The Erie Lackawanna Railway
Modeling the Railway and the Equipment
Page 2

Click on underlined words to see photographs.

This is the page for modelers and a running dissertation on the continuing remodeling and upgrading of equipment to come close to the prototype.

Building an Erie Lackawanna SDP45

prototype photo
A detailed, step by step kit bashing project that will challenge your modeling abilities

By Joseph Lofland  © 2000
with permission of the author
Prototype Photos by Lamont Smith - Model Photos & Drawings by Lewis Watt

In 1969, the Erie Lackawanna Railroad took delivery of 34 3600 h.p. (Nos. 3635-3668).  These units were not meant for passenger service and differed from EMD’s standard model in that they had no steam generators.  Consequently, they also lacked the extra vents and flat end common to other SDP45’s.  The EL used the longer frame simply to accommodate a larger capacity fuel tank.

I kit bashed my EL SDP45 from a dummy unit so sound could be added, but with some minor changes you can build a powered unit.  If you combine one of these with a powered SD45, you will have an excellent looking and sounding lash-up.

The frame is a FP45.  If you wish to add sound and lights, you will have to change the wheels to metal Athearn wheels, and also change the bushings to metal ones.  The frame itself has to be shortened to a length of 46 feet.

A razor saw was used to cut the ends off the frame.  The center section of the frame, which includes the fuel tank and both bolsters, was the only portion saved (see Figure 1).  The air tanks on the side above the fuel tanks were made by putting a piece of round brass stock in a drill or lathe and using a file and emory paper to round the ends.  Brass wire and fuel fillers were then added for detail.

A Modeltronics sound unit was connected to the frame.  A two inch speaker was used, but it was cut down to fit into the shell.  This was easy, but care was used so the speaker was not torn.  Take some Ambroid cement and place a bead around the edge of the speaker paper to protect it and give it some rigidity.

The shell is the major part of the construction.  The overhang for the fans on the roof of the SD45 shell is the first part to be cut off.  Remove and save both the grilles and overhang portion because you will need to replace them later (see Figure 2.)

The SD45 shell is now cut behind the last large door and a SDP40 shell is cut 23 feet from the long end.  All detail is removed from the SDP40 shell except the doors.  The flat end of the SDP 40 shell is cut off and replaced with the end of a GP35 (see Figure 3).

The key to getting both a good looking model and a good fit is to make your cuts allowing a little excess which you can file down to a smooth square fit.  To insure a square fit, make sure to use a modeler’s square.  If you build with care, you will not need to do much filling.  There isn’t any room for filling and sanding between Athearn doors, so a perfect fit is important.  Plastic Weld is used for all gluing of the plastic parts.  If seams need filling, I use Green Putty manufactured by Squadron Shop.

The three low profile fans on the top of a DD40 were cut off, allowing excess for filing.  The plate and rivet detail were all used, and the entire piece was placed in position after an opening had been cut and filed out.

Take the small pieces of plastic saved from the top of the SD45 shell and position them on the side of the shell.  The grilles must be positioned under the overhang.  Glue the over hang pieces to the shell, but not the grilles.  The taper behind them now has to be built up with styrene and filler.  The grilles should be perfectly fitted in position, before you glue them to the shell.

The number boards have to be drilled out and filed smooth at this point.  Use a sharp X-acto knife to shave the grab irons off.   You will need to do some sanding where the grab irons were removed.  This may cause and indentation in the rear of the long end that has to be filled along with the headlights of the low nose.

The last bit of bodywork done was a slot for the brake wheel on the low nose of the fireman’s side.  An X-acto knife, a file and sandpaper will accomplish this simply.  All sanding is done with a series of 250, 400 and 600 grit sand paper.

The details are what set off a good model.  There isn’t much added, but the small parts really give the engine a railroad flavor.  The air hoses, windshield wipers, and coupler lift bars are .015 brass wire bent to shapes as required (see Figure 4).  Athearn stanchions may be used, or you can fabricate your own.  Holes for some of the stanchions will have to be repositioned.  The handrails on the long end will have to be formed from brass wire.  The center positions of the handrails on the ends are cut out, and a Campbell chain is installed.  The space behind the pilot needs to be built up with styrene in order to mount the Kadee couplers.  All the other detail parts are commercially available.  Compare the parts list with the photos to see where the details are added.

The entire shell is sprayed with Scalecoat gray.  The front, rear and bottom of the running boards are sprayed with yellow.  The yellow is masked off, leaving the only the top of the engine and the pilots for a coat of grimy black.  Yellow safety paint is applied to the handrails and the grab irons on the pilots.  Use drafting tape for all masking work.  The stickum will not remove paint or leave a residue on the model.

The maroon and yellow stripe is an Accu-Cal decal.  Numbers are added to the sides and number boards.  A builder’s plate and radio-equipped decals go on each side, as well as heralds on both ends.  Solvaset is used to adhere the decals to the model, followed by an over spray of flat finish paint.  The weathering is done with very thin sprays of grime, dust and depot buff paint.  The marker jewels are then installed to the shell.

An interior can be made out of styrene.  The detail parts found in this interior are made by GSB, and the fireman is a Weston figure.

A sheet of brass was placed in the top of the cab and rear portion of the engine.  The light bulbs were attached to the brass sheets so the heat would not melt any plastic.  Clear acetate was placed in the cab windows.

Using the techniques I have mentioned, and by taking your time, you will have an excellent model.  Remember to go light on the liquid cement, drill small holes and use fine sandpaper.  The fit of the seams is extremely important, as well as the filling.

Editors note:  This article was written by Joseph Lofland and appeared in Railroad Model Craftsman in December of 1981.  Some manufacturers have discontinued some of the decals and parts since that time.  I have listed some replacement parts for the originals that are mentioned in the article.  The pictures are from copies of the article.  I will replace them with color pictures when I can find an original copy of the article.  My thanks to Joe Lofland for this great article.

