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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Background

After seeing Doc Watson and Winn Erdman’s President’s Cars, it’s clear some folk (myself included) like obsessing over the arcane details of the ‘private varnish’ as these coaches are known. It’s always fun to research the car’s details and try to make something similar, if not identical, but guaranteed to be different from all the other coaches out there.
Mine is based on the Carter Brothers coach from the Masterclass, and many thanks to David Fletcher and others who made it possible. Here's the thread: Carter Bros Coach Construction



As you can see, the coach is very similar to the Carter ‘board and batten’ 1870’s coach. EBT bought it for their President in 1907 from the Bradford, Bordell & Kinzua, who had remodeled it from an ordinary coach. The main modifications involve making some windows double-width, and moving one window to fit the bathroom in the center. Of course, the interior was extremely plush – paneling, cut plate glass windows, etc.


There’s a bunch of threads related to this, which I’ll try and remember to link when appropriate. I’m also going to separate this into different posts, as there’s a lot of photos, and the finishing may take months. . .
Our illustrious Mr East Broad Top already completed his coach so I won’t bore you with the basics. See his thread(s) EBT #20 - "Orbisonia".

The major difference is that I used one of Harald’s wooden kits from the Lasergang in Germany. I’m more used to woodwork than plastic, so I guess I thought it would be a good winter project. It was, and being pre-cut, my 4’ workbench squeezed into the spare room closet was adequate.



(As a funny aside - when I started comparing my coach sides to the drawings, they were too long. I emailed David and pointed out they weren't right, so he says they were perfect for a 36' Carter Bros coach - then it hit me that the EBT coach was 35' !)
I procured a pair of trucks from Jack Thompson (BigDude65), complete with added details (e.g. safety chains) and a gorgeous paint job. Unfortunately, (sorry Jack!) everything on the EBT got a coat of coal dust, so the trucks are too rusty and will get a light coat of grimy black before this is over. I made a new end beam, as the kit’s version was layered plywood and didn’t look like #20s, and also the bolsters and truss rod cross beams were cut from solid wood. I added nbw’s on the ends of the bolsters. I also added my chosen couplers – 1/29th USA Trains, representing the EBT’s 3/4 size. [If I were starting again, I’d probably go with Accucraft’s new 1/32nd couplers.]




Anyway, that’s where we were at the end of last winter (spring ’09) and I took the unfinished ‘box’ to Ken’s RGS-SJD Open Day to see how it looked on a real track.






And there things sat for the summer while I looked at those end railings and tried to get some better photos of the interior.



Interior


I made the trip for the Fall Spectacular, and found #20 on the end of the passenger train parked behind the shops, so I asked the conductor nicely if I could hop aboard and take some close-ups:




Ten years ago the car was painted a more attractive brown stain with lighter trim:



This furniture isn't original, as it has had a lot of 'tourists' sitting in the car since 1960, paying for a 'First Class" trip to Colgate Grove.
 

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Looking great, Pete. I saw Kevin's last summerwhile in Denver for the convention. It did not have the interior done at that time, I dont know if he has finished it since then. Wow, those railings are something else! I don't envy you trying to duplicate them. Maybe you could make and get some one to cast a set for you. One of the guys in our club does brass castings, don't know if he could do something that complex. That interior is magnificent, are you going to duplicate all those moldings and brass fittings? Keep us posted. Thanks
 

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Pete,

Spectacular coach. Those president's/private cars sure do allow one to go to the extreme when it comes to modeling. The level of detail is left to unabashed imagination. I see a trend developing here. Looking forward to reports on your progress.

I assume you'll be at York next week and I certainly hope you bring the car along so we can see it up close and personal.

My car is finally in the "final" completion phase. I'm appling the decals now. I'll have it there and hope to enter it into the competition.

Doc
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Maybe you could make and get some one to cast a set for you
Winn,
[Envelope is in the mail.]

We've been thinking of that, and Kevin (I think) said he had CAD files. I haven't managed to get anyone to offer yet! I did think your railings would look good, especially if I did a few more curly bits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Now where was I . . Oh yes, the interior.



