Marklin Tank car conversion

Heay Equipment Designer Feb 20, 2019

  1. Heay Equipment Designer

    Heay Equipment Designer TrainBoard Member

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    I make no apologies, Marklin American freight car prototypes are absolutely terrible. They run great but just about everything is out of scale. The wheel sets are huge! To add insult to injury, the trucks are mounted way to far in to accommodate the huge couplers Marklin uses. Why they spent a ton of money in tooling and went in this direction for American freight cars and F7 locomotives, I don't know.

    One exception is the tank car. It has decent detail on its dome superstructure. It also has a nice and accurate handrail. The upper works in general look to be in proper scale and proportion. Its the trucks that kill the car and make it look almost like a toy.

    So I bought the shim you can buy that allows you to install MTL trucks. It does exactly what its supposed to do and allows you to install MTL trucks and allows everything to clear. But it made the tank car look like it was on a lift kit. No added structural chassis detail to justify the high ride height. And at $18 a pop, it make for an expensive conversion for a fleet of tank cars that I would like to make. Tank car, trucks and shim kit adds up to $60+ when your done for something that looks just OK.

    So I decided to develop my own chassis. Needs a few more tweaks but this is what I have so far. I modeled it roughly after this (image off the web, credit goes to name on the image).

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    I made it so I could easily add .31mm main air lines and the hand brake connection (slightly thicker silver colored wire). I did this so it would be more durable and the detail would be more crisp than if it was printed. I don't plan on running or displaying my tank cars upside down. So to all you rivet counters, the brake system is just the basics to add visual detail from the side and top views.

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    I'm pretty happy with it so far. Made a few tweaks in the CAD file for another print that I should get in few weeks from shapeways. But this is pretty much what it will look like. Also need to fill in the old bolster holes and sand off the print on the top of the Marklin chassis on the next go around.
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    If anyone knows where I can get better brake wheel, please let me know. The Marklin one is huge.

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    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
    Kez, ZFRANK, Kurt Moose and 5 others like this.
  2. tracktoo

    tracktoo TrainBoard Member

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    For handwheels you can also check Micro-Trains. They have some pretty decent Delrin ones.
     
  3. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Very nice, wish I was fluent in CAD. Can I see a before shot since I am not familiar with Marklin's tank car. I am going to try photo etching and am going to try brake wheels first.
     
  4. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Great job in designing this! Awesome idea!(y)
     
  5. Heay Equipment Designer

    Heay Equipment Designer TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks guys, glad you like it. Looking into the MTL brake wheels. I'll post pics of the next batch which should hopefully have a tighter fit and look a bit more clean than this version. Just waiting for shapeways....
     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  6. Heay Equipment Designer

    Heay Equipment Designer TrainBoard Member

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    I was able to get this group shot yesterday of my first conversion tank car with a Marklin car before being converted. Sorry the pic is dark.
    DSC01601.jpg

    I'm already working on the new version. This time around I filled in the old bolster holes and model number with some automotive glazing putty. I added the brake system detail after I mounted to the tank chassis. I also got some MTL brake wheels and added them.
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    So far the bottom detail is coming out really nice and crisp. Hopefully I'll have some finished tank cars to show soon.

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  7. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Supporter

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    Robert Ray lased up a conversion kit, including the diamond safety plates and decals. I'll pull out some, if I can unbury the the trainbox from the move prep.
     
  8. strummer

    strummer TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, what a difference; doesn't look even remotely like the same model...awesome!

    Mark in Oregon
     
  9. shortpainter

    shortpainter TrainBoard Member

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    Nice! I love the brake details.
     
  10. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    HED,
    Very nice job! Thanks for posting the before and after.
     
  11. Commodore

    Commodore TrainBoard Member

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    Makes all the difference in the world. Great idea!
     
  12. Heay Equipment Designer

    Heay Equipment Designer TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks everybody, glad you like it. Got a chance to get a lot of stuff done this weekend. Finished the new tank cars. I'm happy with how these came out and I actually like them better than my MTL tank cars. I'll be offering the chassis as a kit on shapeways. 6 frames for a little over $20 or there about.

    I found this Union Carbide color scheme on some HO cars. Could not find an image of the real thing but I like the color combo. Plus the yellow chassis helps show the chassis detail. Tried to match the Union Carbide green for the superstructure. Not exact but close enough.
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    MTL brake wheels made a big difference as you can see the Marklin brake wheel on the previous tank car I did.

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    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  13. strummer

    strummer TrainBoard Member

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    ...terrific!

    Mark in Oregon
     
  14. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Robert Ray originals!
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Commodore

    Commodore TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Chris. The resemblance is uncanny.

    It's cold and raining here today. Rather than sit on eBay looking for tank cars (you know prices will jump)... I spent the afternoon looking through the links in Chris's signature. With talent like HED, RR, Chris and others on the board ...I'm in awe! Thanks guys!
     
  16. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    bostonjim likes this.
  17. Heay Equipment Designer

    Heay Equipment Designer TrainBoard Member

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    Made a quick video this weekend showing the tank cars in action. They ride really nice. The brake line details were worth it. They show up really well in the video.

     
  18. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    This is fantastic, Jon. The very first z scale item I purchased in 1994 was the Marklin 3 car tanker set featuring the Baker Chocolate car. I will have to make an inventory of how many Marklin tankers I have. I look forward to converting all of them. They are the best designed Marklin car, by far. As a long time collector of z scale (25yr) I have a lot of Marklin rolling stock that will probably never be used on any layout I make. It is good to have an outlet for the tankers and to have them rolling. There is a conversion of the Marklin tender available from the folks you mentioned. Thanks for all your cool inventions. I'm looking forward to this project. Jim
     
  19. Heay Equipment Designer

    Heay Equipment Designer TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Jim! Glad you like it. I'll get the kit out there soon. It will come in a six pack so you can make six conversions with one kit. Just need to make a directions video.

    I agree with you, Marklin tank cars are their nicest American prototype rolling stock. To bad they failed so miserably on the rest. I might be bias but I like these better than my MTL tank cars. AZL tank cars look a lot nicer and seem to have more and finer detail. But they are to new for my needs. Well if you ever feel you have to many Marklin tank cars, I'd be happy to buy the one's you don't want. :) These tank car conversions might be a new addiction for me as I have already started collecting tank cars for the next batch.

    I've got a few other things I will post soon that I think you will like so stay tuned....
     
    Kez, Kurt Moose and bostonjim like this.
  20. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    Hi, Jon.
    I can't wait for you to release them. I have exactly 12 Marklin Tank cars. I have even broken up a couple of sets. I do have 2 sets of the Shamrock/Texas Petro ones. It is very unlikely I will be using any of the freight cars. The cabooses are decent enough but not in any roadnames I will use. I agree with you the Marklin tankers are much better than the MTL ones and AZL are the best but are too modern. Did you change out the wheel sets? I'm thinking if I will convert all of them I should probably add metal wheels, too. What are your thoughts? I know it will raise the cost of converting each car significantly. Do they really matter? What MTL truck sets did you use? I know you will answer these questions as you get closer to releasing them. Keep us posted. Thanks for all your splendid work. Jim
     

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