By Gene Deimling
The Santa Fe had a liking for Duryea cushioned underframes
on the freight cars. A number of cars were built with this
design. One such class was the Bx-27 which built to the AAR
1937 design. The road purchased 1500 cars from Pullman June
1936 (136500-13999) and another 500 from AC&F on April 1937
(138000 - 138499).
The prototype ATSF photos of 137099 and the Duryea underframe
were supplied by Pat Duffin and were obtained from the SFRMHS
archives at Temple. They are being used with the permission
of the source. The photo of car 138467 was supplied by Dr.
Richard Hendrickson. The model differs from the prototype
in that the bottom horizontal
I decided to build the car since the underframe created an
interesting appearance and the large map and slogan lettering
used by the Santa Fe is a must for any steam-era modeler.
The project uses a square corner version of the Intermountain
kit. I suppose you could start with an Atlas ready-to-run
car if you wanted.
Cut away parts of the cast on underframe parts. This means
carving away the cross-member that is adjacent to the door.
I end up removing the flat plate detail on the floor boards
I estimated the spacing of the cross-members using a photo
of the car and a couple of rough sketches that appeared in
the 1940 Car Builders Cyclopedia. The space I chose is:
5' 11" from the center of the bolster to the first cross-member
5' 10" from the first to the second
The cross-members are made out of Evergreen 0.06" angle and
a 0.015" X 0.06" strip. They are assembled into a "Z" shaped
structural member. If you study the prototype underframe,
you will see how the cross-members are assembled. The photos
shown below are of the partially completed model and an actual
Duryea underframe being built for a reefer.
First install the center sill. It is made from 9" wide strip
of styrene and spaced 14" apart. The piece runs the full distance
from the bolsters. The channels are capped with 0.010" sheet
styrene with rivets impressed at three scale inch intervals.
This strip is 21" wide. The prototype Duryea underframe is
from a Santa Fe Rr-21 reefer. It is not exactly the same as
the Bx-27 but it does illustrate how the pieces look.
The body bolster is capped with rivet impressed 0.010" styrene.
The coupler pocket and frame extension is made from 12" channel
spaced 12" back-to-back. I cut a slot in the side to represent
the prototype pocket design. The channels should extend 13"
beyond the car end. I installed a 0.015" sheet across the
channels to close in the top. There are two guides on top
of the frame that were made from 0.015" by 0.060" strip. The
coupler pocket face was made from 0.020" sheet. The end of
the frame is made from a piece of the channel stock with a
wedge cut out. You cut away the top flange and then taper
the channel center. The top flange is glued back together
on the desired shape is attained. I installed some 0.030"
diameter Tichy rivets to the channel.
The cross members are tied together with some 3" angle stock.
This will be used to support brake parts later on in construction.
You will need to add small triangle shaped tabs since you
have moved the cross member location. I had removed the cast
tabs when I prepared the body casting. I added a Tichy 0.025"
rivet for detail.
Once the basic underframe is done, I start detailing the sides.
The first step is to add a strip of rivet embossed three inch
wide piece replacing the poorly formed details of the stock
body. You will notice that I filled the grab iron holes in
the sides as well. The prototype riveted the grab irons to
the body rather than a bracket attachment normally found on
AAR boxcars. The photo shown below is of a nearly complete
car. It has a few extra details added such as 0.020" Tichy
rivets, Chooch tack board, defect box, Chooch ladder and the
wire grab iron formed from 0.015" brass wire. Notice how the
Duryea ends extends out the end of the car. The air hose has
to be mounted on an extended bracket. The bracket was made
from some 0.060" strip brass. I added a tapered piece of 0.015"
styrene to the top of the brass. The air hose fitting is from
the Back Shop AH-305. The parts are hard to come by but worth
the effort. The train line is made from 0.033" brass wire.
I used a detailing set from Chooch Enterprises #610. It provided
the ladders, tack boards and Camel door hardware.
The next step is to install body weight and roof. I use large
galvanized steel washers from Ace Hardware for weights. The
roof is added next. At this point, I usually rework the rivet
detail on the roof end. I add a rivet strip to cover the seam
between the body and roof casting.
The trucks and coupler go on next. You want to adjust the
height of the car once you have your truck of choice installed.
I used San Juan AAR Double Truss trucks and their Type-E couplers.
The brake system needs to be installed next. The basic parts
for the AB set are from San Juan as are the clevis. I used
the brake levers in the Chooch #610 set to complete the components.
The piping and rods are done is 0.020" brass. Note that the
train line crosses over the top of the underframe rather than
through. It does call for some fancy bending to get it over
the top. I made a support platform for the air reservoir out
of some 3" channel.
At this point you can mount the trucks and start on the door
details and some of the finishing details. I usually leave
the door details to last since this reduces the chances of
the delicate latches and guides being damaged. Examine the
unpainted door area to see what parts were added. The tack
board is from Chooch. It is much finer in detail than the
stock IM part. The door latches and Camel guides came from
Chooch #610 set. I made the small tack board from strip styrene.
The handle is made from brass strip. The hold up better than
the cast plastic parts found in the Chooch set. I built up
the left edge of the door stop to form a channel that overlaps
the door edge.
The stirrups were made from strip brass and blackened prior
The roof walk is made up from 0.030" thick by 0.100" strips
with wood grain added. I drilled the boards and added styrene
rod to simulate the carriage bolts used to mount to parts.
Don't install them until after the roof is painted black.
I painted the model using Floquil ATSF Brown on the sides
and ends. The roof and underframe were painted Floquil Weathered
Black. The decals are a combination of Champ for the map and
Microscale for the rest. The Champ film is very thick and
the lettering is not very opaque. Weathering was done using
Kuras weathering washes of rust and black. I used think wash
of earth to highlight parts of the underframe. The trucks
had some oil stains added around the journals and wheel faces.