A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

June 27, 2011

More fun than a barrel of....

New freight cars under construction
Finally...some time to work on the layout! I was able to build the chassis for two new flat cars. The flat cars are an experiment using acrylic plastic for the frames. I tried acrylic because I was using Grandt Line Stake pockets, as well as Tichy NBWs for this car. I reasoned that they would be easier to glue to the frame if I used acrylic. The problem arose in that the holes the laser cut for the stake pockets and NBWs were a tad small. So I had to open them up with the drill. When drilling acrylic the bit can foul with melted plastic, making the diameter of the drill too large. So I lost control of the dimensions of the holes. It was painstaking having to clean the melted plastic off the drill after each hole. Next time, enlarge the holes on the laser drawing. The other thing I wanted to test was how the acrylic plastic once painted takes decals. I have been having trouble getting the decal film for completely disappear on my wood sided cars. I just can't seem to get a good gloss surface on the wood to apply the decals.

Some of the barrels I stained and painted this weekend

I also stained and painted about 60 barrels. These are wood barrels that were tuned on a lathe. They are produced by John Rendal Scale Models. Walthers had them on sale, so I picked up a bunch. They took the stain pretty well. I then dry-brushed rust on the hoops and added some stave detail with a pen (not pictured).
One of the nice things about modeling the ACW in O Scale is that if you need cars for your layout, you can build them. One of the bad things about modeling the ACW in O Scaler is that if you need cars for your layout, you must build them. There are no RTR cars available (barring the SMR brass cars which are not very compatible with my wood cars).

A corollary of this phenomena is that trips to the hobby shop are considerably less exciting than they used to be as there rarely are new goodies in the shop that I can use on the layout. Nonetheless, I made a trip to Mainline Hobby Supply in Blue Ridge Summit on Saturday to pick up a new decoder and some other supplies. This is a great model railroad shop, especially for HO and N Scale modelers. Brian and Bonnie also do a great job on mail order items.  The drive up for me offers a treat as it passes through Owens Creek canyon where the Maryland Midland still runs on former WM tracks.

Maryland Midland entering the horseshoe curve at Sabillasville, MD on an earlier trip to Mainline Hobby Supply


  1. Nice flat cars! Do you have schematics that you're following? Are you including brakes and other underbody details?

  2. Yes, the under-body detail, what little there is on these cars, will be there. I am building a small batch of cars, then I plan to build a batch of trucks with brakes.

    These flat cars are based on a plan in White book for a Harlan and Hollingsworth flat car from the 1860s. They were 28 feet long with 8 stake pockets. Next I'll try some USMRR flat cars with 9 stake pockets and a different type of truss arrangement.

  3. It took a month, but I finally got my hands on a copy of White's book... Wow! This thing is worth it's weight in gold to a scratchbuilder...