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

Saturday, April 18, 2020

WW II Nurse Recruitment Billboard Refrigerator Car

This is not what was to be the topic of the next Post. However, as you read the Post you'll understand the reason it is the next Post.

Many years ago someone was selling on EBay vintage refrigerator sides printed on card stock for the recruiting of Nurses for the Army during WW II. To use these printed sides either an existing vintage refrigerator kit or scratch-built body had to be used. 

Since my wife, Lois, is a Nurse; the sides were purchased. To build a vintage car, an old Walthers wooden refrigerator kit of the correct dimensions was obtained. My plan had been to build the model as one of the last models I built.

With the advent of the COVID-19 virus and resultant problems, the building of the kit with the paper sides seemed very appropriate. There are many commercials on TV giving "Thanks" to Doctors and Nurses. But to me it should be the other way around. At most hospitals, there are more Nurses involved in patient care.

 At the same time don't forget to thank the countless number of other health care professionals, technologists, technicians, and more who are working at hospitals either directly or indirectly involved in patient care. Include in this are the nursing and medical students who have been drafted to help.

Assembled body prior to sanding the side smooth and more parts applied.

Prior to painting and application of the paper sides.

The Precision Scale Company brass parts were used to replace the parts either lost or not included with the kit.  The assembled body was painted with red ends and a dark blue roof prior to attaching the white paper sides with white glue. The dark blue and red are Testors enamel paint brushed on in thinned coats. The underbody is painted black. 

To make the paper sides more realistic, most of the black painted parts were "reapplied" using styrene, Grandt Line, and Berkshire Valley parts. added. Finally the entire car was sprayed with Dullcote. The Dullcote gave the car a weathered look. 

Finally, the Nurse recruitment car was placed in a predominant location in the Zoo Loop.


Friday, April 3, 2020

Wagner Car Co. M-404 Drawbar

You may have thought after all the literature from Wagner Car Co. in this Blog, we were finished with Wagner. So did I until some thoughts about a long discontinued Wagner product came to mind.

Somewhere, long ago in a distant galaxy a Wagner Car Co. M-404, Drawbar was found in a hobby shop. This turned out to be a product Wagner had cataloged early in the history of Wagner. It was discontinued when Wagner's supply of parts ran out probably in the late 1950's or early 60's.

Early in the history of trolleys and streetcars instead of railroad couplers streetcars and even interurbans had drawbars. Couplers were heavy and expensive. Drawbars were not.

The picture shows the M-404 Drawbar Wagner had. It came with:
     Drawbar support - red arrow,
     Drawbar - maroon arrow,
     Mounting pins - blue arrow,
     Drawbar head - green arrow, and
     Drawbar coupling pin - black arrow.

Perhaps the valuable part was the drawbar head. More about the head later. Unfortunately no instructions were included. Then in another distant galaxy also long time ago, far removed from the first galaxy, a Pittman Electrical Developments Co. 1 pr. Radial Drawbar product was found. From what I can ascertain, since Pittman was an older company than Wagner, Pittman had the parts made and was selling them. Eventually Pittman sold all the parts to Wagner. 

The envelop contained all the information needed to assemble the drawbars. Everything was purchased including loose parts. Assembly was started using all the parts available. 

The drawbar heads were Zamak castings. Back then Zamak was not always the best material to use. It is an alloy of zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper. If not prepared to ridged standards over time the alloy would start to disintegrate. As some of the drawbar heads castings were cleaned-up, the heads would fall apart.

This is a photo of a pair of assembled drawbars. The heads are mounted on the drawbar with the heads held in pace with the pins in the kit. Instead of cutting and hammering the end of the pin like a rivet. instant glue was used to hold the pin in place.

As it turned out, there was just enough parts to make drawbars for mounting on the models I had. This photo shows the drawbars mounted on 2 of my models.

If the drawbar head castings, the most unique of the drawbar parts, are not available; then the heads have to be made using square or rectangular brass tubing. After the tubing sections are soldered together, the head would have to be filed into the correct shape.

Better yet would be for someone to prepare the 3D drawings for the "manufacturer" of the drawbar head from a company like Shapeways.

More on drawbars in the next Post.  Cheers,

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Trolley Pole Length - Another Lesson Learned

If you've been following this Blog for any length of time and have read the old Posts, you know there were some Posts which covered the subject of trolley poles before.

Something not covered before is the topic of this Post. For lack of a better way to describe it, let's call the topic "Trolley Pole Length". Most trolley modelers will take a new trolley pole out of the package, place it on the model, and run the model without any problems.

I'm working on a new model that came with 2-56 screws mounted in the roof where the trolley poles should be attached. If you obtain a completed body with the 2-56 screws  mounted for the trolley poles, always verify the location of the screws are correct. I verified the locations on my model.

The power and trail trucks were mounted on the model at the truck centers as indicated in records of the prototype cars. I know the trucks are mounted in their correct positions. This is mentioned as the location of the truck centers will effect the performance of the model, for example, body overhang on curves, trolley pole(s) following the wire at trolley wire frogs, and more.

The model being worked on came with trolley poles so those are the poles which will be used. One of the poles was attached, the  car placed on the track near a turnout, trolley pole placed on the wire, and the model pushed by hand through the turnout. As the model went through the turnout taking the diverging route, the trolley wheel came off the wire before reaching the trolley frog.

