BLW HOn3: improved lettering of WF CONOCO tank car

swissboy Aug 9, 2017

  1. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    BLW is one of the few companies that produced some of the interesting wide frame CONOCO tank cars, in this case concerning the second WF series. Their On3 models are excellent, but the HOn3 versions lack correct lettering. Following the excellent photo in NG Pictorial Vol. IV on page 137, I have changed the lettering. I used MEK for removing the old decals, then used simple spray can glossy black for repainting. I made sure to use enamel, not acrylic paint as the latter does not go well with Micro-sol. Or rather, it does not allow later corrections. Thinfilm has excellent decals for this purpose, HOn3 #130. The large logo letters need to be spread out more, so each letter needs to be applied separately. At the end, a coat of clear satin enamel - again from a spray can in my case - provided the necessary protective finish.

    The pictures show newly lettered CONX 44 and comparisons with CONX 43 in original decoration. In comparison the following changes are necessary: The large CONOCO lettering needs to be lowered a bit. If that were the only inaccuracy, I would not have bothered. Rather, the lettering on both sides of the bold name is what is way off. On the left, the number panel is way too low. For the correction, the decal needs a double cut at the top between the X and the number. On the right hand side, the original model comes with a completely wrong lettering panel that is way too long. There should be no writing above the hand rail in the first place.
    On the fronts, the lettering would be OK, but on one side it was slanted. So I replaced that as well. The same decal size is good for the frame number as well. The one on the model is too small. I applied the number separately in order to allow for a slightly larger distance between the C.O.N.X. part and the number, thus trying to get even a bit closer to the original photo. Thinfilm also provides a selection of letterings for the other small panels found on the photo. Apparently, there was more variation on those. Thus a second picture of CONX 44 in the same book on page 140 lacks the center lettering on the frame. It's the other side of the car, and taken at a different date. So it's not clear whether the lettering was the same on both sides at a given date.

    I'll change the second car at a later date. For the time being, I like the idea of having a direct comparison to see the improvements. :)
     

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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  2. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    I realized that it would be much easier to do the second car while I still remember the details to watch out for. So I have already started with the second model now. One extra thing I had to tackle was the fact that one of the trucks had offset wheels on the two axles. In the end, I replaced all the wheels with Micro-Trains axles. This has the added benefit that one does not have to pay attention to have the same polarity in both trucks.

    A major problem came up with my Thinfilm decals. My original set was printed with rather a bit too much ink. The result, as one can see in the photos of my first post, led to some filled-in spaces like on the number 4 digits. On the other hand, the fine prints for the frame panels still allow at least to make the decals worthwhile. On the extra set I needed for this second car, the printing is the opposite. Great for the bolder parts, with the center of the digit 4 perfectly clear. But the fine panels for the frame are so meagerly printed to make them pretty much unusable. So I replaced them with some not fully accurate ones from the old set.

    I chose number 43 for this second car, the same number it came with from BLW, but I replaced the end lettering anyway. Though it might not have been necessary. But it was easier for the repainting process.

    I'll post pictures when I'm done.
     
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  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes. I learned this as well. When I did a few cars, then set them aside. I ended up repeating a few mistakes....
     
  4. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    Finished this second BLW model, same way as the first one. So now I have a total of five HOn3 CONOCO cars, also shown in the photos. The only unaltered model is #26, a Division Point model. #43 and #44 are of BLW origin, #8 is a converted Blackstone UTLX model as described in another thread here in this forum. #5 was bought assembled but I had to redo most of the lettering. Anyway, I think my Conoco craze has finally come to an end. :) At least as far as HOn3 models are concerned. I might still go for a On3 WF if one should become available at reasonable costs.
     

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