To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Finishing a Q-Car CRT 4000 Plushie Part 5: Route and Marker Lamps

A reminder about my "building to the photo" comment - due to various reasons not a great deal of transportation (trains, trolleys, subways, etc.) photos were taken in the years prior to 1960 or so. Good cameras, film, film processing, and prints were expensive. Few rail fans mastered the reading the light meter to then adjusting the camera for the best exposure for the given light! This is one reason more photos exist of the "L" under CTA operation compared to CRT times.

Color photography was more expensive therefore not many color photos were taken. Few if any evening, night, and early morning B & W and color photos exist due to inadequate lighting for photo taking. Very few photos exist which were taken in the subway other than those already published. Do the best you can to find photos of what you need. Collect information as you find it, write it down, and catalogue it for future use.

The topic of route and marker lamps and their use has to be covered. It's important if you plan on placing these lamps on your CRT/CTA models. Every CRT/CTA train had/has front of the train route lights and end of the train marker lights even if it was/is a single car. Cars without route or marker lights, are cars in the yard waiting to be made-up into trains or in the shops for inspection and/or repair.

This may seem complicated but just bear with me. If you intend to place lighted or unlighted headlight and route and markers lamps on your model, this is all or almost all you will need to know about these lights you will see in photos.

Front of Train - Although the same type and style of kerosene lamp (see the photo below) was used on front and rear, the "L" did not use markers on the front of a train. On the front were route lamps for the towermen to know how to align the routes (turnouts) at junctions. On the rear of the train were marker lamps. 
This is a CRT kerosene lamp. It has been modified to be used with small wattage electric bulbs. The colors of white, red , and green come with the use of metal tabs which "flip" a colored lens inside the lamp directly in front of the source of light.
Kerosene lamps were used at night or during times of low visability (fog, storms, and subway routes). During the day, color (painted white, red, or green) metal paddles were used in place of the kerosene lamps. They were made to slip into the same holders as the kerosene lamps.

Pre-Subway CRT Era  - The route colors were placed on the right and left front of the train. They were a mixture of either white, red, or green depending upon the route and type of service - local, express, or not in service.

For the passenger, a route/service board was placed on the front and sides of (each car in) the train. The towermen were expected to know what route and service of trains to expect (since some of the color combinations could mean more than one route and service). Got that? 

Subway CRT Era - Since trains originating from some terminals could now be routed via the Loop or the Subway, a new way to indicate to towermen had to be used. For "Via Subway" routes, in front of the motorman would be a white metal paddle.

On the other side-front of the train would be 2 kerosene lamps displaying either white, red, or green, one above the other. For photos see pages 23 bottom, 24 bottom left, 24 bottom right, 41 top, and 42 top of "The Chicago 'L's' Great Steel Fleet ~The Baldies~".

Sometimes the white metal paddle was not displayed on the side in front of the motorman.

Are you still with me? Since a train could go into the subway where it's dark, day or night, a lighted headlight, plus lighted route and marker kerosene lamps had to be used.

CTA Era - If you want the know the colors displayed on the front of a train consult page 25 of "Cooperation Moves the Public" Shore Line Interurban Historical Society Dispatch Number 1 by Bruce Moffat.

The only caveat is, the listing printed is from 1949 after the CTA had eliminated many of the through routing of trains from unusual terminals, i.e., Kenwood to Wilson via Loop, etc. and made the routings more the total length of the "L" trackage within the city of Chicago, i.e., Jackson Park to Howard.

Also, A and B Skip Stop service had been introduced to speed up trains. For example there was now a: (reverse service)
     Jackson Park to Howard A (Howard to Jackson Park A) and,
     Jackson Park to Howard B (Howard to Jackson Park B),

     Loop to Forest Park A (Forest Park to Loop A), and
     Loop to Forest Park B (Forest Park to Loop B).

The double route lamps one over the other were no longer needed and their use dropped. Instead on the front of a train, one of each side, were route/service lighted kerosene lamps used on all Subway routes all the time. Non-Subway routes/service had metal paddles during hours of daylight and kerosene lamps at night.

Rear of Train - Pre or Via Subway and CTA Eras - On the rear of the train regardless of route/service were red marker lamps. On each side of the end of the last car were red metal paddles during the day with lighted red kerosene  lamps at night.  Trains routed through the subway day or night had to have lighted kerosene lamps.

ALSO - pre and post everything - At night, on the rear of Northwestern (north side) routed trains a white lamp (usually a trainman's kerosene hand lantern) had to be hung in the center top chain, of the 3 chains on the rear door. Both CRT/CTA and NSL trains had to follow the CRT/CTA rules.

This is the reason the small white lamp was displayed in the center rear of the NSL Electroliner day and night. NSL decided to have the light on day and night.

Also at night, on the Met's Garfield Park line, besides the regular 2 lighted kerosene red lamps on the rear of trains, an additional red lamp had to be hung in the center of the rear door or in the chains. With all of the CA&E trains operating on this route, this red lamp was additional protection. Both CRT and the CA&E carried the 3 red lamps on the rear of trains.

