Author Topic: The Physiotomy of Sharks  (Read 3690 times)

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kelticsylk

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The Physiotomy of Sharks
« on: February 23, 2012, 04:45:59 PM »
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Always wanted to use that word in a sentence...
Anyway, I'm gonna open a can of worms here but I thought I would set the record straight on the Pennsylvania Railroad's fleet of Baldwin built sharknose diesels. Some fellows (better know as rivet counters or what Bill McClanahan used to call "Scale Rule Richards") over the years have made some "observations" on N scale models of the BP20 class and why they were incorrect. I've been on a crusade ever since to straighten out the controversy.

The warcry usually sounds something like "You cannot kitbash a BP20 using RF16 shells!". The actual answer is "That depends on what shells you are using". The supporting argument goes like this...

This is what a BP20 looked like. This photo was taken pretty early on, maybe late 1940's. The nose stripes have not been introduced yet and the unit is painted DGLE (Brunswick Green to the unintiated, just don't say it out loud)...



We are primarily interested in studying the locomtive body from the cab door forward. Notice that the windshield is flush and that the drip rail over the door is curved. The frame is nearly invisible because part of it is covered by the side panels. The shark nose is rather long and rakish, just as Mr Loewy intended.

This is what a BF15 looked like...I'm assuming this photo is also late 40's early 50's because of the five stripe  DGLE paint scheme.



These locomotives are based on the Baldwin DR-4-4-15 (or DR-4-4-1500). They are mechanically the same as the "babyface" Baldwins of the same designation. The body change has no reference in the Baldwin model numbering system. Notice that the windshield is flush and that the drip rail over the door is curved. The frame is nearly invisible because part of it is covered by the side panels. The shark nose is rather long and rakish, just as Mr Loewy intended. These locomotive cabs are identical to the passenger units except for the height. The BP20 cab appears to sit a bit lower, as evidenced by the number of cab steps.

This view of #9570 reinforces the similarity between the BP20 and BF15 cabs. You can tell this is a BF15 because of the fuel filler opening is in the side panel above the frame and fuel tank.




This is what a BF16 looked like...You can tell it's a BF16 right away because the fuel filler is on top of the tank and the side frame has been notched to suit.



The nose appears shorter. That's because the cab sits 12" further forward than the BP20 and BF15 versions. The short nose did not start with the BF16, however, but with the last batch of BF15 units. These units were reclassified as BF15a. The cab of the BF15a units was moved forward so the generator could be relocated. Because the cab moved further forward the nose had a steeper angle to the windshield. The windshield on an BF16 has an aluminum frame. The drip rail above the door is not rounded, but squared off at an angle. You may notice the frame is more pronounced and the side panels sit above the frame. This is the locomotive that ER modeled in their version of the shark.

I made up a comparative illustration using plans from Kalmbach Publishings "Cylopedia Volume 2 Diesel Locomotives" and edited with Paint Shop Pro... The BP20 and BF16 drawings are taken directly from the book. The BF15a and BF15 drawings are manipulated images based on research into the subject.



Notice the red markup on the RF-16 drawing. If this truly is an RF-16 than the drawing is incorrect. ONLY the DR-4-4-1500 had the fuel filler in this location. Judging by the shorter nose and the drip rail, the rest of the drawing is correct.

One more photo that may hammer home the point...

This photo was taken in Scranton. At first glance it looks like the shark on the left is a BP20 and the locomotive on the right is a BF16. This is especially true in the original photo which is much darker. A gamma correction, however, reveals that the unit on the left is actually a freighter and has the two axle trucks.

The unit on the left is actually a BF15 and difference in the slope of the nose between the two is pretty obvious in this picture.

So what is the point?
You can make a BP20 from freighter shells, but it will look like this (sort of)...


If you use the DL109 frame and mechanism you can get close to the 80 foot length. The BP20 had quite a bit of overhang front and rear. Taking advantage of this you can almost get away with it. You could match the drip rail pretty well and redo the window posts. The rest of the body need only be fabricated from plastic sheet or several freight shells with all the detail carved or sanded off. No matter how you do the rest of the shell the problem will still be the nose. The available shells don't have the correct slope. 

You would have to borrow some old school hot rodder techniques and "chop the top"...

Lowering the cab so that the steps match the BP20 makes quite a bit of difference. Of course the entire roof line has to drop with it. The major trick is cutting and rotating the top of the "prow" so it follows a lower angle.

The resulting modification would look like this...

It probably still isn't correct, but it's looking more like a BP20. It was pretty easy to do this using a image editor, but it might be a ton of aggravation in real live plastic. Guess I'll find out the hard way.


One final point to the Scale Rule Richards out there...When you are counting rivets...Make sure your looking at the right locomotive.

Aside from the actual research, all of this is tongue in cheek. It's a very wry way of justifying my own model of a BP20 for the Allegheny Eastern. Thought I would share the info because somebody out there might be thinking the same way.

