Roundhouse Gunderson Husky Stacks & GMM Etched Detail Kit

Denali_Subdivision Nov 11, 2022

  1. Denali_Subdivision

    Denali_Subdivision TrainBoard Member

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    Good evening everyone, has anyone up-fit their MDC Roundhouse 67' Gunderson Husky Stacks with a Gold Medal Models etched detail kit? I think I am having a fitment issue and I'm wondering if its user error or not... Let me point out first that I picked these Maersk cars up second hand, and they were already upgraded with Microtrains trucks/couplers, and the modeler who had upgraded them has cut the end body plates off for coupler clearance. See photo below for reference.
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    I could be wrong, but I don't believe that this should affect the way the GMM etched kit is installed as the piece that is cut is in line with the end of the car? When fitting the end railing walkways/hand grabs from the etched kit, it says to install them to the "extreme end of the car ends" which I have done. I tried to put them so close that I had to bend the end tabs inwards as opposed to being straight as the instructions say.
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    Here is the diagram from the instructions. The end walkways are "part 2"
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    When installing the next etched piece from the kit, the instructions tell you to make several bends in the piece to form the walkway and steps leading up to the top of the well. No issue there, but when installing it, it seems to be much too large to fit. I had to trim off the end most piece with the 4 legs. The instructions appear to show that end is supposed to be installed against the end of the well wall (where the bolster hole is) but that just does not make sense as the bottom step would not reach the end walkway and the right end platforms would be entirely too long down the sides of the well. Its also too tall to sit on the end of the walkways, so the only thing I could think of was to just snip it off. Don't mind my sloppy cuts to the 4 legs, I didn't properly measure, and I will be replacing it with a new piece. But even cutting those off and lining up both ends of this walkway, the bottom step protrudes over the end walkways. I thought about trimming that but then decided to stop and ask questions before I continued... So, what am I doing wrong? Anyone else run into this issue with these detail kits? You can see in the photo below, the etched walkways are on the right car, and the overhang of the bottom step onto the end walkway.

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    I will say, the etched parts make a huge improvement on the looks of these cars. And if I can figure out how to properly get these things on, I think they will make for huge improvements on these cars. Ive got 22 Maersk wells that I am working on right now, and about the same number of BN and BNSF that ill need to do after. I plan on making some into drawbar 3-unit and 5-unit cars as well. In addition the to etched pieces, I am also adding new 70-ton roller bearing trucks with 33" wheels, and body mount couplers. The couplers will need a new platform end body piece fabricated to mount on so the couplers won't be mounted directly to the walkways. I plan to use a very thin piece of styrene for this.
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    Thanks in advance for any advise or suggestions as to what needs to be done to get the correct platform fitment.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2022
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  2. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    I've updated a few of those. The way you have done yours is pretty much how I've done mine. If that gap between the inboard deck and the end container guides is bothering you then you'd either have to remove the risers that connect the mid step to the top deck or cut into the frame to get the steps further inboard to maintain proper height.

    Also, the pins at the end that hold the original ladder/grabs to the frame need to remain if possible (if using truck mounted couplers) as they provide the standoff to keep the end walk at the proper height. If they have to come off to get the original parts out then you'll have to make your own standoffs of similar thickness which is about .040". I was able to coax mine out without breaking off the pins by wedging using a hobby knife.

    If you are going to do body mounted couplers and want the ends of the draft box to line up with the end of the car you can fab a T out of .020 styrene sheet with the wide/top part of the T spanning the width of the car and the down part extending into and touching the main part of the car frame long enough so that the outboard (top) of the T lines up with the rearmost platform. Then cut out the ladder pins on the frame and glue the T on top to the frame where you cut those pins away. Then cut 3 more 2mm x .020 squares. Two will be used in place of where the standoffs/ladder pins were to get the proper deck standoff height and the third centered on the longitudinal part of the t where the coupler mounting screw goes which you will have to drill and tap when the glue has set. This should get you to the proper draft box mounting height and the .020 thick styrene will still allow the prototypical gap you would see at then end between the rearmost deck and the car frame albeit a little smaller than real life. You could get even fancier if you wanted the full gap but what I suggested is the least tears inducing while maintaining adequate strength needed for the coupler mounts.

