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Discussion Starter #1
Just for fun I thought I try my hand at building an auto rack kit. Not knowing much about them, or trains in general, I emailed an eBay seller who assured me this was an open rack. To my disappointment... It is not. None the less, for $15 I figured what the heck.

Now I guess I was expecting something a little closer to the model car kits I used to build. This was lacking decent instructions, mounting tabs are mostly not existent and it comes without trucks or couplers. Kind of annoying in my mind, but I'm new here, so maybe that's normal?

Now that it's mostly together, this thing is LONG AND TALL! Surprisingly it goes around an r15 180 pretty well, although the coupler didn't line up right and will need a shim as it decoupled a few times. But it never derailed.

So here's the questions... I'm using some 4 wheel trucks a got in a bulk buy with some other supplies. No idea on the brand, but they seem fairly cheap, but effective. Would this large of a car had a 6 wheel truck? I'm sure I mounted these wrong, they feel a little tight. If 6 wheel is better, what's a good source?

Paint, yes I should have painted before assembly, but we didn't. It's a $15 model. Paint I can handle, but maybe some decals would help, registration numbers or something? Like I said I don't know much about trains, but there has to be registration numbers of some sort?

Finally, couplers. I have plenty of couplers, but they are slightly high and only making about half contact. Is there a safer made for this, it just shim it up best I can?



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Looks like your kit is turning out nicely.

Something like this was probably more what you had in mind. I'm not much of an HO guy so I don't know what all is available.



 

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Discussion Starter #4
Looks like your kit is turning out nicely.

Something like this was probably more what you had in mind. I'm not much of an HO guy so I don't know what all is available.



Thanks, I'm actually a little surprised it looks as good, I was skeptical. I need to pick a color for it now.

That eBay is definitely more what I was hoping for. I also need to stop spending money before I get into trouble!

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Those auto racks only carry cars. Not a heavy load when compared to other types of freight that the railroads drag around.
I think those two axle trucks have 100 ton capacity each.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I suppose I hadn't thought of that. 8-10 cars even heavy trucks or SUVs would be more than maybe 50-60klbs. Probably closer to 40k most times.

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I think your model turned out great. Most of the models I saw running on the old L&N tracks when I was a kid were painted a dark or medium dark brown. They looked just like your model. Leave the protective corrugated steel panels in their natural color or molded color. Whatever color is on them now looks perfect.

The Athearn model does not look true to scale. I've never seen an autoloader that would only carry four vehicles. Even the autoloaders from the 50's and 60's carried at least six vehicles.
 

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Those auto racks only carry cars. Not a heavy load when compared to other types of freight that the railroads drag around.
I think those two axle trucks have 100 ton capacity each.
Not "each" - the combined capacity of the car would be ~70-100 tons, not 200.... but 100 ton trucks have 36" wheels and some modern autoracks actually have 28" wheels since their loads are comparatively lightweight and bulky and to help lower the car to max out the loading space while staying within height restrictions and the capacity is actually less than 100 tons for these cars.

Six wheel/three axle trucks are found on heavy weight cars designed for large, heavy loads like depressed center flatcars.
 

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I think your model turned out great. Most of the models I saw running on the old L&N tracks when I was a kid were painted a dark or medium dark brown. They looked just like your model. Leave the protective corrugated steel panels in their natural color or molded color. Whatever color is on them now looks perfect.
His model appears to be molded in black, and the roof and side panels are galvanized steel, so they should be a silver colour, not raw plastic black. The rest of the rack would be painted in the railroad's colour, and the flatcar underneath the rack might be in the RR's colour if owned by the railroad, or in Trailer Train/TTX's yellow and black, as a large majority of auto racks ride on top of TTX flatcars.
 

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In the photos I'm seeing they already look like they are galvanized color. The only black I'm seeing are the shadows in the corrugations.
 

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Paint I can handle, but maybe some decals would help, registration numbers or something? Like I said I don't know much about trains, but there has to be registration numbers of some sort?
All railroad equipment is identified by a "reporting mark", a one to four letter code identifying the owner, and a unique 1 to 6 digit id number. This combination of reporting mark + number is unique for tracking purposes.

Cars will also be stencilled at minimum with certain standard weight and dimensional information, and may be decorated with the logo(s) of the car's owner or lessee although the last is not required and is more for "marketing".

Some photographic reference sources:


 

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Discussion Starter #15
In the photos I'm seeing they already look like they are galvanized color. The only black I'm seeing are the shadows in the corrugations.
They are black plastic right now. Will get painted silver/grey. I think the picture you are talking about you are seeing the light reflected off the black plastic.

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If that is a reflection, the illusion is the perfect color. I thought you had painted those protection shields.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If that is a reflection, the illusion is the perfect color. I thought you had painted those protection shields.
Looking at the picture, I agree with you. Sadly, my painting skills aren't that good. My son decided he wanted to paint it with me, so it's definitely not that great (he's doing surprisingly well though!)

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Because you are brush painting it. The paint is either too thick or too thin to level properly. You will have to go over this with several coats allowing it to thoroughly dry between coats.

Also, you are painting over black with no primer coat.
 

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Because you are brush painting it. The paint is either too thick or too thin to level properly. You will have to go over this with several coats allowing it to thoroughly dry between coats.

Also, you are painting over black with no primer coat.
I'd love to learn airbrushing.

I did thin it pretty good, but still seems to be splotchy, maybe too thin? I expected it will take several coats without using a primer though. I'm calling this car the experimental!

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