Re: Branchline NWX Reefer

Steve and Barb Hile

Larry Sexton asked:
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Branchline NWX Reefer

After you complete your NWX reefer, could you let the rest of us know how
you view the kit? If you prefer not to share your comments with on-line,
would you respond off line to me please? I'm planning to order a few of
1940s NWX reefers as well as a Green Bay one, and would appreciate any
feedback I can get. I've read Bryon's comments and suspect they will help
correctly building these kits or in correcting any deficiencies. However,
I'm concerned as to whether they are as hosed up as the original Cannball
shops Santa Fe reefers were. Thanks.
Larry Sexton
After some time, I will offer some comments. Rest assured that I do not
believe that we are looking at the same situation as the C&BT shops Santa Fe

I constantly referred to Byron's comments while assembling the kit and he is
pretty much right on, especially in fitting the sides, but most of the
fussing and fitting is similar to the stuff we do to complete a resin
freight car kit, although I readily acknowledge that the fit of those have
improved considerably in recent years.

Some specific comments:

I did shave the frame diagonals a bit and it did improve the rolling
qualities of the car.

The train line draws some ire from Byron and I did rearrange it a bit closer
to the center sill per his suggestion. At least it is present. One of my
current pet peeves it being left out of some of the nicer resin kits
(Sunshine for sure.) If you turn the one crossbearer flange to the outside
as Byron suggests, you WILL have to drill a new brake line hole, because the
two parts should be identical and the original hole will be on the wrong

The rest of my underframe assembly did not have as much of a problem as
Byron indicated, although I did sand the tops (floor side) of the smaller
cross bearers, removing the paint and the rest went together fine.

Air hose bracket. From the photos I see in RPC #4 and RMC 12-88, I left the
bracket on the trainline to air hose. I had sanded down the whole area a
bit to install Accumate Proto coupler boxes.

Speaking of couplers, I do like the appearance of the new Accumates, but I
am sure you could not shoehorn them into the box on the Branchline car. I
removed it, sanded and squared up the area, shortened the Accumate box to
the assembly pins and attached it with the screws provide by Accurail. Pet
Peeve number two: The little screws provided by Accurail are too short!
The only leave a couple of threads to attach the box to the car body.
Using the Accumates does leave a small, but noticeable gap between the draft
gear box and the end sill casting.

I went ahead and use the Accurail trucks with Reboxx semi-scale wheel sets,
which I also like.

I used the Tichy AB brake set, which I use a lot and like because it is the
only place I have found the connection for the triple valve to the train
line that includes the dirt trap (? if that is what it is, I am not sure,
but it is visible.) You will have to cobble up mounting for the cylinder
and reservoir. I cheated and dead ended piping from the reservoir at the
center sill rather than pierce it, since I did not know exactly where that

I did use the Sharpie for touch ups, as Byron suggests, but also used
Modelflex Engine Black with a brush to touch up a lot on the underframe and
other areas.

For a long time I thought the door latch bar looked OK and did not intend to
do anything. Finally I studied the photos and decided that the bar needs to
be two boards from the ends of the RH hinges. Cutting off the mounting pins
allows you to glue it directly (and carefully) to the door and still cover
the holes. Thanks Byron.

Having cut levers as a separate part is a nice touch, but the one for the B
end should be different than the A end, with a U bend around the brake staff
and retainer line. Probably best to bend your own, although I forced mine
over the retainer line and behind the brake staff.

Since I was modeling the NWX car, I only had to deal with the type A hatch
covers. There is a roof detail photo in RMC, 12-88 which does show a car in
1980 with a pretty tired hatch cover. One thing it does show is that the
hinge IS of an off set type like this
where the boards that the cover rests on when open are offset (slightly)
towards the running board. My solution was to leave that hatch covers
alone, but cut off those boards and the glued them directly to the roof
offset towards the center. When I went to do some touch ups on the boxcar
color (I use a 50-50 mixture of Modelflex #13 and 14 to get another freight
car color that I like) I touched any place I could still see a mounting

This is a car that I have looked forward to for some time and I wasn't
disappointed in the final appearance. The model work along the way can be
part of the fun.

Steve Hile

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