Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Dreaded WHX. . .

Look! Real modeling happening on my workbench! Early progress on the fleet of WHX wheat hoppers, specifically, the beginnings of the maze of pipes, hand-holds and air brake mechanism on the "brake" end of the AR Kits model.

Okay, so I chomped the big, thick bullet and decided to get started on making a credible fleet of WHX grain wagons.

Those Auscision WTY/NGTY/etc. cars really raised the bar on detail for a grain wagon. Placing these next to a basic AR Kits WHX wagon really lets one see the short-comings of the WHX kit. The WHX model is a good foundation for a dynamite model, though, if one wants to do the time, research, and most of all, fussy, detailed modeling--like Andreas Keller did with his stunning rendition of the AR Kits model. Modeling like that is truly inspiring, and though I got to see the model in person last April, I was unable to distract him long enough to slip it into my pocket so I could take it home and dissect his modeling method from all angle. So, a few photos will have to suffice. Ugh. That is a LOT of really nice work. Kudos, bro'!

And there's certainly a lot of "stuff" on the prototype WHX. Hey, look at this view of just half of the "brake" end platform. If that isn't enough to give you nightmares of little styrene, brass strip and brass wire parts, I don't know what is. It certainly was enough to keep me from going beyond the basic assembly of 10 of these cars 18 months ago.

But, again, that Prototype Modeler's meet is lighting a fire under me, and I vowed to get four of these cars ready in time for the show; it'll also give me a running start with getting my fleet of 10 done before Austrains delivers its version of the WHX sometime in 2010 (or 2011. . .). That too looks like it'll be a stunning model.

So using the excellent Kieran Ryan website detail photos and Andreas' model as a guide, I've set out into the first true "heavy duty" modeling I've done in a couple of years (defined as "something more than just repainting an R-T-R model").

I'm working on all four models at the same time, breaking down each task of detailing the model into smaller sub-sections. The "model engineering" in how to create each item is the most time-consuming. Once a good solution is reached for the first model, parts for the next three come along pretty quickly. After a few night's work, I've made good progress on the brake end platform. The main thing holding me up now is looking for a suitable stand-in for the Aussie equivalent to our "triple valve" in the states. I'm sure I've got a box of old Intermountain and Branchline models brake sets where I could harvest a triple-valve.

I've stocked up on various angles, channels, and strips of styrene, as well as the Kieran Ryan etched brass details kit (looking forward to making four ladders--yeah!), several sprues of AR Kits brake gear (not the stuff that's included with the basic WHX kit--the after-market sprue offered separately), and a selection of various diameter phosphor-bronze wire.

I don't expect this model to be an exact replica of the WHX. I've not got the 3-D modeling resources to pull that off, and my abilities aren't quite up to that level of detail. But I think I can make a reasonable facsimile that will be "good enough" for me and "complete enough-looking" to satisfy visitors. I'll try to keep it from getting to close to Andreas' model.

But so far, it's looking pretty good, and not as intimidating as it once was.

Using a jig, I added eight slices of 1.5mm styrene channel (Evergreen 261) on one side of each car for the slack-adjuster rod to ride through.


Sigs NSW said...


why not submit the steps to AMRM, I am sure a few modellers would like to do this to their ar kits wagon

B. Kooistra said...

Oh, man, you know, I thought of the steps in order to do this wagon, and it truly boggled my mind. I'm not the "logical" sort who can create an easy-to-follow methodology for others. I just roll up my sleeves and dive in.

I have to walk the line between the hard-core modelers who will think that what I've done isn't accurate enough and those who feel it's just too much work.

But, I've got four of them around 80% "done" but don't know if I'd every try this again on the last six I haven't done anything with.

Should be more complete photos on this project next week.