N Scale Kits Gunderson 53' AP Husky Stack Well Car

ram53 Oct 29, 2012

  1. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

    293
    17
    21
    I got a pair of these new NScaleKits releases recently (shipping free from the UK) and started to put them together, so I thought I'd let you see what I have been up to with them. I have built a few of their regular Husky Stacks, and their 40' Maxi III rebuilds, and all of these kits (formerly the Alan Curtis line) share some characteristics, although these are a brand-new product.

    The kit consists of minimal parts: per car, there are two pewter castings for the sides, two end pieces and a few bits of cast metal detail, ie brake stand, brake valve, trailer hitch, plus a sheet of stainless steel etchings for the platforms, floor and brake wheels. Instructions are also minimal, but there are photos of the finished model, indicating that success is possible--always a good thing to know!

    The metal is fairly soft, which is both good and bad. Good for cleaning up flash, of which there is some, good for drilling holes for added details like grabs and brake lines,etc. but not so good for bending and warping, because by the time you've cleaned up the castings, things are likely to be a bit skewed 3D-wise. I find that a bit of finger and thumb pressure can straighten everything out quite well.

    There's no way this kind of product can approach the crisp, straight dimensions and details that injection molded plastic can, so the carbody is a bit crude even compared to say an MDC or ConCor Husky Stack, but in return you get a heavy model that can roll empty, unlike the plastic cars, I think that's a worthwhile trade-off, although I wish the cast detail was better. Here's where we are so far:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    One thing I could not figure out was how ANY trucks were going to fit onto the end piece because the car sides were going to be scraping the ground and the truck would not have space to rotate if attached without modification. If anyone else has figured out a better way, please let us know: I built up the truck bolster with a square of .020" styrene with a mounting pin hole drilled into it and the piece epoxied onto the car end:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I ended up using MT 70T roller bearing trucks and FVM 33" wheels. I couldn't come up with any way to use BLMA trucks which would ride too low unless you really built up the bolster. As you can see from the side shot, the car already rides nice and low with the MT/FVM combination.
     
  2. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

    3,226
    98
    44
    Nice job and I agree with you that the additional weight is a welcomed trade off. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

    293
    17
    21
    After the sides and ends were glued together and set, the etched floor piece was added. I found that I had to remove the little side nubs that project along the carbody sides from the folded-up ends of the floor piece; if not the floor piece would not fit and would spread the sides apart. I removed these little K-shaped bits and used a Dremel disc to remove any metal projecting out beyond the width of the floor. After this, the whole piece fit into the well nicely. I used epoxy along the flanges at the bottom of the car sides and used a weighted container to hold the floor down until the glue set up. Make sure you put the floor piece in centered properly or your wheels will bind on one end!

    Then, check everything for warps and twists. A little thumb and finger action will remove any 3D imperfections as the cast metal will hold any gentle deformation you put into it.

    I looked up prototype photos of these cars--as usual, what you want to see is hard to find! Where and how do the brake stand and valve go, etc. What does it look like from the top, and so on. The brake valve was just a little piece of metal that was barely recognizable, so I used a plastic one from a sprue of Intermountain brake gear parts, much better detail. I drilled a #76 hole and installed the valve, then used .015" PB wire to simulate brake lines, I'll probably add another line to where the train line hose goes next to the coupler. The brake stand is kind of crude, but after clean-up, I drilled a #78 hold into it, CA'd it to the brake end of the car (just pick one end, as they appear the same on both ends). It's flimsy, nothing but glue is holding it. I then drilled holes for 18" grab irons at the ends with a #80 bit and used BLMA grabs.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This is looking down towards one end, showing the folded-up etched floor piece, and the open wheel wells, which is part of the "coolness" of these cars. There are instructions about milling out metal in case the wheels hit the underside when turning, but with the built-up bolster and the choice of MT 70T trucks and 33" FVM wheels, this doesn't seem to be an issue for me.

