Some tips for dating models...

Discussion in 'Weathering Forum' started by doctorwayne, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    and before anybody gets hurt in the rush, not that kind of model, nor that kind of dating.:rolleyes: I'm talking about placing your model freight cars in a fairly specific time period with some minor adjustments to the lettering.

    While weathering can make our models look like they've been in service for a while, another way to give them some "history" is through re-stencilling some of the data on the side of the car. Champ offers several decal sets that help with this task, including re-weigh dates for specific time periods, load limit and light weight lettering, and station symbols and repack data.
    This car, modelled after a prototype built in October 1939, managed to just squeeze into the "late '30s" era of my free-lanced layout. ( I deliberately left the era vague, as many of my favourite cars and/or paint schemes appeared even later than that :oops: :D ) Notice the BLT. 10-39 (short for Built, not bacon/lettuce/tomato :rolleyes: ) which appears just above the right hand truck. On the left side of the car, the bottom line of the small lettering reads: LT.WT. 70200, followed by NEW 10-39. LT.WT. is the light, or empty weight of the car. The NEW 10-39 refers to the LT.WT., and means that the car, when "NEW", weighed 70200 lbs.
    [​IMG]

    After a car has been in service for a while, or if it undergoes more than minor repairs or modifications, regulations require that it be reweighed. For most cars, this occurred every 48 months (every 30 months before 1948. To simulate compliance with this regulation, Champ offers decal sets containing suitable data to re-letter many cars. Among these are re-weigh dates for different time periods, lettering for Load Limits and Light Weights, and station symbols and repack data for different areas of North America.

    This PFE reefer was built in Nov. 1928 (hard to read, but just to the right of the door, near the bottom). Over to the left of the door, we can see that the area following LT.WT. has been recently painted over and re-stencilled, in this case 56000. Also, the area where NEW 11-28 once appeared has been painted over. The re-stencilling reads: TUC. 9-36.
    This re-stencilled data means that this car was re-weighed in September 1936, at Tucumcari, New Mexico (that's just my guess on the location, as I'm unable to locate a list of station symbols). If the weight is the same as it was when the car was new, no other re-stencilling is required. If the weight had change due to repairs or modifications made to the car, the LD.LMT. would also be painted over and re-stencilled. The background info and the reasons for making these changes is included in the Champ sets on a separate data sheet.
    [​IMG]

    To make these changes, I sprayed some clear decal film with Floquil Daylight Orange (boxcar red for most cars, though, and for the MDT car, white) then cut out strips sized to cover the original data (this was done on cars that had already been weathered: on a freshly painted car, you can mask over the pertinent data before weathering - when the masking is removed, the unweathered paint and data will appear as repainted areas). I then applied the appropriate data from the Champ sets.
    Here are a few other cars given the same treatment. On the next batch that I do, I'll also change the LD.LMT. weights.
    [​IMG]

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    You may have also noticed the small patch of black with white lettering on the lower right carsides: this is repack data. Periodically, the truck journal boxes needed to be repacked with oil-soaked cotton waste. The date and place that this was done is stencilled in the black area, which is simply painted over an empty spot in this general area. Again, on these already-weathered cars, I used clear decal film that had been sprayed black. Champ provided the data lettering, which is available for different areas of North America. The PFE car has provision for repack data included in the cars paint scheme, in the lower right corner, so the black background was not required.

    I hope that, after you get over your initial disappointment, ;) this info will be of some use for those wishing to add this detail to cars in their fleet.

    Wayne
  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    Dog gone it Wayne:curse:, here i thought you was going to give me some info on how i could get closer to Christie Brinkleytooth1. sign1 ...but seriously, that was VERY informative(i learned something new:thumb:), and a GREAT tutorial on how to do it!:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
    BTW, your cars, and the weathering look "SLAP FANTASTIC"!!!:thumb: THANK YOU, WAYNE!:D
    :D -Deano
  3. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Thank you so mcuh for the informative post, DoctorWayne. That is some terrific stuff, and just goes to show that there is always something to do to get just that much closer to realism in our modeling.

    And not to be sappy, but we at the Gauge are very fortunate to have DoctorWayne hanging around with us mere mortals.:thumb:
  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Thanks for the kind words, Gary, but I'm just learning as I go along, just like almost everyone else here. (Don't tell anyone, but the reason that I didn't change the LD.LMT. on these cars is 'cause I didn't read all the way through the info sheet that came with the decals.) :oops: :oops: While my re-lettering could be plausible, it probably represents an unusual occurrence. However, I like the look of the altered cars and will try to be more accurate next time.;)

    Wayne
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Here are a few more cars that show re-weigh and re-pack data. The Great Northern boxcar, from Walthers, is a factory painted model (fairly rare on my layout) that I've had for several years. This car was re-weighed, resulting in a new LT.WT. and also a new LD.LMT.
    In general, the sum of the load limit (LD.LMT.) and the light weight (LT.WT.) must be the same for all cars of a given nominal capacity (indicated by CAPY. on the car). For 40 ton cars, this sum was 136,000, 169,000 for 50 or 55 ton cars, and 210,000 for 70 ton cars.
    [​IMG]

    Likewise for this M-K-T boxcar, an undecorated Tichy kit. The lettering is from C-D-S. I masked off the area where the LD.LMT. and LT.WT. figures would go, along with an area for the re-weigh station letters and date. I then applied the rest of the lettering, and weathered the car. I also painted a small black area on the sidesill near the ladder. This was for the bearing re-pack data, also available from Champ. The masking tape was then removed, and the rest of the lettering applied.
    [​IMG]

    This Great Northern Canton hopper, from Accurail, got a similar treatment.
    [​IMG]

    Another Accurail car, this one was an un-numbered car.
    [​IMG]

    And finally, a Pennsy H22 coke hopper: probably not a very common sight in southern Ontario, but an interesting car, nonetheless. The manufacturer is Bowser, incidently.
    [​IMG]

    I hope that these cars provide a little more insight into how the everyday maintenance of freight cars contributed to their appearance over the years.

