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I think one of the most important things is research. In order to do that you have to spend some serious $$$. Elden and I and some of the others here are modeling PRR. Luckily for us there is a wealth of information out there including car diagrams, rosters, literally dozens of books of photos, lettering diagrams, paint information, etc., etc. I have about $2,000 of PRR books and research materials on my bookcase, maybe more (I know Bruce, Eldon and some of the others here have me beat easily on that account). I have put together rosters of PRR equipment covering freight, passenger, MoW, diesels, electric motors and now, even some steam (I finally got a hold of Keystone Steam & Electric - Yee-Ha!). That is how I learn to tell the difference between an X26, an X29 and a GG1.
But for a better example, as I said, although I model PRR, as Elden said, that requires putting other RR's rolling stock on the layout too. So for that reason, I acquired copies of all the Erie RR's freight car diagrams, rosters and a color photo book, as well as similar information for DL&W, Reading, Lehigh Valley, etc.
Now, the one thing you definitely have going for you is that you are doing Santa Fe, which, like PRR has a huge following of modelers and other fanatics. So you should be in the same situation, where you can get diagrams, rosters, photos, paint and lettering information too. You might have to look, but I guarantee it is out there. If you are going to do this right, you will eventually have one of the largest Santa Fe libraries in Jacksonville, FL.
--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "hvyweight41" <hvyweight41@...> wrote:
Thank you for your insight. As a recap, I model the Santa Fe in the SW, specifically Raton Pass from the C&S interchange to the tunnel. I model in N scale. The era is the summer of 1942. My thinking is that the war has started but things are still building up. I envision troop trains with heavyweight sleepers in addition to the regularly scheduled passenger trains. Super Chief! I know that the Belen cutoff moved most transcon freight traffic to the southern main. However, there is exchange with the C&S at Trinidad, perishable traffic eastbound to the big cities and a few local freights to fill in. Trinidad has a yard but I have been unable to find out much about how it operated, other than support of the declining coal production in the area. There was a POW camp near Trinidad during WW2 and I though that might be a unique source of traffic.
I have a couple hundred HO kits that I intend to assemble. I like to model but have not done anything consistently since I was a teenager. I would rate my skill level as beginner but I may be slightly better than that. I hope to refine my skills doing this HO work before tackling N scale detail work.
I'm looking for some projects that will be challenging but not overwhelming. The map heralds are germane to my era and I thought maybe a Bx-37 boxcar or Rr-27 reefer rebuild with the maps would be a good start. Any thought?
--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, tgregmrtn@ wrote:
In a message Keith Kempster writes:
I have seen numerous posts which discuss spotting features. I understand
there are the basic differences between types and sizes of rolling stock
(I.E. box versus hopper, 40 versus 50 foot, single versus double door, etc)."
Let's stop for just a moment and remind us what era you are planning to
model that allows us to help you. I think I saw that you like the Santa Fe and
what era do you favor, if like Richard Hendrickson and his 1947 era it
put the dos and don'ts into perspective. Later and some doors open while
others close. Think in terms of availability and your personal skill level,
you haven't shared that either. I am not knocking you but just trying to help
us help you. Region make a difference as well, Santa Fe ~ Chicago vs.
Santa Fe ~ San Diego things change as California was growing rapidly and many
if not most products were produced in the east and shipped west and this
would change in the eras beyond this list.
"I've read various discussions on ends, roofs, underframes and doors."
Subtle changes in freight car appliances change/improved over the years so
your era may never have experienced a Santa Fe Pullman Standard PS-1
40-foot boxcar or 50-foot for that mater so some of the differences in roof
panels and side sheathing, underframes and door may be less of a concern. If so
you choice of ready to run kits might just be more limiting and thus you
may have to buy more resin kits or scratch-bash more Styrene kits. The Santa
Fe had a class of cars with 4/4 dreadnaught ends on with diagonal panel
roof that were on the property much later than one would expect in the 1940's
a rather rare combination, but I photographed a sample of the car in work
service in the 1990's just because it was so rare. You might consider
scratch-bashing a Santa Fe BX-28 or BX-31 class cars, I am considering these
for a future SHAKE_N_TAKE project in Cocoa Beach, it shouldn't be much of a
challenge for my skill level.
" I even have two of Ted Culotta's freight car handbooks with a wealth of
I always say FEED YOUR HEAD!
"Is there a consensus on the best spotting features to discriminate
whether a model is correct for a given prototype or even to identify a picture?
Unfortunately no, but there is always this list to ask before you jump in.
Another good source is Train Life and a few well placed evenings with your
laptop or your tablet on your lap in the family room on the couch with
your shoes off and your feet up with a note pad and plenty of sharp pencils,
perhaps this winter... wait, what was I thinking you live in Florida... 3^)
No cold nights.
Research then Model and research more then model twice as much but never
Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it.
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