Starting to think about prototypic modeling...

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Ralph, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    I've always thought of myself as a sort of impressionist when it comes to modeling the Penn Central Railroad. That is I try to create an impression of my favorite line with black engines and jade green box cars with "mating worms" PC logos.

    The dummy F unit pictured below is a case in point. I bought it at a flea market because it was one of the few pieces of PC equipment I could find and it had a sharp paint job.

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  2. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    It looks nice but after a while I wanted to increase my loco roster of F units and started buying undecorated engines and painting and decaling them myself. I used photos on PC fan sites as a guide and quickly realized that on the loco above the PC logo was too big and in the wrong place, and the 9000 number was not an accurate reflection of the sort of numbers the Penn Central gave to F units.

    I followed the prototype pictures as a guide and created the unit below:

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  3. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    At first these sorts of issues weren't really that important to me but as I continue to model I'm finding that I enjoy trying to accurately model the prototype more and more. Its actually becoming part of the fun of the hobby. I know many of you keenly developed this kind of interest a long time ago and I've always admired it, but up until recently hadn't "caught the bug". I don't plan to become a "rivet counter" and I sure as heck will not start criticizing some one else's work because they aren't accurately following the prototype of their railroad but I am becoming more satisfied with my own work.

    In that vein I'm starting to think about adding details to the locos..such as the distinctive grab bars that should be on the roof just above the front windows. I also thought about adding lift rings but learned in my reading that most F units on the PC came from the New Yiork Central...and they didn't have lift rings! Sometimes prototypical accuracy is easy!!!! :)
    Ralph
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Could you imagine being an apprentice mech on that line...yikes. I, too, am finding myself not getting nit picky but trying to get it "near right". Great work:thumb:
  5. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Here's another example. I was casually thumbing through Peter Lynch's book "Penn Central Railroad" and saw pictures and refeences to New Haven diesels called FL9s that wore fading NH colors but had the PC logo midway along the side. I liked the idea of adding a little color to my all black fleet and acknowledging the NH part of the Penn Central. I also wanted to put one of these locos at the head end of my passenger train, as shown in some of the photos.

    So, I found an F7 in NH paint and thought it looked close enough. I added the PC logo and have this:

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  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Looks good...but then I start looking more closely and realize and FL9 isn not an F9. In fact, an FL9 is about 8 feet longer than an F unit. I can't say that I've noticed any FL9s at the hobby shop so I'm starting to ponder the possibility of bashing one from an E8...or I could just be happy with the current F unit. It does look good at the head end of my train and the shorter unit looks good on my layout's curves where the larger engine might have a little overhang. Hmmmmmmmm, a quandry over prototypic accuarcy vs. convenience....
    :) I'm not sure which direction I'll go with the FL9 but I am pleased to at least now know the difference between one and a regular F unit. The more I learn the more I seem to appreciate the hobby and enjoy it...except when I think I've cleverly solved a motor power need and then realize it ain't quite right! :) Well, now I need to learn if any NH F's were decorated like the FL9s...and did any provide passenger service? Education is never a waste! :)
  7. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    I did a little digging for you, Ralph...maybe it'll help.

    The EMD FL9 was a special order engine, made specifically for the New Haven. 60 units were built between 1956 and 1960. The design was based on the EMD FP9, but was lengthened nearly 4 feet to accomodate additional equipment. Because of this, another set of axles were needed, totalling 6. The FP9 was basically an F9 unit, extended by about 4 feet. So you could get an F9 unit, lengthen it by about 8 scale feet and have an FL9. I don't know how easy it would be to change it to a 6 axle unit though.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Atlas sells a fp7 or 9 from time to time. You might find one at a flea market, swap meet, or train show. I think the fp's would be close to th fl9. Basically the standard f units did not have room for a steam generator in the back of the car body even if Athearn did put one there. The Santa Fe just put their steam generators in the empty space on a b unit that would normally house the cab on an a unit, and made sure they ran b units with steam generators on all passenger trains. Some roads like U.P. if I remember correctly, bought fp-7 or 9s (the "P" meant passenger). The fp's were longer than standard f units with a steam generator in the back of the a unit. I'm not sure, but weren't the fl9s on the NH a combination diesel electric and straight electric. They would run on diesel generators powering the traction motors on the way into NYC. They were also equipped with pick up shoes for third rail and pantographs for overhead wire I think, so when they were in an area where they had overhead wire or third rail electric available, they could shut off the diesels and run on electric.
  9. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Thanks for the information about the FL9s guys. I really appreciate it. There's a model rr flea market coming up next week nearby. I'll take a look and see if i can find one.
    Ralph
  10. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

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    Those look real good Ralph.
    The FL-9's had a six wheeled truck in the rear, four wheels in the front truck. And a shoe on the engineers side that could be lowered when coming to NYC, for third rail power, and switched to electricity from diesel.(Sorry Russ) No Pantographs for overhead. They would usually run diesel when electricity was overhead.
    The FL-9's were used by CDOT up until last year, Naugatuck Valley Railroad still has one running, and one static, awaiting for repairs.
    Here's a pic of Naugatuck Valley's FL-9 2002, taken in my hometown of Torrington CT. Sorry about the quality..It was a nasty day...and just as bad a camera.

