Thursday, 16 April 2015

Lehigh Valley Cement Hopper

Peter's cement hopper in service on the WRD for a day. I pulled out my Bachmann Alco switcher for the run.
By Peter Mumby, with photos by George Dutka

I attend a lot of model train shows in the course of a year.  Most times I come home with a few "goodies," many of which soon end up hidden away in boxes or drawers.  This little car, however, sat in plain view for several months, allowing me to decide relatively quickly exactly what I wanted to do with it.

The subject of this post is an Atlas 70 ton covered hopper.  The previous owner had stripped off the lettering and installed Kadee scale couplers.  The only detail I added prior to painting was a pair of coupler cut levers.  My decal file contained an old Herald King set (H-852) for the Lehigh Valley car, and my copy of the Morning Sun book CNJ/LV Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment yielded a couple of appropriate photos.  I was all set for what looked like a quick and easy project.

I had a spray can of Testor's primer grey paint on hand, so this was used.  A coat of Glosscote readied the car for decalling.  In addition to the HK set, I tracked down some ACI labels, lube plates, and yellow wheel symbols.  Pieces of black striping were applied in areas where the data had been changed.  I followed the photo quite closely, but used a slightly different car number in the same series.  I did this to avoid piecing the actual number together, and because I wanted to do a moderate weathering job on the car.  The ones in the book were just too clean - this is a cement car, after all!

The Atlas covered hopper ready for cement service.

A spray of Testor's Dullcote helped seal the decals and provided a receptive base for the PanPastels I had elected to use.  Rather than use the rubber applicators provided in the weathering set, I have come to favour using a good quality brush to apply the pastels.  I like to apply this weathering the way nature does - from the top down.  Light grey was applied to the hatches and surrounding roof area, and carried down the sides.  A thinner layer of this grey was applied to the rest of the car, partly because the primer grey was a darker hue than was apparent in the photos.  A little black and rust was applied along the ribs in areas where dirt would accumulate.  Similar colours were brushed on the hoppers, trucks, and underframe.

So there you have my LV cement hopper.  I'm off to the Woodstock train show this coming Sunday- hopefully I'll come home with another little treasure or two!

A look down at the hatches which got some nice PanPastel powder covering to emulate spilled concrete.
The other side of the car.

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