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Author Topic: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
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: 142
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.

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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: 142
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: 142
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.

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Ed Bommer

Posts: 411
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: 142
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: 142
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: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: September 18, 2018,
Quote

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

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: October 9, 2018,
Quote

As discussed earlier, the Anderson Hoppers are very good starting point candidates for adding details. Thus if you want rivets, better grab irons or hatches you can easily add these and have a pretty nice piece when completed. Or, it allows you the flexibility to model for a specific road like Pennsy equipment where often times these came out of their own shops having features unique to that road.

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: October 9, 2018,
Quote

-
Image
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John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: October 16, 2018,
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Sometimes a good starting point is with one of your finished models such as the Virginian shown in the previous posting because of post construction perspectives. For example, how could I have improved on building the model or techniques? The old Anderson kits or any for that matter are good reference starting points. By that I mean you have parts or patterns to develop from, for example instead of a 2 bay hopper, I plan to build a welded 3 bay CGW hopper car and the head start on the project is having the dimensions and thickness specification handy from an older reference kit. Also, if something on an older kit seems a little oversize like the thickness of brass sheet side panels, then you can dial it down. The photos below illustrates how I utilized the side panel pattern of the Anderson hopper car kit to cut sides for a 3 bay welded hopper car using 0.010 sheet brass. Each side is a 2 piece section that would be welded and the seam would be obvious as it is on the prototype.
Image
Image
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John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: October 16, 2018,
Quote

No doubt if you have been building models for some years you may have unfinished kits, kits missing parts or models that need some repair or rehabilitation. Once again the older kits are good reference points and thus reduces trial and error kind of model building. My tendency has been to build a model of the model before actually finalizing on a finished component. While that is more work to prototype a component, it gives you the option to decide ahead of time how the final piece should be constructed. The goal being to build it "Right The First Time" without any fixes afterward if sometime it did not turn out right. Even though you may have actual prototype blue prints, building to scale for a ham bone like me does not always go as planned, at least on a one of kind scratch built model. So, the reference data from models that were developed by the original designer can forego pre-building components or trial and error frustrations.
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John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: November 23, 2018,
Quote

The next Anderson hopper car that I put together will be enhanced particularly around the hopper under body detail. Have recently done a little more research on the mechanics and operations both manual and the modern versions for rapid load discharge on hopper bay doors. Like anything else the history and development is fascinating especially exploring the patents. Today, the rapid turn around time is even more important to railroads as hopper cars during good economic times can be in short supply. Turn around time is the measure of time that it takes to load a car, transport the load to the customer, discharge the load and as an empty travel back to the quarry or coal mine for another load. Cycle time delays can mean either less revenue or increased costs. Ideally, decreasing the time it takes to unload a string of hopper cars decreases turn around time.

Having been side tracked on another project, I plan to finish the rehabilitation on the 3 bay hopper as shown in the previous posting. Trucks are on order and I have a very nice CGW decal for this hopper from Tichy. I should be able to finish that project quickly. In cutting the parts for a second CGW 3 bay hopper, I have noticed some additional enhancements that are a little to late to implement on the rehab car but will for sure be done on the second model. When I did the original Virginian for some reason I neglected or did not pay that much attention to detail because frankly my knowledge on hopper car equipment was lacking. Enhancing the Anderson kit means that it is a starting point for modeling another road besides the Virginian flavor. Quality Craft had a wood kit 2 bay hopper car and the plans indicated you could model 4 or 5 different roads like Nickel Plate Road or Erie all depending on the particulars of the selected road. Great fun!

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: November 24, 2018,
Quote

Spent part of the day working on the "to be" CGW 3 Bay Hopper rehab project. Work included fixing a few old or cold solder joints, fixing one end frame diagonal brace, adding a missing corner post, fixing a ladder with a short leg, cleaned solder joints to reattach the platform under the brake wheel and had to fabricate the 3 bay doors that were missing. An accurately made set of doors that fits to perfection requires a good less amount of soldering. Four spot welds at the corners and the model looks very clean.

Image

In reference to the support structure at least on this car that centers as the bolster for the car body, it is a minimalistic piece and does even look like a good representation in my opinion. So I might touch that up a little. However, for the second CGW hopper, this car lacks some basic detail which can be incorporated prior to any assembly. On this rehab model it is a little late to add that unless I want to remove all the brake hardware
and have at it.

Image

Below is a photo of the CGW prototype car end where I have put arrows showing that this support panel had a different form or cut outs. As near as I can tell there were 3 on the left side and two on the right. The detail would be easy to recreate and take relatively little time to do. I have these two parts already cut, bend and ready for welding for the second car, so all I have to do is a few drill holes and elongate openings. These 3 bay hopper cars were built around 1932 and for me the appeal is their sleek modern look. I am not certain if these cars were always painted black on the CGW or they were gray.

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John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: November 30, 2018,
Quote

Further attention was given and good progress toward finishing the CGW 3 Bay hopper since the last post. Having come a long ways in a short time all the major metal work is completed. A good amount of detail was added and what is left to do are minor things like the bay door locks. A few new photos will tell the story. I know! I have not gotten back to Embellishing another Virginian hopper by Anderson. But it happens to be easy to get side tracked like some passenger trains that get stuck in a siding waiting on freight trains to pass.
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John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: November 30, 2018,
Quote

These very close up shots would have you think that much of the metal work and soldering is a mess. Actually, the majority of soldering has been done with soldering paste and a 100 watt resistance get up. A very thin amount of paste is needed however when it flows it shows gray like it is a heavy build up.
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John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: November 30, 2018,
Quote

The other thing about soldering paste as used here was a plumbers paste for pipes which leaves some residue. That will all clean up when I detail it for painting. I am experimenting with different pastes to see if any one in the market are better then what you can pick up at Ace Hardware.
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John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: December 2, 2018,
Quote

What seems very interesting about the basic super structure of the CGW 3 bay hopper car that I am working on is that the dimensions match that of the H39 Class Hopper car in the latest RMC December issue on page 48 with drawings on pages 50 - 51. The distance between the bolster centers is 31 feet and the overall car length is 40'-11.5". It would be rather easy to cut the same set of parts but instead of a welded car, the H39 is riveted. The rivet patterns look to be easily replicated as well. And the detail on the B-End of the car is nearly identical. So I am wondering if the Pennsy Altoona Shops manufactured these for the Chicago Great Western. I have not had time to thoroughly research these CGW smooth sided cars.

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 142
Post Re: Brass Kit Embellishing - VIRGINIAN
on: December 18, 2018,
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How not to embellish a hopper car.
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