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Kitbashing a DL&W Baggage Car

WARNING: The following dissertation contains modeling methods which may be appalling.

In photos, I've seen a baggage car with a clerestory roof instead of the 'turtleback' kind. There is a fair photo of one of these on a Sussex Branch train in Bob Bahrs' Milk Car book Vol. 4. I like the look of the clerestory roof and those two little windows.

I started by looking around online to see what might be available. What I found was a heavyweight baggage car from IHC that had two doors and a clerestory roof.

OK the car is 70 feet long instead of 64 and the trucks are 6 wheel instead of 4. Both doors are the same width while the DL&W had one being narrower than the other. Here's my thoughts:

Shouldn't be any problem. I've got some confidence after kitbashing a DL&W wood milk car ala Rusty Recordon, and there was a great article about making alterations to a baggage car (including cutting little windows) by Don Spiro some time ago (RMC August 1999.) I knew I saved that article for a reason!


The Project Begins

I received the car today via UPS. Taking it out of the box, possibilities glaze my eyes. I think this is going to work! The 6 wheel trucks come right off along with their cast on couplers. Snap off the diaphragms on the body ends. The roof comes free with 6 snap locations. The glazing is contiguous to the roof, so don't try to snap it off. A bonus is that IHC has left the stirrup steps and side grabs off of this car. They are included, but not yet installed.

Materials Needed

International Hobby Corp.

Heavyweight baggage car with clerestory roof

Grandt Line

5059 Outfit Car Window (you get 8 per pack)

Prime Mover Decals

Decal set PMD-037

Evergreen Styrene

Various sizes

Eastern Car Works

Pullman Standard 4 wheel truck, (part # 9005)

The Body:

My first step is to carefully cut the body into 3 pieces. That is to say, you want to cut off one end just inside the door jam, and cut the other end right in the middle of the end door. (see fig. 1) This is the door you will be 'narrowing.'

After you make the cuts, you will need to cut and file the doors out of the body. I found this to be probably the hardest part of this project. Now these doors on the BCW model measured about 4 1/2 feet and 7 1/2 feet respectively. The ones on this model measure 8 feet. I'm choosing to go with the 'goodnuff' approach and make one about 4 feet and make the other about 7 feet. (Actually, my finished openings came out to 4 1/2 feet and 8 scale feet respectively--Amazing!)

Windows: This is probably the best time to cut the holes and install the two little windows per each side of the car. I did this by laying out the little window frames on the side of the car and tracing around them. The rivet panels help a little bit here for alignment. If you count 3 panels over from the center line, the windows go nicely in the 3rd panel. (See fig. 2) In Don Spiro's article he drills holes on the lines and cuts between the holes with the proverbial sharp #11 blade. I recommend this procedure, although you'll still need to make careful adjustments with the knife.

Now true up the edges and glue the body back together. Use scraps of styrene to brace the seams from inside. Your main gluing place will be the floor. The sides will get their bracing when the doors are installed. On the outside, use white squadron putty to fill any small gaps and carefully smooth. I was able to simply smear a little on the spot where the body and end meet with my finger.

Fishbellies: You will also need to remove the fishbellies. They will be off center because of the narrowing of the one door. The easiest way I found was to carefully snap them off with flat nose pliers and scrape the remainder off with a #17 chisel blade hobby knife (always use a sharp one.) Keep the other large underbody details.

I replaced the fishbellies with 030 thick sheet styrene which I cut to fit. Basically you want them to run between the truck bolsters and be about 2 scale feet high. The taper should go from near nothing to the full height, about 12 scale feet from each end. (See fig 3.)

The Roof

Cut off most of the clear plastic hanging off the roof. I managed quite well with a hacksaw blade without its handle. I kept it quite close under the edge of the roof and sawed carefully. When I was quite through, I cut down on the corners as to keep the clear plastic ends in place. (You could also use the rotary cutting tool of your choice.)

Cut the roof in half and remove enough of it from each end so that the two halves fit on the new body length. Somehow the angel of modeling hung over my head on this one. Not only did I manage to cut the roof exactly in half, but when I removed the extra bits, I ended up with a decent looking clerestory window!

Glue them together with styrene bracing underneath. Don't worry about the clerestory windows as you'll be painting them over anyway. You do however, need to glue 4x6 strip styrene behind them. Roof fits the body? Good! Paint it grimy black and put it aside.

Windows, Doors and Finishing Details

Doors: This great idea came from The Spiro: Make the doors from strip styrene 4x6, 4x10, and 4x12. Use 4x4 for the window mullions. (See fig 4.) glue them together like a puzzle in the corner of a picture frame with glass in it. After they set, putty and sand to make smooth like sheet styrene. Make them oversize and cut them to fit in the spaces, keeping plenty on the sides for gluing. (See Fig. 5)

Ends: The ends of the car had diaphragms on them when you bought it. I trust you got them off and now want to cover up the ragged glue left behind. Sand the glue down to the plastic and use styrene to cover up the edges of the doorways. After the glue sets, file down the ends to meet the car ends. It should be pretty invisible when painted.

Photo Source

Railway Milk Cars, Vol. 4, by Bob Bahrs, Pg. 34 (2 window)

Lackawanna Railroad in Northwest New Jersey, pg. 216 (4 window)

Mark I Video, Lackawanna Steam, Vol. 1

Paint: Paint the underbody grimy black (the roof too, if you haven't already.) Install the grabs & stirrup steps included with the car and paint the body Pullman Green. (I use PollyScale colors almost exclusively, but feel free to substitute at will.) I then decaled the car with with Prime Mover Decals Decal set PMD-037 using the instructions from my BCW kit.

Finishing: Glaze the windows with clear styrene sheet, add security bars if desired. (Mr. Spiro in his article about his baggage car recommended using sections of Detail Associates grilles for GE 8-40B diesel locomotives.)

Weight the car properly using the NMRA standard (If you wish.) I added 4.5 oz. to bring it up to their standards. Sign the car somewhere and glue the roof on. I put Kadee #5 couplers and Eastern Car Works Pullman Standard 4 wheel trucks on my car. While it's about 4 feet longer than the BCW kit, and a few of the body details differ from the prototype, it looks like an IHC version of a DL&W clerestory roof baggage car. Is it perfect? No. Was this a fun project? Yes. Would I make a second one with 4 windows per side? Perhaps -- eventually. Am I happy with this car? Heck yes!

In the Bob Bahrs book, the number of the car is stated to be: 3029. If you wished to create a 4 window model, there's one on page 216 of Lackawanna Railroad in Northwest N.J. that purports to be # 2003


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