Friday, October 6, 2017

Freight Car Friday: B&O P-11 Flatcar Trucks/Couplers

One of the great things about this hobby is that there is such a variety of different things to do that you can just about always find something that you're actually in the mood to do. Makes for a very enjoyable - not to mention productive - hobby.

So after posting prototype info and photos on the B&O class P-11 flatcar I'm modeling, the kit took a back seat while I did some decoder installs and finished the Valley Coal tank farm "kit" I got from my friend Dave Messer. But it was high-time to get back to it. . .

I'd left off after adding all those finicky stake pockets, so I got back in the swing of things by adding the remaining details - stirrups sill steps (sorry Ted!) and grabs. I consulted the prototype photos, but placement is pretty straightforward. Just be careful when drilling - some of the pieces you have to drill holes through are pretty thin. I made a dimple with a push pin to keep the bit from wandering, then used a #78 bit in my Dremel flex shaft, operated at low speed with a foot pedal, to drill the holes, and ACC'd them in place. And here's the result:

Remember you can always enlarge the image by clicking on it
I think I mentioned that I won't bother with underbody details since 1) you can't really see it with those deep side sills, and 2) I'm going to fill the underbody area with as much weight as possible.

Another reason for taking a break from this kit was to wait for the proper trucks and some screws to arrive. The kit instructions indicate PRR class 2D-F8 50 ton trucks, and the proper ones are made by Kadee (item #517). The only downside is that they come with the NMRA standard .110" treadwidth wheels. I'll eventually change these out for Code 88 "scale" wheels.

I also wanted to get some of the KD plastic 2-56 screws to mount the trucks. While I could have used a Dremel cut off disk to trim any screw overhang that would interfere with the car floor/deck, I figured plastic screws would be easier to snip and sand flush.

Unfortunately, when I test fit the trucks, they interfered with the underbody as well as the sill steps. Fortunately, the car also looked like it was sitting a bit low. The solution was easy - just add a shim to the bolster to raise the carbody off the truck.

In this case, I used a piece of .042" thick styrene strip, drilled a clearance hole with a #43 bit, and ACC'd it in place.

Here you see what I meant about the screw coming up too far through the frame. Since it's plastic, it was easy to trim it to precisely the proper length.

Snip the excess with flush-cutters . . .

Then sand down to flush.

Next, I installed KD #158 couplers ("scale" head, whiskered) with the "trip hoses" snipped off, per my usual practice. The coupler box cover that comes with the kit snaps securely in place. If/when it ever fails, I'll snip off the lug and drill/tap for a screw rather than snapping it in.

Turns out, just adding the .042" shim on the bolster solved a bunch of problems: no more interference with the underbody or details, and the couplers are at exactly the correct height. #FTW!

So now that I know everything fits and will work, the next step is to remove the trucks & couplers and wash the completed carbody/frame and deck/floor to prep for painting. F&C recommends either Dawn grease-cutting dish soap or Shout, so I picked up both at the grocery store last weekend and will clean everything up as soon as the glue's all cured.

Looks like I may be painting this weekend!

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