Sunday, October 25, 2015
Adding Weight to an Intermountain 60ft Flatcar
About 8 years ago, I acquired on a whim an undecorated Intermountain 60' flat car at a the local hobby shop. The car looked good and I decided to paint it in a hypothetic modern QRL&PCo paint scheme. Unfortunately, the car quickly was retired from operation due to poor tracking.
In fact, Intermountain 60' flatcar is notoriously known for its feather-like weight. The car is very nice, but weights no more than 1.1 oz...
Many ways were deviced by modelers to enhance the car's running. The easiest way is to add loads onto the car. Makes for an attractive solution but I'm not too eager to have permanently fixed loads on a car supposed to simulate real operation. For a switching layout, having the opportunity to run the car empty is crucial.
Thus, the other way is to simply add weight below the wood deck. Filling the empty space under with lead shots is probably the most efficient way, unfortunately, I don't have accept to such product. I thought I could use sand glued with diluted white glue in the same manner as ballast. The idea would work with most flat cars. However, the Intermountain deck isn't 100% sealed and I feared white glue would find it's way on the deck and ruin the model.
The only remaining option was to use lead wheel weights. No particularly the easiest way out there, but feasible. To do so, I removed some internal bracings and details to make more room. I was careful to keep all the details that could be seen from the side. Lead weights required some trimming to fit the space.
After this invisible surgery, the car now weights a honest 3.9 oz. compared to the initial anemic 1.1 oz. For such a car, NMRA would recommend 5 oz., but there's a limit to what you can do. If I had other lead supplies, I could have stuffed about 1 more ounce under the car.
Now, the fun start as this car will be repainted as a CN car to fit our fleet.