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 NMRA AP Cars Certificate "Support" Thread

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Dutchman Posted - 02/01/2009 : 6:33:38 PM
This thread is one of a series of threads intended to help RR-L Forum members who are also members of the NMRA and are working within the NMRA’s Achievement Program. This is not a thread to debate the pros and cons of either the NMRA or the Achievement Program. For a full explanation of the purpose of these threads, members should refer to this thread on the forum: http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=24676

The Master Builder – Cars category requires the modeler to turn his/her attention to rolling stock. To earn the certificate, the modeler must build eight pieces of highly detailed rolling stock. This rolling stock must be able to ‘operate’ on the rails. The eight cars must represent four different ‘types’ of cars, at least one of which must be a passenger car. Of the eight, four of the cars must be scratchbuilt, and four must earn at least 87.5 points when evaluated against specific NMRA standards.

More information on the Master Builder – Cars category can be found at this link: http://www.nmra.org/education/achievement/ap_cars.html

This is an area in which I haven’t done much work yet. However, I want to turn my attention to this one next. I know that Don (AVRR-PA) is also about to begin work in this area. Anyone else wanting to try their hands at this category, perhaps we can ‘work together’ through the forum.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Joe-SVL Posted - 01/21/2020 : 3:38:07 PM
Michael - thanks for the reply. To me things are going slowly, much to slowly. I started my Drovers Caboose (which is my 2-nd scratch built car) work on Nov. 1, 2019. I'm afraid that I am going into to much detail. I completed my Civil Certificate work in 2017; however at that time my AP chair was not able to come over from Tampa for judging. As I stated my car scratch building work I put a stake in the ground and decided to build 3 cars and then ask for judging of both my Civil Certificate work and 3 scratch built cars. Thus at this time I do not know if my detail efforts are insufficient / sufficient / way over the top. Recently I learned that my AP Chair is moving up north.

Joe in Orlando
Michael Hohn Posted - 01/21/2020 : 2:56:33 PM

I don’t frost windows in cars or buildings and have never thought it made a difference in judging. Now, if I’m weathering with powders and some gets on the windows I’ll gently brush off the excess and stop there. Maybe do a little more if an industrial building of really decrepit caboose.

How’s it going?

jbvb Posted - 01/21/2020 : 10:31:39 AM
I've never built a drover's caboose, but until the era of scratched and fogged plastic windows (say post-1975), the only non-clear windows in any RR equipment were for toilets and dressing rooms. If the issue is making the interior less stark through the windows, I usually install shades on passenger car windows (except toilet/dressing rooms). I'd guess shades sometimes were installed on caboose body windows where crews used them as sleeping quarters. Maybe a bit of a luxury on drovers' cabooses, but the drovers usually slept on board.
Dutchman Posted - 01/21/2020 : 10:14:40 AM
Joe, both my regular caboose and my passenger/combine had some interior details, so I left my windows clear. If they were empty spaces, I'd probably frost them.
Joe-SVL Posted - 01/21/2020 : 09:21:37 AM
I'm curious to hear from those who have scratch built a passenger / drovers caboose car wrt whether they left the window "glass" clear or whether they frosted them sorta like we do for buildings / factories.

Joe in Orlando
SAFN SAAP Posted - 11/19/2019 : 09:00:23 AM

The Drover's Caboose, assigned to freight trains, were the quarters for the cowboys who were responsible for the livestock, and the quarters for them on the train. They tended to the horses, cattle, or other livestock, as railroads, under rule, were required to stop and unload the livestock into pens after so many hours for rest. Then reload when the rest and feeding period were over. The drovers stayed in that caboose, went to work, and returned to it when the train was to move. That is why is was called a "Drover's". Look at the railroads that had them. They were mostly mid-western and central in the country. Cowboy country.

Now I'm sure that the Drover's at some point, may have been used for passengers, but probably with some disdain. Cowboys probably weren't too worried about getting the excrement off their boots when getting into the caboose, so I'm sure that to some degree a particular smell was associated with them after much use. Even with cleaning, there still would remain a certain odoriferous scent, which to any farm hand is nothing, but to passengers would become, well, lets just say, unpleasant.

Michael Hohn Posted - 11/18/2019 : 10:48:31 PM
In that case I’d do a model of the unmodified passenger-carrying version. Here’s what the NMRA rules say:

‘“Passenger cars" include anything that would normally be found in a regular scheduled passenger train including baggage cars, express reefers, business cars, or other passenger carrying cars like drover's cabooses.’

