I had wanted a small glass plate for cutting and assembly but couldn't find anything at craft or art supply stores and the only hardware building supply stores that sell retail in the I-680 corridor appear to be the big box stores. Fortunately I ran across very flat surface glass tiles on Amazon and for $19.95 purchased a box of 5. The only way they come. The tiles are 3 " x 3" and appear to have a very flat surface. Also on the right is a mouse wrist rest that I use to steady my shaky hand for cutting and detail painting.
This is my workbench showing the new tiles and my current project a PFE R-40-14 ice car.
The R-40-14 is a rebuild of an Athearn blue box 40' steel ice car. I managed to find a package of the long discontinued Details West W Post (rounded) 4-4 dreadnought ends. for this project. Ladders are Tichy Reefer ladders. Hand grabs are Kadee. Ice hatches are the Details West Equipco hatches that are also hard to find. The trucks are just Tichy Bettendorfs with metal wheel sets. Kadee 158 couplers have been mounted.
I didn't get too far with underframe detailing. I had closely been checking Dick Harley's detail photos of a PFE R-40-23 specifically the placement of the train line, air reservoir, brake cylinder and triple valve. This is different from most diagrams that come with HO AB sets. I used the Athearn underframe with the coupler boxes cut off and a thin fake floor cut from Evergreen scribbed plastic sheet. The brake parts are from a Details West AB set. The Athearn steel weight was mounted inside the car with canopy cement and a pair of heavy styrene strips to keep it in place.
I started to airbrush with Star Brand Daylight Orange. But my airbrush clogged 3 times on that paint and I finally concluded it was no longer a good bottle. So I fell back on my earlier experiment with hand brushing Vallejo Model Color using a mix of three drops 70.911 Light Orange and 1 drop 70.927 Dark Flesh. It took several coats as I had primed the body with a Tamiya light grey. I was careful not to build up any thickness around details. After that it was clear coated for decals.
I started to decal with a newer Microscale 87-414 but found it difficult to get the right build and repack data from that sheet and an 87-501 sheet for a 1941 built R-40-14 still with the black iron parts and single herald medallions in 1950-53. Then after finishing one side, I discovered Ted Culotta at Speedwich Media has issued a set just for the R-40-15. Last Thursday (7/13/17) I ordered a two sets and am anxiously awaiting a packet in the mail so I can complete the decaling.
I should probably take a break from my PFE reefer madness again after this car. My Intermountain pre-orders for R-40-23's have been delayed until 4th quarter. Red Caboose pre-orders for R-30-xx wood ice cars are now in the unknown. eBay prices are sensitive to this and are going up accordingly.
And I have an old Silver Streak wood Bay Window 1953 rebuild that was stuck together with Walther's goo back in the 1970's and has been de-kitted. I will have to build new plastic sides from scribbed sheet and an new roof, floor and underframe. Only the cast bay windows and caboose ends will actually be reused. Rebuilding costs are so extensive they will have to be charged to the capital accounts rather than expended. (Old accountants think about these things.)
This is the final result of the R-40-14 rebuild. Photo resolution was not good this time. I used Ted Culotta's Speedwich decal set for the R-40-14 on the UP side. I found these were available after I had already done the SP side from the Microscale 87-414 set The PFE orange is a little light this time but with the remembered range of colors depending on the light.
I won't be able to do any more R-40-14's as I have no more of the old Details West 4+4 rib castings with W post rounded corners. I have some R-40-10 end castings that I may be able to sand a little to look like a W end post which would allow another R-40-14 bash from an Athearn reefer.