This is what the rear of an early CA&E car would look like. It's a model of the AE&C Florence, a parlor buffet car. The center red lamp has a lens with a larger diameter than the lens of a marker lamp.
Some modeling notes regarding the installation of lamps can be seen at this point of the installation. Notice how the 2 bulbs and their 2 wires at the side of the car are treated. The wire and the mounting for the bottom of the lamp are all threaded through the same hole. Since the wires have some resistance to forming small loops, the wires were tied together after a small loop of black thread was formed. The knot in each thread was secured with a drop of CA. 
To make the exterior wires less visible, they can be painted the same color as the body of the car. The special kerosene lamp mounted on the door was scratch-built out of styrene.

See pages 78 and 79 of "Cooperation Moves the Public" Shore Line Interurban Historical Society Dispatch Number 1 by Bruce Moffat. Both the CRT/CTA and CA&E "bulls-eye" tail lamp are shown on page 79. The major difference between the 2 lamps are the "D" rings on the CRT/CTA lamp for securing the lamp in the rear chains of a gate car.

For route and marker kerosene lamps PSC #40230 w/o jewels or # 40229 w/bulb can be used. The PSC markers have 3 lenses. On the lamps using bulbs (#40229) for less lenses a piece of 0.005" brass is soldered inside the marker body. A blob of solder is used to fill in the lens area to be removed. The exterior body is then filed into a smooth round body.
AND - There were times when a white hand kerosene lamp was displayed on the front of a train. If a standard headlight was not available or in case of a burnt out headlight bulb, rules called for the display of a white kerosene lamp to be hung in the front chains. For photos see pages 41 and 44 of "The Chicago 'L's' Great Steel Fleet ~The Baldies~".

Additional Information - In a prior post, "Finishing a Q-Car CRT 4000 Plushie Part 3",  how to make a CRT headlight was mentioned.

Federal rules required interstate trains to display a lighted headlight at all times. However, trains originating and ending within a State were exempt until the State law was passed. Not until the early 1950's did the State of Illinois pass a law requiring all trains to display a lighted headlight on the front of trains at all times.

For this reason CRT/CTA "L" trains, the CA&E, and many Shore Line CNS&M trains did not operate with a lighted headlight during the day until the early 1950's. 

For the lamps hung in the chains, a lighted kerosene white or red hand lamp was used. Some years ago I found a number of small charms like those for a woman's charm bracelet. Also, small soft metal castings of these type of lamps are available from a couple of model railroad sources.
Green arrows point to 2 red kerosene lamps. These were probably charms for a bracelet. The model is my CRT S-300 boom car.

For the kerosene hand lanterns, charms for bracelets have appeared on EBay. Unfortunately these are jewelry and are expensive when compared to the balance of the model. I was extremely lucky to find some years ago!
There is still painting, finishing, installation work, etc. to be done on the 4000 model. However, I need to introduce you to a new exciting model 1st!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Finishing a Q-Car CRT 4000 Plushie Part 4: Striping the Paint from a Q-Car Epoxy Body

Since I have little experience with striping old paint off a Q-Car epoxy body, Carl Lantz was asked to write-up his experience in striping the paint off a Q-Car epoxy body. This is his response. 

"Ed has asked me to describe my experience in stripping paint from cast epoxy resin models. 

"I am an HO modeler and all my friends know I am in traction modeling. So when a non-modeling friend offered me an O scale streetcar model, who was I to turn it down. I had built one O scale car, a LaBelle Sacramento Northern combine, and was familiar with the larger scale modeling. This gift did not have the finest paint job and many details were not there. I had not seen this model before so I emailed a photo of it to the O scale modelers I knew and the answer came back almost immediately – That’s a Q-Car Brooklyn double ended series 800 Peter Witt.
"A visit to the Q-Car website ( and an email and phone conversation with Quentin Carnicelli of Q-Car brought me a copy of the instruction sheet that included prototype information and the facts that this body was made of cast epoxy resin and assembled with cyano-acrylate adhesive. It must never see anything that could affect the glued joints, particularly acetone. Quentin suggested lacquer thinner as a paint remover. And that is what I used. 

"Some folks have used a liquid paint stripper that Ace Hardware produced, but it may no longer be available. I have used hydraulic brake fluid to strip plastic models and it works well but takes some time. And there are commercial model paint strippers available. Whatever is used, experiment first to ensure that the body and any adhesives used will not be affected by the stripper. While what follows describes the use of lacquer thinner, the techniques will be the same for any of the removal chemicals. Just be mindful of all the precautions the particular chemical requires. Lots of good ventilation heads the list. 

"The use of lacquer thinner can be very dangerous as it is very volatile and very flammable. No open flames or sparks. And it is harmful to breathe the fumes. 

"If one is not comfortable with this and the precautions needed, don’t use it! 

"I didn’t do any stripping in the house; it was done in the middle of a two car garage, cars removed, overhead door and the service door both open for lots of ventilation. If there is no garage or the like available, do it outside somewhere. Lots of ventilation is the key. The day I did it the weather was fine and there was a good breeze outside so there was good ventilation thru the garage. I would have used a fan in the service door to draw air though if there hadn’t been the good breeze. Rubber gloves are needed to protect ones hands and lots of toweling or old T-shirts should be available too. And eye protection would not be out of order either. The other equipment I used is shown in the photo.

"The brushes are inexpensive 1-1/2 inch wide natural bristle which won’t dissolve in the lacquer thinner. One has its bristles cut to ½ to ¾ of an inch in length which makes them stiffer for scrubbing on the details on the body, but not so stiff as to damage the details. The other is normal length for flushing residue off the body. The metal handled flux brush was used inside the body where the wide brushes couldn’t easily reach. The bread pans and flat pan were not recycled from the kitchen, but always used for modeling, never baking. The small ones fit HO models and O scale trucks. The flat pan was large enough that the Peter Witt body fit comfortably inside it. 

