CONX 8 tank car made from a Blackstone UTLX model

swissboy Aug 8, 2011

  1. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    I still miss one very attractive tank car as a RTR model. That's the CONOCO or CONX paint scheme. Having studied the various prototypes, it occurred to me that CONX 8 and CONX 11 are not all that far off from the now readily available UTLX narrow frame versions. And there is an excellent picture for CONX 8 in NG Pictorial Vol. IV on page 132. CONX 11 is on page 133, but without the bold CONOCO lettering. Thus, CONX 8 was the logical choice in my case. The new Slim Gauge Cars book by Chris Lane has an additional picture, though from an earlier version without dome board and ladder.

    This is the first part of my report:

    Aside from an undecorated version of the NF tank car, one needs decals. To my knowledge, the only decals available for the CONOCO cars are made by Thinfilm. My main complaint here is the fact that the all white decals are printed on a very light grey backing paper. This makes trimming a somewhat tedious task. Also, my copy of #HOn 130, the ordering number for these decals, shows somewhat too much paint. Several of the numbers 8 are filled in. So I had to select the best of them. The bold CONOCO lettering is correct for the newer wide frame cars, I think. For my narrow frame car CONX 8, the spacing between the letters is a bit too narrow as can be seen in the attached** comparative picture. I had to underexpose it in order to make the printing show up sufficiently on the unused decal. So the letters had to be placed individually.

    There are some differences of the CONX cars compared to the UTLX ones. But they are such that the general appearance does not suffer much. And some adaptations can be made as well. The narrow frame is sufficiently similar to allow unaltered use. In fact, it seems that there must have been some differences among the various UTLX cars as well. At least, the frame of a HOn3 car by Blackstone is a bit different from the frame of a On3 version done by San Juan Car. And we can be pretty sure that both manufacturers put all their pride into producing an accurate rendition. The dome board is a bit longer on the UTLX cars, but I don't see an easy fix for that. Particularly, since the corresponding position of the tank braces can't be changed anyway. They are a bit farther apart than on the CONX cars. No problem for me, though. The side ladders on the UTLX cars go all the way up to the dome board, whereas they only go to the railing in the CONX cars, with a grab iron below the board instead. I snipped the ladders in such a way that they can later be glued to the railing, leaving a minor portion attached to the dome board. That part will serve as the missing grab iron. The tank bracing is attached to the bottom of the frame in the UTLX cars, whereas it is attached to the upper parts of the frame in the CONX cars. I removed the excess, using some glue drops to substitute as a clamp to the upper frame. Quite an acceptable solution in this scale, I think. I left all the other differences untouched, such as the different position of the brake line vent (I think that is what it is called?). I also did not feel to bother with the brake wheel that may not be fully prototypical here.

    The side ladders need to be removed for decaling. They need to be carefully pried lose from the tank. The attachment leaves two small holes in the tank that I tried to fill with a bit of glue before I started with the decals. As that part will be behind the ladders later, it does not matter much that the holes are still a bit visible in my case. I'll not use the original attachments though.

    ** For some reasons, my attempts to upload the intended attachments failed repeatedly with some error messages that don't make sense to me. Thus, I post this first part without pictures. Hope to get these on later, together with the rest of the report.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2011
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Would like to see your photos. if you continue having troubles, please report, with copy the error messages, in our Support Forum.

    Boxcab E50
     
  3. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Boxcab,

    I'll try again later on. Meanwhile, the pictures would be visible here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HOn3/photos/album/592991154/pic/list
    Not sure whether they can be accessed for those who are not subscribers though.

    The project is almost finished. I'll post a final report when I'm done. At this point, the placard holders are still missing, and I need to put the car back on its trucks. But I want to give the sprayed on matt coating time to get fully dry first.

    Meanwhile, I have also had to realize that those undecorated tank cars are no longer "readily available" as I had written in my original post.
     
  4. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    Here is the second and final installment of my report for this project:

    Decaling with the Thinfilm decals proved to be a bit trickier than expected. The slightly matted finish of the factory painted Blackstone car was not optimal for this purpose. Some air just would not get out with all the help of the setting solutions. And worse, some decals just would not stick properly. Good thing I had some spares. There are still minor impurities now, but they are hardly noticeable on the displayed car.

