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 Upgrading a Pocher boxcar

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Tintic Range Posted - 07/26/2019 : 9:12:54 PM
I've seen many people use the ubiquitous ancient plastic boxcars as bases for some very impressive models. At the National Train Show this year I found an old Pocher "California Fast Freight Line" model for a very reasonable price, was able to knock a few dollars more off, and took it home to start.

Download Attachment: Capture.JPG
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Obviously it looks very toy like as is, but the detail of the molding is acceptable. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it, but a few days later came across a boxcar sitting in the Salt Lake yard of the Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad (the steam predecessor to the interurban Bamberger Electric Railway) that had a weird rectangular door mounted high just like the Pocher tooling. I have no idea what railroad owned this car but I now had a starting point for detailing.


Download Attachment: MysteryBox.jpg
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First items of business:
-installed Kadee code 88 ribbed back 33" wheels. The Pocher trucks accept them quite comfortably. This also raises the frame up slightly, bringing the eventual coupler height up to standard
-cut off the talgo coupler boxes
-Trimmed back the top door track and removed the bottom door track
-Sanded the ridiculously high ribs on the roof. I will model a tin roof, so the ribs are fine, they just need to be knocked down a bit.
-Trimmed the interior of the body so that it would fit over the frame rather than on top of it. This gives the car a nice, period look as many boxcars were low-slung around the wheels rather than riding suspended above the wheels. We also know that boxcars varied wildly in height, so it's nice to have a car that's even shorter than the Bitter Creek and MDC cars that currently populate my roster.


Download Attachment: Capture2.JPG
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More to come soon...
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Michael Hohn Posted - 09/07/2019 : 7:24:29 PM
Yes, looks good
Tintic Range Posted - 09/07/2019 : 6:30:59 PM
I took a diorama out to take some natural light photos of some of my recent projects including this car. Nothing beats real sunlight to make your models look better than they really are!


masonamerican Posted - 08/25/2019 : 09:33:45 AM
Great conversion! Like Andre I also have some to convert. Will be a good reference when I get to them.

Håkan
deemery Posted - 08/22/2019 : 10:42:46 AM
Nice! The unpainted wood roof walks are 'more frequently seen than modeled.' You might want to add some exposed metal on the roof ribs, to show they're also metal, and I'd suspect they'd tend to shed paint even more than the panels (because I'd guess they'd be more likely to have heat contraction/expansion stress.)

dave
Tintic Range Posted - 08/21/2019 : 11:14:28 PM
Because the historic photo that inspired this project was taken in the Salt Lake & Ogden yard, I decided to letter it for the SL&O. I used three different decal sets to piece it together based on the only two (incredibly blurry) photographs of SL&O freight cars I am aware of that show the lettering.

Once the dullcote dried a Preiser figure hitched a ride to the mines in search of work.


Download Attachment: Capture.JPG
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Tintic Range Posted - 08/02/2019 : 9:21:18 PM
Here is where I'm at now. I haven't decided on a roadname yet, but started filling in the small data using some scrap decals. Unfortunately after applying the weight I realized that the date is 1901. Oops!




Tintic Range Posted - 08/01/2019 : 9:29:41 PM
quote:
Originally posted by dave1905

One thing I also see is a lot of "over weathering". If you are modeling the 1890's and have 36 ft boxcar (built in the 1890's), its a brand new car and won't have all the damage. If you are modeling 1920 and have a 36 ft truss rod car (built in the 1890's), then maybe its going to have the damage.



In terms of physical damage, that is true, but I would argue that we forget how quickly paints degrade. Nevada Northern restored their AC&F 36' boxcars in 2006 and by 2010 the paint had faded from a deep red to a dull tan and was already flaking off the wood.

I am also working on some Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company 34' cars that were inherited from Union Pacific in 1898. Prototype photos taken in 1900 show that in the two short years since being repainted, the OR&N lettering was already degraded enough to reveal the Union Pacific lettering underneath.


Or even older OR&N lettering


Of course I am not an advocate of overweathering; the majority of my boxcars are actually pretty clean with only light road dust along the underframe/sills. This project however is meant to represent a car at least 10 years old by 1898 (the Pocher body comes out to about 33 feet) and having spent the majority of its operating life moving galena (silver/lead ore) from mines to mills.
dave1905 Posted - 08/01/2019 : 7:48:02 PM
One thing I also see is a lot of "over weathering". If you are modeling the 1890's and have 36 ft boxcar (built in the 1890's), its a brand new car and won't have all the damage. If you are modeling 1920 and have a 36 ft truss rod car (built in the 1890's), then maybe its going to have the damage.
OK Hogger Posted - 08/01/2019 : 3:32:23 PM
This modeler didn't realize that, having never really been interested in railroads in arid/desert/dessert-like conditions.

Thanks for the info!