Parts List (Updated from Original Article)

140-44100 SD45 body shell
140-41200 SDP40 body shell
140-42200 GP35 body shell
140-42600 DD40 body shell
140-36080 FP45 underframe & dummy mechanism
140-90597 brake wheel
140-10424 short stanchions
140-10425 long stanchions
140-95004 brass bushings
140-metal pickup wheels

Details West
235-161 electrical box/cabinet
235-127 bell, frame mounted
235-166 EMD fuel fillers

Detail Associates
229-1402 EMD drop steps, late SD
229-1505 Multiple Unit stands, late SD, Single
229-1508 MU hoses
229-classification jewels
229-1803 Sinclair antenna
229-1601 Nathan M3 3 chime air horn
229-1301 SD sunshades
229-2206 formed wire small lift rings
229-2503 .010” wire for handrails

NJ International
525-9316 grain of wheat bulbclear

Modeltronics - diesel sound unit
Radio Shack speaker and choke

380-8 KD #8 couplers

430-7001 painted figures, fireman and engineer sitting

200-256 black chain

GSB interior parts  (no longer available)
Accu-Cal decals (no longer available)  substitute Prime Mover Decal PMD-036 (to be released soon?)
Erie Lackawanna Diesels  OR

Microscale decals
87(RH)-16 Erie Lackawanna Diesels

Scalecoat Paint
640-41 EL gray

102-34  EL maroon
102-24  EL yellow

270-110015  flat finish
270-110013  grimy black
270-110006  dust
270-110087  depot buff
270-110086  grime

Erie Lackawanna Transfer Caboose

In this article, we will take an Athearn Extended Vision Caboose and bash some of it into an Erie Lackawanna transfer caboose.  These cabooses were built in 1969 at the Meadville, Ohio EL shops with plans developed by the Norfolk & Western Railroad.  They were used for moving cars from yard to yard and on very short (close to the yard) local drills. There were 25 of these built and they were distributed over the Erie Lackawanna system and assigned to the major yards of the railroad.  Some to Chicago, Meadville, Buffalo, Hammond and Croxton Yard at Secaucus, NJ.  We will build this one for our Croxton Yard, but to be used on our layout at Port Jervis, NY.

Pictures of the model were created by scanning the model directly.  Sometimes the model moves during the scanning process and the pictures or images get blurred and out of allignment and/or focus.  We tried to hold this to a minimum by trapping the model between stationary heavy objects.  Sometimes it didn't work.  Decals on the above picture, for instance, appear blurred, but are not blurred on the model.  They actually appear clear, crisp and alligned properly.

Platform and underframe
Let's start with our Athearn Extended Vision Caboose.   We couldn't find an undecorated kit, so we took a Conrail caboose off the shelf and with a little bit of revenge decided to cut this one up for our model.  Actually, take the Conrail "Q" cabin supplied and put it aside.  We will not use any of its components.  We also will not use the weight included with the kit.  Put this aside.  We chose this model because the shorter size of the platform and underframe and measured at 38' end to end.  Close to the 30' 6" over the couplers for our transfer caboose.  As usual, we took all the parts out of the box and disassembled the parts of the model that were preassembled by the manufacturer. Next we measured 4 HO scale feet on each side of the platform and marked the two pieces to cut out so the model measures the 30' 6" over the couplers.  We also measured 4 scale feet on the platform and marked four cut lines on it.  We also marked the 4' on the underframe. Using a Exacto blade mounted razorsaw, the underframe and platform were cut on the marked lines taking 4 foot out of each side of the platform.   We then glued the remaining three pieces of the platform together and let it dry.

While this dried, we cut 33 pieces of Evergreen 9" X 3" X  9 HO scale feet long.  These we will use for the wood planking on top of the platform.  These were glued across the platform and lined up with slight spacing in between them.  The ends of the platform are recessed, so we glued them two high on each end to bring it up to the height of the platform.

Next we took a piece of .30 Plastruct ABS sheet and carefully measured all four sides of the cabin sides and ends on the sheet.  Without true drawings for this caboose, we determined that the length of the cabin is 10' 6" and the width 8' 6" and a height of 8' 0".  We used this hand drawing measured from a picture of the caboose, so most dimensions are "very close but guesstimates".  We then marked off all the windows and doors on the cabin and cut them out with an Exacto knife blade.  The windows are square 3' 6" by 3' 6" and the doors are 2' 6" wide and 7' 3" high.  Note that the windows are on two corners of the cabins sides and ends are adjacent to each other.  Cut out each side of the cabin.   A small Evergreen strip 6" X  1" is measured, cut and glue to the bottom edge of the cabin.  This thin strip goes on all four sides of the cabin except on the doors.  The roof line on the caboose cabin is straight on the side, however the ends have a distinct peak, but flat center. This is also the profile of the roof.  Little boxes appear on both ends of the cabin adjacent to the bottom of the windows and next to the door.  They appear to be "flares" boxes for use by the crew.  We fabricated these out of pieces of leftover styrene (actually a piece taken out of an IHC passenger car truck set to mount the Kadee #508's).  These are cut 1' x 6" x 6".  We glued them in place to represent these "paperwork boxes" on each end of the cabin.  The cabin is now ready for bracing.  Take a side and an end of the cabin and on the end without the window on it and cut an Evergreen angle 6" X 6" X 8' and glue it to the edge of the cabin end.  Do the same for the other cabin end.  Let that dry.  I then cut very small pieces of the angle for the top side of the window side and a piece to fit below the windows on the ends of the cabin. We glued them in to their respective places and put them aside to dry.  After drying, a side and an end can be glued together.  We did this to the two sets of sides and ends and put them aside to dry.  After drying, we painted the entire cabin, caboose red inside and out.

The next step is to paint small strips of Evergreen 6" X 2" with aluminum or silver paint on the edges and only one side.  This prevents it getting messy when we glue them on the cabin as window frames.  We cut these after they dried, in 8 pieces 4 HO scale feet long and 8 pieces 3 1/2 feet long.  These we used as the aluminum frames for the windows, the 4 foot pieces on top and bottom and the 3 1/2 foot pieces as sides of the frames.  Another 4 - 3 1/2 feet pieces of this same material was cut for the middle frame of each window.  These were then very carefully glued on the now red painted cabin.

The doors were cut out of plastic styrene, then we cut the windows in the doors and added pieces of wire (Detail Associates handrail rod) to represent the door handles and hinges on the door.  The hinges are on the right sides of the doors.  We then cut and put acetate behind all the windows and doors to represent glass.

