locked Southern 390399 "Ortner's 10,000th Rapid Discharge Car" Questions


Ryan Harris
 

I've only seen one photo of the 10,000th Rapid Discharge Car, Southern 390399:

http://southern.railfan.net/ties/1980/80-11/ortner.html

In this photo the car appears to be marked with only the large SOUTHERN name and numbers on the side, along with the tagline "Ortner's 10,000th Rapid Discharge Car". This photo is pretty low resolution, but it doesn't appear to show any of the typical data that appears on other cars in the 390xxx series, such as the consolidated stencil, dimensional data or discharge plunger instructions as seen on adjacent car 390423.

A company called Eastern Seaboard Models made a limited run of N scale models of this car many years ago. Their version of the car includes all the data that would typically be found on the other cars in the series. I asked Eastern Seaboard Models if they still had any of the research materials used to create the artwork or if they could put me in touch with the person who prepared the artwork for them. Here is a website showing a couple photos of their model:

https://www.trovestar.com/generic/zoom.php?id=138042

So my questions are:

Did this car receive all the data markings at some point after the publicity photo was taken in 1980?

How long did it remain in this paint scheme?

--
Ryan Harris
Fort Worth, TX


Robert Graham
 

That Ortner rapid discharge hopper was a one-of-a-kind commemorative paint livery car, similar to the Pullman-Standard 200,000th car SOU boxcar 550555 that ran around for quite a while in its blue/green/yellow special paint on the SOU. I have a shot of it somewhere. But, be aware that those SOU Ortner rapid discharge N scale model hoppers illustrated are incorrect for SOU. They are 5 bay cars and the SOU Ortner rapid discharge cars were all 4 bay. In HO scale, MDC (I think it was) made the same error.

As to the more mundane stenciling seen on these commemorative painted cars, the SOU 550555 did receive the more common stenciling common to the other SOU cars in this group of P-S exterior post boxcars. I shot it in service that way several times. I doubt there is a set of drawings that reflect that car, other than as-built. I would imagine the commemorative Ortner rapid discharge hopper car was handled in a similar fashion.


Bob Graham  


-----------------------------------------

From: "Ryan Harris"
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Cc:
Sent: Friday November 22 2019 3:52:16PM
Subject: [SouthernRailway] Southern 390399 "Ortner's 10,000th Rapid Discharge Car" Questions

I've only seen one photo of the 10,000th Rapid Discharge Car, Southern 390399:

http://southern.railfan.net/ties/1980/80-11/ortner.html

In this photo the car appears to be marked with only the large SOUTHERN name and numbers on the side, along with the tagline "Ortner's 10,000th Rapid Discharge Car". This photo is pretty low resolution, but it doesn't appear to show any of the typical data that appears on other cars in the 390xxx series, such as the consolidated stencil, dimensional data or discharge plunger instructions as seen on adjacent car 390423.

A company called Eastern Seaboard Models made a limited run of N scale models of this car many years ago. Their version of the car includes all the data that would typically be found on the other cars in the series. I asked Eastern Seaboard Models if they still had any of the research materials used to create the artwork or if they could put me in touch with the person who prepared the artwork for them. Here is a website showing a couple photos of their model:

https://www.trovestar.com/generic/zoom.php?id=138042

So my questions are:

Did this car receive all the data markings at some point after the publicity photo was taken in 1980?

How long did it remain in this paint scheme?

--
Ryan Harris
Fort Worth, TX


George Eichelberger
 

I cannot locate data on the Ortner car but recall it was the standard stencil arrangement with the 10,000 car stencil added. Other than that, it was the standard stencil scheme except on a blue car.

MDC did their car, including 390423 (think I have two if anyone wants one) with five bays. That was the standard Orton design but Southern asked for a four-bay version because they thought it would stand up to heavy use better.

We sent a package of drawings and P-S photos to the NCTM that they used to do an excellent restoration of the paint scheme. A lower res version of P-S drawing M-024-295 is attached. (By 1970, Southern had stopped tracing carbuilders’ drawings so their is no “SF” version.)

Ike


D. Scott Chatfield
 

I've got the impression that Ortner hopper only had that scheme for a short period of time.  It might have made a few trips in blue, but since it wasn't in interchange service they might not have felt the need to give it its full AAR-spec markings until it was repainted red.

Just my theory.

Scott Chatfield


Ryan Harris
 

In this discussion I was referring to the N scale model only to point out that it had all the data one would expect to find on the other cars in the series. I wonder if this was based in fact or if it was the artist simply making an educated guess as to how the car appeared. I like the idea that it did receive the additional markings, especially since I'm interested in the car in later years. Having seen the N scale model and the HO scale model by MDC Roundhouse, Eastern Seaboard Models did a much better job on the shape and placement of the large "ORTNER" lettering than MDC Roundhouse did.

