2016 Construction Blog

October/November - Cabooses & More Flat Cars

Began working on an old HO Eastern Car Works undecorated North Eastern standard caboose. No real instructions in this kit, like the rest of the ECW line. You have to figure it out as you go. Kit built as standard, but the plastic grab irons were replaced with wire grab irons were possible. Easy to paint prior to assemble. The windows were installed after painting with clear drying canopy glue. Weights were added because the car is very light. Braces were added so that the body can come off if there are issues. DCC was installed with LED's at each end are programmed to flash based on the direction of travel. The majority of the LED has been painted black to force all of the light out the end. Will need to print some decals to complete this project.

Painted prior to assembly

DCC installed

Started another Concept Models car, GEX 711 special flat car. This 12 axle flat car is used to carry reheater vessels for nuclear power plants. The bolsters are adjustable along the length of the flat car frame. This special car was based out of General Electric's South Portland Maine facility. Four more of my ever decreasing stockpile of Eastern Car Works buckeye trucks were needed for this kit.

Simple kit

Early view

Ready for decals and a load

Worked on an old Walthers kit of an eight axle depressed flat car, GEX 2004. The original moulded grab irons were cut off, new ones added, along with the brake piping details. The paint was touched up and this car is ready for a load.

Details added

Almost done

Ready for a load

September - More depressed flat cars and painted loads

Began working on a Firecat Designs model of the KRL 300 to 340 tons series of depressed flat cars. This is an excellent design, and "kit." I have been adding small rare earth magnets to the inside of the flatcar to secure the loads. Four magnet are glued to the inside, and another magnet is put on the outside to act as a clamp. Did a first today, mixed my first batch of resin, which is used to secure the shot that was added for extra weight.


All of the parts for the car

Magnets added to secure the load

Shot added for weight

Resin poured to seal the shot

This 12 axle flat car works just like real one, the center truck moves side to side on the curves.

Center truck setup

Ready for brake details and paint

Started another two Concept Models cars, GEGX 21154 & 21155. These two 16 axle depressed flat cars will be used to move gas turbine loads into the port.

Depressed bodies ready for sanding

Work in progress

Painted both the generator and the stamping press loads. The latest version of the lifting lugs are now even smaller. Just two magnets and a styrene end cap. The stamping press load is a single piece that also comes with two support pieces. Balsa wood was cut to make the cribbing that holds the load in place.

Almost complete generator load

Load with smaller lifting lugs

Checking the cribbing prior to painting

Stamping press load with cribbing

August - More Loads

Found a couple of loads for my PRR Queen Mary depressed and well flat cars. These loads are 3D printed and available in Keystone Details Shapeways shop. The loads are a generator and a part of a large stamping press. The generator and press frame are modeled after actual loads that were carried by the cars. Before the generator is assemble and painted, it must be modified so that lifting lugs can be added when needed. The generator loads comes in four pieces top, bottom and ends. The detail on this model is absolutely amazing.

From Shapeways

All of the loads should have the ability to support lifting lugs. The lugs are made of 3/16" plastruct tube with a 5/16" circle punched from 0.02 styrene. Then three small rare earth magnets are ACC'ed into the tube. The first ones that were made are too large, they are a scale 2 1/2 feet, with the smaller ones just a little over 1 scale feet. The actual lifting lugs are 6 to 8" with some as small as 4". I have had a hard time cutting the tub on the chopper, but MicroMark makes a great Duplicating Jig, that simplifies the cutting.

With lifting lugs

New, smaller lug on the right

Duplicating Jig

July - DODX Nuclear Cask Cars

Started another two Concept Models cars, DODX nuclear casks cars. These eight axle cars were used to carry spent nuclear fuel. Nuclear submarines were based at the Charleston Naval Yard, near where my port is based. I need a couple of DODX cask cars to transport the spent fuel to the reprocessing facility in Idaho. Will need to have a DODX caboose to accompany these cars.

Added weights

Need fins on the cask

Details added

Decals still needed

June - GEX 40010

Started another Concept Models schnabel car, the GEX 40010 car. This is a medium size schnabel car, with twenty axles. This General Electric car was mainly used for hauling large power transformers.

