Making a better Pennsy P70
I THINK THIS is kind of funny. Jim Cullen offered me this content to build up the material for the passenger section of Nscale160.com. I wrote him back and told him I had saved this information a few years ago when it was on his old website! I appreciate his offer to let me include it and a couple of pictures of his models. The prototype pictures I took in June 2008 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA, while on a four-day pass enroute to a year in Iraq.
"The Pennsylvania Railroad had over 1,000 of its classic and very recognizable P70 heavyweight coaches. There are some great looking coaches out in N scale now so my effort to create a representative P70 seven years ago may be somewhat dated by now, but they still run on my downsized layout and still look good to me. I started with a Lima base coach, which has a little finer detail than the Model Power version, and proceeded to make some changes and additions which included; stripping the old paint, relocating the truck mounting locations inboard so the trucks would clear the new steps, adding Gold Metal Model vestibule steps, blocking off the end vestibule windows with scrape styrene, changing a few of the under carriage details just for a little variation, replacing the molded on roof vents with pinheads and adding a small piece of styrene to represent the body pads above each truck. "I then painted the roof and undercarriage black, and the body with a custom mix of Floquil Tuscan, Caboose Red and WC Maroon until the PRR "maroon" color looked right to me. Once the painting was done, it was time to add the rest of the details that included: Microscale 60-891 and 60-892 decals (stripes were put on by Brian Wolfs of Mainline Hobby Supply), Micro-Trains body-mounted 1023 couplers, American Limited heavyweight diaphragms and the East Wind 2D-P5 trucks. One of these days I may do a little with the interior such as seat painting, adding shades, adding some people, etc.
"Many thanks to Claus Schlund, Doug Nelson and George Picyk for their helpful advice and motivation while making these cars. There was also this guy named Terry Pitts who tried very hard to get Claus and/or myself to write an article on the P70 mods back then but we unfortunately didn't listen to him."
Update: You can now make an even more detailed model with parts from Jeff Faulkner's PRR-Parts including ice chests, water tanks, and a new roof. Jeff has a lot of tips to upgrade the same Model Power Jim did.
Inspiration at a Museum
During a four-day pass from training on the way to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom I had a chance to visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. I really enjoyed the visit and would have liked to stay longer. Maybe I'll get a chance to go again. I had never seen an E7 before and it was easy to get pictures of the P70, both inside and chassis-mounted details. You can see all of the pictures in the Gallery, but some of the P70 shots are below.
As mentioned above in Jim's article, the P70 was pretty much the standard coach of "the standard railroad of the world" and should be well represented on anyone's layout. The picture to the left took a few tries to get right; it's a mixture of ambient light and fill flash (Nikon D100 w/ SB-800 flash for those so inclined).
The picture to the right shows an end and one long side. If you compare this shot with an N scale Model Power car you will clearly see that the model shouldn't have the large square windows it has on its ends. I think Jim's project looks neat. I have one of the Kato Broadway Limited sets plus some of their earlier cars. Except for the most famous named trains, heavyweight cars such as the P70 would often be found mixed in with newer streamliners - regardless of how unattractive that may be! Good luck.