Installing KD brake hardware on hoppers

A few steel hopper models have been progressing on my workbench. Each of them requires KD brake components. As I worked on these, I realized it’s been a while since a step-by-step illustration of the process has been published. This post will summarize the three methods I’m using on these models.

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Shawmut coal gondolas

Perry Squier has added several coal gondolas to his HO scale Shawmut layout. Perry sent the following photos and notes.

A distinctive freight car missing from my layout were the 6001-6500 series drop bottom gondolas bought by the Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern in 1907. These 50-ton capacity, 40-foot gondolas had steel centersills and wood sides. They also had a 4-foot, 8.5-inch interior height with six drop doors. These were big cars on the Shawmut.

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A blurred year

Like many modelers, I enjoy taking a moment in January to review the projects of the previous year. It often gives me comfort to know that I’m actually moving models toward completion. 2020 was a very strange year as the Covid-19 pandemic upset our lives and routines. I also completed several models that had sat idle for months and years. It makes it harder to define what was actually started and finished in 2020, making it all seem like a blurred year.

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Shawmut Boxcars, part 2

Perry Squier has been pushing forward batch building Shawmut boxcars for his HO scale layout. The first part was an earlier blog feature. We have continued discussing details and Perry has sent additional notes.

After building the basic car bodies and detailing the ends, it was time to tackle the doors, car sides, and roofs. Several prototype images were used to guide the detail work. Not everything was perfect but these are close enough.

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Lackawanna boxcars part 2

The last blog post focused on upgrading a pair of Accurail plastic HO scale 36-foot boxcars to follow Lackawanna prototypes. One of the details to remove are the door braces. In the lead image, I used an X-Acto #17 chisel blade to carefully remove the bulk of the molded on brace. Use a new blade, apply slow pressure, and wiggle the blade slightly to keep cutting the detail.

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