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ScaleTrains.com Bulkhead flatcar

Faded and weather-beaten, the BSC F68AH bulkhead flatcar waits for its next assignment in the Georgia Northeastern Railroad's Tate Yard.

Recently ScaleTrains.com released their Bethlehem Steel Company (BSC) F68AH 100 Ton 68’ long bulkhead flatcar. The prototype car was first introduced in 1969 and over 1,100 F68AH bulkhead flats were built before production of the design ceased in August 1974. Many of the cars are still in service today. The bulkhead flatcar from ScaleTrains.com is very nicely reproduced with numerous fine details and individually applied parts. The car is an excellent model and would look great in any modern era model railroad fleet from the 1970’s to today.

Last week I was contacted by Drayton Blackgrove from ScaleTrains.com to see if I was interested in having their new bulkhead flatcars filmed in operation on my layout. Drayton is well known for his Delay In Block Productions YouTube channel and was recently hired by ScaleTrains.com as their Social Media Manager. Drayton had seen my YouTube videos and wanted to feature the new cars operating on a layout set in the modern era. I was honored that he wanted to film the cars on my layout and we set up a date for him to come over to film.

Drayton captures the action of the local switching the bulkhead flat cars into Capitol Building Materials.

On the scheduled date, Drayton arrived and we began the production process. After helping him set up the shots, I ran the locomotive while he filmed. It took a few hours to capture all the footage needed for the promotional video. After the filming session, we had a brief informal ops session on my layout using the ProtoThrottle and my GNRR locomotives. Overall it was a very enjoyable afternoon. Below is a link to the ScaleTrains.com video featuring the bulkhead flatcars.

While the ScaleTrains.com bulkhead flatcar looks great right out of the box, it needed a little weathering to reflect the numerous years of service it had seen on the prototype before being placed in operation on my layout. I found some prototype reference photos of the BSC F68AH flat car on RR Picture Archives, taken in 2014, which showed the wood deck was well worn and had faded to a silver brown. In addition the car had faded paint and numerous rust spots, especially on the side stake pockets. After observing and making notes of the prototype photos I began the weathering process.

The model comes with the laser cut wood deck as a separately applied item by the modeler. This allowed me to fade the paint on the car without having to mask off the deck, I just had to mask the bulkhead ends which had the simulated wood planks already applied to the metal bulkhead structure. I removed the trucks from the car prior to painting and then used an airbrush to apply a thinned mix of Floquil Dust to the entire car to give it a faded look. For the trucks, wheel and axles, I used Rust-Oleum Camouflage Earth Brown spray paint and spun the wheels while applying the paint to the entire truck assembly. Next, I cleaned the paint off the wheel treads before it dried completely.

The next day, after the paint on the car was dry, I glued the laser cut wood deck to the model with canopy glue. Once the glue for the wood deck was dry, I stained the deck with Minwax Cherry stain, giving the deck two applications of the stain. After allowing the wood stain to dry, I used a thinned wash of gray acrylic paint on the wood to give the deck a more weather-beaten look. To create the rust spots, I used Burnt Umber artist oil applied with a fine brush or the tip of a toothpick. Next I touched the oil paint with a brush dipped in Turpenoid to blend the paint into the base paint on the model. I allowed the oil paint to dry overnight, then I sealed it with an application of Lusterless Flat spray paint. For the final step, I used Pan Pastels and AIM weathering powders to give the model a general coat of dirt and grime. The finished model, shown in the top photo on this blog, looks like it has seen better days, which is exactly the look I was going for.

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