The side windows have  sunshades over them.  We fabricated a piece of plastic left over from the edges of a sheet of "red brickface" used in modeling a building, for these sunshades for each side of the cabin windows.  We cut these 5 foot in length, then bent the ends of each down 6" from the end and cut a small triangle off of each side.  We then glued them over the windows on the sides of the cabin.

The roof has the corners bent down with about a 2' straight part on each end down the center.  The corners do NOT form right angles in the bending, but are slightly unequal .  the overall roof length is 15' which covers a 10' 6" cabin, therefore we have 2' 1.5" overhang on each end.  The width of the roof is 9' 3".  This allows for the peaked forming of the roof in the center and fitting to the edge of the cabin sides.  We measured the roof width, found the center, measured one foot to each side from the center.  We did that on both ends then drew the 2' center lines on the roof.  We then marked off the 2' 1.5" from each end and then drew our "bend" triangles. We scored the lines to be bent and then bent them into shape.  "End of Train" markers are mounted on the roof on both ends.  These consist of a small red circlemounted on a small metal brace with smaller metal wire like brace from the center of the roof.  We found clear plastic portholes left over from an Athearn PA-1 model  that fit this need.  We cut small plastic pieces to represent the metal braces and handrail wire to represent the centered braces for these "end of train" markers.  These are fabricated and then glued to roof ends centered.  Also we used the larger clear portholes to mount the roof chimney on, cut the chimney stack provided with the caboose kit down to the proper size, mounted it on the clear lens and then glued to the roof slightly off center and closer to one of the ends.  The entire roof should be painted black at this point.  The ends of the roof have the end spot markers and these should be painted red towards the outside of the model only.  We again cut pieces of an Evergreen angle 6" X 6" scrap plastic 6' in length.  These were glued under the roof to hold it in proper alignment on the cabin.

Handrails and Grab Irons
The platform needs to be worked to bring it to the prototype quality.  First cut the nub next to the each steps to flatten the side.  Then cut a piece of Evergreen 1' 3" X  22' strip to fit the entire side of the platform from stairway to stairway on both sides.  Curved handrails are mounted two on each side. We cut four posts for this placement from an Evergreen 6" X  2" strip and drilled a hole in the top of each.  These are then glued to the sides of the platform and the curved handrails are test fitted to determine where the hole for the bottom end of the handrail is to be drilled.  This is done for all four curved handrails.  We, then painted the platform section entirely black.  We also painted the roof black.

There is a large amount of handrails on each end of this caboose. We first place the cabin section on the platform, taking care to center it.  We drew pencil lines where the ends of the cabin are to be placed.  Now we determined the placement of where the handrails will go from each side of the platform stairs to the door of the cabin.  Each side fo these handrails has three stantions.  We used Detail Associates handrail brass 1" round to form our handrails on each end of the caboose.  We need four handrails, one for each corner of the platform.  They extend from the inside of the step area up to near the center of the platform and then back towards the cabin.  In the center area of each, there are two stantions to hold up each handrail.  They finally are affixed to the cabin just below window level.  We measured the handrail stantions at 3 1/2 HO scale feet and cut eight of them for the entire model.  We then measured where the cabin doors allign on the platform, drew lines in pencil, extended those lines down to the edge of the inside line for the stairs.  We then measured these almost center lines, divided them by three, marked the third points and drilled #75 holes in the platform to hold the stantions.  After forming the handrails to conform to the lines and stairs and putting them on the model, we put one drop of glue on the tops of each stantion to hold the handrails.  There are two brake wheel stantions and brake wheels that came with the kit.  We glued the brake wheels in their holes and then glued the stantions in place on the model.  We also cut a cross piece for each end of the end handrails and glued them on to the model.  There appears to be a stantion which is on each end of the platform.  We cut pieces of styrene and glued them on the ends opposite the brake wheel stantion on each end.

Grab irons appear on each side of both ends on the platform.  We drilled #76 holes for these four grab irons and mounted them.  We painted them yellow also.  While we were there, we put on the coupler lift bars on each end by drilling a #76 hole, glued in the mount lift ring and threaded the coupler lift bar through it gluing the end to the bottom of the coupler box.

There appears to be a tool box on one end of the top of the platform.  To replicate that box, we cut a piece 2' 6" in length from a piece of balsa wood 1' 6" square strip.  With our Exacto knife, we etched doors on one side and inserts to represent handles.  Paint this black and glue it on the model where indicated.

There appears to be a walkway on the platform of the caboose.  From the pictures, the walkway seems to be diamond engraved stainless steel painted black.  To simulate that material, we became very innovative and used the foil wrapper from Philadelphia Cream Cheese.  This is diamond grooved silver and looks pretty good to simulate diamond steel plating.  We cut pieces to fit the walkway and then painted them black.  After they dried, we glued them to the platform over the "wood" planking.  CAUTION: Make sure you clean the foil wrapping completely without damaging the plating image, otherwise you will have a very mysterious green fungus growth appearing on your model after a time.

We then painted the handrails black on the inside of the model and yellow on the stairs to the far inside area and slightly around the corner of each.  We also painted yellow the end handrails that came with the kit and the curved handrails that we had  previously mounted.   The grab irons on each end of the platform are to be painted yellow.  The coupler lift bars are painted black. We also touched up areas of black on the platform, both sides and top.  We very carefully gave the cabin another coat of caboose red paint.   After everything dried, we put the model pieces together to see how it looked.  We found that we had to do a little sanding to the cabin bottom to get it to sit flat on the platform and we also had to sand down the top edges of the cabin so that the roof sat properly on the top of the cabin.

To prepare for decaling, we sprayed the entire body, platform and cabin,  with clear coat.  Also sprayed the ends and top of the roof with clear coat even though no decals go there. This properly seals the paint.

Prime Mover Decals has recently put out a set of decals for this model.  The first decals put on the model were the hardest. The black tool box on the platform is labeled with a white decal "tool box" on both sides and the end.  These decals are very tiny and I had to use a magnifying glass to find them on the decal sheet.  After the tool box the next decals were "fusees" that go on the red boxes next to the doors on each end of the cabin.  On each top step (4 of them), we put "watch your step" decals. We decided to number this caboose T-32.   We cut the numbers T-32, which are not together on the sheet, out of the decal sheet and put two of them next to the doors on each end of the cabin over the "fuses" boxes.  We, also put an "EL" decal over the number.  That takes care of the end of the cabin and we turned our attention to the sides of the car.  Starting on the platform sides, we placed the "LT WT" decals and then tried to find "35600" on the decal sheet.  The closest we could find was "35800".  We cut them out and applied the decal on each side.  In cutting things out of the decal sheet, we wanted both sides to have "MDV 4-69", but after we cut one out of the sheet, it got lost.  So one side says "MDV 3-69" and the other side "MDV 4-69".  There were only two of these decals on the sheet. No room for errors, be careful cutting.  We also put the built date "BLT 4-69" on the cabin side where indicated on the photos.