"About ¼ to 3/8 of an inch of thinner was poured into the large pan and the body placed into the thinner. It was left to soak a few moments and then rotated so another part of the body could soak, then rotated again. The short bristle brush was used to agitate the thinner into the paint and the body rotated. The paint eventually began to dissolve as the brushing and rotation continued. The longer bristle brush was used to flush the residue down into the thinner and bring fresh thinner to the body. Because of evaporation, thinner may have to be added to the pan.  

"When the larger panels are rather clear of paint (and don’t forget the inside of the body), it’s time to pour off the dirty thinner from the pan into a, preferably NON-glass, storage container. Wipe out the pan with a rag or towel and pour in fresh thinner. 

"Now, one must concentrate on where paint loves to hide, like the cast-in details, window frames, roof walk, etc., using the short bristle brush, but still rotating the body occasionally and flushing with the longer brush. When one is satisfied that the body is clear of paint, do one last flush with clean thinner and set the body aside to air dry. 

"Flush the brushes in clean thinner and return the thinner to its storage container. Wipe out the pan, but make sure any rags or toweling used are well spread out and allowed to air dry before disposal. 

"The body, once dry, must be washed in warm water and soap to remove any residue. I used Simple Green in water and a spray bottle and a small scrub brush to clean the body, inside and out. Most any detergent or dish soap will suffice. The body was well rinsed in warm water and left to air dry. 

"Because it was handled a few times, I rinsed the body well with isopropyl alcohol before painting. Unfortunately I didn’t have the foresight to photograph the body after stripping. The photos show it after priming and in service. Q-Car trucks and detailing kits were used to finish it and it’s painted in Aurora Red and cream with a grey roof."
All photos were provided by Carl Lantz

While the epoxy car body in this post is not a CRT 4000, a Q-Car Co. epoxy body was used. The process to remove the paint on any of the Q-Car epoxy bodies is the same.

Carl gives excellent, common sense advice regarding the use of flammable liquids. His comments about checking to see if the paint striper you plan on using will affect the body and any adhesives are well taken. What will work on one type of material used in model construction may not work on another! 

From experience do not dispose of the used paint "remover" without 1st sifting through or filtering it. Some of the parts added to the model may have come off during the paint removal process. Dispose of the used paint "remover" in an approved manner! 

Be careful of the gloves you use. Lacquer thinners will destroy latex and similar gloves. Use only gloves approved for lacquer thinner. 

Carl is an excellent model maker. His models are fantastic to see! 

My thanks goes to Carl for writing the article and providing the photos. Carl, thank you! 



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Finishing a Q-Car CRT 4000 Plushie Part 3: Other Holes and Additional Add-On's

Before getting into the topics in this post, I would like to re-enforce something about the Chicago Rapid Transit Company (CRT). The CRT was not an operating company. The organizations which operated the "L" trains were:
          The Metropolitan West Side Company,
          The Chicago & Oak Park (Lake St.) Company,
          The South Side "L" Company, and
          The Northwestern "L" (north side) Company. 

The CRT was a "holding" company. This is explained on page 5 of "The Chicago 'L's' Great Steel Fleet ~The Baldies~". The reason I bring this matter up is, each of the operating companies had their own unique quarks when it came to the operation and appearance of their cars.

The reason it impacts you, the modeler, is you have to pay attention as to:
     how and where the springs between the cars were mounted,
     where the car number was displayed - car side and/or glass plates,
     the use of auxiliary lights after dark,
     did the name "Chicago Rapid Transit" appear on the letterboard,
     the couplers used, and more.

While the CTA may have altered the appearance of the 4000 series of cars more than the CRT, it is these unique quarks when it came to the operation and appearance of the individual operating companies' cars that endears the CRT to me!

Other Holes
As mention in the prior post not all the locations where holes have to be drilled have a dimple (except for the holes mentioned in the prior post under the "Beware").

The items to receive a hole(s) include:
     the windshield wiper,
     the hand/foot grab irons to the roof,
     the route/marker lamp locations, and
     the headlight with mounting brackets.

In preparing my model I may have missed a hole or 2. They can still be drilled even after the model is painted.

Windshield Wipers - For the Plushies the windshield wiper was installed below and centered on the motorman's window. Your sharp, hobby awl can be used to make a small started hole.

Hand/Foot Grab Irons to the Roof - The Plushies had trolley poles. There had to be a way for an employee of the "L" to reach the top of the roof. Dimples for grab irons on the roof itself are provided but not for the curly-Q hand/foot grab irons on the car's ends to the left (looking at the end) of the center door frame.

Cincinnati Car Co. was crafty enough to use the rivets in the car's ends to install these grab irons. This is where your sharp, hobby awl really comes in handy to push off a rivet and make a hole in the epoxy. The location for the new dimples can be derived by either measuring distances or counting the rivets.

The curly Q hand/foot grab irons are easy to make. I'll show you later.

Route and Marker Lamps - For the holes for the route/marker lamp locations, I generally make the holes at the bottom of where the long narrow bracket holders are located on the body post of the car. We'll have to postpone any hole drilling for bulbs in the lamps until later.

