RI and WM 40' Auto Cars

Bill Darnaby

I recently finished assembling a 40' automobile boxcar for both the RI and
WM from kits by Sunshine (kit 55.2 and 55.3). The RI car has 14'6" door
openings and the WM car has 12'6" door openings. Both of these cars are
from Sunshine's distinctive cars of the 1930's series. As such they share
the same instruction and data sheets. The data sheets contain the usual
Sunshine thoroughness of info and good quality prototype photos on glossy
paper (suitable for saving). The instructions are clear and include clear
photos of completed models for the modelers reference. The decals are by
Rail Graphics and are excellent.

The kits are the typical flat kits although they include injection molded
styrene Murphy roofs by IMWX. The casting quality is excellent with sharp
neat detail and cast out of the usual easy to work with gray resin. On both
kits the door and latch detail is cast in place. I
found the bolster tabs and door siffener on the WM car nicely undercut to
simulate prototypically thin plate sections. On the WM car one side was
.020 shorter than the other side and the ends of the sides were not square
with the roof line. After attaching the sides back to back and evening up
and squaring their ends I found that both were almost .020 shorter than the
roof casting "plug" that has to fit down into the assembled sides and ends.
Removing material from the roof plug seemed unpleasant and would create an
unsightly overhang of the roof edge over the ends. So I opted to attach a
strip of .015 styrene at the left end of each side leaving the width of the
strip a little wider than the greatest thickness of the side. Then I
contoured the styrene to match the features of the side by scraping it with
the edge of a razor blade. This worked well but had I thought it through
more thoroughly I would have added the styrene to the left end of one side
and the right of the other as I created some offset problems when the body
was assembled. Once assembled, the roof dropped with a snug fit. On the
other hand, everything was uniform on the RI car and the body practically
assembled itself.

Both kits have one piece cast underframes that include bolsters, stringers
and centersill with flanges. A nice feature that is appearing on Sunshine
cars now is that the pivot pad for the short brake lever is cast onto the
centersill. If one end has B end only features this means the modeler has
to pay attention when installing the underframe but that was not the case
here. The RI underframe bolsters included cast cover plates, a pair
of main crossbearers and storage tubes for auto tie down chains. The
modeler has to add rivet plates to the large crossbearers and 4 pair of
crossbearers. I did find that I had to reposition two of the chain tubes to
make room for the brake cylinder.

The WM car has a Duryea underframe which always provides for an interesting
profile and clutter to the underframe. The modeler has to add the 4
crossbearers and the two angle tie pieces between them. The instructions
have an error in that the sketch shows the angles facing out when they
should face in towards each other. Also the wording implies that the angles
should set on the apexes of the crossbearers but they should really set just
outboard of the centersill for the brake levers to fit correctly. Probably
aggravated by my shimming the same ends of the sides I found that the
outside crossbearers could not be positioned at the centers of the side sill
tabs. Even with the crossbearers positioned at the inner most edges of the
taps I found that the angle tie pieces barely reached the outer
crossbearers. It took a little fussing to make it work but the finished
underframe is very pleasing.

Details included with the kits are wire grabs, A-Line steps, DA eyebolts, DW
styrene ladders, .010 and .015 brass wire and Bowser AB brake sprue. The WM
car includes an unusual diamond tread etched roof walk by Plano. The are
no supports for the lateral walks and some extra standard Plano ones that I
had were
too wide so I made my own out of .010 x .030 flat brass stock. I also made
levers for the door rollers by flattening .015 wire and inserting the round
end into holes drilled in the centers of the rollers.

Both of these kits built up into very satisfying cars.


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