Frank Musick
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 10:52:19 AM by kelticsylk »

Bob Bufkin

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2012, 05:00:38 PM »
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Someone has made bodies for these but I don't remember who.  Saw a couple at the Timonium show about 3 years ago.  I think they fit on PA bodies.  I'm sure someone here knows who.  If you could find one it would save you a lot of work.

kelticsylk

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 05:40:34 PM »
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Someone has made bodies for these but I don't remember who.  Saw a couple at the Timonium show about 3 years ago.  I think they fit on PA bodies.  I'm sure someone here knows who.  If you could find one it would save you a lot of work.

The only ones I have found were once sold by Ken-Ray. They stopped producing them a while back, but they still advertised them as "sold out" on their website until earlier this year. Now there is no sign of them.



Every once in a while one will show up on E-Bay.

The A unit needs work and the side detail on the B unit is really wrong, but it would be a lot easier to modify that sort of shell than to use the freight shells. Even if it was designed for the PA mechanism, I could have stretched it to fit the DL109. The only problem I would have had with using them would have been the cost. They were $20 a piece ($35 for both). Since I would probably have needed four it would have cost me $70. That kind of money would have better uses on the Allegheny Eastern.

Ah well...
Frank

Alwyn Cutmore

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2012, 06:37:28 PM »
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Hi Folks,

The models of the sharks BP20 style that have been produced to-date have left a lot to be desired. I have a pair of Father Nature models and they have more mistakes than a grade 1 spelling contest and that also is the same as the Ken-Ray B unit which is just a chopped up V Line A Unit. The Sharks are a favourite loco of mine and I study photos of them until my eyes hurt.  I must say Frank I did enjoy your thread on the matter and have saved it to my files. I will PM you later. The Ken-Ray A unit is very similar to a model that was produced by a guy in Nevada back in the late 90s early 2000. It was a pretty good model in some respects but he loaned it to another caster to produce but the pattern has not been seen since. So what of the BP 20. In reality as a loco it was a failure for the purpose it was built for. The first set were different from the subsequent sets. The first two A Units had twin light housings and all the mansard roof vents had square corners. They were distinctive because of their length, being some 10 feet longer than an E8. They carried the front end traits of the RF15 in that the nose door only came up half way to the headlight. There has been some fine research put into the book on sharks by Wither's Publications and careful study of the photographs will enlighten you on the visual differences between all variants. Over their life there were other mods to number boards, nose ladders, paint scheme and so on. For modelling purposes the latest DL109 from Life Like/WKW split frame would be around one of the better power units available other than a stretched Kato PA Mech.

Frank I may sound like a rivet counter or as you say a SRR but I do believe there is a place for close enough is good enough but when you are going to pay money for something that is purported to be a scale model then it should be pretty darn close. I look at the loco bodies that are produced by Kaslo Shops and they are quality. But then again you do pay for that quality and you will not get one for under $75.00 without mech so I guess you get what you pay for.

Regards

Al
Al Cutmore
Slobbering Pennsy Shark Nose Freak
Australia

Puddington

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2012, 07:17:51 PM »
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Were these so called sharks made for a class one railway or just some run of the mill road.........?





















OK; YOU KNOW I'M KIDDING...RIGHT..... :D

Good information - very interesting
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

eric220

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2012, 07:35:16 PM »
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Thanks for the info.  Until I saw this photo, I had never seen that scheme.  Certainly makes this one a little more plausible:

-Eric

Modeling a transcontinental PRR
http://www.pennsylvania-railroad.com

pnolan48

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2012, 10:14:13 PM »
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Very useful! Thanks! I appreciate the research.

Sokramiketes

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2012, 11:20:26 PM »
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Now that is how one posts to Railwire.  Bravo!
Mike

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Better modeling through peer pressure...

Alwyn Cutmore

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 11:43:47 PM »
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Hi Puddington,

They were not made for just a class one railroad but the top of the class railroad. :D :D :D :D :D :lol: :P

Regards

Al
Al Cutmore
Slobbering Pennsy Shark Nose Freak
Australia

kelticsylk

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2012, 11:52:17 PM »
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Thanks for the info.  Until I saw this photo, I had never seen that scheme.  Certainly makes this one a little more plausible:



I saw these posted on weekend update and never even noticed the shark style lettering. Cool!

JSL

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 12:25:22 AM »
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Excellent posting and research! Cool thread.

Bob Bufkin

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2012, 10:20:59 AM »
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Eric, I always thought you based that paint scheme on the Shark.

Puddington

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2012, 12:29:35 PM »
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Now that is how one posts to Railwire.  Bravo!
+1
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

Puddington

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2012, 12:30:07 PM »
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Hi Puddington,

They were not made for just a class one railroad but the top of the class railroad. :D :D :D :D :D :lol: :P

Regards

Al

Somehow I knew I'd get your attention Al...... ;)
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

Iain

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Re: The Physiotomy of Sharks
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 08:00:42 PM »
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I knew my Baldwin sense was tingling.  Back when I was in high school, I drew up 3d models of these in Solidworks.  I'll see if I can dig out the files (assuming I still have them).  With some tweaking, they can be used for Shapeways 3d printing.  Assuming I do find the files and the models meet my standards, I'll post them somewhere online.

Dang it, you've got me wanting to do an ABA set again ...
Thanks much,
Mairi Dulaney, RHCE
Member, Free Software Foundation and Norfolk Southern Historical Society

http://jdulaney.com