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ZM-10 SP Caboose #1

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

PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:45 pm    Post subject: ZM-10 SP Caboose #1 Reply with quote

Making Narrow Gauge Passenger Cars in N-Scale
Southern Pacific Combine / Caboose #1 in Nn3

This car started life as South Pacific Coast Railway #47, built by Carter Bros. in 1880. It came to the desert line in 1906 and became caboose #1. It lasted in service into the 1940s until retired.

I built this model in the 1980s from what was then available to kitbash, the Bachmann old-time passenger cars (the combine is Bachmann’s #75551). They remain one of the best resources for narrow gauge cars, along with the MDC/Athearn Overton and Overland cars. (The Rio Grande set is Athearn #11023) These cars frequently turn up on E-bay and at swap meets.

I have done a number of Nn3 narrow gauge passenger cars over the years. I will share them with you in future articles.

SP #1 is quite a straight forward conversion. A very fine plan of it was published in Mal Ferrell’s Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge (PFM, 1982).

The first thing that I did was carefully razor saw the roof off, the fascia board is too tall anyway. I sawed it off right under the roof edge and used the lip of the roof as a guide for the saw and started lightly and slowly. Next I razor sawed down the middle of the roof. The car is 8 feet wide so the edge of roof should overlap that slightly. I filled the cut roof edges, narrowing the clerestory until the two roof halves were slightly over 8 scale feet.

Then I glued these halves together. Next I scraped all of the rivet and seam detail off the roof. After it was completely dry, I razor sawed out a section to make the roof the right length.

The sides were quite easy. I razor sawed the sides off, cutting into the ends of the car, using the sides to guide the razor saw. The corners stay attached to the ends of the side to keep the lantern bracket detail on the corners.

I used a new chisel blade to carefully cut off all the beading around the windows. Next, I shortened the car by taking out, and shifting, segments to create the correct sides, leaving extra width on the baggage door on each side. I widened the door slightly and left enough material to glue the doors on the inside, giving them the proper depth. The sides were reduced in height a bit and a new fascia board made, and notched, for the door. Window mullions were cut and replaced to have four windows per door.

New ends were created using Evergreen siding which matches the car siding quite well. The end doors were cut out of the Bachmann car ends, reconfigured slightly and used on the ends again.

The Bachmann car bottom was shortened and used. Queen posts made from brass wire were drilled into the bottom. I used nylon thread for the truss rods. Today I would use .010” brass wire and solder them onto the queen posts with low temperature solder (very quickly so as to not melt the plastic bottom!)

The rest was all quite unchallenging: bending wire handrails, ladders, trucks and couplers.

The car was painted what the Espee called “Sunburn Red” and then weathered heavily for the desert.

This kitbash makes a very nice representation of caboose #1.

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Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 278
Location: Houston, we have a problem...

PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The beauty of this one is the fact that the source of parts is a "Sow's Ear" and HAS been turned into a "Silk Purse".

Many N-scalers have some of those old-timers sitting in a box or closet somewhere.
"It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of java that the thoughts acquire speed. The hands acquire the shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion." - Programmer's Mantra
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Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its a beautiful car!!! Definitely something I will be looking at in the near future for a passenger car project, though mine would more fittingly be for a standard gauge outfit car on a work train.

Thanks so very much for the inspiration[i]!!!{/i]
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