We then cut out the large EL herald and the side numbers and applied them to the cabin side.  We also cut out a small group of lettering we couldn't read and applied that to the platform edge just below the cabin side number.  It seemed to be the same group as on the prototype.  There are many pictures of this caboose (T-32) from a variety of angles.  Most of the dimensions of the car were taken from this group of pictures.  This unit was assigned to Croxton in Secaucus, New Jersey which fits into our layout locale.

Final Assembly
There are two holes in the bottom of the platform to mount the trucks. We moved our trucks for this model towards the ends to the next two holes, originally to hold the weight on the platform, and used these to mount our trucks. After mounting the trucks, we found that the caboose stairs interfered a little with the movement of the trucks, so we scrapped a small portion of the steps on each inside end and each side of the platform down so that the trucks have proper movement.  Kadee #5 couplers with plate spring were mounted in the Athearn provided area at the end of the underframe and a snap plate put over both.

Final Touches
The whole model is now put together.  We weighed the car and found it to be about 1.5 oz.  Based on the NMRA Standard and our personal standard (1 oz. per 10 scale feet of car) we added another 1.5 oz. of Prather weights inside the cabin to have the car track and roll properly.  After we get the decals and apply them, we will then overspray the whole model with Dull Coat to take that shiney appearance away from it and hold the decals in place for, hopefully, eons.

Bill of Material
1 Athearn kit number 5360 Undecorated Wide Vision Caboose
1 Kadee #5 couplers  (pkg 2 pair)
1 Prather Stick on weights – 12 oz.  (1.5 oz. needed)
1 Plastruct 570-91171 .030" x 7" x 12"  gray flat sheet material
1 Prime Mover Decals PMD-034 Erie Lackawanna transfer caboose white lettering
1 Detail Associates (229-2205) Coupler Lift Bar (pkg 10) [need 2]
1 Detail Associates (229-2504) round brass 3/4" (pkg 10) for grab irons
1 Detail Associates (229-2505) round brass 1” (pkg 10) for handrails
1 Evergreen 269-8203 14" long HO scale dimensions 2" X 2" (pkg of 10)
1 Evergreen 269-8104 14" long HO scale dimensions 1" X 4" (pkg of 10)
1 Testors 704-1260  Dull Coat Spray Can 3 oz.
1 Testors 704-1261 Gloss/Clear Coat Spray Can 3 oz.
1 Floquil (270-110010) Engine Black or Accupaint (102-2) Stencil Black
1 Floquil (270-110020) Caboose Red or Accupaint (102-10) Chinese Red
1 Floquil (270-414236) Erie Lackawanna Yellow or Accupaint (102-24)
1 Floquil (270-1100101) Bright Silver or Accupaint (102-40) Aluminum
1  Foil Wrapper from Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Acknowledgement.Prototype pictures for this car can be found on George Elwood's site and the above are linked directly to his site.  Thank you, George.

(c) Copyrighted in 2000 by Joseph W. Jordan, Jr.

The Phoebe Snow Tavern Lounge
From IHC kit #2976 1930 – Tail Car “Lackawanna”

To this finished Tavern Lounge #790

This article is about the most popular car in the Phoebe Snow train consist and how you can model it. International Hobby Corporation(IHC)/Rivarossi manufactures and distributes the 1930 streamliner Tail Car and this will be our starting point.  There isn’t anything else out there and this one needs a lot of work.  Let’s take a look at the kit versus the real prototype.   The first thing, we notice is the window arrangement is all wrong, on both sides of the car.  IHC has put on the “Phoebe Snow” tail signs and on the sides of the car embossed “Tavern Lounge” and the number 789.  All these items are correct for the prototype, but I already have car 789 and this one will be car number 790.  Also based on the work we have to do on the model, we will have to destroy all these things and replace them.  That will give me models of both tavern lounges that ran on the “Snow”.  The rear of the car also needs a lot of work and all of the molded on grab irons and handrails are in the wrong place.  You may notice that the newer version of the Rivarossi cars have better wheelsets on them, a major upgrade from the old wheelsets which were too big and badly made.   The rear end still has a dummy coupler which will have to be replaced and the extented horn hook coupler will be removed and replace with your favorite or my favorite Kadee #508’s on the front and a modified Kadee #5 on the rear.   Other pictures of these cars are in  “EL Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment” by Larry DeYoung on pages 14 and 15.

Initial Steps
First we have to take the car apart.  Let’s start this adventure with removing the trucks from the car. Turn the car bottom up.  They are held in with push plugs and can be easily removed by placing a small screwdriver between the truck and the body bottom and carefully prying them out.  Make sure you retain the push plugs for later use.  Put the wheel sets aside for now.  While the car is upside down, there is a small plastic plug holding the rear dummy coupler in place.  With an Exacto knife, pry this plug up and out and remove the dummy coupler.  Put these parts aside.  We are going to use the plug later.  Next, with the small screwdriver, push the six tabs in the bottom of the car up loosening the combination window/roof piece.  Carefully ease the roof up and out of the car body.  This exposes the interior which again is something the older version of this car did not have.  The interior does not match the Phoebe Snow tavern lounge arrangement, but after we are done the interior can stay in the car for additional weight.  IHC has melted two prongs from the body of the car to hold the interior in tightly.  Remove the interior by cutting the melted prongs and pull the interior up. The car should be now as apart as its going to get.

