Author Topic: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.  (Read 6342 times)

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daniel_leavitt2000

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Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« on: May 24, 2010, 07:25:48 PM »
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Section I: How Big is the MDC Tank Anyway?

As mentioned in the earlier tank car thread, I stripped an old MDC tank car that I was using to test paint. After stripping, I started looking at the model, and what it might represent.

The tank car is actually about 48’ long. It is noticeably shorter than the Atlas 20700 GS tank, but also wider. I wanted to know what the prototypical volume in gallons would be. To measure the volume of a cylinder your need to follow this simple formula: πr2h=v. In this case the tank is 3.428” long and .7” wide giving us a volume of 1.319 cubic inches.

To calculate what the volume would be for the prototype I need a known ratio of a model cylinder to its prototype. For this, I used the Atlas 20700 and 25500 gallon tank cars. The 20k tank measures 3.783” x .666” giving us a volume of 1.379 cubic inches. Using cross multiplication we get a volume of the MDC car, 19,799 gallons.

Using the 25500 tank, with a model volume of 1.798 cubic inches, we get a volume of 18,706 gallons for the MDC car. Since I was looking for an approximate volume, let’s split the difference and call it 19,500 gallons. There are other things I didn't take into account such as the tapered ends, prototype insulation, and the body getting slightly wider in the center for the funnel flow cars. Again, all I wanted was an approximation.

Looking at the MDC car, it bears a strong resemblance to Athearn’s HO acid tank. In fact, Athearn has painted the MDC cars in the same paint schemes as their acid car. The main problem is that the Athearn car is listed as a 20900 gallon GS car in some parts of the website and 13,000 (and 20,900) gallon acid in other sections. For the purposes of sanity, I believe the MDC car to be in the 19-20k gallon range.

Section II: Comparison to Prototypes.

As stated above, the tank resembles the HO Athearn Acid tank car and their 20900 gallon general service car. I don't have one of these cars to take measurements, so the tank may be wider/longer than the MDC car. Looking at photos of the Athearn car, it looks a bit skinnier than the MDC car. Let's look at the prototype:
http://www.railcarphotos.com/PhotoDetails.php?PhotoID=13351

Not much information here. We know this is close to the same car as Athearn’s acid car. We know Athearn painted an MDC car in this scheme. How does it's side compare to the MDC car? The MDC car measures 9’6” wide. Using the 5’10” wheel centers on the 100T truck in the above photo, we can calculate the tank prototype tank is 9’3” wide, a very close match.

Next, let's look at the car I originally wanted to model:
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=123473

I measured the truck centers of a print out at 1.08 inches and the tank height at 1.713 inches. If the wheel centers are 70 inches on the prototype, the tank would be about 9’3” wide, about the same as the white tank.

Measuring car lengths can be a bit trickier using this method because the car may be photographed at an angle or using a zoom lens which can compound distortion over the length of the car. This is the reason why a full size freight car may appear longer and skinnier than a correctly proportioned model. The quick and dirty method I use is how many freight car trucks look like they would fit between the trucks of the prototype. In this case both prototypes could fit about three, the same as the MDC car.

So my conclusion is that the MDC tank could be used as the starting point for either prototype.

Modeling GATX 2684

For the GATX car I used the Con-Cor Funnel Flow upgrade kit by Gold Medal Models. It's not an exact match, but the roof top handrails are a closer match than the upgrade kit for the MDC car.


This tank was used to test some weathering. Total failure.


This MDC tank has been upgraded with GMM parts and brass wire.

In addition to the ladders, roof handrails and end platforms, I added the handrail along the bottom of the car. Two stanchions per side proved to be too weak so I used 4. The handrail with is .01” wire. I added brake lines under the tank using the same stanchions and .015” wire. 


Close up of the tank platform and railings.

The brake gear was salvaged from a plastic MTL underframe. I used .015 wire to approximate the brake lines at the end platform.


The original car lacks most platform details and brake gear.


The end platforms and brake gear have been upgraded. I still need to add the brake chain.