    I used the Tru Color paints maersk blue which is a near perfect match for those particular cars. BNSF red from TCP is close - maybe a touch brighter but hardly noticeable if your bnsf cars are the red ones like mine.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2022
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  3. Denali_Subdivision

    Denali_Subdivision TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the reply Freddy. Do you by chance have a link or some pictures of the cars you have done so I can reference and compare? The gap on the far right end of the platforms (by container guides) doesn't necessarily bother me, its the overhang on the bottom step over the end platform. But i now see what you are saying. It does appear the only way to eliminate both of these issues it to cut into the frame to allow the bottom/mid step to be farther back. And, if Im being honest, I'm not sure I'm prepared to do one all 40+ of these things I've got LOL. I may be better off just trimming the ends of the bottom steps to eliminate the overhangs. If this is the route to go, then there is the issue of a "floating" bottom step and ill need to make small "legs" to connect the bottom step with the end platforms. Either way, both options will take a considerable amount of work for each car, which is a bummer, but I can't say I'm surprised given these cars are early runs and were quite inexpensive when they had initially come out. I don't have any of the newer Athearn cars but it may benefit me to grab one to compare.

    I was able to leave those pins intact on this particular car, but they were not easy. I suspect the previous owner might have added extra glue to some of them when they upgraded to MT trucks/couplers to help keep everything in place. However, I did find it necessary to file down the pins slightly for the etched end platforms to fit over them properly and allow the "whisker" supports to wrap under the bottom side of the car bottom.

    Is this the method you used on yours to body mount or did you stick with truck mount couplers? If you body mounted using this method, could you post some pictures of this as well for reference? I plan on leaving some of these as stand alone wells and having body mount couplers on each end, but a lot of these are going to turned into draw bar units. I bought some MT Link & Pin style couplers to achieve this. Im hoping that the "drawbars" that are included with this will give enough space between the two cars, if they don't, I will need to make my own that are a little longer and may look into having some 3D printed at that point. Regardless, all of my cars will need to have what you have described above to mount the gear boxes too.

    Good to know, I do have a couple bottles of the TCP Maersk blue on hand. As far as the BNSF red, is this the match for the BN red cars? I only have a couple of those but do plan to patch/renumber then to BNSF so I will need touchup/patch paint for these as well. I also have 14 of the roundhouse BNSF husky stacks that are all the same number and I need to renumber. These are the brown wells. Do you know if the TCP BNSF Intermodal Brown color will match these?
     
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  4. Denali_Subdivision

    Denali_Subdivision TrainBoard Member

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    I went for attempt #2 this afternoon on a second car. This time, it went a little better. I was able to get the steps and walkways to be in the correct position without having the bottom step overhang the end platform, as well as close the gap at the far right ends of the narrow walkways on the well sides. Im not sure exactly what was different about this second attempt, it just seemed to fit much better. It was also a snug fit and i had to press fit the corners by the container guides. Although I did not have any overhang on the bottom step this time, the straight support piece for the 4 legs still did not want to fit right and was sitting on the top of the end walkway causing the whole piece to sit to high.

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    I think this straight support piece is intended to drop along the backside of the end platform to give the appearance its 4 feet are welded to the platform, however, without cutting into the car body between the first and second step as suggested by Freddy, it just was not going to fit. And I did not want to over bend this piece to make it fit as then the 4 legs would be greater then 90 degrees and look funky slanted backwards. If I'm being 100% honest, I'm too lazy and do not want to spend the time to file/cut the car body 4 times on each car LOL. So I went ahead and just cut the straight support piece off and let the 4 legs hang down. After I did this, they sit nice and snug for the most part along the back edge of the end walkway, and the entire platform settles nicely on the raised pedestals. Good enough for me at this point.

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    The brake side of the car was much of the same, except I bent the platform step piece the wrong way, and when bending it back it broke the bottom steps off from the rest of the platform. I had to install these separately to save the platform. It went ok, not perfect like the other side, but again good enough. You just really have to pay attention as to what side is supposed to be "face" up on these etched pieces before making the necessary bends.

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    Now to clean up/file the bottom of the stirups and re-adjust/straighten the handrails. After that, its off on addressing the body mount gear boxes for the couplers and drawbars.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 12, 2022
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  5. jwaldo

    jwaldo TrainBoard Member

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    If you said those walkways were all installed perfectly with no difficulty, I'd believe it. Those are some amazing upgrades!
     
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  6. Denali_Subdivision

    Denali_Subdivision TrainBoard Member

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    I took what Freddy had said above about using .020 styrene and adding onto the frames for body mount gear boxes. I somewhat half did what you had mentioned and kinda just winged it. As I mentioned earlier, I have a lot of these things to do and I don't want to spend too much time on them. While I did not follow what you had said completely about making a T piece, I did cut some strips, cut the old ladder mount pins off, sand and file the pads flush, and then install the new strip for the gear boxes. While there won't be any gap between the car body and the end platforms, it will due for my particular modeling needs. If I were only doing a couple of these, I would most definitely go the extra mile and do them how you described. But given how many I have to do, I will just have to sacrifice not being able to "see through" the end walkways...

