TH&B Slab Side Hoppers 2852 and 2804

Continuing on the theme of my previous post, here’s a shot of TH&B slab side hopper 2852 and 2804.  Despite the fact that the weathering might look overdone, these cars were very dirty from carrying cement loads.

IMG_0086IMG_0083Like the CP car that posted photos of yesterday, these were weathered with oils mixed by eye in a range of greys and then finished of with pastels.

CP Slab Side Covered Hopper 381151

I posted shots of my Canadian slab side covered hoppers while they were still in the process of being weathered.  Here are shots of both sides of CP slab side hopper 381151 after it was finished.


IMG_0074The car was weathered using a few layers of oils that I mixed in a range of grays.  Once the oils had dried for about a week, I finished the car with pastels.

CP SW1200RS in HO scale


I’ve been working on a pair of what I consider to be the quintessentially Canadian diesel road switcher from the ’60s through the ’80s.  The SW1200RS was developed by General Motors Diesel Division (GMDD) to provide a light weight locomotive that could do double duty as a road locomotive and yard switcher.  It was based upon the SW1200 switcher, which was the latest iteration in a long line of highly successful yard switchers by EMD (and its Canadian subsidiary GMDD in London).  The most obvious alterations to the basic platform made to the switcher include larger number boards and more sophisticated flexicoil trucks, which made it possible to operate at higher speeds.   Between 1958 and 1960, CP took delivery of over 70 of these locomotives, and put them to use across the system.


During the 1970s, the period we’re modelling on the WRMRC, CP kept a small fleet of them in Sudbury, so we need to have them represented on the WRMRC to effectively depict the range of motive power in use at the time.  We have a limited range of options for models in HO.


Twenty-five or thirty years ago, Juneco offered a kit consisting of white metal castings that could be added to the Athearn blue-box switcher that was erroneously marketed as an “SW-1500.”  This kit was welcomed by Canadian modellers, and many people used it to convert an Athearn switcher, myself included.  Shown in the photo above, the Juneco parts kit is best characterized as being aligned with quality of the Athearn model switcher that it was designed to modify.  The obvious drawbacks include the fact that the Athearn switcher itself has an out-of-scale hood, and the Juneco parts are a bit crude by current standards.  These models are not suitable for use on the club layout, so I had to look elsewhere.

Overland offered a beautiful brass import of a CP SW1200RS.  My limited experience with brass models has been universally disappointing.  While the detail and finish on new brass is always impressive, I’ve never owned a brass model that runs well.  I know there must be good runners out there, but I simply don’t have the means to find them.  A poorly running model is worth very little to me as I intend to operate everything I own.  The price of building up a pair of roadswitchers from the Overland model would be beyond what I’m able to muster for my hobby.  For me, at least, brass imports are not an option at this point.


True Line Trains has announced and taken reservations for their HO model, which they initially scheduled for delivery in the summer of 2013.  These promise to be impressive, and I’ve put money down to reserve two copies of my own.  There are probably at least eight more reserved by other members of the WRMRC.  I haven’t heard a peep from TLT about their progress toward bringing these to market.  I’m hoping they can meet their original 2013 target.

As I wait patiently for my deposit to be converted into models, I’ve decided to check out the only other option for having an SW1200RS in HO scale.  The long-discontinued resin kit from the defunct operation called called Point 1 Models builds up into a nice model, if you can find them. The kit itself consists of a large resin casting of the locomotive body, cab, and walkways.  It has smaller castings for the pilot and steps, the roof, fuel tanks, interior, and flexicoil truck sideframes.  There are also some nicely executed etchings for the finer parts like grills, steps, and stanchions.  I found two kits and got to work right away.

By far the most challenging and time consuming part of building one of these kits is the modifications to either an Athearn or Proto 2000 switcher drive so that the finished shell fits over the drive.  Despite the fact that the instructions supplied with the kit downplay the complexity of the frame modifications, this step can be daunting, and is made even more demanding by the conversion of the truck sideframes.

I’m about three-quarters through the build at this point, so I’ll go back through my photos and come up with a series of posts to chronicle this build to the best of my recollection.


TH&B 70 Ton Hoppers Part 6 – Trucks

In his response to my previous post on this topic, Chris Mears asked about the trucks that came with the Stewart model I used for my TH&B hoppers. I’ve put together a short post in response to his question.

Because I mentioned the ill-fated attempt at using True Line trucks in my previous post, I want to expand on this first.  True Line has had their fumbles, and the masses have subsequently beaten them with suitable vigour.  I think it’s safe for us to leave that debate to the various online fora.  I’ll celebrate the fact that they’ve survived the lashings, and they continue to make a go of it.  I own a number of their models and I especially like their slab side covered hoppers.   I’m in line for a pair of their upcoming SW1200RS models, and I’m hoping for another run of their CP and CN vans and the slab sided covered hoppers.  My experience with their freight car trucks was a disappointment.  They should never have let those parts get into a package and onto store shelves.  One pack of bad trucks would be a fluke, but I bought two packages and both were unusable.  In the end, I was refunded my money, but I that’s beside the point.  It’s inconvenient for me to get to a store that has the parts I need for the hobby.  I want to support bricks and mortar stores, but when I get there and put my money down, I should not be performing quality control for any product I purchase, especially if that product carries a premium price, and is not labelled as a factory defect or second.  There; I can move on.

As I wrote in my previous post, I wanted to move the project forward.  Chris’s question was whether the Stewart sideframes are good enough to keep if the wheelsets are replaced.  Let’s go through some photos and figure this out.

Here’s a photo of a truck on the prototype car.


Next is a series of photos of the stock Stewart trucks from my models.




You’ll have to ignore the compression that took place when I took the prototype photo with a telephoto lens, and the expansion that took place when I took the model photos with my iPhone set to wide angle.  The Stewart model appears to have the correct proportions, despite these distortions.

The Stewart part is missing some finer details on the journal doors, the openings at the ends of the frame, and the insides of the bolster openings.  The lip around the opening in the truck frame is too pronounced.  The overall dimensions seem appropriate for a 70 ton truck.  The detail that bugs me the most is the area under the springs on the frame.  That looks different from the prototype.

I suspect that Stewart was aiming at representing a 70 ton capacity ASF A-3 Ride Control truck (with solid bearings, obviously).  I don’t know the origin of the trucks on the TH&B car.  Maybe they were cast by National Steel Car themselves, and are therefore going to be slightly unique from the ASF trucks.  Maybe my spotting is off.  I’m hoping someone can enlighten me on this.

Tangent Scale Models builds a much nicer model of a truck that represents the same prototype as the stock Stewart truck.  This is still not an exact match to that on the TH&B car (again, my spotting could be off).  Here’s the Tangent model (image is from their website).


There are some other quality representations of the ASF truck available in HO scale, but the photo of the Tangent model illustrates the improvement in quality that’s taken place over the past two decades.  My options, as I see them, are to equip the stock trucks with replacement wheelsets, or buy something like the Tangent trucks.  The stock trucks with replacement wheelsets will certainly work.  Whether they match the level of detail on the car the way I’ve modified it is a question I’ll wrestle with over the next while.  I’m leaning toward the Tangent truck with semi-scale metal wheels.

Thanks for the question, Chris.  What would you do?