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  • Barnsdall Triple Dome Tank Car of the 1920s

    Cyril J. Durrenberger

    Kit bashed model of a Barnsdall triple dome tank car, No. 119. This model was made from a standard Athearn triple dome tank car kit that was cut down to the correct size. Decals are individual letters applied at one time. Model and photo is by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - December 1978 - Page 54 Prototype Modeler - December 1978 - Page 55


    Multicompartment tank cars are used shipping less than tank full tank car quantities of a product. The Barnsdall Company purchased twenty three compartment tank cars in the 1920's so as to ship their motor oil in bulk to jobbers. A photo of Barnsdall tank No. 119, BIGX 119, appears on page 33 of the April 15, 1927 issue of Petroleum Age. These tank or cars were numbered 101 to 120. Tank A had a capacity of 1928 gallons, Tank B 3937 Gallons, and Tank C 1923 gallons.


    A fairly accurate model of this car can be made by using the Athearn triple dome tank car. The tank and frame need to be shortened. Make two cuts on each end of the car body as shown in Figure 1. Discard the sections removed. Use a razor saw to make the cuts and true the edges with a file. Now, cement the body back together at the cuts. Next, cut two sections from the center of the bottom tank as shown in Figure 1 and cement the tank bottom back together. Also, remove the same length from the steel weight and cement it in place. Now, complete assembly of the tank by adding the bottom to the top section.

    Remove a section from each end of the underframe as shown in Figure 2. Also, remove the A-B brake gear and the steps. Form new strap steps from flat wire as shown in Figure 3 and cement them in place. The brake gear should be a K brake cylinder with piping and rigging if you wish. Selley brake cylinder No. 150 or the Cal-Scale set may be used. Cement a brake wheel on a piece of wire and install. Use Bettendorf trucks.

    Paint the car black. Lettering has to be applied one letter at a time. I used Walthers white alphabet set, type 8, Extended Square Gothic. Size 6 (6/64") letters were applied for Barnsdall Be Square Product and BIGX 119 o n the tank. The B in the monogram is a size 8 (8/64") letter with a box made from four pieces of 1 /32" strip material. The BIGX 1 1 9 on the underframe was made from size 4 (4/64") letters. Do not let this sort of decal application scare you. Apply each letter carefully, inspecting the car after each letter application. I start letter ing from both ends of the car, one line at a time. This way the words will be centered correctly. This work goes quickly once you start.

    The dimensional data came from Walthers decal set 552. I could not find all of the tank dimensional data exactly as it appeared on the tank. It should read as follows:

    Tank Capy A 1928 Gal's
    Tank Capy B 3937 Gal's
    Tank Capy C 1923 Gal's
    Dome Capy 150 Gal's
    TM III
    K2 Triple Valve
    6x8 Type D Couplers
    Key Yoke Attachment
    Miner Draft Gear AB-X
    ARA No 2 Brake Beam
    ARA Cast Iron Wheels
    Equipped With
    Steam Coils

    This will make a distinctive tank car to add to your fleet. It is one of the few prototype cars I have found that is close to the Athearn triple dome tank car.

    Article Details

    • Original Author Cyril J. Durrenberger
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date December 1978

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  • Joe Stuart likes this
  • Randy Stahl
    Randy Stahl Now to find prototypes for the plethora of cheap N scale tank cars. I'd love to have some type 7 acf cars with high walkways...
    January 2, 2012