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Kitbashing a modern Trinity aluminum covered hopper


rect arch style, from the online Atlas parts department. I re-used the Atlas Trainman roofwalks. For hatches,


I


went with extra Intermountain roof hatches that I had from their Pullman Standard 4,750 cubic-foot covered kits. The first step is to strip the paint off


The side panels for the model (top) were cut from a Walthers model of a Trinity RD-4 hop- per. These were installed on an Atlas Trainman Thrall 4,750 cu.ft. covered hopper which has had its side panels and roof removed (above). The kitbashed roof (below and bottom) was modeled using the arched roof from an Atlas model of an ACF 5,701 cu. ft. covered hopper, the walkway from the Atlas Thrall car and InterMountain hatches.


the Walthers cars (assuming they are decorated). Use a 91% isopropyl alco- hol bath, soak them for at least two hours. When the paint starts to peel off, completely scrub off the paint with an old toothbrush. After this, wash them off with soap and water and let them dry. When dry, mark lines on the hoppers where to cut out the panels us- ing the photo as a guide. Prepping the Atlas Trainman hop- pers is the next step, which is simple because they come with the detail parts unapplied. Take the roof off by removing the screws from the bottom. Also take off the trucks, couplers, and metal weights, which will make the cutting work much easier. Use a felt tip marker to mark the area to cut, which is basically the entire car side save for the angle ends. The best part about us- ing the Atlas Trainman hopper for this project is that the body stays complete- ly the same, so you will have a terrific car that runs well operationally and does not compromise this important aspect of the hobby.


Now you are ready to cut. A Dremel motor tool is great for this. Be sure to wear the proper safety gear (including glasses) and be prepared for a lot of fly- ing plastic! First cut the panels off the Atlas Trainman body using the photo as a guide. When doing this, try to cre- ate a smooth, straight line across the bottom sill of the hopper and dig into the two triangle-shaped parts that form the top of the gates. This is impor- tant to have a straight sill to glue the new sides against. You also need to cut off the bolster connecting the jack pad to the steps and trim the top of the jack pad so that the new sides can rest evenly on top.


the car sides exactly did not turn out well and reduced the amount of Trinity RD4 hoppers I had left. Modeling only four hoppers was also easier and less time consuming to construct. For supplies, I bought several of the undecorated Atlas Trainman 4,750 cu- bic foot Thrall hoppers, which have the correct high-side body. The ladder and brake wheel configuration is a very close match to the Trinity 5,400 cubic foot hopper. Then I bought twelve Walthers Trinity RD4 coal hoppers from a friend, of which eight were used on the final models. For the roof, I went with Atlas ACF 5,701 cubic-foot cov- ered hopper roofs, which have the cor-


74 DECEMBER 2011


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