Take your very sharp Exacto knife and go around the car body removing by scrapping off all molded grab irons and hand rails.  The locations of the hand rails and grab irons are:  three handrails next to each side door; hand rails on the each side rear, hand rails on the front end, grab irons under the “Phoebe Snow” signs on the rear, another set below the “Phoebe Snow” signs, and the two molded steps on the rear of the car.    The molded marker lights on the rear of the car should be removed, right down to the carbody.  If you look at the prototype, you will see these rear lights are red and there are also side lights that are orange/amber.  We will have three different ways to do these and the opportunity to light the tail signs later.  At this point just take off the rear lights.  The prototypes are a little bit higher than these. There are rivets molded on the rear end.  The prototype didn’t have rivets.  Let’s shave them off, too.  The model has a full skirted rear end.  The prototype has skirt pieces, but not a full skirt.  Refer to the prototype picture and cut the rear skirts to conform.  This picture shows the cuts I made to the model rear skirts, the shaving off of rivets, grab irons, handrails and molded steps. To do the front end of the car, scrape off the handrails and cut the grab irons off the bottom.

Car Sides Alterations
Next we will attack the sides of the car.  For orientation purposes, I looked at the rear of the car and determined a right and left side of the car and I will refer to them as such through out this discussion.  The prototype right side  of the car has seven full windows from the rear of the car to just beyond of the center of the car.  The size of the model windows are about right for the car.  Too bad they’re in the wrong places.  On the right side there are enough room to do this car right.  We are going to carefully measure the windows and spaces between them to cut the side and then carve all the correctly positioned windows in a piece of Plastruct, in the right place.  The rest of the side is solid plating and we’ll use the balance of Plastruct material to blank out the rest of the car side to the window next to the door.  The windows are 5 HO scale feet long and 2 ¼ HO scale feet high.  The space in between them is 1 HO scale foot.  Carefully cut the right side past the fifth window, leave about 6 HO scale inches, all the way down  44 HO scale feet or 10 ½ HO scale feet from the front end of the car.  I left the small window near the door and we will treat this differently then cutting it.  I then took a piece of Plastruct, put it behind the existing windows and, in pencil, draw the next four windows using the existing ones as a pattern.  Then carefully cut out the window from the Plastruct sheet. After the windows are cut out, measure 44 HO scale feet on the Plastruct sheet with the windows on one end (towards the rear) and then measure 3 HO scale feet over the windows and mark both top and bottom of the piece.  Now carefully cut this Plastruct piece measuring 44 HO scale feet by 3 HO scale feet out of the main sheet.  Lets check it by putting into the area you cut out of the car ‘s right side.  Hopefully its close in size.  If not, don’t worry.  If its too large, we will cut it down.  If its too small, we will glue it in place and fill it with Testor’s putty.  After putting on some of the details, we will use filler putty to smooth out the side and make the piece fit.

The left car side is a little easier.  We will take a piece of the right side cuttings of the new windows and shave it down to fill the last left side window (closest to the rear of the car).  We also will fill the last front window (next to the door) with a cutting from the right side window cuttings.  The weird part of this is that the prototype has five (5) large windows and four (4) smaller windows on the left side, then a space and another small window and then the door.  To accomplish it exactly would be a total recut job, so I will make some compromises on the overall configuration.  Spacing between windows will not be exactly right but a fair facsimile of the prototype.  The model has a small window, then four (4) large windows (measured 5” x 2 ¾’ with 1 foot in between them), two (2) smaller windows, then a space, a small window, a space, a small window, a space, a very small window and then the door.  We will cut a portion of the small window to open them up to become larger windows and cutting small windows in some of the spaces.  Looking at the model car from your right to left, window #1 is filled, windows #2, #3, #4 & #5 remain as such, small window (#6) is expanded to the right.  Cut this an extra 1½ HO scale feet to the right (towards the rear end of the car).  Window #7 is a new small window to be cut into the side of the car.   Save the piece that you cut and next we will use it as a separator for the two windows #7 & #8.   Next we cut a small window next to window #7 to become window #8.  We again cut a small window next to that for window #9.  If you measure these carefully you should now have 4 small windows in a row adjacent to the larger windows.  The next window #10 is in place and the next window #11 is in it’s proper place and again, as I mentioned before, the very small window next to the door is to be filled with cuttings and putty.  The recut left side should now be done.  Use filler putty in all places where cuttings have been used and have “open wounds”.  Let this dry overnight.  Then look at the places filler putty has been placed and use the putty again where the original application of the putty has receded into the model.  Let this dry overnight again and then we can sand it to smooth the model sides.

Rear End Alterations
Let’s turn our attention to the rear end  of the car.  IF YOU WANT TO LIGHT THE PHOEBE SNOW SIGNS ON THE REAR OF THE CAR, FOLLOW THE NEXT INSTRUCTIONS.  If you don’t, skip down to the next paragraph.  Lets cut out the Phoebe Snow signs right under the windows on the rear of the body. These should be two separate pieces rectangle in shape.  Leave the piece between the window and the sign in the car.  Do NOT cut that.  Later we will cut two pieces of clear plastic to fill these spaces and the sign decals to “light” the signs.

Now we have to make the door plating which is the outside of the rear door portal.  This can be fashioned by cutting out a piece of Plastruct in a rectangle 10 HO scale feet by 4 ½ HO scale feet.  The small platform on the rear end of the car must be cut down to 2 ¾ HO scale feet centered on the end.  Now measure the rectangle to the end of the car, mark the rectangle 9 scale inches from each side.  The top of the portal is 1 ½ feet wide.  Connect the marks with a pencil and then cut the portal out of the rectangle with your Exacto knife.  After cutting, the portal is glued on the rear door area making sure that the feet of the portal extends down to the bottom of the platform.   We now have to cut very slim pieces of the Plastruct and bend them to become the edges of the top yellow stripe on the car.  If you look at the prototype, you will see this edge sticks out slightly from the car and goes from both sides of the door portal around to the sides of the car.   Down at the bottom of the rear of the car, there are what I will call “bumpers” on either side if the platform.  Cut two pieces of Plastruct .030 thick, 3 ½ scale feet long and 9 inches wide.  Then bend these near the middle of each and glue them on the rear end of the car adjacent to the platform on either side of it.

Next, drill holes for all the handrails and the two grabirons, one on each side of the car sides near the rear and the grabs/steps on the rear of the car.  Fashion all the grabs and handrails and mount them on the car body.