Headlight and Brackets - My car is to be the lead car for a train routed through the subway. Therefore a headlight hole is required. Two other holes for the headlight bracket are required on both the front and rear center-end doors. Check photos for the locations of the brackets. More about the brackets later.

The CRT headlights were Crouse-Hinds with the small lens. This is a photo of my CRT headlight. My son was kind enough to make the large jack into which the headlight is "plugged". The wire coming out of my CRT home-made jack has an Edison plug to be "plugged" into house-hold current.

A Q-Car Co. B140 Lightweight Suburban Headlight brass casting was used. It's of the correct outside diameter. To give the headlight casting a smaller lens and a location for a bulb, a piece of 0.125" diameter brass tubing was used. To solder the piece of brass tubing in place, the tubing was slide into the hole in the casting all the way to the front of the casting. Then solder was used to fill in the gap between the tubing and the casting. The casting/tubing/solder object was placed in a lathe and the center of the tubing/solder was made flat with the surface of the casting. It could have been cut "in" just a bit as there was a lip around the edge of the prototype headlight. I didn't want to risk doing this.

A 16 v Miatronics bulb was inserted into the headlight with the glass showing up over the end of the casting just like the glass lens on the prototype. ACC was used to glue the bulb in place. The assembly was placed aside for future installation.

A hole large enough for the brass tube to extend through the end door was made. As for the brackets, since a Q-Car B140 headlight is being used, the B141 were used. The headlight comes with 1 bracket, 1 more bracket is needed for the rear door.

Items to Add to the Body Prior to Re-Primering
Q-Car included with the body the 2 trolley pole hold down brackets. If you do not have any, they can be gotten from Q-Car. They are part B151 or you can make your own from strip brass. ACC the hold down hooks on the trolley boards.

The final item is the roof mounted fuse box. For some reason ALL cars with trolley poles operated on the "L" had to have a roof mounted fuse box including ALL "L", NSL, and CA&E cars. This fuse box sits on 2 short legs and what looks like a hinge. The open end of the fuse box is facing over the roof of the car at the very edge of the roof board. The raised end of the box is near the centerline of the car. Should the fuse "blow", especially at night, the rider under where this fuse is located was in for a spectacular light show and sound!

Current Line Models has the C-270 Roof Fuse NS, CA&E soft metal casting set available. The set includes the fuse box plus 2 legs. The little pins on the legs fit into the holes in the back of the fuse box. Glue the legs to the box and then the assembly to the roof boards near the #1 end of the model.

Should the Current Line Models product no be available, you can used Q-Car
CS059 Large Fuse Box and add the small hinge and legs. The photos below show how to do this.
This is the fuse box. Although it says "Large" the casting is small!

For the "hinge" looking bracket an index card was folded along one of the lines. The pencil mark is the amount to be cut out. Besides using index cards, I've used the card stock used with the part as part of the packaging.
The hinge looking bracket.
Two legs made from styrene strips are ACC'ed to the top. Note the bend in the styrene. The excess strips will be cut off prior to mounting. The red arrow points to the "hinge" looked bracket.

The roof mounted fuse ACC'ed to the roof boards.
You may be asking why other items are not being added now. If you look at color photos of the 4000's you'll notice almost all of the metal hardware - handrails, grab-irons, brackets, etc. are painted black. It's easier to paint the model the correct colors and not have to worry about masking off too much.
Plus, It's far easier to paint the parts to be painted black, to paint them black and installed them afterward than to try to paint them black after every thing has been painted the body colors. Also, if they had been added to the body prior to painting, these parts would be subject to 1 or more coats of primer. It's best to give them 1 light primer coat prior to painted them black than having some of the parts filled in with paint.
Finally the body comes with the utility vents installed. Sometimes the molds used to make the castings do not match-up as well as they should. Then the castings will have noticeable lines where the molds came together. With the castings already mounted, filing the castings may be difficult. Do the best job you can.
Now the body can be re-primered. When the primer is dry, attach the floor to the body with the 2 flat head screws provided.
The next post will be the striping of paint from a Q-Car epoxy body written by Carl Lantz.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Finishing a Q-Car CRT 4000 Plushie Part 2: The Underbody and Grab Iron and Handrail Holes

Floor and Underbody
To add the underbody to the model, Q-Car's UB100 CRT 4000 "L" Body underbody kit can be used. It contains all the parts required plus a drawing of where the parts go. The drawing is from the bottom looking up into the car.

I intend to used the wood floor supplied with the model. However, you are free to substitute other materials. Some of my friends will toss out the wood or plastic floor which comes with a model and replace it with brass. After cutting 0.025” or thicker brass to the correct dimensions, brass shapes, “Z’s”, “L’s”, “U’s”, “I’s”, and/or “H’s”, are soldered into place the make the center sill and other structural pieces of the underframe. Making the floor out of brass will increase the weight of the model.

Keep in mind a floor made out of wood or styrene, non-electrical conductive materials, will produce less of a chance for electrical problems. This is especially true in you decide to operate a model 2-rail. Brass is an excellent conductor of electric current. Steps must be taken to install the truck(s) using non-conductive materials. If you search the internet, sources of nylon and other non-conductive material screws and nuts are available.

Other than the need to insulate the trucks from the floor, the mounting of a power and trail trucks on a brass floor are the same as for a wooden floor as mentioned in prior post.

