Lettering questions

I’ve had a Westerfield Models HO scale Pennsylvania Railroad X23 resin boxcar kit ready to letter for several years. One of my 2020 resolutions was to finish this model. That’s when I found out the prototype lettering had several changes over a short period of time.

American Car & Foundry photo from the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library

I use prototype images to inspire my 1926-era modeling. This 1913 builder image helped me position several details during the model build.

My model has had a long road to completion. This image was snapped in September 2016 not long before it was painted. The lead image is more recent. I was about to start decaling the model using the builder image when I came across two later images.

The X23 car above has a 1928 weigh date, which is closer to my specific era. The Youngstown corrugated doors were added about the time of the photo. This image was a great help for lettering the right side of the car. But the left side looks different from the 1913 builder photo. Where are those plates with the data?

I found another image with a 1922 weigh date and it didn’t clarify the data presentation on the left end of the car.

Here’s a closer look. The data plates are still attached to the sheathing but there isn’t any data lettering. Unless it is behind the door, the data lettering isn’t on the car at all.

The 1922 images illustrate a transition for the X23 data lettering. I suspect the data plates were too much extra maintenance and they were phased out. A streamlined presentation was stenciled onto the sheathing, as seen on the car with the 1928 weigh date.

With the photos in hand, I added the lettering to the model. I have more X23 images, but they are post-1930 and the boxcars feature the circle keystone emblem. The lettering follows practices of the 1930s.

Sometimes I use my best guess to finish off a model as 1926-era prototype photos of all the freight cars do not exist. I’m sure since I’ve shared this work with the world that someone will point me to a half-dozen mid-1920s images of Pennsy X23 boxcars. I would not mind at all.

I dusted off an unfinished diorama for the boxcar to sit in a typical scene. I guess I should finish this diorama for future freight car model photos.

Frank Hodina has found a new location for RPM Chicagoland! The event will be held October 30 & 31 in the Northern Illinois University Naperville Conference Center in Naperville, Illinois. Registration and event details will be coming soon to the website.

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