You will need to put on the front end of the car, a Kadee number 508 coupler, if Kadees are your standard couplers like mine.  Although talgo couplers are NOT prototypical, I use them due to constrained track radii on my layout.  These bolsters require you to cut the truck frames open at the front of the truck and shave down the middle pin that held the old NMRA couplers.  I shaved down the middle pin to fit the middle of the hole of the Kadee coupler bolster.  This gives the coupler a little more pulling strength and does not diminish from the look of the trucks. The rear coupler is body mounted.  First I put a Kadee box around a Kadee #5 coupler and shaved down the sides.  Then I cut carefully through the space where the dummy coupler was, enough to fix the Kadee boxed coupler.  I then mounted the shaved down Kadee #5 coupler on the rear of the car using the IHC provided pin for a snug fit. After making sure it fits, pull it out again and put it aside for later permanent installation.  While we are in this area, I noticed that the trucks on this car are painted gray, black and silver in as many different pictures.  I choose to paint the truck frames silver.  Paint them as you see fit.

Roof Work
Let’s put the body aside for now and work on the roof.  The roof is wrong, too and extensive work will have to be done on it to bring it to proper specifications.  With your Exacto knife, cut off the two grab irons on the top of the roof.  Also to be removed are the three large molded vents. .  IHC has provided some sort of vents on the roof.  They’re wrong.  These must be taken off with a file.  I did this with an Exacto saw blade and then filled the occurring depressions with Testors putty.  At this point,  we will have to do a little painting.  From the rear of the roof, measure 5’ scale feet and pencil in a line across the roof.  Mask this with Scotch brand tape and paint the rear end of the roof Erie Lackawanna Gray.  We will have to redo this later, but now we just want to define the gray part from the black part of the roof.  From the prototype pictures we can see that both sides of the roof have three small vents or hatches towards the front of the car at the edge of the roof.  This is a hand carving job.  Very carefully take a hard straight edge and measure these hatches on to the roof.  Take a pencil and draw in where they should be.  Here are the dimensions that I have determined are close to the appropriate size.  The first hatch is 2 scale feet from the car’s front end and the hatch is 2 scale feet in height by 1 ¼ feet in length.  Then it’s 6 feet to the next hatch of the same size and then again 6 feet to the final third hatch on each side of the car.  Once you have them drawn in pencil, then very carefully take your Exacto knife and cut them into the roof.  On the opposite side of the roof the hatches are exactly the same.  More hatches can be found towards the rear of the car.   The hatches are the same size as the other three per side, but are 13 ½ feet from the rear of the roof.

This next step is the worst part of the whole construction.  The corrugation lines on the roof.  After the hatches are carved in, there are straight lines on the roof edges (part of the corrugated areas) to be cut in.  These straight lines run from the front of the car to 5 feet from the rear of the roof.  The gray part of the roof DOES NOT HAVE THESE LINES.  They should be made with a steady straight edge.  I use the General #1251 steel ruler with HO & O scale measurements on it.  I tape the ruler in place with Scotch tape, hold it tight and cut the line.  Then move it to the next line and do the same thing.  The lines are about three scale inches apart. There are a bunch of these lines all down the roof parallel to the sides and 3 lines on the side top of the car on both sides. In addition to the corrugation lines, there are two ridges on the top of the car.  These, again, go from 5 foot from the rear to the “front” end of the roof.  I cut these from Evergreen .020 plastic strips and glued them on the roof approximately 2 scale feet from the center of the roof or centered on the roof 4 foot apart.  Next, cut the hatches for the roof from Plastruct .030 stock to the dimensions I mention above for the hatches.  You’re going to need 8 of them for all the hatches.  After sanding them down, bending them with something heated to conform to the roof slope, glue them on to the roof in the previously “cut” positions.  A good picture of the roof of the car can be seen in the book “Lackawanna Railroad in Color” by David R. Sweetland on page 75 at the top of the page.  Now the roof is ready for painting.  Mask the EL gray end of the roof and the sides (window area) and paint the roof with Engine Black.

The last part of the roof to do is the centered rear light.  We will use a piece of Evergreen Scale Models plastic  tubing 5/32” in diameter cut and shaped to the contour of the rear roof slope.  We also have to drill a hole through the roof now to illuminate this rear light with fiber optics later.  Once this is glued in place, fill any portions of the roof light tubing with Testors filler putty and smooth out the piece into the roof lines.  We can now apply our last EL gray paint to the rear end of the roof.  When the paint dries, we still have to put some lines on the gray part of the roof.  The first line gets marked in pencil across the roof about two feet from the black portion of the roof and parallel to the black edge. Then two lines are drawn from the first line slightly diagonal from the sides to the tops of the class lights on the rear of the body.  These simulate the sheet metal pieces that shape the rear top of this car and we will carve them in later.

Paint the front end of car and both side window areas with the maroon stripe with EL Maroon.  This can be sprayed or brush painted without regard to the gray areas.  After this dries overnight, then we have to paint the bottom of the car EL gray.  Masking the maroon stripe over the window areas and the front end of the car, just paint the EL gray on the bottom part of the car body.   Be careful not to paint the underbody parts.  They should remain black.  I masked them from the side of the car so I wouldn’t accidentally paint them.  Let the paint dry overnight.  After drying the paint on the bottom part, I masked off the top of the maroon stripe across the windows and painted the top part of both the car sides Erie Lackawanna gray.

Simulating Steel Plating
Now comes some careful carving.  Around the doors at the front end of the car, there are lines that simulate the door opening.  These are over the top of the door and six scale inches towards the rear of the car parallel to the door opening.  Very carefully, with your Exacto knife and the steel ruler, carve these lines into the car body.  There is, also on the ends of these stainless steel panels, toward the rear of the car, a line to be carved delineating the end of the panels.   Also on the rear of the car are squares around the rear (red) class lights.  Carve all of these in now.

The bottom sides of the car bottom are three separate pieces of gray painted stainless steel.  To simulate these three pieces, I measured the bottom of the sides below the maroon stripe for the windows and marked it in pencil, two lines across the side of the car equal distance apart.  I then took the steel ruler and the Exacto knife and, very carefully, carved these into the sides of the car.  To finish this “plating simulation”, I put the roof of the car back on and carved the lines marked previously in pencil across the top of the gray portion of the roof.  These lines across the rear of the roof must line up with the ends of the plating simulation on the sides of the car.

