Re: HELP Southern Pacific ho scale GS gondola Decals

Tim O'Connor


The Microscale decals are NOT a replacement for Champ's excellent SHS-144.
The Microscale set was designed strictly as a way to decorate post-1962 sugar beet
gondolas. It is missing a number of stencils present on GS gondolas lettered prior
to 1962.

A major tip off for ANY decals is the combined LD LMT + LT WT. These combinations
changed in 1962 as follows:

Journal pre-1962 post-1962
Size Capy GRL Capy GRL

5 1/2" x 10" 100 169 110 177 " 50 ton"
6" x 11" 140 210 154 220 " 70 ton"
6 1/2" x 12" 200 251 200 263 "100 ton"

In other words a "50 ton" car would have LD LMT + LT WT = 169000 prior to 1962,
and this would be 177000 after 1962 to the present time.

In fact some of the LD LMT + LT WT numbers in 87-1314 make no sense at all - They
do not conform to any of the above numbers nor do they match any photos I've seen.
I'm guessing they come from USGX gondolas (?). From a quick look at the set, I
think there is accurate data to letter two post-1962 SP-owned gondolas.

HOWEVER -- Microscale 87-1314 is a very good source for the large gothic roadname
"Southern Pacific" stencil that was applied to high-side GS gondolas. Remember the
SP used GS gondolas in woodchip, log, scrap, lumber, and pipe service as well as
sugar beets. And 1314 is a good source for 36" round emblems. So this set is very
useful to supplement Champ SHS-144, which otherwise required Champ HH-212 for the
billboard roadname stencils and HH-144 for extra 36" emblems. And 87-1314 has lots
of extra roadname and number stencils too for general SP use. Microscale lettering
is much BRIGHTER than Champ lettering, so be careful mixing Champ and uScale together.

The Champ set has data for from 2 to 5 gondolas depending on how strict you are
about the accuracy and style of items such as dimensional stencils, capacity stencils,
etc. And of course it applies to many different classes of GS gondola including the
larger steel 70 ton cars built in the 1950's. You can definitely model 2 completely
accurate 50 ton GS gondolas as they were delivered from the factory.

Tim O'Connor

You might want to look at Microscale set 87-1314:

Although it's titled "SP 40' Composite Beet Rack Gondolas 1950+ and USGX 1970+," I believe the lettering is accurate for the logo, reporting marks, and car numbers. Other lettering (capacity, dimensions, reweigh, etc.) may have to come from elsewhere (especially if the dimensional data includes the side and end extensions), but this should at least give you the important lettering.

From Rob Sarberenyi via the ESPEE list:

"What's nice about set #1314 is that it replaces the old HO scale Champ Super Set SHS-144 for Espee GS-class gondolas. BTW, the Champ set has been unavailable for years. If you wanted to letter GS gondolas from Detail Associates or Red Caboose, or were lucky to have any of the old Ulrich metal GS gondola kits, and didn't have the Champ decal set, you were pretty much out-of-luck... until now! Besides, Microscale's decal film is 'significantly' thinner than Champ's, making the MS set most welcome."

I ordered the three GS gons Andy Carlson offered last week, and intend to use this set myself. If there's a grave error in this approach, I hope Tony Thompson, Tim O'Connor, or one of the other resident SP gurus chimes in.

Warmest regards,
Arved Grass
Fleming Island, Florida

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