Tuesday, December 18, 2018

FGEX/BREX/WFEX Reefers continued

So now that I can do the truss rod cars, what about the rest of the fleet? Our Companies expert Bill Welch wrote another article that was released in 2008 by the B&O Modeler, The Keystone Modeler, and the Seaboard-Coast Line Modeler, all online modeling magazines (and all worth reading). This issue is no longer available for free download, but it's available on CD from each of those historical societies. In this article, Bill grouped the cars by the type of underframe they used, and representative models (most of which were Sunshine).

I've already covered the truss rod cars, but the basic process is the same for most of these cars. The decision of which model to use starts first with whether the upper corners of the doors are square (Accurail) or rounded (Intermountain). Overall I prefer the detail of the Intermountain car better, and there's a lot less molded-on detail to scrape off.

Bettendorf Underframe

FGEX 22000-22549
FGEX 11350-13057

Bill used a Sunshine truss rod kit combined with a Bettendorf underframe from a Red Caboose, Sunshine, or Westerfield PFE kit. I don't think I have any pictures of these cars (Bill is not aware of any existing for the first series). There are little more than 200 of these cars in 1948. Car #11655 is pictured in The Postwar Freight Car Fleet (NMRA but out of print) in an unusual paint scheme. It doesn't look like there's an end sill, but the details are hard to make out in the photo. I probably won't worry about this kitbash at this point since it's such a small class.

Fishbelly Underframe

The Accurail kit is modeled after the BREX cars with the fishbelly underframe and is the starting point for the BREX 75000-75999, CX 50050-50249, and FWDX 20001-20100 series of cars. These cars are easy to do, and Bill has an excellent article in Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume 1 (Speedwitch Media) on modeling these cars. There are about 1,000 of these cars in 1948, and I'll do one of each by following the article.

It may be a good starting point for some FGEX series, but I don't have photos of any.

FGEX 10400-10639, a much earlier design, is said to be a near copy, if not identical, to cars built for ART and URTX. Westerfield has a kit of this prototype, although fewer than 40 exist in my era. I'll probably eventually pick up a kit.

PRR R7-style Underframe

To start with, the PRR provided their R7 reefers to the fleet. Westerfield produces a number of kits with different roofs for FGEX and NX.

In addition, there were cars rebuilt on the R7 underframe using the '1926' FGEX body. It looks like a kitbash using the Intermountain body should work for these. Bill suggests a Sunshine 1927 body kit and a Westerfield X25 underframe and end (to harvest the end sill). Some of these cars (FDEX 9001-9049) were double-deck and had eight hinges on the doors instead of the normal six. Another photo in Focus on Freight Cars Volume 8: Refrigerator Cars 3 (Speedwitch Media) shows NX 7095 was one of these rebuilds as well.

There are more than 600 of each of these in 1948, so I'll probably do both.

The "Company Underframe"

These cars were built for the consortium (rather than for the contributing roads), and share an underframe. Where they differ is in the side sill. This is a kitbash using the Accurail body with a scratchbuilt or Tichy underframe. The Keystone Modeler #84 covers this project. The Accurail model can be used to model cars with no side sill, or a 4" or 6" side sill. Alternatively, shortening the Intermountain model and squaring the corners at the top of the doors can be used.

The cars with an 8" side sill are 6" taller. The Intermountain kit can be used for these, but must be backdated (the model itself is the 1926 prototype after they were rebuilt).

Rebuilt cars with any of these side sill variations can be modeled with the Intermountain car. For those with a side sill of less than 8" the sill needs to be replaced, and the car shortened by 6". The corners of the door may need to be squared if using the Intermountain model, based on the photos you use.

There are a number of pictures in Steam Era Freight Cars Reference Manual Volume Three: Refrigerator Cars (Speedwitch Media) of these cars. They include a cars with no side sill, 6" sills, and the taller 1926 design with 8" side sills.

There were also war emergency versions built, with either plywood or tongue in groove sides. These cars have steel ends, and later cars of this design were all steel. Sunshine produced models of all of these cars, and for now I'll need to keep my eye out for those until I can figure out how to kitbash them.

FGEX Consortium Cars I'm Modeling (non-truss rod underframes)

BREX 75535 - Accurail.
BREX 75055 - Accurail with outside metal wood roof and wood hatch platforms.
CX 50127 - Intermountain with outside metal wood roof and wood hatch platforms.
FGEX 32490 - Accurail with no side sill.
FGEX 43509 - Westerfield R7.
FGEX 51207 - Intermountain with squared corners on the doors and placard board removed.
FGEX 59425 - Intermountain.
FWDX 20083 - Accurail.
NX 7095 - Intermountain with Westerfield X25 underframe and end sill.
WFEX 72169 - Intermountain with 6" side sill.



The prototype photos I'm using are from:
  • Focus on Freight Cars Volume Eight: Refrigerator Cars 3
  • The Postwar Freight Car Fleet (NMRA)
  • Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume 1
  • Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume 2
  • Refrigerator Car Color Guide (Morning Sun Books)
  • Steam Era Freight Car Reference Manual Volume 3: Refrigerator Cars
All published by Speedwitch Media except where noted.

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