I don't think anyone has made a mass-produced model of the four bay configuration used by Southern and Northern Pacific. I don't have production totals, but my suspicion is the five bay version was more popular than the four bay version. There were certainly more users of the five bay version, which makes the case for tooling the five bay version from the point of view of a manufacturer trying to get the most bang for the buck. Athearn has gone on to upgrade the MDC Roundhouse five bay Ortner tooling they purchased and have released it in Southern previously (in the five bay version, unfortunately). Another release of Southern Ortners is scheduled for next year.

For those who want to model a four bay version, the good news is it uses nearly the same overall dimensions as the five bay version (55'-0" over strikers for the five bay vs. 54'-6" over strikers for the four bay and 45'-1" truck centers for the five bay vs. 43'-7" truck centers for the four bay). It's a simple kitbash for those HO and N scale modelers who want to model the car with four bays instead of five.

--
Ryan Harris
Fort Worth, TX


Ryan Harris
 

That's interesting, Scott. I'd be very interested to know when it wore the blue paint. I used to live in Newnan, Georgia not far from Plant Yates and Plant Wansley, so ever since I saw the publicity photo years ago I've been fascinated by this car.
--
Ryan Harris
Fort Worth, TX


Stuart Thayer
 

Ryan,

In regards to your assertion that the SOU 4-bay ortners are an easy kitbash, I have to disagree.  My good friend Dan Bourque built one of these cars and he said to get the model correct it was an extremely difficult kitbash and one that he is not planning to ever try again due to it's complexity.  You have to essentially cut an MDC/Athearn 5-bay model apart and move the bays, redo the interior slope sheets between the bays, shorten overall length of the car, and simulate the depressed panels between the ribs that were done to increase the capacity of the car.  There was a lot of work.

Stuart Thayer

In a message dated 11/23/2019 2:24:06 AM Eastern Standard Time, ryan.harris@... writes:

In this discussion I was referring to the N scale model only to point out that it had all the data one would expect to find on the other cars in the series. I wonder if this was based in fact or if it was the artist simply making an educated guess as to how the car appeared. I like the idea that it did receive the additional markings, especially since I'm interested in the car in later years. Having seen the N scale model and the HO scale model by MDC Roundhouse, Eastern Seaboard Models did a much better job on the shape and placement of the large "ORTNER" lettering than MDC Roundhouse did.

I don't think anyone has made a mass-produced model of the four bay configuration used by Southern and Northern Pacific. I don't have production totals, but my suspicion is the five bay version was more popular than the four bay version. There were certainly more users of the five bay version, which makes the case for tooling the five bay version from the point of view of a manufacturer trying to get the most bang for the buck. Athearn has gone on to upgrade the MDC Roundhouse five bay Ortner tooling they purchased and have released it in Southern previously (in the five bay version, unfortunately). Another release of Southern Ortners is scheduled for next year.

For those who want to model a four bay version, the good news is it uses nearly the same overall dimensions as the five bay version (55'-0" over strikers for the five bay vs. 54'-6" over strikers for the four bay and 45'-1" truck centers for the five bay vs. 43'-7" truck centers for the four bay). It's a simple kitbash for those HO and N scale modelers who want to model the car with four bays instead of five.

--
Ryan Harris
Fort Worth, TX


George Eichelberger
 

“Thin” Southern road name lettering

For years, I have thought, and told people, that SRHA did not have a stencil drawing of the last version of the “thin” Southern road name lettering. 

In the years before the N&W/Sou merger the SR Mechanical Dept. produced fewer and fewer new equipment drawings, relying on car builder drawings exclusively. The attached Ortner “stenciling” drawing OC-5075-7 is for 100T aggregate cars Sou 1109950-109999 from New Car Program (NCP)-226 and apparently was never traced by the Southern.

We will re-scan both the 35mm aperture card and the original drawings (in the archives?) to improve on this poor quality example. I’ll make sure scans of this, Ortner drawings 332-151 & 152 and get whatever other similar drawings we can locate to Hubert Mask at Mask Island in case he is interested in producing decals. (The thin lettering, in green, was also used on the last order(s) of 100T covered hoppers but we need to confirm the dimensions are the same.)

Ike




Ryan Harris
 

I am familiar with Dan's model and it is fantastic. I understand why he built only one. And I didn't mean to diminish any of the work he did on that model by making the point that the kitbash boiled down to removing the center bays. Obviously it was much more involved than that and he left no stone unturned.