    [​IMG]

    Here we are looking straight on at one end, showing clearance of the trucks and wheels while still having a very "low-rider" appearance to the overall car:

    [​IMG]

    I'm planning on using MLE models etched hitches instead of the provided cast ones, but the NSK ones aren't that bad. I haven't measured for a coupler choice yet, I'm hoping an MT 905 Z scale will work, but it's possible an underslung MT 2004 type may be needed if the floor is very low.

    There were a couple of times I became frustrated and unhappy with the kit. The first time was when I could not figure out how the designer intended any trucks to actually fit and swivel so had to come up with the plastic bolster idea. Also when the etched floor piece seemed too wide and threatened to cause the car to come apart, necessitating the removal of the K-shaped nubbins and dremeling away any excess metal beyond the width of the actual etched floor bottom. I feel I must not have put the whole thing together as intended, but I don't know. It doesn't help when instructions are so minimal and vague.

    Right now, I'm pleased with the result--I admit I was close to throwing everything into the box and putting it away for a good long while.
     
  4. prbharris

    prbharris TrainBoard Supporter

    347
    46
    18
    Richard

    Thanks for this - the car looks great, and it is helpful having the feedback. Can we use your info as part of the instructions so that they are less 'minimal and vague'

    It seems as if you have done so - but we do need to improve the instructions - with your help! When we put the kit together we did remove some of the metal to get a good clearance for truck swing as shown in the picture. The addition of the 0.20" styrene piece prevents this and is a good solution - we should add this to the mold and when we redo the car [if it sells well] we will alter this.

    The use of a plastic valve from a sprue of Intermountain brake gear parts does give much better detail. I like the way that you have drilled a #76 hole and installed the valve, then used .015" PB wire to simulate brake lines.

    Thanks for posting.

    Peter

    Peter Harris
    N Scale Kits
    www.nscalekits.com
     
  5. GaryHinshaw

    GaryHinshaw TrainBoard Member

    932
    4
    20
    Excellent summary and photos Richard. I will definitely be referring to this when I get around to building mine. I wonder if you could elaborate on the 'K nubbins' you had to remove? Do you have a 'before' photo of the bit in question? (It would probably be obvious if I broke out a kit and inspected it, but they're packed away right now.)

    Thanks!
    Gary
     
  6. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

    293
    17
    21
    Peter:

    I'm about to start the other pair of cars, and anticipate a much smoother process now that I know what will work. The truck bolster problem was the main impediment to progress, and that's solved. The etched floor piece may or may not need the trimming I did the first time, depending on how the sides and end pieces fit together. I think if you glue the pieces together firmly, there isnt' enought width at the top of the well to accomodate the full thickness of the folded up floor with the K-shaped nubbins (which aren't really needed anyway), so I'll probably have to remove them again.

    Using an NMRA coupler height gauge, the bottom of the end piece is slightly lower than the top of a standard 1015 body-mount MT coupler, so it looks like an underslung 2004-type coupler will be needed. One could shim up the truck (or use 36" wheels instead of 33") to use a 1015 or 905 Z scale coupler, but then you'd compromise the "low-ride" appearance that's so cool on this model. If one was going to use truck mounted couplers, additional shimming or a thicker bolster than .020" would have to be added. I don't recommend that, it's actually much easier to use body-mounted couplers and this is preferable anyway.

    I anticipate that these will be extremely appealing cars once finished. It's easy to add detail like end grabs, brake gear, cut levers. The metal is much easier to work with than say, Walthers well cars.

    I'll continue to post updates on my progress with these models. They are a good value, the FEC decal sheet looks great, the cars have good weight and detail and those who want intermodal variety should not hesitate to buy some.

    Richard.
     
  7. Ryan Wilkerson

    Ryan Wilkerson TrainBoard Member

    669
    151
    29
    What era is this well car? Beginning build date would be great!
     
  8. prbharris

    prbharris TrainBoard Supporter

    347
    46
    18
    [FONT=verdana, arial][SIZE=-1][FONT=verdana, arial][FONT=verdana, arial][SIZE=-1]In 2001 FEC purchased cars 70000 through 71124 and in 2005 cars 71650 through 72809, a total of 2285 cars in use through the early 2000's until the present day. They are still regularly seen in intermodal consists today.