    Wayne
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Great stuff Wayne! Thanks!
    Ralph
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    I hope that the bigger photos aren't a problem, but it seems to me that if the discussion is about the dimensional data, it would probably be more useful if it was legible in the photo. ;)

    Wayne
  8. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

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    Really great stuff, Wayne. Thank you :thumb:. The bigger photos aren’t a problem, only the text. :mrgreen::cool:. I have to scroll sidewards and back again with every line I read :rolleyes:, but it’s worth it.:wave::mrgreen::mrgreen:
  9. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Oh, I forgot to ask. Wayne, how do you create those chalk markings with the numbers like 3/2-16 on that coke hopper?
    Ralph
  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Thanks for asking, Ralph. I had meant to include that info in the original post, but forgot while adding the big pictures. :oops:
    I used an artist's drawing pen called a Rapidograph, made by Koh-I-Noor. It's sort of like a fountain pen, with a reservoir that you fill with paint or drawing ink. The nib, which is available in many sizes, and interchangeable, is a metal tube with a small wire inside of it, free to move. Mine is a size 0, or .35, although I'm uncertain to what the .35 refers: the wire is about .006" in diameter, and the opening of the tube is about .008". I use Universal brand 3080-F waterproof white ink, designed for use with a Rapidograph. Regular white model paints, even thinned, do not work well, as they dry too fast, clogging the tip. Even this stuff is difficult to keep flowing, so it's best to have a bunch of cars handy, so that you can keep writing while the ink is still flowing. Many "whites", both paints and inks, exhibit this fast-drying tendency. When you've finished (or just get fed-up trying to keep the ink flowing) ;):-D, immediately clean the innards of the Rapidograph thoroughly: dish soap and water works well. Use a suitably-sized wire to clear the tube if it's plugged.
    Usually, the scribblings are just numbers and/or letters, although I've a photo of a prototype car that shows a "1" in the centre of a "C", followed by the word "wheels". Could be a reference to flat wheels, maybe? :confused: The ink dries quickly on the carside, but you can blot it to replicate a faded marking, if you're quick enough.

    Wayne
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    The chalk marks are also a good indication of era/date. Some of the markings were less cryptic, like ones you see in Ian WIlson's books. Some cars are labeled as "LCL" (less than carload) or "way", as well as dates and other notations.

    Great stuff Wayne! There unfortunately seems to be a problem though with post #5 - all red X for photos... :(

    Andrew
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Hmmm.! I'm not surprised. :confused: I've been having a lot of trouble the past few days with the Gallery locking-up on me: sometimes it works fine, other times it just freezes - then I can't even close it. :eek: I could still see the pictures in Post #5, but I removed them and reposted them. Let me know if they show now, please.

    Wayne
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Wayne,

    The pix from #5 are coming in, but they are vvvveeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyy sssssllllllloooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww.... Plus they are so big that only about half fits on my screen - I am running high speed+, and a screen resolution of 1024x768.

    Andrew
  14. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Sorry, old chap, but one must keep out the riff-raff from the dial-up crowd, mustn't one? ;)
    When I first posted the most recent set of photos, I went back and re-posted the initial pictures in the larger-than-life size, too. That should cut down on the viewer traffic! :eek: :rolleyes:

    Wayne
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Well, I never! :eek:

    :p to you! ;) :D

    Seriously, yer gunna fix 'em, right?

    Andrew
  16. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Done! ;):-D:-D:-D

    Wayne
  17. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Thanks! :thumb: :D

    Andrew
  18. railBuilderdhd

    railBuilderdhd Member

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    Wayne
    Great info for a newbie learning all about the details of weathering rolling stock. Do you know of any particular decal sets to be looking for to detail the info changes made to rail cars?
    Dave
  19. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Excellent thread! At first I thought it was a teenage member asking for pickup lines other than "Nice caboose!" :mrgreen:

    On a related note...especially for the few 19th century modelers out there...

    Brakes are a huge dating tool. In a 10 year span, some roads went from hand brakes to vacuum brakes to straight air brakes to automatic air brakes. Since the vacuum and air brakes were patented, they included lettering (so it's tied into the thread!) Between 1870 and past WW1, a car could be dated by the type of air brakes...AB, K, fast acting, straight, etc. In larger scales, this would affect what decals you put on the cylinders and the logo on the sides of the cars.
  20. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Dave, I used the various sets from Champ:

    Station Symbols and RPKD:

    Northeastern Roads HD-50
    Midwestern Roads HD51
    Western/S. Western Roads HD-52
    Southern Roads HD-53

    Reweigh Dates: 1930-34 HD-60
    Reweigh Dates: 1935-39 HD-61
    (There are other dates available, but I don't have the set numbers.)

    Load Limits and Light Weights: HD-70

    Each set contains an info sheet that explains how to use the particular data. For Canadian modellers, Set HD-51 (Midwestern Roads) contains station symbols and rpkd info for CNR and CPR.

    For more modern eras, Champ also has consolidated lube stencils (COTS) for both the eastern U.S.: set OD-31, and western U.S.: set OD-32, and U-1 Wheel inspection symbols (enough to do many cars - mostly black/yellow, with a few black/white for unapproved wheels.)

    Wayne