There are two handrails that go across the back of the rear door.  Drill #76 holes for them, fashion them out of the round brass stock and mount these on the door.  Then we are ready to paint the rear door silver/aluminum.   Let’s also paint all the handrails gray while we’re painting and then set the car body aside.  On the front end of the car, all handrails are painted maroon.

Now we have to apply the decals.  I used portions of Champ decal set PH-65 DL&W passenger cars (maroon). This set gives you: ”Lackawanna”, “tavern lounge” and car number “790” and train boards on rear. If you want to do the car in Erie Lackawanna, then Champ decal set PH-123 should be used.  I also used part of the MicroScale decal set 87-16.  This set provides yellow pin striping for the car.  This is kind of straight forward.  I put on the “tavern lounge”on the middle simulated plating, “Lackawanna” on the top piece of plating over the windows and “790” on bottom piece of plating under the windows on each side of the car.  I used MicroScale decal solvent.  This helps the decals sit down on the car body. Look at the picture of this full sided prototype picture to see placement of these decals. The yellow pin striping is very rough to keep straight.  Much patience should be used.  These pin strips are in three separate lines on both sides of the car and extend around the rear of the car up to the rear door.   The last step with the decals is to make the “Phoebe Snow” placards on the rear so that they illuminate.  I cut two pieces of acetate (clear plastic) to fit over the holes we made where the placards go.  Cut them just a little larger than the holes on each side of the door.  Put the placard decals on these pieces and let them dry off, then very carefully paint the edges around them EL gray.  There is a problem here.  The Champ decals for the placards are too big, so they filled the piece of acetate and I couldn't fit them properly to the rear of the car.  Oh well, do what you can!  When that’s dry, then glue them in place.  Now lighting will come through the placards when the interior of the car is lighted.  There appear to be three bolts holding each placard on to the car and if you have bolt heads from another project, they are on the inside near the door side of the rear, you can look at the picture and glue them in place.

Car Lighting
There are three ways to do this, full blown lighting, just the rear top light or none at all.  Except for the third alternative, we will need to extensively use fiber optics.  Lets take the first one, full blown lighting:  I started with the thin fiber optics to light the class lights on both the sides and rear of the car.  These are tricky because the fiber optics have to be strung through the car body and the roof/window section and when and if you take the car apart again, must be able to take them out before you pull the car apart.  For the rear class lights I cut two pieces of .020 fiber optic three (real not scale) inches in length.  I then exposed it to heat to put a “mushroom” on the end for the light itself and glued a red lens on it’s end (a thin coat of caboose red paint will do here also).  For the side class light, I cut two pieces of .020 fiber optic three inches in length.  With these we want the fiber optic to go towards the center top of the car for the light source, so these have to bent 1/8” from the light end.  This can be done by heating the end again but from the side.  The mushroom effect will happen and the fiber will bend towards the heat source.  I painted the ends (lights) of  these with a very thin coat of UP Armor Yellow to simulate amber or yellow class lights.   I then took the roof of the car and glued Aluminum Foil Wrap pieces into the top of the interior of the roof.  This will help reflect the light source once we put that in the car.

Interior & lighting????  _Need to get the parts for this, so this part still under constrcution.

The IHC interior is wrong, but we can correct this, too. Interior pictures can be found in the book, “Four Great Divisions” by John Henderson on page 84 and in Tabor's “DL&W in the 20th Century” Vol. 2, page 665.  The color pictures in “Four Great Divisions” are beautiful and essentially what I used to create a reasonable facsimile of the prototype.  Most of the interior is a light green, with some light green, dark green and gray chairs and a lot of stainless steel beverage holders.  Single chairs line both sides of the car broken up only by a two seat chair located on the right side between windows two and three from the rear and a two seat chairs on the left side between  windows one and two from the rear.  Toward the front of the car on the right hand side was a glass enclosed area for the actual bar and toward the middle of the car about four two seat tables.  A green rug adorns the floor.  Venetian blinds are on all the windows.  Now we are going to take the IHC offered interior and put it aside.  We will have to scratchbuild this interior.  Some of the parts I want to use seem to be no longer made, but we will find replicas of the seats and tables to use later.

Finishing Touches
I sprayed the entire body with clear coat.  Also sprayed the top of the roof with clear coat.  I then attached the rear coupler and put in the plug provided to hold it.  This will leave it available to pull out again for maintenance if the need arises. I painted both couplers silver to match the truck frames.  Next put in the interior (when done).  Now carefully place the roof/window piece in the body being careful not to disturb the lighting connections.  Next I glued on the single window wiper on the rear right window.  Carefully, I put the fiber optics for the class lights through both the body and the roof piece and very lightly glued them in flush to the body.  At this point, I will considered the car finished.

Warning:  Every time you take the car apart for any reason, you must first pull out the fiber optics from the class lights. They go through both the body sides and the roof piece.

Bill of Material
1 International Hobby Corp. kit number 2976
1 Kadee #508 coupler bolsters and couplers for IHC 4 wheel trucks
1 Kadee #5 coupler  (pkg 2) [need 1]
1 Prather Stick on weights – 3 oz.
1 Evergreen Scale Models tube 5/32” in diameter
1 Plastruct 570-91171 .030 x .250 gray 7" x12" flat sheet material
1 A-Line (116-29201) Windshield Wipers, short (pkg 8) [need 1]
1 BL Hobby Products (183-700) Assortment of Fiber Optic Material (5' of each 10, 20, 30 mil
                 fiber) [Optional]
1 Champ Decals PH-65 Lackawanna maroon lettering  OR
1 Champ Decals PH123- Erie Lackawanna maroon lettering
1 MicroScale Decal Set 87-16 Erie Lackawanna diesels
1 Detail Associates (229-2205) Coupler Lift Bar (pkg 10) [need1]
1 Detail Associates (229-2504) round brass 3/4" (pkg 10) for grab irons
1 Detail Associates (229-2505) round brass 1” (pkg 10) for handrails
1 Testors 704-1260  Dull Coat Spray Can 3 oz.
1 Testors 704-1261 Gloss/Clear Coat Spray Can 3 oz.
1 Floquil (270-110010) Engine Black or Accupaint (102-2) Stencil Black
1 Floquil (270-1100101) Bright Silver or Accupaint (102-40) Aluminum
1 Floquil (270-414239) Erie Lackawanna Gray or Accupaint (102-48)
1 Floquil (270-414242) Erie Lackawanna Maroon or Accupaint  (102-34)

Acknowledgement. Prototype pictures for this car can be found on George Elwood's site and the above are linked directly to his site.  Thank you, George.