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  11. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Thanks Ed! Yeah, most of the pics of the FL9s I've seen are taken from the front at an angle so the trucks aren't really visible and you don't realize the unit seems longer than the typical F. That led to my deciding the Athearn F9 might fit the bill. I appreciate the info about the third rail capability. A pretty versatile locomotive! The one you captured on film appears to be in pretty good condition! Most of those I saw in Penn Central fan sites or books were all rusted up and faded.
    Ralph
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Thanks for the correction 88 fan, I model Santa Fe, so I'm somewhat unfamilier with other roads and particularly East Coast prototype. Having live most of my life in Ca., I don't think I've ever seen a real Fl9. I think that if you could find an Atlas fp9, and then install a 3 axle EMD truck from an Sd40 or similar era Sd unit, it would be pretty close to the prototype. You could probably run Athear trucks front and rear on the Atlas fp. I say to run Athearn trucks at both ends because I think the Athearn gearing is different that Atlas.
  13. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

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    Raph. you.ve been bitten by the detail bug.
    I started out the same way.
    Now I spend as much time researching the loco as I do building it.
    For me it adds to the fun and satisfaction when completed.
    Have you seen the PC photos on the Fallen Flags site?
    http://gelwood.el.wny.org/pc/pc-loco.html
  14. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

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    Just some more history for you Ralph.(Which I forgot to mention)
    MetroNorth(A commuter rail line here) had a few themselves(2002 was an ex Metro North unit) they rebuilt them after getting them from Conrail. I think there were ten of them left. They rebuilt eight, with engines taken from F-9's, scrapped two and redesignated them FL-10's. So, 2002 is actually a FL-10(Metro North).
    At the Springfield , Mass show a few years ago, someone was selling models of these. He altered Athearn frames, chop, cut, kitbash the shells and painted them in McGuinness paint. They looked pretty convincing.
  15. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Cool stuff Ed. Thanks for the info.
    Ray, I've seen that site but neglected to save it on favorites. Got it this time! Thanks! I like the way several examples of each type of loco are listed so you get a good idea of the range of accurate numbers for each too.
    Ralph
  16. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

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    Ralph, The only F units the New Haven had were the FL-9's. Since thier passenger runs in the early '60's were from Boston to New York City, and locals here in Connecticut and Massachusettes, the FL-9 was the perfect unit. One FL-9 could run from Boston to New York City one day, then from Bridgeport to Pittsfield Mass the next. Earlier years, DL-109 would run from Boston to New Haven, then the train would be tranfered to a dual mode EP-5(which had pantographs and a third rail shoe) for the run to NYC. So the FL-9 replaced two engines, which in the wanning years of the NH, was more economical.
    All FL-9's were painted in the NH scheme thats on your F-9, Called the McGuinness scheme. Metro North did have some old F-9's painted like that though.
    Hope I didn't burst a bubble, if I did I'm sorry.
  17. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    No worries about bubble bursting Ed. This shift I'm making toward trying to be more prototypically accurate welcomes the input! :wave: I'm just glad to hear that there were NH F9s in that McGuiness scheme. I'll do some more research to see if I can find one that the Penn Central did a quickie PC logo job on without painting the whole unit black. It would be great to find one that looked like my model. In any case, here's a case in which my personal preferences might over-ride my interest in plausibility because I like the looks of the loco!
    Ralph
  18. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

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    The locomotives looks Great Ralph.:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  19. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

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    Ralph, when reading this thread, just for fun I entered 'fl9.com' in my browser. And - lo and behold - there is a website of a railfan called Ken Fitzgerald, who shows lots of beatiful RR photographs.

    Among them - you guessed it! :D - there is a pic of a FL9 in the scheme you chose: Ex New Haven with the mating worm PC logo added. And boy, does she look weathered! :(
    I'm sure Ken Fitzgerald won't mind when I post his pic here. There's much more to see on his website!

    Ron

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  20. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Nice one Ron! Yep. most of the photos I've seen of FL9s are in pretty weathered shape!
    Thanks for the link.
    Ralph