The LCL car is no longer a passenger car.

You could build models of both types of MP cars or build a freelance drovers caboose by lengthening the MP car to fit a line of windows and freight doors. There are photos of this type of drovers caboose on the web. The few points you lose on not following a prototype exactly would be made up for by the complexity of the model.
BurleyJim Posted - 11/18/2019 : 5:55:54 PM

You are making this a lot tougher than it needs to be.

Model it as the Drover Caboose, and in your documentation, tell what period you are displaying...problem is a non-problem.


Joe-SVL Posted - 11/18/2019 : 5:32:38 PM
Is a Modified Drovers Caboose a passenger car?

Several months ago I came upon a wonderful almost square-on photograph of an MP 1112 Drovers Caboose and am using that car as the prototype for my 2-nd certificate car. A member of this forum also kindly pointed me to an AMB kit of the exactly same car. I am about to begin framing the interior of my car; but I've been intrigued by the presence of a slatted door on the side of the car. Last evening I sent an e-mail to the archivist of the MP Historical Society and get a very detailed reply this morning. Essentially the 1112 and others were modified by the MP from being Drovers Cabooses to being LCL carriers. All of the Drovers accommodations were removed in this modification. Thus I am concerned wrt whether this modified Drovers Caboose would quality as a passenger car.

MY question is should I install a regular door in place of the slatted door and claim that the MP 1112 is no longer a "Modified" Drovers Caboose and now just a regular Drovers Caboose and thus a passenger car again?


Joe in Orlando

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Michael Hohn Posted - 11/09/2019 : 12:44:43 PM
Originally posted by Joe-SVL

Several days before you posted your reply to my inquiry I found on-line a wonderful square-on photo of the MP 1112 car. I've extracted 20 measurements from that photo and now have a very good HO-scale CAD drawing of the side of the car.

Excellent. These cars were rare but make interesting models.

Joe-SVL Posted - 11/09/2019 : 11:03:15 AM

Several days before you posted your reply to my inquiry I found on-line a wonderful square-on photo of the MP 1112 car. I've extracted 20 measurements from that photo and now have a very good HO-scale CAD drawing of the side of the car.


Joe in Orlando
Michael Hohn Posted - 11/09/2019 : 10:02:04 AM

Honestly, I don’t know. This would have been a pretty old-fashioned car by the 40’s or 50’s so it would have reflected earlier practice, which would include what you have in mind.

You might want to do something like what was done for the MP car that I linked to above. In fact, I think it would be a good example to follow in proportions and details.


Joe-SVL Posted - 11/09/2019 : 09:16:10 AM
Thanks for the link describing how a modeler modified a LaBelle kit to create a Drovers caboose. I had skimmed that article earlier but will now go back and study it in detail. In my skimming one idea popped out at me, namely that the modeler installed a tar paper roof. Was that a common roof covering in the 1940s - 1960-s?

Joe in Orlando
mwbpequod Posted - 11/07/2019 : 10:08:24 AM
Originally posted by Joe-SVL

Interesting approach. Were your cars recently judged or were they judges a while ago. In my newness at this scratch building and scoring activity I thought that the judges gave a good amount of conformity and detail points from the associated matrices for a car whose documentation packages included detailed drawings/plans, pictures, research, etc. information.

Oh, I regularly do not the best in the area of Conformity, but I make it all up with high scores in the other 4 categories to get Merit awards. And, I generally make 15+ points in Conformity since I can present a pretty solid argument of building to prototypical practice and justify the designs and operations of most cars I build.

Did you detail the inside of your drover caboose and if so did you make or purchase the items you placed inside both the drover's compartment and the conductor's compartment?

I think I actually did do that for one of the cars - I recall actually building 3. Might have been the 3rd one that I put an interior into although I really dislike doing that since to appreciate that you need to make the roof removable and then getting and keeping a good fit there is very difficult to maintain.
Michael Hohn Posted - 11/04/2019 : 7:59:01 PM
AMB makes a model for a Missouri Pacific drovers caboose, actually two different designs. You can check it out here:

An article describing the kits states that they were manufactured from drawings and photos in the publication of a Missouri Pacific historical group: http://www.mopac.org/modeling/60-caboose


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