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September 2005 - Page 20



by Ken Edmier
Model photos by the author Prototype photos by Tim Frederick


ondola cars are very common, and it is hard to find a manifest freight train without one. Since many gondola designs were railroad specific, finding models that match exact prototypes can be difficult. Fortunately, Rail Yard Models is making this a little easier with a new resin gondola kit. Built in 1971 and 1972 by Fruehauf, Penn Central received 1,500 of these cars, designated as G47 class cars, numbered into two series. Cars numbered 580100-581099 were delivered with steel floors while cars numbered 564950-565449 were delivered with wood floors. The cars became part of Conrail in 1976 and many were repainted with full Conrail lettering. At some point, Conrail renumbered some of the cars assigned in general service while others were equipped with a coil cradle and reclassified to coil steel service and renumbered into the 608083-608917 series. More recently, these cars have been integrated into the CSX and Norfolk Southern fleets. Rail Yard Models is a relatively new manufacturer of modern resin freight cars, and a complete catalog can be found at While the word resin may scare some, this kit goes together as if it was a styrene kit. The major difference being cyanoacrylate (CA) or Cyanopoxy needs to be used instead of plastic cement for assembly. The kit includes most of the parts necessary to build a very detailed model, including the proper decals for the roadname and lettering scheme to be modeled. Brass etchings are used for the end ladders, brake rigging and load anchors, thus providing excellent prototype-specific details. Couplers are not included. Special mention must be given to

the instructions, which not only include step-by-step instructions (with corresponding pictures), but also color photos of the cars in four separate paint schemes, prototype information, a full page of color detail photos, and a prototype drawing with lettering diagram for the specific roadname and paint scheme purchased. In addition, the kit can be ordered with a steel floor, wood floor, or coil cradle. Before starting, the decision needs to be made which car end panels are to be used since the kit comes with three different sets. Since I always try to match the model to a specific prototype car, some research was required. After searching my favorite website,, a suitable prototype photo was found that would match my October 1983 modeling era. CR 580419, which features the three-channel fabricated plate car ends, was the car I decided to model. Compared to my usually long list of added details, the added details on this car were very minor and mainly included the train air line, coupler lift bars and air release rods. I also wanted to model the dents on the side panels and finish the model with a load.

Getting Started
The unwanted flash was removed from the car end panels before installing on the carbody. When securing the ends, make sure the hand brake mounting tab is on the brake end (B-end) of the car. The metal top corner braces were then installed on each corner of the body. The train air line runs through the center of the center sill between the bolsters. Drill a #76 hole through the center of each bolster from each end before inserting a piece of

.019 brass wire, 43' long. Secure the upper draft-gear box to the body. In order to be able to attach the draft-gear lid with a screw, drill a starter hole in the coupler post and enlarge to a #55 hole. Place the draft-gear lid on the box and drill from inside the body through each lid with a #80 tap. Enlarge the holes in the lids with a #52 clearance drill and mount the lids using the short mounting screws from the Kadee #78 coupler package. Install the rest of the train air line by drilling a #76 hole in each bolster, next to the coupler boxes, and trim the .019 brass wire flush with the end of each coupler box. Turning our attention back to the underframe, install 12 cross tie caps made from .010 x .060 x 50" long styrene strip on the small cast cross members and 12 cross bearers made of .015 x .080 x 45" long styrene strip on the larger cast cross members. Make six cross bearer connectors from .010 x .060 x 36" styrene strip and mount on the larger cast cross members, centered on the center sill. Assemble the air reservoir and drill two #80 holes for the air lines. Assemble the air cylinder and drill a #80 in the backside for an air line. The control valve has one hole pre-drilled, but needs an additional three #80 holes, one next to and two below. Drill one #80 hole on the opposite side of the four drilled holes and mount an eyebolt. Install the air reservoir and control valve with the air lines holes facing the non-brake end (Aend) while the brake cylinder is installed with the clevis facing the B-end. Using .012 brass wire and the instructions underframe drawing, form the four air lines that run from the control valve to the air reservoir, brake cylinder, and to the train air line. Install the brake rod supports and



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