Sunday 5 February 2012

B&M open side hopper

A weather job gone bad can be fixed up with light painted overcoats and heavy chalking.

  KATO ACF 70 ton open side hopper


At a recent train show I came across a gentleman selling a Kato B&M covered hopper. He had done a bad weathering job. It was mostly sprayed on black that looked like chicken pocks. The roof and under body were the really bad areas with paint spots the size of pin heads. Well he did not want much for the car so I decided to see what I could do with it. I had not seen any B&M examples for this car style so I was not sure if it was a car that actually existed. 


Once at home I went through my photos and equipment books but could not come up with a single view. I did find some stated facts regarding the B&M car group. One tid-bit mentions the cars were built for the B&M by ACF in 1946 in the number series 5500 to 5519. They were 70 ton steel 32 foot car (the model is actually  a 34 footer) 1958 cu. ft. capacity which is all seen on the car lettering. It was also mentioned that 5500 and 5501 were sold in 1960 to Revere Sugar. 

The KATO web sit gives some general information about the cars which is as follows; "Manufactured by the American Car & Foundry Corporation, the ACF 70-Ton Open side hopper car was build to transport granular bulk commodities, such as sand, concrete, powdered lime, and sugar (though obviously, not all at the same time). Many of these hoppers are still in service today".

The KATO cars come numbered as 5502, 5511, and 5516 for about $45. Getting a new car that has not been used but with a weather job that has gone bad for $8.00 was a deal. I did not take a photo of the car before I began the repaint....but wish I did. When I began this project I was not sure if I could get a finished B&M car I would like. My main concern was I wanted to save the lettering which did not have much over spray covering it. Also the lettering on this car is minimal which would help out. I did not do any changes or add-on details since I do not have a photo to work from. This could be done in the future if I decide on it.

I began by using Floquil SP lettering Gray (which is my normal primer colour on projects) mixed with a touch of reefer white. The roof and under body got a heavy coat to hide the black blobs. On the sides and ends I started with very light coat as far away from the lettering as possible. Letting each coat dry before more paint was applied, it seemed to be covering the black well. Once I got to the point that I thought chalk will cover the rest, I gave the lettering an final overcoat to dull it down some more. 

Since I could see this car in limestone or cement service I decided on a lot of white and Gray chalk weathering. I just piled it on. It seemed to blend everything together. I brushed some black and rust on some of the roof and side ribbing. The hopper bottoms and lower car sides got a touch of earth chalk. The trucks got a good dusting of white also. The couples had a little rust applied. That's it, a heavily weathered car which really looked good once set in my train consist. The heavy chalk was what the model really needed to bring it to life. One last note, Bowser appears to have a B&M fleet available of the same cars in the 2012 Walthers catalogue...George Dutka

All weathered up, B&M 5516 is now in regular limestone service on the White River Division.

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