(c) Copyrighted in 2000 by Joseph W. Jordan, Jr.

Union Pacific Streamline Baggage Car
From IHC kit #2826 1930 – Express Baggage

And the first question is why?  Why a Union Pacific Streamline Express Baggage Car?  The Erie Lackawanna exchanged baggage cars with many of the western roads in Chicago for forwarding eastbound.  The most prevalent were from the Santa Fe, Union Pacific in Chicago and at Buffalo with the Nickel Plate.  In addition to baggage and express cars, the Nickel Plate exchanged with the DL&W, coach and sleeper cars in Buffalo for their Chicago run.  It wasn’t unusual to see Nickel Plate blue and silver cars on the first class trains of the DL&W mixed in with the gray, maroon and yellow consist.  Soooo, a Union Pacific express baggage car is not entirely out of the question.  Besides, it really looks colorful!

This one is easy.  Open the box, and take the car apart, pull the trucks off, take the roof/window section out and then pop out the wheelsets from the trucks.  Next, take your Exacto knife and scrap all those offending molded on grab irons and handrails including the ones on each end of the car and the roof.   Sand these down smooth to match the car.  I was very lucky to find a picture of a car only one number off from the IHC provided car number 5715, however this has been renamed from the original number to “Pony Express” from it’s original UP number 5714.  With that exception, the picture will serve as our model.
We can assume that 5715 is a “real” number and we will leave that in tact.

As I might have mentioned before, I don’t do the undercarriage of passenger cars because the only time anyone is going to see that is when it falls off the layout or tips over.  Our first modification is going to be the addition of steps to the doors.  We will need four of these and they are Detail Associates part number  6606 which are labeled “superliner steps” and appear to be the only steps even close.   We will cut these down to match the end steps that are molded on the original model.  Once they are cut down, we will glue them on under the doors offset towards the center of the car.  I took the truck frames and painted them Stainless Steel (bright silver).  While you have Stainless Steel (silver) on your brush, paint the steps under the ends and doors and then clean your brush.

You will need to put on each end of the car, Kadee  508 couplers, if Kadees are your standard couplers like mine.  Although talgo couplers are NOT prototypical, I use them due to constrained track radii on my layout.  These bolsters require you to cut the truck frames open at the front of the truck and shave down the middle pin that held the old NMRA couplers.  I shaved down the middle pin to fit the middle of the hole of the Kadee coupler bolster.  This gives the coupler a little more pulling strength and does not diminish from the look of the trucks.  Next, I fashioned grab irons and handrails for the car out of Detail Associates 2503 round brass stock to do the car.  After drilling #76 holes for the grabs and handrails, start to mount them.  There are two straight grabs on each end of the car on both sides.  Handrails are one on each door mounted on the side closest the center of the car.  Finally on the ends of the car, fashion two straight grab irons to be mounted at the bottom on either side of the end.  Fashion the handrails that are mounted on either side of the door frame on the ends of the car.   Now we mount an eye bolt by drilling a #78 hole in the side of the small ladder to the left side of each end, mount and then glue a Detail Associates 6215 coupler lift bar (freight) to the ends of the car.  Next we take eight MU receptacles from Detail Associates 1507 and glue them on, four to each end, two on each end side near the coupler area.

Major modifications are over.  Yes, it’s almost done.  The only part left is more painting and there is a quite a bit of painting to be done.  Notice in the prototype picture that the end doors are a lighter color than the UP Armor Yellow.  I used Polly Scale Sand for the doors.  The ends are painted light gray very close to the roof color.  I used Erie Lackawanna gray to do the ends of the car.  To finish off the painting, I painted the door frame on the both ends of the car Engine Black.  Even though the prototype picture shows this to be a "rubber looking" open hose type bumper/diaphram between cars, I just painted the door frames black.  The grab irons and handrails are painted the same colors of the their respective section of the car.   If the car is painted UP Armor Yellow, then so are the grab irons.  Grabs and handrails on the end of the car are painted gray, etc.  Paint the coupler lift bars gray.  Four red circles are also painted on the MU connection receptacles.  Paint the roof EL gray where the grab iron was shaved off.

Now we have to weight the car.  It’s very light, so I added Prather stick on weights to compensate for the lack of weight.  My model weighed in at 3 ½ ounces, so I added 3 ½ more ounces of Prather  weights close to the truck areas to bring it to a total of 7 oz.  This is slightly over NMRA standards, but I use "the rule of weight" as 10 HO scale feet of car should be 1 oz.  This car is 72 scale feet so 7 oz is close enough for government work.  This weight gives the car a better tracking ability.

Next check inside the car and make sure the grabs and handrails don’t come through and interfere with the roof/window piece when it’s slides into place.  Cut any petruding wire inside the car.  Now reassemble the car, wheelsets back in the truck frame, trucks attached to the car with the original plugs and then slide the roof/window back into the body.  A couple of things to check.  First, the coupler height with a Kadee guage.  You may have to realign the bolsters to get them in proper gauge and height.  I found that I had to shave off the tops of the bolsters to bring them in line.  This seems to work on all IHC passenger cars of the 4 wheel variety.   OK.  Put it on your layout.  It’s done.

Bill of Material
1 International Hobby Corp. kit number 2826, Union Pacific Express Baggage Car
        1930's streamline
1 Detail Associates 2503 round brass stock
1 Detail Associates 6215 coupler bars (freight) with eye bolts
1 Detail Associates 1507 MU receptacles
1 Detail Associates 6606 passenger steps (Superliner)
1 Kadee #508 coupler bolsters and couplers for IHC 4 wheel trucks
1 Prather Stick on weights – 3 oz.
1 Polly Scale 414170 UP Armor Yellow
1 Polly Scale 414302 Sand
1 Polly Scale 414239 Erie Lackawanna Gray
1 Polly Scale 414290 Engine Black
1 Polly Scale 414296 Stainless Steel

Acknowledgement.Prototype pictures for these units can be found on George Elwood's site and the above are linked directly to his site.  Thank you, George.

(c) Copyrighted in 2000 by Joseph W. Jordan, Jr.

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