Instead of making a brass floor, the same can be done with sheet styrene and styrene structural pieces. Both brass and styrene will increase the detail of the model. Before starting to make a floor out of brass or styrene, secure photos of the underside of a prototype car. If photos are not readily available visit a prototype car at a museum.

With the trucks mounted, the cleaned-up underbody parts are 1st located on floor using the diagram supplied by Q-Car. Photos can also be used. Prototype underbody parts were not located at the edge of the car. They are located a few inches in from the edge. The underbody of a prototype 4000 was a busy place with many of the items placed very close to one another. Once all the parts are positioned, start gluing them to the floor.

If you desire the piping connected to the air tanks, air compressor, and other air brake equipment can be installed. Drain cocks for the air tanks are available from PSC. The brake rigging from the air brake cylinder to the trucks can be added.

The plumbing under the model brings up a thought. If you are making models which include piping and other details under the model, besides going to a museum to make a drawing of the prototype car, there are books to consult which have info of similar types of cars.

Some of the prototype underbody was installed from hangers from the floor. The resistor grids as well as some of the other electrical equipment were normally installed using insulators between the equipment and the floor.

One comment about the air compressor. Be sure you hang it right-side-up. It's easy to hang it the wrong way. This compressor can be hung in a cage or from hangers attached to the underside of the floor. For the 4000 it is hung from hangers. The bottom of the compressor is the side with the flat feet.
The photo shows the top of the air compressor casting. The 2 straps from which it hangs are also shown. Some filing of the straps was required.

I decided to CA the various pieces directly on the floor. It's not that I needed to save time but rather underbodies on models never seemed to be important other than having the corrent equipment there. This theme will return soon in a future post with some afterthoughts!
The pieces of styrene under the trail truck were inserted to level the floor.

Small Vertical Motorman's Cab Window
This is my 4th Q-Car 4000 body I've built-up and finished. There is a small window in each of the motorman's cabs that the modeler has to cut out. The outline of the window appears in the small wall to the left of the motorman as he looks forward.

In the prototype 4000's the motorman's cab was enlarged by having the front wall (car end on the motorman's side) pushed forward on an angle. This results is a small wall between the door in the end of the car and the pushed out wall.

Each time this part of the work on a Q-Car 4000 is started I take a deep breath. A series of holes were made with a #60 drill down the center of the area of the material to remove. Then the holes were enlarged using a #50 drill. If the original holes are close enough, when the holes are enlarged, the holes will interconnect. The removed material will leave a long slit.
In the 2nd photo the holes have been broken into one another to make the long open slit.

File out the area with flat files. Use a thin jeweler's file 1st, then a small, thin mill file. The corners are dressed with a small square file. I remove all the material up to the roof and to the edges of the window. To open up the window to the roof an angular X-Acto blade was used to cut through the last of the material.
Notice the damage to the roof done during the filing. It will be repaired later.
Also notice the model is kept on an old towel to prevent any damage to the opposite surface.

The prototype cars had a window frame at the top of the opening. A piece of 0.020" x 0.040" styrene was positioned and CA'ed at the top of the opening.
The red arrow points to the small piece of styrene CA'ed at the top of the window opening. Sometimes it's easier to remove all the material and replace it with a known size than try to retain a small amount of hard to measure material.

Window Fix
In cutting out the motorman's small vertical window one of the doors was damaged. A horizontal mullion in a side door was knocked out. The mullion was replaced with a 0.020" x 0.030" styrene strip. Since the replacement mullion is held in place with a T-shaped butt joint a 0.020" x 0.010" piece of styrene was glued in back of the mullion. The pictures will tell the rest.
Notice the 0.020" x 0.010" styrene added to the back of the new mullion laps over the addition and onto the back of the door.

Grab Iron and Handrail Holes
When making the "Plushie" body, Q-Car provided dimples where grab irons and handrails are located. Q-Car supplied bent 0.025" wire for the numerous grab irons and handrails. You can use these or your own wire.

The short red arrows point to the dimples to drill out.
The green arrow is a dimple NOT to drill out.

Now is the best time to drill the holes for the grab irons and handrails. The model has only the thin brown primer coating making it easier to spot the indentations (dimples) where to drill. Later I'll spray the model with a light gray colored primer. The indentations are harder to spot on light colors

Using a drawing or photo(s) locate all the locations where the holes need to be drilled.  Beware - there are dimples for holes not to drill! When the 4000 series of "L" cars were 1st introduced, the handrails in the doorway between cars were fastened lower on the body.

Sometime before 1940 these 2 handrails were mounted higher on the body in the doorway. When this happened, the top chain of the 3 chains was no longer hooked to the body. Instead the top chain was hooked between the bottom of the 2 handrails. Therefore there is no need to drill out the top dimple of the set of 3 dimples for a hooks for the top chain. There are 4 locations where the hole does not need to be drilled.

More holes have to be drilled plus there are items to add to the body prior to giving the body a coat of primer. These will be covered in the next post.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Finishing a Q-Car CRT 4000 Plushie Part 1: Installing the Power/Trail Trucks

With the New Year, a new model which includes a power truck installed above the floor. Hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Before starting any model always find as many prototype photos of the model you wish to build. These should be of the specific car number and date of operation to match you model. Examining the photos of the CRT 4000 series of cars, specifically the "Plushies", you'll find many different variations of details. Build to the photo!