I still need to add new wheels, brake chain, decals and weathering. I am waiting on parts. More to come.
'In my great and unmatched wisdom'

BCR 570

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Re: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 09:30:07 PM »
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Daniel:

Nice work.  I built four of the MDC cars and used the Gold Medal Models upgrade kit as well as the Precision Scale Co. brake detail kit:






I used Fox Valley wheels which I thought are really seen to advantage on these cars.  I like your addition of the brake lines - I will have to include that on the next tank cars I build, which will be Procor's dual compartment cars.


Best wishes finishing them!


Tim
T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

ljudice

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Re: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 11:03:59 PM »
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Nice work!!!  Too bad Athearn didn't really upgrade these though...

wm3798

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Re: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 11:06:25 PM »
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I've got a few of these cars... Looks like it might be worth a little more investment in them....

Lee
Rockin' It Old School

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

James Costello

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Re: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2010, 05:18:24 AM »
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I always thought the MDC cars looked pretty similar to these ATSF cars:



Which appears to be:
Richmond Tank Car design
Blt 11-74, 111A100W1, no coils, 20865 gallons, TK-R class, tank fabricated by Trinity

http://tankcarhomepage.railfan.net/page1.htm
James Costello
Espee into the 90's

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2010, 01:35:06 AM »
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Update: 6/7/10

I received several decal sets and parts this week. Here is the short list:
Microscale Decals:
60-236
60-689
60-1236
60-4076
60-736

Gold Medal Models:
Etched Upgrade for MDC Tank Cars

I took a look at the decals and was a bit disappointed. The GATX markings were the wrong font or the numbers were not available for the cars I wanted to model. The set 60-625 features the right font and number blocks but is not currently available. Anyone have this set?

I managed to start two new cars using the GMM MDC kit. I don’t like the kit quite as much as the one for Con-Cor. The MDC kit requires gluing cross support railings on the tank platform. This could easily be knocked off or broken.

When complete the MDC tank looks a lot like these GATX cars:
http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=105549
http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=105551



This model was upgraded using the GMM MDC upgrade kit. I added details to match the GATX cars including end rail supports and side rail support locations. I added side railing supports next to the ladder to simulate ladder supports. The brake gear came from leftover parts from an IM ACF hopper kit. I like these parts much better than the ones salvaged from the MTL under-frame.

This is the basic assembly process:
'In my great and unmatched wisdom'

ljudice

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Re: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2010, 08:33:28 AM »
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Very nice!

You inspired me to pick up an Atlas beercan car, since I found an ECUX prototype that looks almost identical.

SAH

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Re: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2010, 05:05:54 PM »
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Nice job Daniel.  4 or 5 years ago I decided to do something similar.  I thought the car in a Feb 1990 MR article, p104 looked pretty close so i used it as a base.



I scratched the details, primarily because i forgot that GMM made a set for this car.   ::)
The saddles caught my eye so I decided to try to add them.  I did not do the brake piping.  You're a better man than I.
Here's the artwork I made to create a pattern.  I think you'll be able to follow the progression to the pattern





The finished model showing the tank saddles



I made this model before I was aware of the low riders here at the railwire.   :)  Here's the Atlas 17,360 g car for comparison.



Steve

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010, 04:24:16 PM »
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Thats very impressive!
'In my great and unmatched wisdom'

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Upgrading the MDC 50' GS Tank.
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2010, 12:47:20 PM »
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In the last week I purchased 12 different decal sets to get a match for the tank cars I want to model. While I have most of the dimi data, the road numbers have been hard to find. I decided to order custom decals for this and several other projects.

The GATX font is Boston Traffic and is reminiscent of the Boston Police font used on their cruisers. It also happens to be a very close match to the one used by GATX. The UTLX font is Arial Black. The Conrail font on top is the Futura Bold mentioned in another thread. All font is set to 6 pt for the car sides and 3 pt for the ends. The "Union Tank Car Company" is 2.5 pt font.
'In my great and unmatched wisdom'