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Kitbashing a modern Trinity aluminum covered hopper


While not an exact replica, the author’s “what if” Rock Island model of a Trinity Industries aluminum covered hopper (above) captures the look of the Trinity’s arched roof cars. A close comparison to a Trinity 5,380 cu. ft. car (below) shows a slight difference in the ribs.


new curved ends. You can also glue in the roofwalk end supports at this time I reused the ones from the Atlas Train- man hopper by cutting them off and moving them further up. Now for details. Simply install the At-


las Trainman hopper brake detail parts in their proper place. For the Trinity 5,400 cubic-foot covered hopper bolster and jacking pad details, use a sheet of Plastruct styrene with .080″ width. Cut straight lines for the raised bolster and cut triangles for the horizontal jacking pad. See the top photo on page 75 for how these should look and where they are to be placed. I measured the hopper body, then drew cut lines with a pencil on the styrene and compared them against the hopper after cutting to make any alterations. The jacking pad has a small hole, which I drilled with a pin vise using a No. 70 drill bit. Glue these on and let them dry.


The last step before painting is to ap- ply putty to any cracks and joints that should be smooth. This includes the cen- ter indentations on the Walthers coal hopper sides, which will need to have


76 DECEMBER 2011


the rivets trimmed off in the center as well. When the putty is dry, smooth it with a knife and fine sandpaper. Now for the really fun part, painting and decaling. This is where the model really starts to look like an actual pro- totype. I used a flat aluminum water- based paint to give it a fairly new look. Cars that have been around for a while may look more tarnished. Before paint-


ERIK EDMONDS: TULSA, OK; MAY 1, 2010


ing, make certain the model is com- pletely dry (both glue and putty) and give it a one-hour soak in a tub of warm water with dish soap. After the soak, take out each car and give it a gentle scrub. This removes the oils from all the previous handling and helps the paint adhere better. Rinse and let the model(s) air dry overnight. Before painting the cars aluminum, give them a coat of primer gray. This helps the color coat adhere faster and speeds up the overall painting process. After the primer, paint them alu- minum, let the paint dry, then apply a gloss coat. After that dries, apply the decals. I used generic Trinity covered hopper decals for the car data with Rock Island decals for the markings. After the decals dry, apply a final gloss coat and let it dry thoroughly. While you are waiting for the hopper to dry between coats of paint and gloss, work on the wheelsets and trucks. I painted the bearings of the trucks blue to signify a new truck. The wheelsets are painted rust to also signify new wheel- sets, and I brush painted both colors. When the body is finished drying from the last gloss coat, install the trucks and add your choice of couplers. Now you can operate the cars and have an interesting modern aluminum covered hopper to im- press fellow modelers with.


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