Thursday, February 5, 2015

Another modeling debate

This time inspired by a thread on Resinfrieghtcar Yahoo Group.
One of the members was expressing his unhappiness with the trials that he'd had to go through building a Sunshine tank car kit. Now I will happily grant you that other than the Sunshine X-3 tank car series, most other resin tankcar kits are a trial. Mostly as a result of poor bolster design. The task of casting multi shaped parts has become simpler as the casting technique improves. And even with that with care those resin tank cars can be assembled into lovely models. And it will only get better.
I'll take a tankcar over a hopper kit any day.
In the early days, Westerfield had you assembling a lot of flat panels into the complex shapes required, Tasks that try the patience of Job.
In later years, Al evolved Unibodies and more complete hopper and chute castings which help enormously. But the struggle continues.
The modeler must be aware of how each piece fits and it's impact upon keeping the car square and flat. They can take an inordinate length of time to get to the point of being ready for the fiddly details, and all through that keep the debonder handy just in case.
How do I know. Well on the bench are these babies,
 These are but 4 I am building for a client. I think to date it's been 20 and more after this. Yes I'm getting good at this car. Not my favorite resin car by far, but as with all them in the end it's well worth the effort.
Ready for paint shop. Time for a new matt. and a new project. But not today. Was in the periodontists chair today and meds have me wobbly. Maybe I'll go work on Trevor's layout instead!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pierre.

Hopper cars can be a challenge all around, even if they're an RTR model. The resin hoppers I've built were not only challenging builds, but the kit design failed to incorporate any kind of void for weight.

The old school RTR models had metal weights under the slope sheets, for which I used to (still do) substitute a piece of lead traced from the kit's original metal plate. Like everyone else, I would fill in the small voids that are created between the hopper chutes and behind the bolster. On a resin model of an ore gondola, I hid two sheets of lead under the floor, some narrow strips of lead between the beams of the frame, and I used metal trucks. The car was still under weight in the end, but it was close enough to work with.

I built some of those early Westerfield kits that were comprised entirely of flat pieces, and they were among the most challenging and time consuming models I've built. My patience and careful construction were rewarded with a car that had trouble staying on the rails when empty.

This brings me to my most recent frustration with hopper cars. I bought a pair of beautiful Kadee RTR hoppers. These cars come with a simulated coal load which also incorporates all of the car's weight. Take the load out and car is unworkably light. I'm putting off the chore of figuring out how to deal with the empty cars. For now, I operate them with live loads and run them either full or mostly empty to simulate empty cars. Of course, the kit has the predictable voids between the chutes and behind the bolster, but this alone won't bring the car up to proper weight.

Hopper cars... such grief.