Before going further you need to obtain:
  1. Shore Line Interurban Historical Society Dispatch Number 5, "The Chicago "L's" Great Steel Fleet ~The Baldies~"
  2. CERA Bulletin B-113 "Chicago's Rapid Transit Volume I: Rolling Stock 1892-1947"
  3. CERA Bulletin B-131 "The “L” The Development of Chicago's Rapid Transit System, 1888-1932".
These publications will give you a chance to see photos of the 4000's during their many years of operation. Many of your questions about the 4000's will be answered. Just in case you are 1st finding out about the CRT/CTA 4000 series of cars, they can be broken into two different types called "Baldies" and "Plushies". The publications listed above will explain the names and the differences between the 2 names.

I had the opportunity to ride both the "Baldies" and "Plushies" for the 4 years I was going to high school. This gave me the opportunity to examine the prototype cars and their details.

Almost all of my "L" models are representative (built and painted) of the months just before the take over of the "L" by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) from the Chicago Rapid Transit Company (CRT) - October 1,1947. My model will be made for this era.

I like the pre-CTA era since during this time the CRT still ran its equipment in many unique ways. The Q-Car CRT 4000 "Plushie" is patterned after the prototype cars of the 1940's.

Start by inspecting your model for completeness and lack of problems (broken items etc.). Q-Car has stopped making epoxy bodies. Correcting problems with the body may be troublesome but can be done. Some of the roof boards had come loose on my model. They were reattached using CA.

If you have a used painted 4000 epoxy body from which you wish to remove the paint, a friend of mine who has removed paint from a Q-Car epoxy body has been asked to write what he did to remove the paint. When his information is available his experience will be posted.

Since the power truck is heavier than the trail truck, it's best to install the trail truck 1st at the correct location and height. This will make it easier to secure the power truck at the correct height. On the prototype 4000 both the power and trail trucks are centered on the floor.

The bottom of model's wood floor is level with the model's sides and ends. This makes it easy to set the height of the floor with relation to the trail truck sitting on level track. The bottom of the prototype's floor is 3'2" above the rail. Therefore the bottom of the model's floor has to be a scale 3'2" above the rail head.

With the floor in place on the model, mark the center line (half way point) of the floor on the bottom of the floor from end to end. Then from the outside of the car's sides mark the center line of the floor . Draw the line from screw to screw. Inspect the model and decide which end is to be #1, motor, end. Mark both the floor and body with #1.

Any measurements for the centerlines must to be taken from the outsides of the sides and ends of the model. Wall thicknesses of the side and end castings can vary. Also, there are prototype trolleys where the distances from the end of the car to the truck center points are not the same!

Unscrew the floor and remove the floor. Place the 2 screws plus the body in a safe secure location. Notice the screws are 2-56 flat head. The truck centers are a scale 33'8". Using the floor's center point mark the locations of the truck centers. Then, with a sharp, hobby awl make drill starter holes in the wooden floor at the truck center points. Use a #40 drill to drill through the wooden floor.

Side Bar Note - If the truck centers are shortened, i.e., 33'0" instead of 33'8", the car will turn on shorter radius curves but will have additional overhang. Sometimes a shorter truck center is required to clear steps and other items on the underbody at the end of a model. 

Example of a sharp, hobby awl. The darkened end is the result of stirring paint.

My sharp, hobby awl was obtained 50+ years ago as part of a dissecting kit for a college zoology class. The correct name is a pithing needle or tissue teaser. It is the inexpensive form - a piece if strong steel wire sharpened to a point inserted and glued into a wooden handle. From time to time the point has to be sharpened.

You can make one from 0.050" - 0.060" or 1/16" piano or similar wire cut to 2-5/8" in length. The handle is 0.250" or 1/4" wooden dowel about 4" long. Drill a hole about 1" deep for the piano wire to be inserted into the wooden dowel. Make the hole slightly oversize.

Use medium setting CA fill the hole about 25% and insert the piece of music wire. Allow the CA to completely set for 24 hours. Using a grinding wheel taper the outer 1" of the music wire to a point. Do not get the wire red hot as the temper of the metal will be lost. If this does happen you will have to start all over again.

If possible coat the wooden handle with some sort of clear finishing lacquer. This tool has many uses including making a centering hole, punching holes through 0.005" brass sheet, holding parts in place while CA sets, and more.

To find the correct floor height, scale 3'2" above rail to bottom of floor, start mounting the trail truck by enlarging the #40 truck center hole to clear a 3-48 screw. Attach the body bolster provided to the truck. Place the truck in its  correct location. Do not use any glue yet. Holding everything in your hands place the floor and trail truck on a small section of track.

Using scraps of wood or styrene strips under the floor at the power truck end, level the floor. With a ruler check to see if the bottom of the floor is a scale 3'2" above the top of the rail. If it is not, take appropriate measures. This may include altering or replacing the cast metal body bolster supplied with the truck.

For my model the body bolster was replaced with apiece of 0.125" styrene 1-1/2" long and 0.500" wide (Two pieces 0.250" wide.). A hole was made and taped for a 3-48 screw. Using a 3-48 screw to locate the truck center hole, CA the new body bolster to the bottom of the floor.
 This is the new body bolster CA'ed to the floor.