Andre
Tintic Range Posted - 08/01/2019 : 2:48:30 PM
quote:
Originally posted by deemery

One thing you'll notice on both houses and cars is the very bottom of the wood tends to be dark. That's because rain stops there, deposits dirt, and sometimes encourages mildew to grow. This is an easy effect to get, put a little bit of medium brown paint on the brush (like drybrushing) and hold it at a 45 degree angle along the base of the car. That'll put some paint on the bottom edge of the siding, and get some paint along the very bottom of the sides.



Something that many modelers don't realize is that weathering patterns are actually regional. That may work for places that actually get regular rainfall, but the region I model the biggest forces of nature to be reckoned with are sun bleaching and sand scoring (wind literally sandblasting the paint off). Mildews, molds and mosses are completely out of the question, and water damages like rust streaking or dirt trails are minimal.

The sand scoring, caused by wind but increased by dust thrown up in transit, usually strips the underframe and lower sills leaving the bare wood to then be bleached by the sun, which was the effect I was going for.

With most soils in this region being alkaline, they are almost white, so road dust also lightens up the underframes. I've seen a coal train on the Salt Lake Route (SPLA&SL between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles) kick up a massive cloud of white dust that turned the coal itself white as well as the cars.
OK Hogger Posted - 08/01/2019 : 10:14:59 AM
Looking mighty fine, Tintic! What 'cha gonna' do fer decals?


Dave w/voices:

Nice!

I stumbled upon the "dark at the bottom edges" way back in my dark ages (when my hair was dark) and I building and amassing a pile of MDC OT Reefers/Boxcars for my TOC19 Ozark theme of the time. Like you say, doing so helps make 'em look "right", especially on lighter colored reefer cars. Shame I sold all of them off in The Great Sell Off (liquidated everything we could to get us into a home), but they're too new for my late 1880s era, anyway.

Enjoying this thread and love this forum.

Andre

deemery Posted - 08/01/2019 : 09:50:19 AM
One thing you'll notice on both houses and cars is the very bottom of the wood tends to be dark. That's because rain stops there, deposits dirt, and sometimes encourages mildew to grow. This is an easy effect to get, put a little bit of medium brown paint on the brush (like drybrushing) and hold it at a 45 degree angle along the base of the car. That'll put some paint on the bottom edge of the siding, and get some paint along the very bottom of the sides.

And that's another example of a "canvas roof" from pieces of paper.

dave
Tintic Range Posted - 07/31/2019 : 10:20:51 PM
Unless my car is an anomaly, the Kadee wheelsets actually slip right into the Pocher trucks and roll freely without modification.

On to painting. I wanted to try some new techniques, and I wanted a heavily-weathered car. Living in close vicinity of several high-desert railroads (Nevada Northern is a day trip, for example) I picked some real life wood cars to replicate. Wood weathers very differently from metal, so the techniques I've used weathering modern cars aren't as applicable here.

First step was to give the entire car a single coat of black, a trick I learned from my uncle who does World War II wargaming miniatures. It looks real ugly right now, but don't worry.


Download Attachment: Capture3.JPG
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The next coat of paint was Pewter Gray, giving the car a nice weathered bare wood appearance as the base. I swear I took a picture of this step but I can't find it now.

I painted the roof silver and once it dried used the salt method. This was the first time I tried it, so unfortunately I made the mistake of using Redmond Salt (pink rock salt from a mine on the abandoned D&RGW Marysvale Branch)which was too large of a grind and took some of the silver paint with it when I rubbed it off.

Finally, I used Apple Barrel Barn Red and applied 10-15 drybrushed coats dragged downward from the eaves to simulate aging paint. Areas protected by any horizontal features such as under the door tracks, the doors, the door hardware, and the brake platform received more paint. I then touched up any metal parts with an extra layer since the prototype cars show that for some reason old linseed paints survive better on metal surfaces than wood.


Download Attachment: Capture.JPG
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Download Attachment: Capture2.JPG
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I forgot to mention that the truss rods were replaced with monofilament and Grandt Line turnbuckles. I still need to weather the trucks and underframe.
OK Hogger Posted - 07/30/2019 : 11:02:34 AM
Agreed, Mike going to look good. In fact, he's doing more to his (detail parts) than I have been to my Bachmann look-alikes!

Rolling characteristics:

With some of the trucks, IF you're careful, you can also spread (fatigue) the truck sides just a bit with your fingers to gain the needed clearance for good rolling with Kadee wheel sets. We're only talking a few thousands that's needed.

With others, I simply use an smaller sized drill in my pin vise into the journal (coming in from underneath the opposite journal, and after a few twists, clearance is created.

Andre
deemery Posted - 07/30/2019 : 09:24:46 AM
If you replace the wheelsets with the right axle length ReBoxx wheelsets, the trucks from that kit roll quite nicely. And they're short wheelbase, 4' 9" if I remember right. With a bit of weathering, they look fine.

dave

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