    I started with the second car I did earlier today. Since the etched details were already installed and glued in place, I did not want to take it back apart to cut the old ladder pins off. Instead I cut a piece of styrene that was shorter and would slip in between the pins under the end walkway. It still helps make the end of the body more rigid, and will provide the necessary mounting surface for the gear boxes. It did slightly raise the platform higher in the center, but it really is not that noticeable when looking at it from a distance. When I get to the painting and touchup stage, I will shoot the under carriage on the ends to cover up the white plastic.

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    Next I returned to the 3rd car from this evening. When it came to re-enforcing the ends of the body for the gear boxes, .020 styrene strips were cut and glued to the tops of the body. Since the end walkways will be left unpainted (later weathered with a wash), I painted the tops of the strips silver, simply by coloring them with a silver sharpie. The bottoms will be painted blue later on in the paint/touchup stage when I do several of them all at the same time.

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    Etched details went on and installed quite a bit easier then the 2nd car, but still not perfect. This time I left the straight support piece on. They are slightly bent inwards on both sides, but far less then they would have been when I was doing the 2nd car. Looking at the photos I can see that I may have been able to install both end platforms slightly more to the extreme ends of the cars. This is not so apparent when looking at the cars with your (my) eyes. See what happens with the next car lol

    IMG_1603.JPG IMG_1604.JPG
     
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  7. Denali_Subdivision

    Denali_Subdivision TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you! While this is will most definitely be more expensive then just buying the more modern and current MTL & Athearn Husky Stacks, it is a fun little project to do on these older run cars to make them look more attractive
     
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  8. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    There you go. The reason I'd suggested the T was for me I was going to re-use the draft gear boxes from the trucks while trying to align the end of the boxes with the platform which would have placed the mounting hole just to the inside of the rear platform and I didn't want to extend the entire mounting plate that far in. I did fab a piece and have it somewhere but like you I had other things in the queue and decided it was going to take more time than it was worth so I said good enough leaving them truck mounted.

    Memory failing me here but I should of said BN red as that is the other road I have and not BNSF. Not sure about the brown but so far TCP hasn't let me down color matching.
     
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  9. Denali_Subdivision

    Denali_Subdivision TrainBoard Member

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    Ahh okay, that makes sense. Thank you again for the info, you've definitely helped me solve a couple things with these cars and kept me going with ideas about what to do. I appreciate it!

    And perfect, I've got some TCP BN red so I should be good as far as that goes too. I was just at the LHS this evening hunting for an Athearn Husky stack just to compare and see what they changed with the updated tooling. Couldn't find one, but they did have 4 Roundhouse BN Husky stacks sitting there they had just gotten in on a collection buy, so wouldn't you know it, I bought them too lol. As if I needed more of these damn things.
     
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  10. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Those upgrades look really nice. Know you said that the fit seems off but it looks good to me. Overall, thanks for this whole thread guys. I keep looking at that GMM upgrade set and wondering if I should try it. Have several of the old MDC version of this car and I too had cut that small end section out for coupler clearance and wasn't sure if the GMM set would work with that gone. Think I will give it a shot now. :)
     
  11. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    Lol... why not right? These were the first well cars I ever purchased (~1999) and they are nicely done. Was a bit disappointed when I discovered I had to modify the frame to change out to MT trucks but with the GMM photo etched kit everything was right with the world again:) I'm thinking now I should try to update to body mount since it's on my mind.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2022
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  12. Denali_Subdivision

    Denali_Subdivision TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks! And glad I could inspire you to give them a shot! They really are neat little etched parts that add loads of detail. I was able to get 8 of the GMM kits between two online vendors and eBay, but I still need 13 more to complete all the wells I've got LOL. And aside ordering direct from GMM, I can't find them anywhere online and the LHS doesn't have any.

    Has anyone ordered direct from GMM before? I was looking at their website and it appears you can submit an order and pay with PayPal, otherwise you have to snail mail them a check/money order the old fashion way.
     
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  13. Denali_Subdivision

    Denali_Subdivision TrainBoard Member

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    Id say give it a go, I think that the body mounts look much nicer when all is said and done, and if you're adding these GMM etched parts you may as well body mount if you've got the extra time.

    Im excited to turn some of these into 3 and 5 unit drawbar cars, which I believe would need to be body mounted gear boxes anyways to look and operate properly, so I figured i might as well do everything body mount while I'm at it lol.
     
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