I am not interested in doing that kind of a 99% kitbash because I want 40 of them. Instead the kitbash I'm talking about does boil down to removing the center bay, adding a few details and living with a lot of things that aren't right. This is the type of kitbash I meant when I said it would be easy. I can't imagine many people would be willing to even attempt Dan's kitbash. Like you said, he only did it once.

My plan for a good enough kitbash is to 3D print some new parts, including an insert for the open area created by removing the center bay, new brake and door air equipment, and a set of interior braces. I'll have to ignore the lack of rivets and the embossed beads on the panels. I might not worry about the channels in place of the side stakes at the carbody ends, but I'll have to see about that. When I start with an MDC Roundhouse car, as in the case of the 10,000th Ortner car, I'll add the door opening hardware and do some additional work on the ends that the Athearn RTR version won't need.

Now if I wanted to build a model that was similarly faithful to the Southern version, I wouldn't kitbash it and I certainly wouldn't start with the MDC Roundhouse model. Instead, I'd draw it in 3D and break it down as a flat kit to 3D print. Then I'd have resin copies made of the individual parts.

I did something similar after I damaged my WrightTrak radio car, minus the resin casting part. I had already made drawings of the car back in the 90s before I was aware WrightTrak even existed. From those drawings I scratchbuilt a model from styrene many years ago. Later on I acquired one of the WrightTrak resin kits, but I damaged the body. So I went back to my old CAD drawings and modified them from 2D to 3D and then designed a kit, which I 3D printed. Here's how that turned out:

https://pbase.com/mecrharris/image/167249896

But doing all that -- while certainly easier than Dan's involved kitbash process -- would cost a small fortune. A much smaller fortune can instead be spent fixing the things that matter to me: four bays instead of five, interior bracing details, adding door opening hardware, adding ladders at all four corners, etc. It won't be a perfect model, but again I need forty of them so I'm not aiming for perfection here. 

--
Ryan Harris
Fort Worth, TX


Ryan Harris
 

Great find, Ike! A high resolution version of this would be very helpful. Thanks for sharing it.
--
Ryan Harris
Fort Worth, TX


Stuart Thayer
 

Ryan,

No problem.  What you describe is essentially what I recommended Dan do to be able to model a whole train but he declined to do it.  What you describe is a great approach to effectively model the unique variation of the Ortner Rapid Discharge cars that the Southern used without getting overwhelmed by the project.  I look forward to seeing what you create.

Stuart Thayer

In a message dated 11/24/2019 6:47:46 PM Eastern Standard Time, ryan.harris@... writes:

I am familiar with Dan's model and it is fantastic. I understand why he built only one. And I didn't mean to diminish any of the work he did on that model by making the point that the kitbash boiled down to removing the center bays. Obviously it was much more involved than that and he left no stone unturned.

I am not interested in doing that kind of a 99% kitbash because I want 40 of them. Instead the kitbash I'm talking about does boil down to removing the center bay, adding a few details and living with a lot of things that aren't right. This is the type of kitbash I meant when I said it would be easy. I can't imagine many people would be willing to even attempt Dan's kitbash. Like you said, he only did it once.

My plan for a good enough kitbash is to 3D print some new parts, including an insert for the open area created by removing the center bay, new brake and door air equipment, and a set of interior braces. I'll have to ignore the lack of rivets and the embossed beads on the panels. I might not worry about the channels in place of the side stakes at the carbody ends, but I'll have to see about that. When I start with an MDC Roundhouse car, as in the case of the 10,000th Ortner car, I'll add the door opening hardware and do some additional work on the ends that the Athearn RTR version won't need.

Now if I wanted to build a model that was similarly faithful to the Southern version, I wouldn't kitbash it and I certainly wouldn't start with the MDC Roundhouse model. Instead, I'd draw it in 3D and break it down as a flat kit to 3D print. Then I'd have resin copies made of the individual parts.

I did something similar after I damaged my WrightTrak radio car, minus the resin casting part. I had already made drawings of the car back in the 90s before I was aware WrightTrak even existed. From those drawings I scratchbuilt a model from styrene many years ago. Later on I acquired one of the WrightTrak resin kits, but I damaged the body. So I went back to my old CAD drawings and modified them from 2D to 3D and then designed a kit, which I 3D printed. Here's how that turned out:

https://pbase.com/mecrharris/image/167249896

But doing all that -- while certainly easier than Dan's involved kitbash process -- would cost a small fortune. A much smaller fortune can instead be spent fixing the things that matter to me: four bays instead of five, interior bracing details, adding door opening hardware, adding ladders at all four corners, etc. It won't be a perfect model, but again I need forty of them so I'm not aiming for perfection here. 

--
Ryan Harris
Fort Worth, TX