Loaded - with a new backdrop

Ready for a load

Arms complete

Details in progress

Update the Walthers American type crane with DCC. Added a Digitrak DN136D a small N Scale decoder. This is about the easiest decoder install I have done. Unsolder the four wires from the pick-ups to the motor, and then connect up the decoder. None of the light functions are used. One needs to be careful when taking the cab off and putting it back on as to not mess up the rigging.

Decoder installed

May - CEBX 100

Started another Concept Models schnabel car, the CEBX 100/101 car. This is one of the smallest schnabel cars with only twelve axles. It was used by Combustion Engineering mainly for hauling large industrial boilers.

Main components

Completed chassis

Half assembled

Ready for details

Based on the few photos that I have of these cars, the equipment enclosure is smaller and narrower that the one that came with the kit. The photos show the walkway going alway across the back of the platform. Also there is a walkway in front of the equipment enclosure. I made a new enclosure that is shorter and narrower that the supplied one.

Brake details and base for equipment enclosures

Handrails added

Equipment enclosure completed

May - Getting Track Ready

Working to make these large cars track ready. This is a mixture of opening holes in bolsters and the trucks. Also adding washers to make sure that the trucks are all flat and riding on the tracks. The hand rails had to be trimmed back, they were ok when the car is straight, but cause it to bind when turning. Some of the pieces that are involved with the rotating bodies need sanding and trimming. As an example the yoke on the KWUX 10 car had to be shortened in order for the body to turn with the car. All of the styrene rod pivots on the bolsters have been replaced with brass tube for extra strength.

The CEBX 800 has the most amount of wheels and according it required the most amount of work!

Half of the car track ready

Shortened yoke

These large cars have a large overhang when operating on a curve. The CEBX 800 has the largest overhang at over 20 scale feet on a 24 inch radius curve. Signals and trees on the inside of a curved track is a no no.

GEX 800003


CEBX 800

April - CEBX 800

Finally have gotten around to working on the Concept Models CEBX 800 car. There are over 100 parts to this kit. This is the worlds largest freight car, it has 18, two axle trucks. It is huge, when finished, it will be over 32 inches long without the load. With the vessel load it is over 42 inches long. I have gotten much better at making hand rails and adding details.

Half of the car without the arms

Side view

Rear platform

Arms added

March - Little things

Continue to work on the KWUX 10. Added the brake line on the depressed body. Did the same for the two QTTX twelve axle depressed cars. With the second QTTX car, realized that the Kadee trip pin pliers, were the perfect tool for bending the hard steel wire. This last car took less than five minutes, versus an hour for the other cars. Tracing the body on a piece of paper made testing the bending easier.

Almost ready for paint

Brake line ready for gluing

Side view with brake line

More details added

Have researched adding wireless throttles to my NCE DCC system. I have been using JMRI's Decoder Pro for programming and with WiThrottleLite I can now use my IPhone for a wireless throttle. The set up is simple, it is described here.

WiFi throttle enabled

Converted an old DC Bachmann GE 70 ton loco to DCC. Motors and pick-up had to be rewired, light bulbs were replaced with white LED's. A new mount had to be created for the rear LED. Then all of this was wired to an TCS M1 decoder. After I finished this install, found an article in the January 2001 Model Railroader on installing DCC on a 44-tonner. The drive system is the same on these older 70 and 44 tonner.

Motors and pick-ups rewired

Wiring completed

One can never have enough flat cars! Pulled out all of the cars out to see what is left to do to complete them prior to paintings. That is a total of 64 axles of flat cars and 36 axles of well cars.

Depressed center flatcars

Well flatcars

February - Depressed Center Flat Cars

Making slow progress on the KWUX 10. Finished working on the hand rails and steps.

End view

Side view of the completed bolster

Almost ready for paint

January - Depressed Center Flat Cars

Continue to work on the KWUX 10 depressed center flat car. Made more progress on assembling the end bolsters. This car is 24 inches long from coupler to coupler, and there are 85 pieces that make up the car. Concept Models has done another good job with this car. Hand rails have been bent, and threaded though the stanchions. These resin kits require a little bit of filling with squadron putty, then light sanding to get them ready for painting.

Nearly complete end bolster

Handrails added

With the body on

whole car view