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ZM-8 NP Wrecking Crane #21

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Joined: 18 Oct 2004
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Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:11 pm    Post subject: ZM-8 NP Wrecking Crane #21 Reply with quote

Northern Pacific Wrecking Crane #21

All major railroads needed wreckers since wrecks are an inevitable consequence of railroading. The locomotive is almost always the most difficult element to deal with in a wreck because of its great weight. So the history of wrecker procurement was one of continually getting larger capacity wreckers as locomotives grew bigger.

Northern Pacific Wrecker #21 was built in 1903, midway through a series of procurements that started in 1901 with #12, a 50 ton crane, through #21 a 60 ton wrecker and continuing to #31-#32, 100 ton wreckers, each order increasing in capacity to keep up with the increase in locomotive sizes. It was built by Industrial Works which later became Industrial Brownhoist. Virtually all NP cranes were built by this company right up to the last “big hook” cranes built in 1945.

I became intrigued with this crane when I bought photos of it and its boom car from Bob’s Photos, 37 Spring Street, Ansonia CT 06401 – Phone (203) 734-6666. He has a great selection of photos and I encourage you to use him as a resource. I called him and left a message that I wanted to use his photo of #21. He never got back to me. I hope my giving him a plug in this article will pay him back for going ahead and using the photo. If he contacts me I will be happy to pay his usual charge.

I felt the Tichy Train Group 120 ton crane (#2700) was a good starting point. ( Its prototype was built by Industrial in 1909. Size-wise and configuration-wise it conformed with NP #21.

Originally I was just going to build it as per Tichy’s instructions and add the all-weather cab from the photos of #21 and others in the NP series, but guilt gradually took over as I recalled the Zenmaster’s admonishments about the pursuit of perfection. I not only built the cab sides using Evergreen scribed car siding (#2025), but also totally changed the detailing on the boom and cable arrangement. There were many other small changes made and details added as I discovered things in the photos. Looking at the photos you’ll notice that all the changes were made in white plastic from Evergreen.

 The roof was changed extensively, partly due to my revising my modifications twice! You’ll notice that a steam generator and whistle were added to the roof.
 The cables on the hooks were shortened since I planned to make the model in the traveling position.
 The thread supplied in the TTG kit for cables was discarded and replaced by plastic sprue and brass wire. The kit is supplied with thread to make an “operating” crane, which I believed was clearly not practical. If you are going to make the kit yourself I recommend you pick a position for the boom and glue the hooks and cables down tight.
 #21 has canvas curtains at the front of the cab in traveling mode, so I added them,
 Wire hand grabs were added wherever possible.

The model was painted with a deep, dark gray (GHQ’s CLR14). After weathering, particularly on the flat deck of the car, decals were applied. The decals used were a combination of Microscale #60-1011 “NP Maintenance of Way Equipment 1920-1969” and #60-777 “NP Freight Cars, Gons, Tank Hopper Flat and Bulkhead Flat” decals.

At some point in the future I plan to add the boom car. It is totally unique. Hopefully, I can do an article on that as well.

As always, please let us know what you thought about this article. Did you like it? Did it insprie you to make this crane? Did it inspire you to try a different project? Was it detailed enough? If you aren't registered to use our forum, then register now**. Post some of your own projects, ask questions, answer questions...get involved in the model railroading hobby. The hobby grows when people share their work and techniques. Everyone benefits when you teach others how to do things. Someone may even be able to improve on what you have developed. Put some modeling in your model railroading!

Thank you for your support,

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Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I know this is a old thread but I'm still going throw all of them and all I can say is OUTSTANDING !!!!!!!!!! what a great build-up one day I will be able to do that to !!! thanks for posting.
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Joined: 16 Jun 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy

Just happened upon a good shot of one of the NP cranes in BN lettering and thought I would post the link here in case anyone is interested...
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