23 April 2024

Model of On3 C&S cinder car 04085 - Post 23

Colorado & Southern 3 foot gauge 04085 scratch-built in 1/4" scale, spring 1990

It's been 34 years since I built this car and I sold it in 1996 along with all of my On3 collection. I am grateful that I had the foresight - or perhaps divine inspiration - to photograph most of the models before hand. It all happened rather quickly and I simply stepped out of the hobby for good, I thought. My collection of railroad paraphernalia and books went to a number of folk but most of the models went to my friend, Doug Heitkamp. He in turned brokered them at shows and events. I've seen a number of the freight cars since but I have never seen this car, the flanger or outfit car.

The model was just under 8" long. It represents the car in 1903

I've already related that I recalled the inspiration for this project came about  but remembering how I built it is still foggy so I pulled out the August 1991 issue of Model Railroader and reviewed the rather general description of the car's construction. I'll leave most of that to anyone compelled enough to find that magazine.

The article includes the drawing of the prototype that I created from the parent of the drawing I'd already created in Nov 1988. MR required a specific style of drawing that was developed by J. Harold Geissel. I did this by tracing the 1988 drawing and submitting that along with photos and text but I also made a Mylar copy of the article drawing for my own records. I still have that too.

The original (parent) drawing is included in the C&S Connection. All 10 of the plan sets are still available as one collection from 7th Street Shops. The individual sets are not sold  separately. Contact us through our website to request the price or order the set. You can be sure the drawings are far more detailed and informative than the MR drawing.

The dump doors were fully functioning

O scale masters in brass and a casting

Only the brake gear did not work on the model

At the time I built the On3 model I was developing 1/4" scale product for C&S freight equipment. I built the masters in brass, then sent them to Jim Haggard of Builders In Scale to make molds and cast them in white metal.

The photo above left shows the brass masters for the bolsters and striker blocks that were used to build this car and other cars I built where they were appropriate. They belong on all of the St. Charles car types that were built for the UPD&G or C&S. In the background of the photo are a pair of Rigid style trucks along with double plate bolsters in S scale. The trucks were produced by The Cimarron Works and are now sold thru Precision Scale Vintage. All of these were the result of long hours I spent researching, drafting, and building models.

The hinges and dogs (or hinged/dogs) for the swing doors of the Cinder car were made up of 20 plus separate pieces of brass all soldered together and then assembled to the car. The trucks were offered by Portland Products and are no longer available. (There may be The Back Shop versions available from Keith Wiseman.) These were very nice brass castings that were fully sprung. I use3d them on many of the models I built where those trucks were appropriate. The brake rigging of this model was fully in place and could have actually bound the wheels if I had taken the time to make them operable. Nearly all of the detailing parts were available at the time and I tried to use brass and solder every place that I could. 

Underside detail was complete and accurate to the prototype

On the other hand, I cut the wood parts as close to exact historical sizes as I could get using a small hobby saw and a block of  basswood. Typically, I used commercial lumber cut for other scales and often these were very close to matching prototypical lumber sizes. But not this car. By early 1990 I had been cutting much of my own (scale) lumber anyway because there was very little available with the kinds of compound cuts found on wooden cars; such as ship-lapping for floor boards. Therefore I had already developed a bit of skill in this regard.

C&S Freight Car Color found in 1006

I assemble the car and painted it in a faded version of C&S freight Red. At the time my formula was 1 parts Floquil Box Car Red and 2 parts Caboose Red.

Bench in the caboose with red paint under the lid
In 2010 just before Vicki and I moved to Montana Fred Hutchison and I went to Silver Plume to photograph and measure C&S 1006, the caboose on display there. We found someone who could let us into the interior. While snapping shots and measuring I happened to lift the lid of the bench and discovered that there was old paint underneath.There is no way of knowing when it had been applied but it is possibly it had been there since 1908 when the cars were rebuilt and modernized to a Common Standard. From that bench paint I have formulated perhaps a more accurate C&S freight color that I use today.

Again, how I painted the Cinder car is described in the MR article. It was all done with a Badger 100 airbrush and Floquil colors. This included the weathering. Into my C&S Freight color I mix a few drops of Foundation to fade the red a little and there was some weathered black involved to dirty up the car.

Best of Show, 1990 Rocky Mountain NMRA

When I finished the car the 1990 NMRA Rocky Mountain Regional Convention was still ahead later that summer. It was a wonderful time and the first time I met long time friend Harry Brunk. I entered 04085 in the contest. At the end of the event (this was the first NMRA  convention I had attended) my then wife came up from Colorado Springs to attend the awards ceremony. 

As we sat together I became more and more anxious. I had invested an enormous amount of time into that model and felt it was a good job but I didn't know what to expect of it. I had won contests before but they were all popular vote. Of course this contest was different because it was actually judged by people who had a great deal of merit. Furthermore the car was of an obscure prototype and I didn't know if that would have any bearing on the judging. I expected the car to do something.

Merit, Plaque and Ribbon details

There was an incalculable amount of time just researching the prototype cars involved in creating the model. There was the culmination of information translated into detailed drawings.There was the gathering of parts - even creation of parts not commercially available. I am, to this day certain, there was no other model of this prototype before this model - let alone knowledge to the extent that a model could have been accurately built until all of this effort had been invested.

You may then imagine as each category came and went without mention of 04085 what I was starting to think.

Then as the last award came up - Best of Show - (I didn't even know there was such an award) they began describing from a point of detail and craftsmanship, a model that missed a perfect score by only a few points - and that because of a few commercial parts.The winning model of the show was the C&S Cinder car.

OMI U.P. Caboose donated by Caboose Hobbies

I don't have the model anymore. I hope it is in a glass case somewhere. But I still have the satisfaction that it inspired many models, a few manufacturers and one importer.

The trophy came from Caboose Hobbies of Denver. They mounted an Overland Models HO brass caboose on it and an engraved plaque. Many years later I had 7th Street Shops paint the model in the proper Union Pacific livery, add real glass to the windows, Proto-87 wheels to the trucks and completed it with Sergent couplers.





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