Tuesday, April 29, 2014

LCVP flatcar load

For another modeling project I was researching Higgins Industries and their famous Landing Craft aka Higgins Boats. The Library of Congress has several b/w photos showing the building and loading of their boats on railcars. Higgins also produced the LCP-R's and the PT Boats.
Just in time for the D-Day Celebration this year, I will try to get some of them on the rails.

The b/w pictures above are from the collection of the Library of Congress. You will find more of them including construction scenes at Higgins Boats in New Orleans.

The above and the following photos are just to show that they will fit on a HO flatcar without too much overhang. I need to build a suitable cradle for the landing craft again using the Technical Manual drawings. These also show the dimensions of the lumber used, so it is a snap to recreate them using scale lumber strips.

This is the rear view. The stern of the LCVP is even with the flatcar deck.

The bow of the LCVP has only an insignificant overhang and should clear most structures along the tracks.

The final view is from above and confirms the previous shots. I think they also had a small overhang on the prototype.

In my seach for suitable models I found that the 1/76 scale sometimes still looks good compared to real HO. Todays 1/72 models are more accurate in the scale than the older models. If you place them next to each other there are significant differences in size and height.

The LCVP on the pictures is a snap-together model from Pegasus Hobbies. It's easy to build and also comes with a crew of 15 troops plus a coxswain, engineer and crewman who man the 2 machine guns.
The Airfix or Heller LCVP kits a tad more detailed, but the age of the molds makes more cleaning necessary. The Pegasus kit is molded very clean and fits the bill for this purpose as a load.

The drawings above show the construction of the cradles and the blocking for securing the landing crafts on railroad flatcars. The Technical Manual TM-55-2200-001-12 has all the necessary dimensions and drawings, although some blocking might be too tiny in HO to build. A bit of modelers licence must be used here.

As always, stay tuned for updates.

Landing Craft, Boat and other military loads

Inspired by John Barry's ATSF Valley Division blog and his recent post about building a Santa Fe WWII fleet, I'll give you a sneak preview of my cars loaded with military vehicles and boats.

A train loaded with military vehicles and landing craft is pushed into the USMC military base in Old Town San Diego on my home layout. Missing information about how the prototype entrance looked like, I used the guard shack and gate from a Walthers Cornerstone kit. The flag pole comes from IHC. The MP is from the 1/72 Airfix USAF personnel set. I will cut the bases off, so they will be closer to 1/87 scale. I just suspect that the guards were taller and stronger guys anyway :). Some of the military vehicles at the gate are place holders for the moment. I will replace them with more specific ones for the USMC.

To model military loads in a train, you'll need plenty of flatcars. Unfortunately almost all kit and ready-to-run models come like the one on the picture. The deck is painted the same color as the car. To correct this, I painted the decks with Vallejo Pale Grey, but you might also use whatever brand you're comfortable with.

After the deck had dried, I gave it a Vallejo black wash. Here also, you may mix your own wash and apply it to your liking.

At the bottom of the above picture is an Athean flatcar with the weathered deck.The slots in the deck are for fixing the boat cradle. (On normal Athearn flatcars these slots are closed)

These cradles are molded in black, so I painted them with a tan color to look more like wood. I inserted the cradles into the slots and the car was ready to accept a boat.

Now for the boats, these come painted in red, blue, yellow and green. In the Book "Rails to Victory" I saw a picture with similar boats loaded on flatcars and they were supposed to be small motor tug boats. The photo as a guide, I fashioned the lettering using different numbers and printed them on clear decal sheet. So I have plenty to letter my boats. I airbrushed the boats with Navy Gray paint - whatever this gray may be - between pale and medium gray should work.

Some years ago I found a Technical Manual on eBay from the US Army Transportation Corps, showing the riggings and fixings for every piece of military vehicle and boats on railroad cars you could imagine. Although the manual was from the 1970's, it contained many drawings of WWII equipment. Meanwhile this manual is also available as downloadable pdf-file thanks to John Barry

I added the ropes as per the drawings and also a rear support to keep the boat from shifting during transit.
Above is my first car rigged for transport, but I need to tighten some of the ropes.

Another interesting load I found on a picture is an LCM-3 landing craft loaded on its side in a drop end gondola. There are quite a number of LCM models on the market, but the only one that fits the gondola almost perfect is the Airfix 1/76 model that also includes a Sherman M-4 Medium tank. I only had to leave one railing away. The steering house and ramp was loaded in the hull anyway. I added some bracing using strip wood. The gondola is a Walthers/Life Like Drop Ends gondola. I only need to tie it down with some ropes.

Another unusual load is the 155 mm "Long Tom" Howitzer. Because I had no ROCO model of this gun in 1/87, I used the Hasegawa 1/72 model. If you avoid to put a scale HO truck next to it, the difference in scale is not visible. Again I used the Technical Manual for the blocking and bracing of the gun.

Tanks, Trucks, Jeeps and Trailers are a common sight in military trains, so they cannot be missed on my layout. The loading diagrams on hand, these blockings are easily made from strip wood using a model truck as a guide and glued to the flatcar deck.

The finished truck load.

The DUKW load is a model from EKO. I had to trim flash away on some spots and gave it a new paint job. The canvas top doesn't fit out of the bag, so a little trimming and filing is necessary.

AFG Packing House, continued

Awaiting the addition to the packing house to be laser cut by my fellow modeler Pit Karges, I added some details to the packing house. I finally decided to only model and detail what would be seen after completion. So I only planked the street side of the loading platform and added steps. Most of the side platform will not be seen after the addition is placed next to it.

The planks are 1x6 and 1x8 strip wood that I stained with a mix of black india ink and isopropyl alcohol. I glued the planks on top of the basswood foundation. The fascia boards along the sides are staggered.
I also added the electric meter box to the right as seen on the prototype picture.

Above is a view of the slanted side that goes against the backdrop. Now I only need to weather the corrugated roof and walls and wait for the addition

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Blue Goose Sign and Crate Label

On Photos I received from the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society, some showed the crate label. American Fruit Growers marketed their fruit under the Blue Goose label, so the orange square label sported a blue goose. The particularity of the Capistrano label is that it also had a small inset showing the ruins of the mission and also a swarm of swallows.

The legend of the swallows was publicly broadcast in the US in 1936. It says that a padre, angered at the destruction of swallows´nests by a hotelkeeper, opened his arms and welcomed the birds to the mission. 
They nested there ever since. The return of the swallows is celebrated each year on St. Joseph's day with a parade.

So I absolutely needed a copy of this label. Many searches on the internet were fruitless and I almost lost hope of ever finding one, when a fine lady from Pico Rivera answered my call on the Citrus Modeling List and sent me a color picture of it.

The packing house also had a rooftop sign showing "American Fruit Growers, Inc  California" and also a logo. Although hidden by a palm leaf I suspect that is is the Blue Goose on orange ground.
 I tried as best as I could to reproduce the sign and logo, using my computer. I printed the signs out and glued them on a piece of styrene sheet. Until I have more detailed information about the font, background color and logo, this will be my make-do.

On the picture below you already see my next project, so please stay tuned for the addition of the packing house in a next post.