Monday 12 December 2016

Kansas City Southern Don Janes

This gondola was very unique with its hopper style bottom

A Unique Kit From Funero & Camerlengo

    While attending the Collinsville RPM meet a couple of years ago George and I took advantage of the "two for one" deal Funero had on their resin kits.  After checking out all of their offerings I decided to go with this Kansas City Southern "Gon-Hopper".  According to the history Funero supplied with the kit, KCS built a group of 25 of these unique hybrid cars for coal service in southeast Kansas and southwestern Missouri and the Fort Smith Arkansas area.. They blended an all welded 45 ft gondola body with a cast steel frame that included four pairs of hoppers.  Although they didn't have a slope sheet for self clearing the hopper doors made for very little shoveling when emptying the car.  
    The kit consisted of a nicely done one peice cast resin body, various resin parts and Tichy plastic parts for the airbrake system.  I supplied the Kadee # 178 scale couplers, a set of Andrews trucks with KaDee metal wheelsets, A-Line metal steps and some chain for the brakes rods.  I also fabricated brass brake levers and hangers to replace the very fragile resin ones included with the kit. 
    The kit went together quite well but adding the hopper door locks and brake rigging was a little tedious now that my eyes are getting a lot weaker than they used to be.  Once it was finished I gave it a coat of black paint using a 50/50 mixture of Floquil Grimy and Engine black.  I applied a coat of Testors semi gloss to the sides for decalling then a coat of clear flat to bend it all together.  Weathering was done with artist oils and Pan Pastel weathering powders.  Funero supplied a very nice set of decals with the kit.  
    Once the kit was finished it was extremely light as there was nowhere to add weight so I decided to make a removable load with some weight added to the bottom of it. To do this I cut a peice of .040" styrene the size of the floor then epoxied 20 pennies to one side to bring the car up to the required weight.  Using pennies is a very cheap way to add weight and keep the cost down. After the epoxy set up I applied various layers of sand to build up the contour of the load then finished it with a layer of fine cinders.  This was all held in place with a solution of white glue and water.  Once dry it just dropped right into the car.  The car now had enough weight to track well when being pulled and pushed around curves and through turnouts.
     Although it is very doubtful that this car ever made it to New England I am glad I have it on my roster.
A view of the B end of the car and the various weathering effects added to the car
A close-up of the unique brake rod setup used to clear the hopper bottom style of the floor
Here is a shot of the car with the cinder load added
These two photos show the removable load/weight.. A simple, cost effective way to add weight to a gondolas or hopper

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