This is how it looked after last winter - plain plywood. I made some paneling for the walls under the windows and put on a couple of coats of Polyshades satin antique walnut stain/polyurethane. It's still a bit light - I was hoping for a darker shade. The mesh covers the heating pipes - a pair of brass tubes in this case.





(One issue is that the roof doesn’t come off these coaches, so I was taking shots through the door in bright sunlight.) I shouldn't have glued the sides to the ends until it was all detailed, I guess.

The floor was a problem:



It seems that the sheet of ply it was taken from was oriented with the grain 90 degrees from the planking! Not to mention the interesting knots that were made more prominent by the stain. I figured the floor could easily be painted dark brown.



But it looks as if some serious sanding is going to be needed to flatten it and make it look like painted flooring. 400 grit wet-or-dry should smooth it out.

For fun, I found some photos of carpet (www.homedecorators.com has oodles of nice ones,) and printed them on thin brown card in my inkjet. The edges were colored with a marker.


 

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Pete, I hope you bring this with you to York next week so we can inspect it in person. In the meantime, please fabricate some miniature periscopes for viewing those interior details.

Somewhere on my project list is a conversion of one of the AMS J&S coaches into a business car for the Belden Falls, including the double-wide windows. But, I doubt that I will give the interior as much detail as you, Winn and others have done.

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Those Railings


I finally ordered some brass strip from K&S Special Shapes and some cast white metal railings from GRS-UK, who use them on an English coach. The basic frame for the railing wasn’t too bad once I built a jig of wood on top of a drawing. The bottom piece of wood pivots to hold it all in place while soldering.




The ring in the center was made by winding the strip around a rod in a vise so the loops were adjacent, then I cut them off and twisted them in a pair of pliers to get the circle to meet.




Straight out of the jig, they looked fine, (these are the second batch made with smaller brass strips and square tube.) There’s a wider strip on top and the finials are just yellow heads of pins dropped into the tubes.




Then I messed about with bending some strip, but didn’t have the skill, tools, whatever to make 4 identical railings and 6 identical gates with all those curly bits. So I started cutting bits of GRS-UK coach railing and decided I could live with this. (Then Winn showed up with his neat railings - I may have to take a shot at some like his!)



Still got to make the 6 gates – stay tuned.



Steps


The next project was to re-make the steps to match the EBT coach. The ones shown in the first set of pics are the originals, but #20 currently has some curved metal and wood steps. Kevin made some early steps a little differently.

I documented most of it in this thread. Steps: gluing alum and wood ?

Here's one having a test fit.





Beveled Glass Windows ! Here’s my thread on scribing styrene to fake beveled glass windows: Fake beveled glass windows.


This is a double-wide made from two single windows. The exterior needs a coat of paint, and the interior is going to get a stained wood dummy frame around the glass.

My next project is to finish the exterior details so I can paint it - grab rails, truss rod ends, etc. A major piece of clean-up is needed on the end doors, which have these really attractive curved arch tops. I'm not too happy with my present curves, so there's some filling and sanding to do.

I also ordered 1/24th wicker furniture for the 'public' end, which looks as if I can easily extend the legs. The 'private' end has a day bed (shown in one photo of the first submission.) Somehow I need to find some red velvet - maybe Calico Corners has some red microfiber or ultrasude. Or I'll do like Jack and make a balsa cushion and spray it with textured paint - I've got some sandstone left over from a previous project. Looking at the day-bed photo, I ought to have ordered some 1/24th baluster/railing for the end uprights.
I also have a 24" x 18" sheet of mirror paper (SASE if you want some - I only need 1% of it!) The other fun project was making artwork for the walls. (The frames aren't glued yet.) The maps and diagrams I got from Chris' EBT site, (apparently one was drawn by Kevin's father!) The Boss' favorite 'painting' is framed by a ring that probably was a surround for a big red button [labelled 'FIRE' perhaps?]



