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 26' Flatcar in Fn3
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Author Previous Topic: Intro.- the Holt house- the White house. 8-2-20 Topic Next Topic: Buckboard Wagon  

Section Hand

Posted - 07/24/2020 :  05:07:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello everyone,

long time no see - yet, I've managed to keep going with model railroading. This year has seen some new life pouring in those old projects.

I've started building a flatcar for my semi-fictional railroad company. And since I've drawn many inspirations from these forums, I'd like to share something in return.

For our next operation session I'd like to contribute a few waggons of my own. In that way I will stick to my intentions, that is to focus on a complete train for the time being.

One better starts small. That's why I've picked the construction of freight waggons, precisely: flatcars. The reasons are natural:
most US freight waggons based on flatcars or were closely related to them. Furthermore they make the easiest waggons to model, apart from disconnects and skeletons.

First order of the day is research: How were flatcars constructed? Which dimensions and particulars come into play? How are they built as models?
The web offers a host of construction reports on waggons and flatcars, you can even find some for my Fn3 scale.

After some looking around, I zeroed in a model of a prototypical length of 26'. The Old Machinist published drawings on pixorails, the image file has such a high resolution that one can print it for almost any scale.
Courtesy to Union Pacific Historical Society I've got the permission to construct my model based on those diagrams.

The drawings are printed on large sheets of paper. Courtesy of Union Pacific Historical Society http://uphs.org

On the web site made by Bernhard Schröter, US-Models of 1900, there are several construction reports on building flatcars and gondolas.
Those are constructed in H0, but with such a perfection that one can learn a lot of hint and tricks that still apply for greater scales.
Many thanks for those reports, they do help a lot when one is beginning and making the first own steps!

And of course, there's still Gerd's Waldbahner-Blog, where he relates how he constructs and continually improves his flatcars built for 5' railways.
There, one can find invaluable hints that really ease the way and avoid a lot of frustation.

You can find the whole story and high-res pictures on my website: https://zamit.eu/en/2020/07/new-construction-reports-flatcars

Next week, construction is up.

Edited by - BreizhSteamer on 07/24/2020 05:11:23 AM

Country: France | Posts: 76

George D

Premium Member

Posted - 07/24/2020 :  08:08:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This looks like an interesting thread to follow, Frédéric.


Country: USA | Posts: 16057 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 07/24/2020 :  08:59:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'll follow along.


"And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

Country: USA | Posts: 12485 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 07/24/2020 :  09:47:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good to see you back posting, Frédéric.


Country: USA | Posts: 32543 Go to Top of Page

Michael Hohn

Posted - 07/24/2020 :  10:49:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote

After looking at some of the projects on your website, I expect the flat car will certainly be out of the ordinary in detail and fidelity to the prototype.


Country: USA | Posts: 6335 Go to Top of Page

Section Hand

Posted - 07/25/2020 :  12:41:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
George, Jerry, thanks for your interest. I will make sure to keep you posted.

Bruce, thank you - sometimes, life has a tendency of getting in the way of any relaxing activities.

Mike, that's very flattering. I consider myself very much a beginner, there's still so much to learn.

Country: France | Posts: 76 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 07/25/2020 :  4:31:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'll be following along.

Country: USA | Posts: 2219 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 07/27/2020 :  06:17:03 AM  Show Profile  Visit adrian_batey's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Keen to see this one develop. I'm fascinated by people who take on F scale and always impressed by the result. My layout room would become very small in F scale.

Owen Pass Lumber Company
HO Logging Layout in a Shed.

Country: Australia | Posts: 1300 Go to Top of Page

Section Hand

Posted - 07/30/2020 :  03:47:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Terrell, thanks for your interest!

Adrian, we'll have to see if I can add to those impressive results... I really like the pictures of your layout that you've posted on your website, do you have some overview pictures?
As a matter of fact, I don't have any layout to speak of, only a small loop of test track tugged away in the corner of the garden. I operate my trains on layouts that belong to friends of mine, since I lack the funds and time to build a proper outdoor layout.

Country: France | Posts: 76 Go to Top of Page

Section Hand

Posted - 07/30/2020 :  09:37:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Before I start the actual construction of my planned flatcars, I'd like to know first which limits the tracks will pose on them. I've only ever known classic model waggons, which have their couplers on beams attached to the bogies. This design ensures high operational reliability because the couplers can follow even the tightest curve radii. However, it's not a pretty sight.

So I'd like to build a few test waggons in order to learn how the couplers perform when attached to the waggon's body.

To build these test waggons, I'm using some old plywood found in my leftover box. Their only purpose is to test different waggon lengths and their behaviour on actual track.

Testwaggons representing 26' und 16' length are made from plywood.

Two small deadblocks are glued to these simple waggon bodies. The knuckle couplers are screwed onto them, with the screws being long enough to gain hold in the body. That lends the whole contraption the needed stability. Meanwhile, the bogies mady by Piko have arrived and after fitting them out with steel wheelsets, they are being mounted with a wood screw.

Bogies by Piko and knuckle couplers by Accucraft.

In less than one hour four such waggon bodies were prepared. The first pair have got a length of 40 cm, representing 26' as defined by my diagrams from Union Pacific Historical Society. These waggons labor by the skin of their flanges through a curve made from R1-tracks by LGB, which sport a 600 mm curve radius. In order to avoid derailments, easements, made from R2 curves (780 mm radius) are necessary. S-curves are a complete no-go unless one adds a piece of straight track into the curve.

A curve radius of 600 mm (LGB R1) quickly causes the 26' waggons to derail.

The second pair boast 24 cm of length, representing 16' waggons. That's about the shortest piece of freight waggon that I could find during a swift online research. Those have absolutely no problem to navigate R1 S-curves. So they will obviously have the advantage during visits on other people's layouts.

The 16' waggons run even through s-curves with a radius of 600 mm.

Nevertheless, I'm going to build the 26' flatcars. For the next operating session I'm going to use the Piko bogies anyway and I will mount some LGB hook and loop couplers, AKA "bottle openers". That will allow us to swap waggons between train sets.

Otherwise I will wait for the operation session and gain some experience bevor I ultimately decide on my coupling system. Next time I will proceed with building the frame.

Country: France | Posts: 76 Go to Top of Page
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