Sunday, May 18, 2014

CNW Hopper Fleet: Primer

In an unprecedented two post weekend, here is a brief update on the covered hopper project. The paint stripped off all 4 models with varying degrees of success.

The Intermountain hopper didn't strip very well, the top and end frames came clean but the main body for some reason was very stubborn. I got a majority of it off after some vigorous scrubbing with a toothbrush. Likewise for the Precision Masters model, it's paint came off quite stubborn too. The Atlas Trainman was a little easier and is mostly clean, and the Micro-Trains of course was naked plastic within minutes of dunking.

One interesting note about the Micro-Trains PS 4427, the roofwalk seems to be laser cut paper and didn't like the alcohol much. It got soggy and swollen but did eventually dry out. It is not as firm as it used to be, the resin in the paper must have been attacked by the alcohol. I think it will still be usable, but something to be aware of anyway.

I weighed each car and found the Intermountain, Micro Trains, and Atlas Trainman cars to be just right. That is, pretty close to the NMRA recommended weight for a car their length. I'm neither for nor against the standard, but I like my cars to have a little heft to them and it seems reasonable that if nothing else, they should all be consistent so I go with the NMRA weight. The Precision Masters car was a little light, I added a 1/4 oz stick on wheel weight to the bottom. After they were weighed I glued the lids on the PM and Atlas car with styrene glue.

They all got a rinse in some dish soapy water and were allowed to dry thoroughly. Late this afternoon they got a squirt of Duplicolor white sandable primer. I like this, it goes on very thin and dries very fast, but covers well though you can definitely tell the MTL car was brown plastic, the and the Intermountain car was blue.

Friday, May 16, 2014

CNW Hopper Fleet: The First Batch

This week I started preparing a few cars I had lying around for the first batch of CNW hoppers to finish filling out my desired roster. In various stages of disrepair I found an Intermountain 4750, a Precision Masters 4750, and a Trainman Rock Island patch. Also in this batch will be a brand new Micro-Trains 4427.

The Intermountain is in rough shape, some of the roof walks are missing and some of the end frames are broken. This will be the first of 3 more some day. It started life as an ADM blue/white paint job. I contacted Intermountain and they were quite helpful in that they were able to send me replacement roof walks. Note I have already added the horizontal stiffener along the top starting on the 4th vertical rib from each end. Into the alcohol bath it goes.

For the first of two more 4427's a brand new brown BNSF car will be sacrificed. The roof walk bowed up sometime this winter, the humid basement seems to have that effect on them. This one is going right from the package to the tub.

The Precision Masters 4750 is not as pretty as the Intermountain car, but it has a top rib that runs end to end, similar to the Berwick cars. This started out as part of a UP 3 pack that I tested some weathering techniques on with zero success. Into the bath it goes. It looks really warped in this picture, I assure you other than a loose top that is somewhat bowed, it is otherwise true.

Atlas did two different 3 packs of their Trainman Thrall 4750 hoppers a few years ago and I was in for both. They're a little out of my era but I had to have em. One of them is a bankruptcy blue Rock Island patch, though the blue paint is a little thick looking and not really what I think of as being the right color. I tried weathering it but it didn't help. It looks better than the UP car but still pretty terrible, then when trying to remove the weathering most of the lettering wiped off too. I've got an idea for how to fix all this, it's soaking with the others now. Please excuse the gob of putty on the elevator, it's a work in progress too.