    I'm glad I decided to remove the original attachment pins for the side ladders. They would have given a very non-prototypical impression in front of the bright white CONOCO lettering. I fixed the ladders with glue both to the walkway and to the railing. The glue used for this was G-S Hypo cement as it is a bit thicker than regular plastic cement. Thus, I was able to form the attachment a bit. Same for the frame braces. However, I used regular liquid plastic cement for the attachment of the placard boards. From the main picture I used (the one in NG Pictorial), it was not originally clear to me that there were also placard boards on the car ends. That's where the Slim Gauge Cars book made things clear for me, including a clear indication of where to place them. The C-S Hypo cement has its own drawbacks as well, though. Thus, while it looked fine before the application of the final protective matt spray cover, those parts showed up like air bubbles afterwars. So I had to apply a minor bit of matt black paint after the sprayed on enamel paint was completely dry. The final result is fully satisfactory as far as I'm concerned.

    The pictures, until I can post them on Trainboard, are available here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HOn3/photos/album/592991154/pic/list

    One final remark: I had originally written about the unlettered BS cars being "readily available". As it turns out, that is no longer true. And there will be no such versions in the upcoming second tank car release. :( So let's hope for future releases, then.
     
  5. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sadly, it would appear that you need to be a HOn3 group member to see the pics.

    I'm curious about the ThinFilm decals... is this a commercial "ready made decal" product (ala MicroScale or ShellScale), a custom made-to-order house, or blank sheets for print-at-home construction? (NM: Found the link!)
     
  6. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    It would be easy to join, and there is no obligation. One advantage there, it's possible to post somewhat more detailed, i.e. langer, pictures. Though, over all I prefer this forum here. It's much easier to have the overview, and it's still possible to edit a post after it has been sent. Plus, the pictures are right with the post here, whereas they are in a separate Photos section in the other forum.

    As for the decals, they are "ready made" like Microscale, San Juan Decals etc. Here is the link for those who are still searching: http://www.thinfilmdecals.com/


    One brief addition to my report: Those placard boards are made from material that does not stick with regular liquid plastic cement. So I had to re-glue them.
     
  7. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    Pictures!

    Thanks to the Support Forum, the promised pictures can now be seen as intended. Here is a first set.

    They show the comparison of the CONOCO decal name as provided and as it needs to be on the tank of the CONX 8. I had to underexpose here to make the white visible on the light backing paper.
    Then the preparation of the car, with the side ladders removed, except for the small part below the domeboard. The two little holes of the attachment pins are clearly visible. I filled these later as I no longer use them. The shortened tank braces are visible as well.
    And finally, a comparison of an original Blackstone model with the modified version under construction. Note the original tank braces on the narrow frame and the alterations made. This still shows the glossy glue parts that are serving as substitutes for a real attachment clamp. The glue has later been painted dull black as seen in the over all views in the next set of pictures.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2011
  8. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    And here is the second set of pictures:

    These show the details of the reattached ladder. It is obvious here that the original ladder attachment pins would look odd in front of the large white letters.
    And finally, three over all views of the finished car.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2011
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    She's a real beauty. :thumbs_up:
     
  10. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, Boxcab. :)

    And thanks for suggesting that Support Forum. Apparently, I had not been the only one who had problems, and it took them a while to get it sorted out. But I hope things have been solved for good now.
     
  11. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    I have gone back to this older report of mine as I'm in the process of doing a similar car in On3. And it turns out that the pictures are gone again! :cry:
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Since this topic was last updated, we changed forum software. The prior version had a huge security issue, which it's creators would not address or even acknowledge. Unfortunately, when we changed, there was a disconnect from some photos linked. :(
     
  13. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for this explanation. I'm posting the lost photos again here, as they might be of interest in comparison with my present On3 project of the same prototype.

    The pictures here belong to posts #1 and 7. The third picture has miraculously survived in its original post #7, so no need to repost it here.
     

    Attached Files:

    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  14. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    And here, finally, are the missing pictures from post#8 which actually illustrate things mentioned in post #4.
     

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