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Recently, the Gazete had a nice drawing of a Bilmeyer and Smalls 8 ton gondola, perfect, I thought and started cutting some lumber. Then I remembered that I have some drawings for a Carter Bros 8 ton flat, which would make a fine gondola too. So I decided to make one of each, they are almost identacal, and yet as I got into the construction, it became aparent exactly how different this gons really are.

This is the Billmeyer and Small. 
After I had all the lumber cut, I discovered that I had not payed enough attention to the drawing, so my gon is 2 feet shorter than the original!!! 24ft, same as the Carter bros. I also made the desision not to get too prototypical underneath, as there really is not much stucture to give these guys strength, so this one is based on a peice of 1/8" baltic birch plywood, just like the plans in the Garden Railways Magazine. You can't see it unless you turn it upside down, but it is increadibly strong. A good atribute for the garden!!
Well, I don't seem to be able to post any more pictures here and it is lunch time anyway, so I will post some more later.
 

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Hopefully here is the Carter bros gondola.

Very similar, but finished quite differently, and of coarse, different trucks.
The Carter 8 ton truck is scratch built with North west short line wheels and brass bushings.
The other ones are Aritocraft/Delton classic freight trucks, that I modifies to look a bit more like the prototype. The north west wheels seemed to have smaller axles than the Delton, so, since they came apart really easily, I drilled out the axle boxes and pressed in some north West brass journals there too, and they run very nicely. All the trucks are sprung and add some weight low down.
 

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End views of both.
I used a whole bunch of Ozarks NBW's etc., and G scale graphics lettering, thanks Del. The wood is all yellow cedar and they were finished with and assortment of brushed and sprayed acrylics.
Hope you like them.
 

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Very nice work indeed! I love how they look like identical scratch built gondolas until you look closer... It's only then that your attention to detail really hits you! Bravo!! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif
 

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Thanks Steve, thats just how I felt, it is intriging that one was built on the east coast and the other on the west coast. ( The originals, that is) Billmeyers was a large manufacturer and Carters a small concern. And yet thier product was very similar indeed. As you say it was just in the details that you see the differences, I enjoyed the project even more because of that.
 

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Hi DrVibes,

Very nice work on your cars. Super paint and weathering also. I'm interested in how you built the carter trucks, could you provide some info on how you made them??

Thanks
chuckger
 

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Thanks Chuck, a few years ago Peter Bunce got me interested in Bruce MacGregor's book on the birth of the California narrow gauge. There is a lot of detailed information about the Carter brothers and thier equipment. They put a west coast flovour into all thier work, although I wonder how much of it was Carters themselves, and how much was the men who worked for them. However, in the book is enough information to make any of thier freight trucks.

I printed up the page for and 8 ton truck so that it was full size for 1:20.3 and started bending flat brass wire to fit. The staight piece of brass in the bottom of the picture is the template for drilling all the holes for the 1/16" brass wire.
The wooden beams that hold everything together were a bit trickey is they are 1/8" thick, and I had to drill a 1/16" hole right through, so I cut out 8, drilled them and selected the best 4!
So the brass pins go right through them and then the frames were all soldered together.
On reflection, I don't suppose it is necassary to do this. However, this truck is a model of Carters second attempt at making an 8 ton truck. the first ones were similar, but did not have the metal cross pieces for supporting the brake beams, so even in the model, it was necassary to pin this wooden beams to the frames, as that was the only means of connecting the two sides!!! You can imagine that if you did not keep the nuts on the ends of those pins really tight, the truck would have been very flexible, as my first model Carter truck was. I decided not to make any more of those!! This later version would have been much more rigid, but it would still have been necassary to keep all those nuts really tight. Well I digressed.
I made lots of axle boxes out of my stock of yellow cedar and sellected ones that would fit snugly between the brass wire, drilled the ends and pressed in some NWSL brass bushings, shaped the ends and slipped them between the brass wire frams, and over the jurnals on the wheel sets ( both ends) and slopped on some ca to hold them in place. Quite crude really, but remarcably affective. The NWSL bushings don't have much clearence and are very intolerant of missalignment. By gluing both ends into the frame with the journals inserted, alignment is gauranteed!

I made some axle box lids using stars from Micheals, not very realistic as it turns out, but at least this time I got one point downwards, in future, I may see what Hartfords lids look like.
I ground off the round brass wire that protruded through the flat wire after soldering, and glued on some NBW's, and added brakes.
The whole thing took me about 2 weeks to figure out,build and paint!

When I was modifying the Aristo/Delton classic trucks, I discovered they had a 1/4" hole in the bolster to attach to the body of the car, so I faced off a bit of 1/4" brass rod in the lathe, drilled a small hole through it and made a very satisfactory attachment for the trucks, so I now use this method for all trucks that have the space, so that is the way the Carter trucks got mounted.
The truck bolster is wood, and has a small hole drilled each end to locate the springs. The base of the springs fit over a small piece of brass stock soldered to the frame so they are easy to pop out, but won't come out accidentally. An interesting project, but quite tedious really! I enjoyed modifying the Delton classics much more, as once I had figured out how to get them apart, they did not take long at all!! Hope I havn't bored you too much, Chris.
 

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Oh, just in case you were wondering, here is my version of Carters early 8 ton truck.

My attempts at both variations of the 8 ton truck are only approximations really as the originals ( 8ton ) had some form of rubber bushing instead of springs. I like sprung trucks, so mine have springs!
Later carters made 10ton and 15 ton trucks, they all looked similar, but the later trucks had real coil springs and "sway motion" ( some thing close to image stabilization) which make them much more complicated to make, and Hartford make a kit, which looks very nice, I'm guessing, but it looks to me like a 15ton version. Next time, may be I'll buy as set of those!!!!
 

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Chris,

That is truly a labor of love!

Great work!

With respect to Hartford Products trucks, they are well thought out kits and should provide you with new ideas for future projects.

Jim
 
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