Friday, April 8, 2016

Bachmann ACF Centerflow Hopper Kitbash - Part 1

As promised, here's my newest project which turns out to be a complete fooby. I tried to follow Islington Station Decals instructions, but couldn't find any suitable propotype. The decals are made for a 3-bay car, but the ACFX corresponding cars have 4 bays. I decided to make a 3-bay hopper, even if I could be wrong.

To make things worst, the Bachmann model is a very bad rendition of a very early ACF design. It means both car ends are vague representation of the real thing and are, from a modelling stand point, useless.

Bachmann shell is quite sturdy in comparison with Athearn Centerflow regular hopper. After trying unsuccesfully to cut the shell in half, I simply cut it with my band saw. I then split the parts together after removing the extra material. It was a very easy job to do.

Next, I decided to remove all the molded on grabirons. They were absolutely wrong. To thick and wrongly spaced. I thought about using preformed grabs, but unfortunately, the ladder spacing was wrong too! So I decided to use very thin strips of styrene to make them. It was fast and the result more than rewarding.

Funny thing, Bachmann provided two B-type end parts. Thus, the car had two air cylinders! Big deal! One was removed and a typical ACF design hole was drilled in its stead.

 I also added a few more vertical members to build missing ladders. Fortunately, it turned out far better than expected. A-line stirrups and Tichy metal grabs were used on the lower parts. I didn't have modern brakewheel so I took an older design and filled the central part with AC glue. Once painted, the eyes are fooled right away.

Moving down the brake wheel was another big challenge requiring lots of filing. With spare parts and bits I was able to build a decent apparatus by following prototype pictures.

The underframe was also completely rebuilt to remove a discharging bay. It was quite easy but I added extra bracing just in case. Then, some lead was added for improved running. I'm always amazed how some weight really decrease substantially derailment.

Finally, the last step was to shorten the walkway, which was a piece of cake.

Next time, I'll show you the final result.

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