And then there's all the bathroom fittings - I've been saving plastic bubble packaging, and I think I have a water fountain bowl and a bathroom bowl. The taps can be brass or copper wire painted silver. Just got to bend up a steel toilet with a wooden seat!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I hope you bring this with you to York next week so we can inspect it in person. In the meantime, please fabricate some miniature periscopes for viewing those interior details.
Larry,
(Not sure there will be room in the car with all that track ;-)

I'm hoping to get at least the first coat of green paint on this weekend, so I will try to bring it.

Those large windows make it easy to see inside. Though, actually, what you need for viewing is a laprascope not a periscope.
The USNA Museum here in Annapolis has a bunch of ship models from the 1800s which are fully detailed inside - but no-one could see, until a boating pal of mine (shown below,) who is a hip surgeon, brought along his micro-surgery toolkit and shot some fabulous photos of the interior of the ships.



 

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Pete, you are doing some great details there. How did you do the little moldings?

Pete, I hope you bring this with you to York next week so we can inspect it in person.

What is this, when and where? I will be in NYC March 24 to 28. I would love to meet you and Doc.
 

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Winn,

We're referring to the East Coast Large Scale Train Show. It will be held in York, PA. on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27. York is just a few miles south of Harrisburg, PA. I would guess it would be about a 3 hour drive from NYC.

Would love to meet you there.

Doc
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What is this, when and where? I will be in NYC March 24 to 28
Winn,

As Doc says, it's in York PA - miles from anywhere served by public transport. You could rent a car and be there in a few hours. (Personally, I would take the train to Philadelphia and rent a car there - lower rates and less hassle.)

http://www.largescaletrainshows.com/cat_index_22.html

Here's Doc's car at last year's show on Clem's (Warrior Run) track.



There's lots of us going from the MD end - I'm going past the Baltimore Amtrak station on both days.

P.S. You can't come without a Business Car under your arm.
 

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You could also take a train to philly, then to Harrisburg or Lancaster, and probably rent a car there. But it would be slow and somewhat limited from philly to Lancaster or Harrisburg. I actually went that way a few years ago, when I had a conference in NYC just after the ECLSTS.


Harrisburg and lancaster are about 20 minutes from York by car
 

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Winn, by all means try to make the York show--all large scale, with live steam tracks. Would be good to see you again. Don't listen to Pete, we will welcome you even without your business car, although HE had better have his along!

Larry
 

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Winn, while in NYC and if you have a couple of hours to spare, you might want to check out the new elevated linear park in Chelsea that has been made from a section of the old NY Central's High Line. Also, visit the restored Grand Central Terminal if you have not already. High up in the NW corner of the ceiling is a small dark patch. This is what the whole surface looked like before restoration. The Transit Museum has a nice display and gift shop in the west side of the terminal, also.

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, Larry, doesn't look like it will be anywhere near done for Friday, so don't expect to see #20 at ECLSTS. I spent the weekend on non-coach jobs, like helping Rog re-ballast the RGSEast so you guys can play on Sunday when I'm not here, and fitting new zincs on the jet drives. [We did get to run the Jolly Green Giant and my new C-19 though - track's in good shape.]

I did get most of the water works finished on the bathroom unit. I had some clear plastic shapes from packaging and they looked great sprayed silver - just like polished metal. Here's the water fountain in the corridor outside the bathroom.



(I keep thinking that mirror isn't flat - it looks as if the side curls outwards - but it's just the reflection of the shelf underneath that has rounded corners!)
Then I rechecked my photos and discovered the sink was actually white porcelain, so I glued a new rim, made from soft plastic tubing cut along the middle, and re-sprayed it white.



The taps are soldered from brass tube and rod - probably a bit oversize (or maybe the sink is too small.)

The unfinished area behind the sink is the cupboard, which has no window so it will be used for the 9V battery powering the lighting. The panelling to the left of the door is fake - I printed some panelling on paper and then varnished it like the rest of the walls. With just one tiny bathroom window I bet no-one (except Kevin) notices.
 
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