Thursday, August 29, 2013

Can you say Unit Train?

 Just finished weathering these 12 aluminum coal gons for a client. That makes half of his order complete. Yes he has 12 more to go. But Pierre needs a little break from coal gons.
These are an interesting car. With the exception of a few appliances, they were built as an all aluminum car. Significant savings in weight. As they aged the bolsters were replaced with steel bolsters which were riveted in place. Can't weld steel to aluminum. I suspect that they found that the aluminum bolsters weren't taking the shocks very well.
Aluminum is useful stuff, but it has one problem. The weld is weaker than the base material, which can present problems at stress points. There's a reason why airplanes aren't welded. .
Smokey Mountain Model Works offered these kits a while ago and they rate a solid "not bad".
The pattern work is very nice. The history in the instructions is well researched. Decals were offered for the as built red lettering and the later green lettering.
Some useful hints were provided for painting. The older cars showed, in prototype photos, a distinct brown hue, while the relettered cars had just lightly oxidized metal showing. All the interiors would have been very bright, as coal is very abrasive as it's unloaded.
The model interiors were painted with Scalecoat Aluminum. The green lettered cars were Floquil Bright Silver with an overspray of light gray and the red lettered cars were Floquil Old Silver with an overspray of Rail Brown. Once the lettering was all applied and sealed with flat finish, the undersides were were dirtied with Rail Tie Brown overspray and the ends and sides were dusted with Grimy Black. Coal is filthy stuff after all.
I'm rather pleased with how these have turned out. Hope the client is as well.

I need to build a few boxcars now. Sort of a system reboot!

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