    These low lying cars in their different FEC paint scheme provide an alternative to the TTX well cars seen in many intermodal consists.

    Whilst any of the cars run in Florida East Coast Railway paint schemes, TTX do run these cars as DTTX cars in the series DTTX 469216 to 471999. However, in DTTX use, TTX run these cars without their hitch tops, and are only used in CoFC service. This version can be built using the kit.

    GreenbrierĀ® Gunderson are still manufacturing the car in 2012, and details[SIZE=-1]
    of the current cars can be seen on the Greenbrier website.

    Pete[SIZE=-1]r Harris
    N Scale Kits
    www.nscalekits.com
    [/SIZE]
    [/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT]
     
  9. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

    293
    17
    21
    I wonder if you could elaborate on the 'K nubbins' you had to remove?

    Gary, it will be obvious when you look at the etched floor piece. They are like little wings protruding from the ends of the etched piece. Here's what they look like anyway, they aren't really needed and only serve to provide a bit too much width. When you clean off the mold parting lines I guess you remove enough material to make a very tight fit for the floor.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the four cars built up and ready to be washed and primed:

    [​IMG]

    This is the underside of the brake end of the car, showing, among other things, where the end of the folded floor piece should lie, and my improvised, not necessarily accurate brake details:

    [​IMG]

    I went back to my Concor reworked 48' AP Husky Stack to check some of the detail placements. That was quite a project and a really nice set of two cars, even though they're still much too light after packing any available space with weight into it. These NSK models won't be quite as crisp with the details but I think will still be great-looking well cars.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Ryan Wilkerson

    Ryan Wilkerson TrainBoard Member

    669
    151
    29
    Thanks for the info Peter!

    Richard, thanks for sharing your experience along with photos...always good to see and read about kits.
     
  11. GaryHinshaw

    GaryHinshaw TrainBoard Member

    932
    4
    20
    Thanks for the clarification Richard. From my first quick read through, I thought you were referring to nubbins on the pewter castings. I hauled my kits out and had a look-see; my impression is that the nubbins on the etching are intended to be folded gluing tabs, based on the half-etch the arrow is pointing to in this shot:

    [​IMG]

    I guess you saying the etch is too wide even when these tabs are folded, right? If so, Peter should consider modifying the artwork to bring that fold line in by one line width (or else just omit the tab).

    Thanks again for the detailed build report,
    -gfh
     
  12. prbharris

    prbharris TrainBoard Supporter

    347
    46
    18
    That is partially right - there is a small error in the artwork. Sorry.

    The little K shapes replicate the metal work on the inside of the car, but also act as a glueing tab. The fold line should be inside by a line width as you say Gary, as the folded K 'nubbins' can make the etch floor too wide.

    However, without this fold, the etch floor and end piece are the correct width, but the fold of the nubbins add an extra 0.020" to the width and can make it too wide if not very careful. Richard's solution of cutting them off might be best as they are not completely necessary.

    Peter

    Peter Harris
    N Scale Kits
    www.nscalekits.com
     
  13. jagged ben

    jagged ben TrainBoard Member

    1,832
    3
    31
    You couldn't just use one (or two) of the MT truck washers on the BLMA trucks?

    BTW great work, hope I can get some of these going. Still have too many unpainted projects...
     
  14. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

    293
    17
    21
    With regard to using washers and other styles of truck/wheels, you'll just have to get the lay of the land when you go up country, so to speak. For BLMA trucks, I think you're looking at at least .030" (which is like 6-8 washers?)and possibly more that needs to be built up to provide clearance, unless I totally misunderstand the design. I also didn't have any 70T BLMA trucks on hand and I think 70T/33" is what these cars use--I could be wrong, it's very hard to find information unless you happen to be standing alongside a real car. I can't tell from the photos available online.

    Would be nice if someone else tries their hand at one of these just to get another person's viewpoint. I could be completely missing the boat with my impression that the bolster design is not ideal, although can be modified by the modeller without great difficulty.

    Richard.
     
  15. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    10,793
    380
    124
    Fascinating to see this report of Peter's latest addition to the range I started which seems ages ago now! Great looking car with a lovely low ride.
     