The model was tried a few times more with the exact same result. Most of my models have no problem with the trolley pole going through the frog at this point. The 2-56 screw for the trolley base is in the correct location. Therefore, something has to be wrong with the trolley pole being used.

Next to where the new model with trolley pole was tested was an older model whose trolley pole worked correctly through the turnout. This trolley pole was removed from the older model and tried on the new model. It worked every time the model was pushed through the divergent route of the turnout.

A side by side, trolley pole base to trolley pole base, comparison between the trolley pole that didn't work vs. the trolley pole that worked was made. The over all length of the new trolley pole that didn't work was 1/8" (6 scale inches) longer than the trolley polled that worked.
The body of the trolley wheel casting on the left is longer than the casting on the right. 

Further inspection showed the body of the brass wheel casting wheel was longer. This meant the wheel casting had to be unsoldered, the wire used for the shaft of the pole cut short by 1/8", and the casting re-attached.

After the trolley poles to be used with the new model were shortened, the model was tested again going through the turnout. Everything worked correctly.

In the words of the great Trolley Philosopher, "Not all trolley poles are created equally!"


Friday, February 28, 2020

Wagner "Trolley Talk Publications" Booklet

This is a catalogue of the publications written and produced by the Wagners. 

Some of the later issues of "Trolley Talk" contained inserts which were used to introduce and explain about Ken Kidder brass imports. The information showed new sideframe(s) and underbody set(s) available for the brass model(s).

The bound volumes of "Trolley Talk" did not contain any of the insert sheets which came with the individual copies of "Trolley Talk". However, the bound volumes contain an index related to the issues in the volume.

This is the only insert sheet. It was printed on 1 side of the sheet.

This is the end of the information I have regarding the Wagner Car Company and Current Line Models. I'm sorry I do not have any more information regarding the parts and truck sideframes added to the Current Line Models' line. If more information becomes available it will be in a future Post.

Some comments about the Q-Car Company line of parts and truck sideframes. The catalogue is available on line with drawings or photos. A  printed version is available for a minor charge. You should order a printed version for your files. Over the years some parts have been dropped and are no longer available.

The next Post will return to modeling and some problems with solutions explained.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

2020 Chicago O Scale Meet

It's time to get ready for the annual March O Scale Meet officially named the Chicago O Scale Meet. The dates, time, and location are:

March, 13, 14 and 15th, 2020
Westin Lombard Yorktown Center
Lombard, IL

Friday, March 13th
4-9 pm Dealer set-up in Grand Ballroom

Saturday, March 14th
8-9 am Dealers set-up in exhibit halls
9-5 pm Show open to the public

Sunday, March 15th
8:30 am Vendor set-up
9 - 2 pm Show open to the public

A website for the Meet is:

The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center is 2-3 miles from my home. The top of the hotel can be seen from my house. If you plan to attend the Meet and would like to see my layout, please contact me ahead to time. the space in which my layout is located is small with the layout consuming most of the floor footage.

Of all the O Scale Meets held in the United States this Meet has routinely been the largest over the years. From time to time one or another O scale Meet has been larger, but year to year the Chicago Meet has been the biggest. More important to O scale trolley modelers is the increase in vendors selling O scale trolley models.

It's hard to list all of the vendors selling trolley models since it will change slightly from year to year.  


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Wagner Car Co. O Gauge Trolley Parts Catalogue

Catalogues for Wagner Car parts were published less frequently than the trucks. The modeler had to rely on reading "Trolley Talk" for updates on parts. Rich Wagner worked closely with Ken Kidder to have underbody and other parts available as a new brass model was imported.

The catalogue reproduced here was dated "3/1/73". Additional sheets were inserted to bring the modeler up-to-date on new parts. The original 8 page catalogue is presented here along with the additional inserts.

The 1st insert sheet is dated "12/1/82".  All the "sheets" are shown front and back.

The next sheet was undated.

The following sheet is dated "Delivery as of May-1983 About 9 weeks".

This sheet listing all the parts was dated "July 1, 1989".

This sheet was not dated. However, it has a note in the margin stating, "Delivery: any truck is about 18 weeks.+".

Finally a sheet with Current Line Models parts was in the file with the Wagner catalogues.

The next Post will be the Wagner "Trolley Talk Publications".


Friday, February 7, 2020

Wagner Car Company Truck Book No. 6 - Part 2

This is the balance of "Truck Book No. 6".

Upon the death of Rich Wagner his wife, Birdie, sold the truck and parts component of Wagner Car Company to Ed Miller who changed the name of the company to "Current Lines". 

As Current Lines, Ed Miller not only made the same power and trail trucks with the sideframes Wagner had made, but Miller prepared additional patterns for sideframes and parts. Unfortunately, I do not have any of Curent Lines lists of sideframes or parts.

I do know Miller had produced sideframes for the IMP imported CSS&SB #1001 series 80-ton Baldwin-Westinghouse steeple cab locomotives.

Another sideframe Miller made was a heavier Baldwin MCB for the CSS&SB passenger cars. What was special about this sideframe was the inclusion of the slack adjuster equipment for the brakes plus the external brake parts and end braces on the trucks.