Caswell Gondola Project
The Caswell gondolas were among the most distinctive cars in the Santa Fe freight car fleet. The Caswell system was marketed by the National Dump Car Company and the cars were built by American Car & Foundry. The dump system consisted of horizontal shafts with pinion gears moving on racks in the cross bearers to open and close the doors. The doors were opened by cranks on the ends of the cars. These controlled shafts that ran the length of the car. As the shaft was cranked towards the center sill, the doors opened.
From 1905 to 1927 the Santa Fe acquired 8,800 Caswell gondolas. Many cars were rebuilt in the 1940s with AB brakes and side stiffeners. As older classes were rebuilt, solid floors were laid on top of the drop floors but the shafts were not removed.
Some 8,450 of them were the basis of the model made by the InterMountain Railway Company.
I began with an InterMountain HO scale car. I've had the car for years, hidden away in a box. At the recent NMRA National Train Show I found a perfect resin used tie load from Monroe Models.
The load motivated me to liberate the car from storage and work on it.
I gave the car a base coat of Tamiya Clear Coat spray (TS-80). This is a dead flat finish that comes out as a very fine spray. It's much better than Testors Dullcote, which was reformulated several years ago. I then applied a wash of Doc O'Brien's Rusty Red powder mixed with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol. This wash toned down the otherwise crisp, bright lettering. Then another Tamiya Clear Coat was applied to seal the powder.
I used various PanPastel artists' dry color media applied with soft brushes to weather the car. I gave the car an overall dusty look with a little dark grime along the bottom and some limited rust effects on the dumping hardware and side framing. The car's reporting marks became a little too obscure so I erased some of the PanPastel media with a soft white rubber eraser and then sparingly reapplied more PanPastel to that area.
I painted the wheel faces with Floquil Grimy Black and the truck frames with Krylon Red Oxide Primer. I've painted a lot of truck frames over the years with several brands of red oxide primer. I have had a few paint failures but that was due to being lazy and not cleaning the mold release off the trucks. The truck frames also received a little PanPastel treatment.
I added a few white chalk marks using a Prismacolor Verithin artist pencil.
The four-piece resin tie load was a little too long for the interior length of the gondola so I removed several protruding bottom ties with a rail nipper and sanded the cuts smooth. I painted a few ties with grimy black for a little visual variation and gave the four pieces a light spray of Tamiya Clear Coat.
The ties were secured with a small dab of Tacky Glue to allow later removal if needed.
Although there were a lot of steps involved, each step was quite simple. I'm pleased with the result.