  16. prbharris

    prbharris TrainBoard Supporter

    347
    46
    18
    Not quite Richard, the best BLMA is ASF A-3 100-Ton as can be seen in Daniel Leavitt's helpful guide.

    Jon Hollahan's picture below might be useful for comparison.

    Jon Hollahan 3.jpg

    Peter Harris
    N Scale Kits
    www.nscalekits.com
     
  17. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

    293
    17
    21
    Well, I've tried the BLMA 100T truck with 36" wheels. The inner wheels hit the folded-up etched floor piece and the outer wheels hit my brake gear details. It seems that the wheelbase of the 100T truck is too long if one uses the provided truck pin mounting hole as the pivot point. However, if someone were starting from a fresh kit, I think it would be possible to fashion a new bolster a bit further toward the car end, thicker than .020" and with the truck pin hole moved along with it, basically ignoring the cast-in hole in the end piece. I'm not sure of course, but the BLMA might work under those circumstances.

    I've basically finished the cars, they are assembled and painted so I'm not willing to make any drastic changes at this point. I'm just going to have to live with the MT 70T trucks and 33" FVM wheels. I did try adding 36" BLMA wheels to the MT trucks which raises the car by 3 N scale inches, and that is actually quite noticeable, it doesn't look right. It does raise the end platform to the point that one could use regular MT 1015/16 couplers or MT Z scale 905 couplers instead of the underslung 2003/4 types. I prefer the car to be lower however.

    Hopefully someone else will chime in with their experiences, I think it is possible to use 100T truck/36" wheels with some kind of modification of the kit's end pieces, ie some combination of adding to and/or moving the bolster and possibly filing away some of the underside of the coupler mounting platform.
     
  18. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

    293
    17
    21
    I've now completed a couple of NScaleKits cars now, and this is one of them, using the FEC small logo decals. This is a post-2005 look with the reflector stripes added. It looks like the spots for the stripes were either pre-cleaned or repainted and not necessarily that neatly, then the stripe was added. I ended up using MT 70T trucks and BLMA 36" wheels, which allowed the use of the MT 905 Z scale coupler. The current design does not allow the longer wheelbase 100T truck to fit without hitting the folded up floor ends. The two models I did have added detail, included cut levers, air hoses, grab irons, and the "I don't know what they are, but they are there" white square shapes on either side of the trailer hitch. Photos show without and with a 53' container aboard. Good weight and tracking when empty as expected. You can test your "psi" powers with those etched parts, among the most delicate I've encountered. Just looking askance at the model causes a stanchion to bend over it seems. Not a model to be handled a lot, but all these well cars with etched details, even the Gold Medal Models details, are pretty delicate.

    I usually use Polly Scale TTX yellow, but this time I used Badger Modelflex TTX yellow which looked a little less "lemony" and more like what you see on commercial models (or the real thing). I still gave the paint job a light overspray of transparent oxide red to deepen the yellow, then a combination of airbrush fading (using a zinc oxide white mixed with Microscale flat) and weathering. The spots for the reflector stripes were masked at the clear-coat stage. Painting the trucks, wheels and axles is a big help in adding realism. I use a Microbrush applicator for the wheels and axles, very quick and neat and avoids painting the wheel treads. I use RR tie brown, then dust the wheel faces with various rusty Bragdon powders. The trucks are prepared with soda blasting with plastic wheels in place to protect the axle cups, then painted for shadow with light, medium and dark tones with a few spots of rust added at random. I'll also take the 905 couplers and give them a quick soda blast to hold paint, not enough to roughen the internals and prevent smooth operation.

    As you can see, you can make a very convincing model with these kits. There are some issues with the kit, which the designer may be addressing and we may see an improved version that is easier to build, allows 100T trucks and may have redesigned etched steps that hang lower even than what I've got here (which necessitated some milling away of the end castings).


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    10,793
    380
    124
    With a little (or lot!) of care this kit makes up into a very impressive car. This is some of the best weathering I have seen on an intermodal car. Great work!
     
  20. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

    293
    17
    21
    Thank you for the compliment Alan, I appreciate it very much!

    Richard.
     

Share This Page