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September 1999 - Page 46

one end and ti led them to a wedge on the other to make them fit i nto p l ace. I a ssembled the u n dercaniage per direc t i o n s w i th o n l y a few except i o n s . First, I ti l l ed-in the existing hole for the triple valve and dri l led a new one d i rectly behind the coupler pocket. For the air cyli nder, I dri l led a hole in t he back of the vertical wall so that the tank's fi tti ngs would rest horizontal l y and not verti cally as Athearn' s assembly dia gram s h ow s . I added a p i e c e o f w i re i n between the a i r cylinder and the triple val ve to simulate the piping (it's kind of cramped down there, and it's hard to see everything anyway) . Final ly, I i nstalled Kadee #5 cou plers (with the trip p i n s removed) into the existing pockets. I w ent ahead and gl ued the u ndercalTiage in place at this t i me. N ow for the fun part! To begin, I cut the four panels which would make up the basic extension from .025 sheet styrene. The side pane l s measured 'Il, " x 4 1 71l, " a nd the e nd panels measured ,/,, " x 1 '/,, " . N ext, I cut ten '//' long pieces of .0 1 5 x .020 styrene strip. Using the existing ribs in the Athearn car as a guide, I gl ued these small rib extensions to the inside of the hopper touching the upper edge of the e x i s t i n g r i b s and protru d i n g above the existing l i p . The extensions were glued to every other rib for a total of tive on each side. I have no idea if these extensi ons existed on the prototype. In fact, I ' m almost sure they didn't; they s i mply make modeling the exten si o n a l ot easier. Next, I bent the extension sides sl ightly i nward near the ends to match the contour o f the existing s i des and gl ued the sides and ends in place agai nst the rib exten sions. I made 1 4 n ew external ribs from Plas truct ' /'6" T-section styrene. To make the m appear l e s s obtrusive, I sanded the backs of

A e nd of 1 06 1 54 before painting .

B e nd of 1 06 1 54 before pai nting.
t he ribs to about half of their original thick ness. I attached the ribs to the new sides and e n d s u s i n g the e x i s t i n g r i b s a s a g u i d e . Again, I w ent every other rib o n the sides. Do n ' t w o rry about a n y overhang a t t h i s point. After everything had dried, [ f iled the tops of the ribs level with the tops of the new sides and filed the outside of the ribs flush with the outside of the existing lip they were sitting on. The new lip for the extension was made with .025 sheet styrene cut oversized. I started with strips ' Il," w ide. I l i ned up the edge with the outside of the ribs leaving the extra width on the inside of the car. When every t h i n g had d r i e d , I u se d an X - A c t o blade a n d a file t o make the inside of the l i p fl u s h w i t h t h e i n sides. T h i s method takes into account the contour of the new sides at the ends of the car where they cant in a l ittle. Finally, I made new corner caps from small squares of . 0 I 0 styrene. I al lowed the square to overlap the inside corner j ust a hair. When dry, I ti led out the notch i n the i nside corner and rounded the outside corner s l ightly. I ' ve found the corners also look better if the cor ner p i e c e s are s l i g h t l y ro u n de d a l l along their top, outside edges.



W ith all of the main structure in place, I added all of the new grabs to the top of the ladders. [ d ril led new holes for a s i xth rung near the top o f the new extension on both sides and the ends and installed grabs. I bent some . 0 I 5 w i re to rep l ac e the m o l ded-on bracing at the ends. I used drop-style grabs on the ends on e i ther side of the coupler. The brake l i ne was made from a piece of . 020 w i re with three eyebo lts securing it u nder one side of the car. This line runs underneath

Th ree-q uarter view showing modifications to Athearn offset-side hopper to make an extended-height Southern hopper.
S E PTE M B E R 1 999

4 6 T M O D E L R A I L R OA D I N G

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