kits, I have intentions of building them all and they have the following alphanumeric on the end of the box:

R-1
W-1
PFE-50
R-2

Some clues are evident on black and white brochure page in the kit with instructions indicating there were 4 types of models. The Gondolas I have are:
G-1
G-/
where the slash might just be a typo. Another kit I have is the Tri-Deck Auto Rack a PS-70.

On the back of the brochure are photos of a logging car and a flat car of which I do not have in my collection. So, what I will try to do is open the kits and do some box to box comparisons on the assumption that the contents are still pretty much in tact. In addition, I like to compare these to other kits that were sold around the same time period as the Anderson model. I have one Rail Craft Models 55 ton offset hopper and one Precision Mfg. out of San Antonio, TX model OH-300 Triple Hopper kit, both having a good body foundation but lacking detail.

The 1st photo is the Anderson Hopper Car shell that I had kicking around in the junk box that is a candidate for configuring into a PRR hopper as depicted in the photo. Notice the top edge on the ends of the car are straight.

Image

A closer up photo shot illustrates there were no rivet details on the sides which might indicate this was a GL series a very early steel construction. I am no expert on hopper cars so much of what I write here is guess work.

Image

The 3rd photo is the finished Virginian Hopper car ready for decals. I located a decal at the convention from Great Decals http://www.greatdecals.com for the 2 bay Virginian class H-6 Hopper in O Scale #55 that should work okay on this model. Notice the car ends on this kit are not straight across. I think at this point I only have 2 of the 4 types that were sold by Anderson in my collection. I put together this VGN hopper but was not to fussy about the detail other than to load it with coal at some point. Given the body parts are already formed and sized, it was relatively easy to assemble even though the instructions could have been a little better.

Image

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 89
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 3, 2018,
Quote

Upon opening the kits to inspect instructions, I found some more photos that yield more information about the kits Arvid put out. What follows are a couple more shots of interest. I will inventory the parts in each box and compare differences. Since I already built the Virginian hopper car I might tackle the Tri-Deck since the Chicago Great Western had these early auto racks in the fleet.
Image
Image

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 89
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 5, 2018,
Quote

I decided to throw the decals on this car to see how close I could match the photo that was enclosed in the kit. It was not long before I realized I was using the wrong decals from Great Decals which were really Rail Graphics. Rummaging around I found a Champ Decal that was the better set to use to match the class. Note also on the Arvid photo the rivets. I believe in the early releases there were no rivets however I noticed on 2 of the other kits the ribs have nicely detailed rivets and beveling so I guess improvements were made over time.

Image
Image

Ed Bommer

Posts: 398
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 6, 2018,
Quote

I built this N&W hopper from an Arvid Anderson kit in 1968. It was fitted with a coal load insert made from balsa wood painted black, with glued on coal that was smashed up with a hammer. An All Nation three piece AB set was also installed.

Yes,the class 'HL' is incorrect. In spite of my straining to look at the many N&W hoppers that came through Chambersburg PA over the Penn Central Cumberland Valley high line when I lived here, I could not detect the class indications!

For Arvid Anderson's kits, R-1 kit meant it had riveted ribs.
The W-1 kit had 'welded' ribs with no rivets.
The 'PFE' 'kit indication always stumped me, thinking of Pacific Fruit Express.

Well here it is, accurate or not, my first brass assembly kit wherein I learned much about soldering!

Ed Bommer
Image

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 89
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 11, 2018,
Quote

Ed,
Wow! You surprised me with that photo. Not sure why I have not been able to find much historical information on the Anderson kits on-line or in my collection of old catalogs. I started to hunt in my collection of old MRR magazines or looking for advertisements. Also, have been finding out that the history of hopper cars, their lineage and manufacturers is rather confusing, at least for me in the early stages of learning about these most prevalent pieces of equipment on the rails.

I am wondering if the Anderson hopper kits were intended to represent equipment manufactured after the transition from wood to steel, from gondola to hopper since it is a 50 ton rated car. But then again these could have been pre-war or emergency hoppers that had wood sides but were eventually replaced with steel sides. However this may not be right either because of the diagonal outside bracing on the wood sided cars which the Anderson kits did not have unless of course the diagonals were replaced when the equipment was upgraded from wood sides to steel and thus are post-war.

I originally thought the Virginian hoppers were manufactured by the Virginian Railroad shops however the early steel car designs had their share of problems or short comings. It could be that the best go to or standby reference is the PRR classes as they manufactured hoppers starting with the GG and GLA (USRA two-bay hopper) followed by the H Classes where the GLAs were 55 ton. In any case, I have to do my reading and research on this subject matter before doing any further commenting. A really nice visual reference museum site for PRR equipment showing scans from negatives from relics to the more modern equipment is at:

https://digital.hagley.org

https://tinyurl.com/y7p3glu5

which brings me to this welded hopper car photo:

https://digital.hagley.org/PRR_09366?solr_nav%5Bid%5D=4f391e373630bdff339b&solr_nav%5Bpage%5D=46&solr_nav%5Boffset%5D=11

and this CGW Hopper I am thinking about building maybe with Anderson kit parts.

https://digital.hagley.org/PRR_09367?solr_nav%5Bid%5D=78f7f3d72499f896e799&solr_nav%5Bpage%5D=39&solr_nav%5Boffset%5D=12

And you just have to love this gondola that looks like a cross between a gondola/hopper:

https://digital.hagley.org/PRR_22800?solr_nav%5Bid%5D=8f00cd71b82e8a022ffe&solr_nav%5Bpage%5D=40&solr_nav%5Boffset%5D=9

The detail and character is a brass model builders dream, unique in its own right.

As far as the PFE-50 label on the Anderson kit I don't think it signifies Pacific Fruit Express because PFE were all ice boxes on wheels as I don't recall that company having hoppers. My nearest guess is Pullman Freight Equipment however Pullman acronym was always PS for Pullman standard. On the other hand it could mean Pressed Steel Freight Equipment given the release of the kits was in that hopper era neighborhood historically speaking.

John Wubbel

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 89
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 18, 2018,
Quote

The basic Anderson Hopper kit W-1 has the foundational components; sides, ends and the bottom. The ends have a 30 degree bend and the bottom a 90 degree. The photo shows the entire contents of the box as one would start out. Notice in the photo there are a line of rivets across the bottom on the one side. As I stated in the beginning of this thread, these kits are rather plain but nice if you want to do detail work on them or customize them to your road. Putting rivet detail on is an option. The instructions were okay with some drawings. The drawings were not to scale it is enough just to give you the idea on how to go about building the kit.

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 89
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 18, 2018,
Quote

Here is a photo of the parts in the kit.
Image

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