Here the trail truck is screwed to the new body bolster. Notice the spring over the truck mounting screw. PSC #350 springs work very well. The screw is screwed in far enough for the head of the screw to clear a toothpick placed over the bottom center of the sideframes. a 3/4" long 3-48 screw is used. Normally a 1/2" long 3-48 screw is provided by the truck manufacturers.
The use of a spring with non-powered trucks keeps the truck snug up against the bolster to prevent wobbles. Only 1 truck of a model has to be treated this way. The other benefit is the grounding of the truck against the bolster helps with the return current to the rails or, in the case of a 2-rail model, the return of the electricity to the selected rail.

Once the CA has set install the trail truck. Place the floor on a level work surface. Place the power truck under the floor. Is the floor level? Is it too low on one end or the other? If the floor is too high on the power truck side, like mine, the power truck has to be attached either in the floor or above the floor.

As can be seen the floor is not level. A screw's head can be seen in the photo. The base of the truck's bolster is just to the inside of this screw head.

Cut a hole in the floor large enough for the width of the power truck bolster at it's base and long enough for the length of the motor. See the photo below. Notice the pencil lines on the brown colored primer. All measurements are taken from the truck center point hole in the floor. I forgot to mention, this is the bottom of the floor.

The additional box drawn on the left is to clear the gear box which will be cut into the floor if needed. The larger rectangle has to be cut out 1st.

The power truck is inserted in the hole in the floor. Notice the body bolster, the piece of flat brass strip held in place with a grommet onto the truck bolster, is too wide. It has to be cut shorter on both ends.

The amount of brass to be cut off is how much the brass strip extends over the sides of the floor plus the width of the epoxy ridge inside the model's body at floor level.

This photo shows the 2 scratches in the brass where it needs to be cut.

The 2 mounting holes, seen above, were cut off. New mounting holes in the center line of the brass strip were drilled to clear a 1-72 screw. How far the holes are from the edge of the brass are depended upon how much wood is available to hold the screw securely.

Since you are working from the bottom of the floor some judicious measuring needs to be done. I did the measuring and hole drilling, then the power truck was mounted on the floor using self tapping screws. Once the floor is set flat on a level surface, is the floor level? This will tell you if the power truck has to be raised or lowered more.

The body bolster of my power truck needed to be raised above the level of the floor. Using small pieces of styrene and 1-72 screws; the floor was leveled. The work looks sloppy in this trail fitting. Correct size styrene pieces will be made for the final installation.

Notice the area to the left has been cut out to make way for the gear box. This is a measure, cut, and fit type of job. Work at it slowly.

The final mounting includes round head screws on top with washers and nuts on the bottom. The order of the head, washer, and nut can be reversed. Where ever there is wood always back up the nut or head of the screw with a washer to prevent breaking through the wood.
Blue arrows = The floor was cut out to clear the gear box.
Red arrows = Where ACC was applied to the styrene blocks used to hold the truck bolster above the floor.
Green arrows = Where the floor was cut back to clear the wires to the brushes and their holders.
Maroon arrows = More cut out to further clear the motor's magnet.
Notice the hole in the floor is purposefully kept small. It's just large enough for the swing and operation of the truck. The other reasons are to keep the area available for an interior and for the potential addition of lighting in the model. More on the latter reasons as the model is finished.
Here is the model, the body on the floor, on the test track. Does it look level? When measured with a ruler it is!

Next is the adding of the underbody parts to the floor and work on the epoxy body

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Some Modeling Tips and News for the New Year Before Going Further

We start off the New Year with some modeling ideas rather than building a model!

In my 50+ years of model building basic model making techniques, to some extent, have remained the same while the materials and tools used to construct models have changed - from wood and paper, to plastic, to epoxy resin, to ??.

A material and a tool which have seen a change are the glues with the introduction of cyanoacrylate (CA) adhesives and the availability of newer sanding "tools".

Some kits are best assembled using an adhesive called CA or cyanoacrylate glue. There are a number of trade names for this product - Krazy Glue, Super Glue, Loctite, etc.. CA works best on non-porous material. But, do not cut wood out of the material which can be glued together using CA. The technique for wood is to 1st apply the CA to wood to fill the pores and allowing to dry. Then, apply more CA to the pieces of wood and hold the pieces together while the CA sets works out well.

Of course plastic kits are best assembled using plastic adhesives (solvents). When trying to bond dissimilar plastics, CA can be used or a solvent for multiple types of plastic.

Remember, for some reason unknown to me, plastic solvent adhesives and CA do not work out well together. Use one or the other but not both at the same time.

The brand of CA I prefer to use is made by CGM Enterprises under the “Jet” trade name. It comes in 3 different viscosities – thin (Instant Jet), medium (Super Jet), and thick (Slow Jet). Their properties are explained in the following table:

CGM Enterprises CA Glue
Trade Name
Color of label
Gap Filling
Start of Set-Up
Dry to Touch
Cure Time
Instant Jet
1-2 minutes
1 hour
Super Jet
Yes, very narrow gaps
2-3 minutes
up to 1 hour
12 hours
Slow Jet
Yes, wider gaps
5+ minutes
up to 2 hours
24 hours

The times are approximates. The manufacturer CGM Enterprises has slightly different numbers and descriptions on their web site.

The table is from my experience with the 3 different products. Your experience will vary dependent upon how clean the surfaces are, temperature, humidity, nature of the material, etc.

Start of Set-Up = the material is stuck together and some effort is required to pull the items apart.

Dry to Touch = the CA is no longer sticky. Other items can come in touch with the adhesive without sticking to it.

