Sunshine 24 series kits

JP Barger

You'll probably find this amusing, or maybe crazy. I'm trying to assemble
the 26 different Sunshine 24 series wooden 37' meat reefers. So far, I have
only scratched the surface of this BIG job. I have already cut out the parts
for seven cars and sanded the edges for gluing using a manually resharpened
Xacto #11 blade and my various diamond files. It takes about three hours per
car to get this far, so you may see a clue here to what I have gotten myself
I would like to benefit from your collective advice, and draw on your
knowledge of the roof designs on these cars. To start, we could confine
ourselves to the Swift cars, mostly built by General American and after 1931
leased to Swift. Just in beginning to work on these kits, I see an anomaly.
In Gene Green's attractive book on the subject of color pictures of reefers,
page 103, 1954 photos show that the prototype wooden cars had wide
tongue-in-groove transverse boards covering what must have been internal
metal roofs. The width of the roof boards I calculate by rivet(oops, I mean
board) counting comes out at just over five inches. That's about 86 boards
over the length of the roof. But, the Sunshine kits all seem to have
similar narrow pitch board roofs. The patterns for the roofs seem to have
used Evergreen sheet material with narrow width boards. As a result, there
are about 112 boards over the length of the roof.
The same problem appears with the MDC plastic shell 36' reefer kits: there
are apparently two different injection molds for the roofs; one seems to
have too narrow boards, the other too wide.
I was alerted earlier that there were roof board differences between
prototype and model when I visited RPC #14,pages 83 & 96, to find Ed Hawkins
saying that kits 24.7 & 24.8 with board roofs didn't match the real cars,
which came with smooth outside metal roofs. Then, the Green book confirmed
that the Swift cars had wide TIG roofs, at least in 1954.
The affected Sunshine Swift car kits are:

Swift series 5200/ SS kits 24.1-24.3
Swift series 6700/ SS kits 24.4-24.6
Swift series 2500/ SS kits 24.22-24.24

Judging from what I've seen so far, I may need to scratch-build a few roofs
for the cars. That's why I need the best info to get these roofs right. It's
not hard to build new roofs, just time consuming. I've already built some
special roofs for Branchline cars better to represent prototype cars, plain
and OMR with battens, using styrene. Results were great, but more
importantly, I learned about the actual size of these battens. Even better,
what shows of the battens externally is usually the sheet metal covering
over a wood form. A good chance to study the roofs in the CBC's of the late
20's and early 30's!

I will leave it to you whether to send this info to me directly or to the
group. If it's of common interest, surely the group will be enlightened.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give. JP

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