I returned to my workbench the other day and unearthed a project I started over a month ago. I seem to experience a holiday lull in hobby activity each year as outside activities increase and a family member or two travels to this tip of far west Texas for a visit. Old Man Winter played a trick and dumped eight inches of snow on the region to shut things down for a couple of days. I also dealt with a wonderful blog software update here that had gone awry. It was very good to sit at the workbench again and make progress.
This Westerfield Pennsylvania Railroad X23 box car kit build was launched in late November. The body details assembled quickly. I did encounter an alignment issue when the roof pieces were attached, but it was quickly fixed. These are models of distinctive prototypes. This was the first 40-foot box car on the Pennsy system, with over 6,900 built in 1912-13 for Lines East and West, Vandalia Line and Cumberland Valley.
The body is a one piece casting that minimizes assembly. My model had a noticeable bow in each of the car sides so bulkheads were made from 0.040-inch styrene sheet and a short piece of square stock. These were installed. at a few key points in the car body. When you add pieces like this to eliminate warpage, think ahead to consider the car weight thickness and placement. The pieces used here were made to fit in the upper cavity of the interior and leave space at the bottom for the car weight. The underframe piece will straighten out minor warping issues along the bottom of the casting.
The car body was mostly finished in an afternoon or two of work before the holidays. I sat down to work on the underframe details the other day. A challenge with many resin freight car kits is identifying the parts that are called out in the instructions. The first pieces to install on the underframe are the center sill flanges, the upper crossmember cover plates, and the lower crossmember cover plates. Two of these parts were quickly identified and prepped for installation, but I wasn’t certain of the lower crossmember cover parts. I figured it out based upon the quantity and size of the parts that were needed and what remained in the kit box. The following images illustrate the parts and placement.
Brake system installation is next and the instructions are fairly straightforward on the components and where they fit. I had some difficultly understanding the placement of the components connecting the brake cylinder with the handbrake rod, but I figured it out.
I need to install the couplers and trucks, then check the coupler height before wrapping up a few more steps. The running board parts are ready to install, as is the brake staff. I’ve been warned that the ladders are delicate and to take my time on the work so it goes together. I hope to complete all the details in the next couple of days. At least I have a prototype photo to help with the ladder details. I found this X23 near Coshocton, Ohio many years ago and snapped a number of photos.
The PRR X23 box car is featured on my Westerfield Models quick guide for 1920s era models. It’s good to move another model along for service on the Wheeling Freight Terminal. I think the holiday lull recharged my hobby energy and enthusiasm as I’m looking at a few projects to dive into next.
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