Re: GB&W steel frame auto car
Mark Mathu wrote:
"I think matching the truss pattern would be one of the most important
features -- if not the most important feature -- for selecting a
stand-in to simulate a GBW 15000-15098 boxcar."
"The truss pattern will be much more noticeable to most all observers
than if the model's roof were a Hutchins, or if the ends were 3/3/3
or if the car were 18" too short."
There are two pitfalls to kitbashing or choosing stand-ins for SS
boxcars, and they both relate to height:
- Unlike steel or DS cars where you can often cut down a car by
cutting out the desired amount at the roof, you simply can't do that
with a SS freight car model because of the truss. You'd destroy the
structural integrity of the truss. Cutting out a section in the
middle of the car doesn't work either as now the diagonal members
will no longer line up.
- The second pitfall (and the one which applies to stand-ins) is more
subtle, and an architect or an artist could probably explain it
better than I can. It has to do with a combination of the lines of
the car and its proportions. The verticals and diagonals of a SS
boxcar give the eye reference lines, making it much easier for the
observer to detect changes in proportions than it would be for a
steel or DS boxcar. 18" in height is a lot - it's the difference
between an X29 and a 1937 AAR boxcar, and is enought to throw off
proportions. To draw an analogy, It's the same subtle difference
that makes one face more attractive than another.
"I'm not an expert on roofs, model or prototype: How does the roof on
the Walters single sheathed boxcar which was just mentioned compare
to the roof on the Accurail 6-panel outside braced boxcar?"
Thanks for mentioning the Accurail 6-panel SS boxcar - I should have
remembered it as I picked up two of them last weekend from Ted
Schnepf. Both Accurail SS boxcars feature excellent Hutchins roofs,
so much so that it's worth picking one up just to harvest the roof if
you need if for a kitbash. It's far superior to that found on the
Walthers car, and at 9 ft IH is closer in height to the prototype (10
The Accurail No. 7100 kit now makes a reasonable stand-in possible.
Check to see if the Tichy No. 3055 Youngstown door matches the one on
the kit. If it's a noticable mismatch, it makes things a bit more
difficult as the Accurail door is molded on the kit, which will
necessitate cutting it out. (You might want to do this anyway if you
want to model the car with wood doors as seen in Ian's photo - use
Tichy No. 3017.) At any rate, cover the panel to the left of the
kit's door, build up door guides with matching styrene and you're in
business. Add side sill reinforcements at the doors per the photo,
and replace the kit's fishbelly underframe with straight center sills.
The resulting kitbash is 1 ft too short, has 4/4 Dreadnaught ends
instead of the 3/3/3 of the prototype, and the truss pattern is a
little off. However, it's got the correct roof, and the difference
in proportions is much less noticeable.
FWIW #1: "Outside Braced" boxcar.
Another modeler's term which should go the way of "Bettendorf
Truck." The truss members of a single-sheathed boxcar, in
conjunction with the underframe, actually carry the weight of the car
and load, unlike a typical steel-underframe double-sheathed boxcar
which is basically a flatcar with a wood superstructure.
The "bracing" is an integral structural member of the car and
doesn't "brace" the sides.
"We're discussing what might work as a suitable stand-in for these
cars - I think Ben's advice to scratch build the sides and splice in
a roof and also the 3/3/3 Tyco ends is going beyond the scope of that
If you won't like the answer, don't ask the question. It's pretty
damned unsporting for you to call me out after I've done your
research for you. BTW, that Tyco 3/3/3 end is surprisingly close to
what we see in the prototype photo!