Cure Time = the time when the adhesive is completely dried. Maximum effort is required to pull the items apart. Sometimes the items beak while the joint remains.

This is my bottle of Super Jet.

The wire shown on the bottles is a large paper clip opened up and sharpened to a point to open the neck of the bottle. Even with the cap closed, sometimes the CA in the neck of the spout sets-up. The paper clip is used to open the spout.

I prefer to use the Super Jet for almost all gluing. It works well and fills gaps in the materials to join. If you have not used any CA or the Jet product line, you should practice a little to catch on to how it works.

I found it's best to use a gap filling CA even when there appears to be no gap. The gap filling CA will leave a fillet of CA. Butt joints are the weakest. Many models have “T” shaped butt joints. Just like a welder leaves a fillet of metal at a “T” butt joint, you want to have the additional adhesion attributed to having a fillet of material at the joint.
The red lines are support panels added either above OR below or on either side of the butt joint. The green arrows point to a fillet made of CA before curing. After curing the CA fillet is very thin.

As for "L" shaped butt joints, gap filling CA will provide a filler on one side (the inside) of the 2 edges being joined.

There are "application" accessories available from CGM for their CA. It's called a Jet Pack Caps and tips. Included are a bottle cap, five sizes of tips, and 12" of pipette tubing.
I prefer to apply the Super Jet and Slow Jet with regular and long length round wooden (skewers) tooth-picks are used. A drop can be squeezed out of the bottle on to the tooth-pick. Then the tooth pick is placed where the CA is required. The tooth pick can also be used to move the CA around in place. The tooth-picks can be reused over and over again.

While I like the "Jet" products there are other CA products on the market. Each modeler seems to like the brand with which they have become accustomed to using. Use the brand that "floats your boat".

To obtain a better idea as to how CA "works" read about it in Wikipedia -  .

All CA products have to be protected from moisture. To help me, my CA adhesives are stored in a glass jar. A suitable jar was pulled out of the trash, the interior cleaned up, and reused! From the photo you can tell what type of jar and size was used. Do not store your CA in the refrigerator. The moisture content may be too high!
Some day the exterior of the jar will be cleaned. There are a few things to be pointed out about the contents of the jar.

The jar is cloudy due to the fumes given off by the CA, If you've watch any CSI film or TV show you may have seen the enhancement of finger-prints with the use of CA fumes. The fumes are toxic! Whenever working with CA always work in a well ventilated area.

If you are experiencing pain in your side and/or side-to-back of your body you are starting to suffer from CA fume exposure. Stop using the CA and get out of the area. Before returning to work with CA improve the ventilation in your work area!

Inside my jar is a bottle of Super Jet, Slow Jet, Squadron Green Body Filler, the contents of a Jet Pack, additional paper clips with a sharp point, both short and long tooth picks, and razor blades. The jar stores what's required to work with the CA and the body filler which tends to dry rapidly.

I dislike 5-minute epoxy. From the time it 1st came out until now, I have never had good results. Therefore it has never been in my armamentarium of adhesives to use.

In assembling something when I say “glue”, I mean "use Super Jet CA" unless specified otherwise. If 2 pieces of styrene are to be attached to one another, I'll use styrene liquid glue.

Calling these tools may seem a bit off. However, they will assist you in doing a specific task of sanding.

Fingernail Emery Boards - Some time ago when I was unable to find sand paper in the house, I started to use my wife's emery boards. They worked out well on all sorts of materials. The big plus of emery boards is they are made with a hard backing and can be cut with wire cutters into smaller shapes for small places.

One problem is the emery boards are not meant for large, long, hard sanding jobs. The boards are quickly "dulled". Emery and sanding paper or cloth are still the best.

My wife didn't like my using her boards so she has started to buy them for me when ever she buys them for herself. Thank you, Lois!

I prefer to used the course black emery boards available in pairs from Walgreens.

Sanding Sticks - There are 2 different products called sanding sticks.

The 1st are small square or rectangular pieces like emery boards which come in short or long sticks. They come in different course material and are color coated to tell which grit they are. These sticks are available from stores like Michaels or Micro-Mark and other hobby dealers. One of the advantages of these sanding sticks is, they can be cut into short pieces to work in small places.
Each individual stick is about 1/8" square.

The 2nd sanding stick was introduced by NWSL called "The Detail Sander". It's a spring loaded plastic stick with a grit belt around it. As the grit is worn-off the belt can be rotated about the stick. Moving the belt over the sharp end will dislodge materiel caught in the grit.
The Detail Sanders are color coordinated as to the grit. Replacement grit belts are available.
The narrow grit belt plus the "sharp" point of the tool will allow you to get into small areas to sand. The opposite end is round. This will help in sanding the interior of curves. The Detail Sander is available from hobby stores and distributers.

Sanding Boards - Flex-I-File is a set of emery boards for the hobbyist. The package is available from  hobby stores and distributors. They are also color coded for their grit.  
Each Flex-Pad is about 6" long. 1/2" wide, and 1/8" thick.

Included in the package is a metal holder for strips of sand paper of various grits.

Each of the sanding products has its own niche. You'll find more than 1 of these are required to fill your needs.

Sadly, I have to report the article which I thought was going to be written and published regarding the changing of the worm and gear in a Wagner power truck to reduce the noise will not be done.

If there is any change, I'll tell you.