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S RailGon Gondola
 "S" RailGon Gondola by Randy Griggs

I thought you might like to see what I spent some of my Christmas Holidays
finishing up - an "S" RailGon gondola.  I ordered some RailGon decals back
in 1982 from G & W Models.  I wanted a modern RailGon type gondola, just
for the heck of it, and I always liked the RailGon paint scheme.  I had a
nice set of plans from Railroad Model Craftsman (that I blew up from 1/87
to 1/64).  I had some "spare parts" - mostly brake gear stuff, etc. plus
some "modern" Ace roller bearing trucks sitting around.  I also had a
Northeastern basswood center sill that was long enough to fashion the
underframe, etc.  Back in August, 1997, I decided it was time to put a
gondola underneath my G & W RailGon decals, so I purchased misc. ABS sheet,
channels & I-beams, and square or rectangular tubes.  I tried REALLY hard
to understand how the real RailGon was put together, as I was using
relatively thin sheeting for the sides & ends.  The top chord member is a
little out of scale (slightly too big), but since it was the closest thing
I could find at my local hobby shop, I went ahead with it.  An interesting
"coincidence" is that the gondola sides ended up with an ever so slight
positive "camber" (or upward bow) which I would guess the real cars
have.  If I had PLANNED to have a slightly positive camber on the sides,
they would have turned out negative.  The car has essentially been complete
for about 2 years.  I had previously painted the underframe and interior of
the gondola.  (An interesting item about SOME of the RailGons is that they
painted the interiors white so that a fellow loading the gon with an
overhead crane could better discern where to place the load.)  What I
didn't relish was the difficult (for me) painting and masking of the
RailGon paint scheme.  I finally figured out how to accomplish the task,
and proceeded with it over the holidays.  It turned out reasonably
well.  And, I'M GLAD IT'S FINISHED! :-)  It looks great in a train with the
American Models Railbox, and the #@&*%Tainstuff kit RailBox that I had
completed several years ago.  I was really surprised that the G & W decals
went on so well, and looked so good.  I had to take a little modeler's
"liberty" in placing the "Thrall Car" builder's logo as they were a bit too
long to fit the panel that was called for in the plans.  It was hard to
tell they had been sealed in their original vinyl envelop for 18
years!  Now I'm hoping Ron or Don will make a RailGon "ready-to-run"
gondola so I can have another one or two SOONER than in 18 years!  :-)

The photos were taken with a SONY Mavica digital camera.

Regards, Randy Griggs