Sunday, September 13, 2020

Motor Coach # 4073

Motor coach # 4073 was 1 of 104 last design heavyweight multiple unit (MU) coaches built for the New Haven Railroad. Built by Osgood Bradley during 1926 this car is 1 of the 40 trailer coaches of this round roof design to be converted to a powered motor coach using Westinghouse electrical components at the New Haven's Van Nest shop in the Bronx, New York.

Although these motor coaches were rated to pull 3 unpowered trailer coaches, on the Danbury Connecticut - South Norwalk Connecticut shuttle only a single motor coach was used for that scheduled train during the era of the layout.



           Motor coach # 4073 at Danbury Connecticut station 1957. Photo by J. W. Swanberg     


             Again at Danbury this time 1959. Photo by J. W. Swanberg

Model #4073

Custom Brass had at one time offered a three car set of these MU cars consisting of 1 powered motor coach and 2 trailer coaches. Like the prototype photos above, only the motor coach from this set will be used on the layout to model the Danbury - So. Norwalk shuttle.

The body shell from the Custom Brass set appears to be accurately modeled although it lacks some roof and car end details that will be added during the build.

The used Custom Brass set purchased was well cared for but ran poorly with the factory motor and gears that had cracked from age. The motor powering the model filled a good portion of the interior seating area and was unrealistic when looking thru the side windows.

Stanton Drives from NorthWest Short Line will re-power the model improving the running qualities and eliminate the unsightly motor in the interior.

The greatest shortcomings of this model are the lack of interior but more importantly correct prototypical underbody details, this is where the most time and effort will be consumed during this build. 

Below is the motor coach as purchased with the pantographs and original drive motor removed from the interior. 


Re-powering the motor coach

Two Stanton Drives are used for the re-power. Although unlikely for this layout, the decision to use two drives is incase pulling of trailer coaches will be desired in the future.

The Stanton Drives are below, the molded on coupler mounts (left) will not be used and cut off  (right).


The first problem to solve during this build is when the Stanton drives are mounted underneath the original brass floor plate the ride height of the body shell is too high and the plate is not level end to end, therefore a new floor plate with wells for the drives to recede into is required to lower the ride height. The replacement floor plate below is made from .040" styrene, recess openings are cut into each end to accept the new drives.


The drives will need to recede .030" thru the floor plate for the correct ride height of the body shell and couplers. Below a .030" styrene spacer is glued to each side of the opening on the interior side of the replacement floor plate. 


A .040" styrene drive mounting plate is glued on top of the .030" spacers and a hole to accept the center pivot point of the drive is drilled. The open area to the left of the mounting plate in the below photo is for the drive wiring to move freely when negotiating curves.


The interior side of the original brass and replacement styrene floor plates are compared below.


The styrene floor plate is flexible end to end at this point when not mounted to the body shell. The body shell below has a brass angle soldered to the inside of both car sides to mount the original brass floor plate.


When the new styrene floor plate is mounted onto these angles as seen below it becomes sufficiently stiff enough to replace the brass plate.


Body shell mounted on replacement floor plate with Stanton drives installed to check ride height.


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Paint Shop #2-B

Paint Shop #2 - gone!

While posting this look at the finished RS-3's somehow I inadvertently deleted and lost from the blog Paint Shop #2 posted a few weeks ago showing the freshly painted first and second New Haven RS-3 delivery schemes. Rats!

Paint Shop #2-B

The RS-3's still in delivery paint schemes were quite weathered and dull from years of usage by the late 50's era of the layout as #525 in the first delivery scheme below,


and #561 in the second delivery scheme below.


To mute a freshly painted look the models have an overall base weathering coat of Polyscale engine black thinned 1 part paint to 10 parts 70% alcohol airbrushed at 25 psi thru a #5 tip. Finishing with an overall coat of Dullcote thinned to go on wet with quick drying lacquer thinner airbrushed at 30 psi thru a #5 tip.

Below is #525 in first delivery scheme after base weathering.


Looks like handrail to cab door was not inserted all the way into the cab in this photo!


#540 in second delivery scheme.


Both #540 and #561


Some additional targeted weathering will be applied using Pan Pastels, but for now the 4 RS-3's in 3 different paint schemes are in use on the layout.


Some modelers licence was taken with these models.

The first 20 RS-3's delivered had 4 sets of narrow louvers on the battery box doors, only #525 in the foreground should have these. The later delivered RS-3's had 2 sets of longer louvers, this is how the Bachmann shell is molded and is correct on the other 3. No attempt was made to correct this on #525 at this time although it could be with decals from Archer and may be in the future.

The Bachmann window frames on the cab sides come with nicely painted silver frames. I have not seen a prototype photo that indicates that the NH units had bare stainless steel or aluminum window frames, but I like the way they look so they stay as is!

The windshield wipers probably should be a darker color, but this detail shows up better in light gray and I also like that.

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Below are some of the photos unfortunately deleted in the original and now deleted Paint Shop #2   






Monday, March 30, 2020

Paint Shop #1 Correction


That Extra Serif !

A thank you goes out to Paul Cutler III editor of The SpeedWitch modeling magazine published by the  New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association for pointing out a mistake made in Paint Shop #1.

The RS-3 painted in the McGinnis black and red-orange scheme had an extra serif on the letter "N" that was not present on New Haven RS-3's as circled in the photo below.


Microscale decal sheet #87-68 has both a version with and without this serif on the sheet side by side. Fortunately the incorrect "NH" was applied only to one side of the hood.

The fix was a quick masking job then a few light coats of black over the serif followed by a coat of Dullcote.


All is prototypical now and engine #555 is back at work on the layout.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Power Change at Danbury


Train #141 The Berkshire powered by an Alco RS-3 arrived at Danbury at 9:46 am from Pittsfield Mass. During a scheduled 9 minute stop the diesel power and head end express car will be cut off and replaced by electric power for the remaining 65 miles under wire to Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Additionally three coaches will be coupled the rear of #141 during this stop.

EP-3 Motor #352 backs across the Canal Street crossing to couple with train #141 for the scheduled 9:55 departure.



Click to enlarge.