Saturday 23 March 2019

Dressing Up Some Empty Gondolas

Having concentrated so much on the scrap metal yard over the last several posts, I thought I'd better get busy working on some gondolas that will serve that business.  I've been thinking all along that the scrap yard will operate as empties cars in, loaded cars out.

I should mention that I found inspiration for weathering these gondola floors by looking on-line at a scrap yard in Dayton, well, technically Springfield, Ohio.  The place is called Franklin Iron and Metal, and on the Google Maps overhead view, there are 3 or 4 tracks on the north side of the business and just to the west that are occupied by strings of gondolas.  Some of the gondolas are loaded, but many are empty, and the Google view shows the interior floors of those really well. Top notch reference material!

3 of these 50 foot gondolas are mine, the 4th one belongs to another local modeler that has asked me to weather it for him.  I figured I'd make a removable floor piece that would simulate debris left inside from previous loads.  I've also done this in the past for a couple of gondolas that I worked on for Ron McCormick. These will be visible as the railroad brings the empty cars in for loading.  I figured that I might as well do them all 4 at one time.

I have a couple of load inserts made by Chooch Enterprises (I think it's them) that are perfect fits for the inside of these gondolas, so I began this little project by tracing their outline onto a fresh sheet of .040 styrene and then cut them out.

The 4 gondolas and 4 pieces of styrene that are perfect fits for the insides of the gons. On the left are the Chooch inserts I used as templates for my styrene floors.

After painting the 4 pieces of styrene flat black, I threw just about every weathering item I've got on hand at them.  I used a little bit of diluted white glue to attach a small amount of sifted dirt on two of the new styrene floors, and used some fine ballast on the other 2.  When the glue dried, I brushed on various colours of rust powders, glued in a couple of boards and even added a tiny scrap of rusty chain link fence to one of the pieces. I have a few weathering washes too, so I used a small amount of those too.

Two of the floor inserts waiting for the glue to dry,  and the other 2 are test-fitted into the gondolas

These are  50 foot gondolas, but I also have 60 and 65 footers that would certainly look better if I made similar inserts for them as well.  I only have just the two loads for my gondolas, and I really should try to make some more. But, now at least the insides of the gons will look good on their way in to the scrap yard.
Still on the workbench are the 4 gondolas, with their removable floors dropped in.  The floors will lift right out easily anytime should I want to take them out. While they are all somewhat similar to each other, each one is different.  This was a fun little project, done over a couple of evenings.

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