Athearn SFRD 50' Reefer and Accumate Proto:HO


Tim O'Connor
 

Charles, sorry I didn't realize you meant the new SFRD ice reefer.
I have the model and also the Overland brass version, and it seems
to me that Athearn cut a lot of corners, no doubt to keep down the
tooling costs, as the prototype underframe is far more elaborate
than your typical vanilla Duryea. I imagine that to model just the
Duryea draft gear it might be easier to scratchbuild your own gear
from strip styrene and use a Kadee whisker coupler. These fit into
a smaller (narrower) box than the old #5's did.

Denny, Accurail sells all of their floors as separate detail parts.
They're well well done, and quite cheap to buy. If you have any old
Front Range box car kits, cut out the floor, throw out the underframe,
and the Accurail is a drop-in. Well worth the trouble IMO.

Tim O'Connor

Although for a different car, Jim Singer tells me that the Accurail 40' boxcar underframe can be an excellent -and superior- replacement for that on the Athearn 40 footers. Now, don't interpret this as my saying that you should purchase an Accurail boxcar kit merely as an organ donor....
Denny


dennyanspach <danspach@...>
 

Tim's solution is an excellent one that certainly gets my attention. The Athearn coupler boxes are so inherently unstable that replacing them alone is a giant leap forward. Like all the small couplers with smaller gathering faces, the Accumate Protos demand stabilty for good operation, if not good looks.

Although for a different car, Jim Singer tells me that the Accurail 40' boxcar underframe can be an excellent -and superior- replacement for that on the Athearn 40 footers. Now, don't interpret this as my saying that you should purchase an Accurail boxcar kit merely as an organ donor....

Denny

Denny S. Anspach MD
Sacramento


Charles Hostetler <cesicjh@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:

Here's my easy solution with Athearn freight cars -- build the
car with the weight INSIDE the car, and the wood floor turned
upside down so the floorboards are underneath. This is so easy,
obvious and improves the appearance so much that I am amazed
that Athearn hasn't done it for the last 40 years.
Thanks Tim,

I probably wasn't too clear with my question...

I've read your solution in the archives and for a regular Athearn "blue box" kit I agree that the Accumate install is really easy when you turn the floor upside down. However, this 50' SFRD reefer is trying to simulate "an improved version of the Duryea underframe" (per Richard Hendrickson in Sep 2006 RMJ) and it's not clear to me:

a) whether the Accumate long narrow box, designed for minimal overhang and close coupling, is consistent with the desired appearance, and

b) how much of the underframe one would want to whack away to make room for the Accumate box.

Maybe a better phrasing of the question is can the Accumate ProtoHO be installed to simulated the extended draft gear box seen with a Duryea underframe.

Regards,

Charles Hostetler
Goshen IN


Benjamin Hom
 

Tim O'Connor wrote, in part:
"Here's my easy solution with Athearn freight cars -- build the
car with the weight INSIDE the car, and the wood floor turned
upside down so the floorboards are underneath. This is so easy,
obvious and improves the appearance so much that I am amazed
that Athearn hasn't done it for the last 40 years."

Tim, all great advice, but totally irrelevant in the context of the original
question, which concerns not legacy Athearn tooling, but the new tooling 50
ft steel ice reefers released in 2006.

I haven't retrofitted my model yet, but from first inspection, I would use
the method detailed in the coupler instructions of cutting down the length
of the scale Accumate draft gear, fitting it in the existing draft gear box
to make final length adjustments and to locate mounting holes, then cutting
away the sides of the existing draft gear box before making the final
mounting. I'd advise verifying coupler height before doing this surgery.


Ben Hom


Tim O'Connor
 

Here's my easy solution with Athearn freight cars -- build the
car with the weight INSIDE the car, and the wood floor turned
upside down so the floorboards are underneath. This is so easy,
obvious and improves the appearance so much that I am amazed
that Athearn hasn't done it for the last 40 years.

1st:

Cut off the Athearn coupler boxes. Now you can drill holes into
the PLASTIC floor and attach the Accumate draft gear, etc. (This
is done BEFORE you glue the weight to the plastic floor and put
into the car body.) Measure everything first to make sure that
the draft gear stick out the right amount -- I made a little jig
to locate the holes.

2nd:

Nip off any excess coupler box screw that went all the way through
the floor. Now glue the weight to the floor. (If you're using a
Kadee box that uses a 2-56, you can use their long plastic screws
and nip them off easily.)

3rd:

Fit the floor into the carbody. Typically you have to file down the
coupler opening cast into the end of the car body just a bit, and I
usually use styrene strip to glued into the car body to bring the
floor to the proper height.

4th:

Glue the floor into the carbody and add the underframe. All of this
only takes me about 20-30 minutes, working carefully.

There are many variations possible. One is to use an Accurail floor.
Another is to paint the Athearn floor first so the floorboards are a
wood color, as they would be on a new car. Another is only to toss
the Athearn steel underframe and use another, like an Intermountain
or other brand. Oh yeah, I always plug the stupid "tab holes" in the
side of Athearn box cars, and file the tabs off the floor castings.

Tim O'Connor

At 12/9/2010 05:17 PM Thursday, you wrote:
I'd like to apply Accumate Proto:HO couplers to several Athearn SFRD reefers. Examining the underframe and reviewing the photos in Richard Hendrickson's RMJ article suggested to me that this may be a difficult installation, particularly to preserve the appearance and at the same time the mechanical stability of the coupler box. I thought it would be best to check whether anyone has had any experience with this coupler installation before I started experimenting...

Thanks,

Charles Hostetler
Goshen IN


Charles Hostetler <cesicjh@...>
 

I'd like to apply Accumate Proto:HO couplers to several Athearn SFRD reefers. Examining the underframe and reviewing the photos in Richard Hendrickson's RMJ article suggested to me that this may be a difficult installation, particularly to preserve the appearance and at the same time the mechanical stability of the coupler box. I thought it would be best to check whether anyone has had any experience with this coupler installation before I started experimenting...

Thanks,

Charles Hostetler
Goshen IN