Assembly Instructions and Parts List
1 1/2” Scale Gondola Car Kit
Catalog Numbers 15C4A or 15C4B
This kit is of a modern welded steel design gondola. These cars began to appear in the 1960’s and are the standard for new designs today. The kit results in a car that is a scale model of one typical car of this type.
Before You Begin
Please read all these instructions, study the drawings and look at the actual parts before starting construction. The kit requires basic assembly skills including drilling and blind riveting. It does not require skill beyond that of the average modeler. If you have questions, please ask a more experienced modeler, or contact us before proceeding.
For assembly you will require a soft faced hammer, power drill with 1/8” and 3/16” drill bits, center punch and hammer, blind or “pop” riveting equipment, at least 12 (24 is better) small C-clamps (or other similar clamps), hacksaw and blades, deburring and/or filing equipment, and a large square. A power metal cutting saw and/or milling machine will save time but is not required.
Enclosed are six drawings. Figure 1 shows overall views of the completed car from the side and end. Use it as your general reference for all work. Additional drawings provide the detailed views called out by specific instructions.
Attachment of the various parts is done with blind rivets (commonly called “pop” rivets) and drive rivets. All needed rivets are included, including a few extras. The blind rivets are installed with a tool specifically made to set them by pulling the center stem. The tool must be equipped with nose pieces designed to fit each of the two rivet sizes. The drive rivets are set by using a small hammer to drive a pin in the center of the rivet flush with the head.
We recommend that at least a primer be applied to any overlapping steel areas before parts are installed. No matter how tightly a joint is made or how completely the edges are painted water can get between overlapping layers and cause rust that cannot be prevented later.
|Caution – The initial floor frame, and the finished car, are quite heavy and it is strongly recommended that at least two persons be used whenever it is being moved.
- Place the floor frame upright (top side up) on a secure and well supported work surface capable of holding its weight and resisting the forces applied during construction. If a table or other similar solid top is used, the floor frame must be spaced above the top so that clamps can be installed along the bottom edge to clamp the side and end panels to the downward turned flange of the floor frame. It is recommended that the floor frame be clamped in place so that it will resist the forces applied against it when drilling or fitting parts. You may use clamps attached to the body bolsters on the underside, or bolts through the truck mounting holes. Do not use clamps that will interfere with attachment of the side or end panels.
- Take one of the end panels and hold it upright, with the top flange facing outwards (away from the center of the car), and place it against the end of the floor frame. Attempt to slide it downwards over the rectangular tubing that projects from the end of the floor frame. Use care to not twist it or distort it. Do not force it if it will not fit but remove it and file small amounts of material from the end panel until it will fit into place with its bottom opening fully down over the tubing. Note that part of the floor frame projects below the end panel. Do not attempt to fully cover the floor frame flange. Clamp the end panel into place with two clamps, one on each side, installed from the underside of the floor frame.
- Carefully check the first end panel for alignment. Measure the distance between its lower edge and the lower edge of the floor frame and attempt to make them as close to the same as possible by loosening the clamps and moving the end panel.
- Study Figure 2 and note how the side and end panels interlock. The top flange of the end panel goes over the top flange of the side panel and fits tightly against it. The tab on the end panel goes behind the edge flange of the side panel. The outward turned edge of the vertical flange on the end panel aligns with the side panel end. Note: For steps #5 and #8 it is very useful to have a second person to help by holding the other end of the side panel. Use care to not twist or move the side panel while it is engaged with the end panel or un-repairable damage to the interlocking end joint could be done.
- Hold one side panel along the side of the floor frame approximately at the height it will finally be installed in and carefully move it towards the end panel installed in step #2 until it interlocks. Light tapping with a soft faced hammer may be necessary to make the interlock joint fully tight. Hold the side panel to the end panel with one clamp attached near the top of the vertical flange. Use at least two more clamps to hold the lower edge of the side panel to the floor frame.
- Take the second of the end panels and hold it upright, with the top flange facing outwards, and place it against the end of the floor frame. Holding the side panel out of the way, attempt to slide it downwards over the rectangular tubing that projects from the end of the floor frame. Use care to not twist it or distort it. Do not force it if it will not fit but remove it and file small amounts of material from the end panel until it will fit into place with its bottom opening fully down over the tubing. Remove the end panel and interlock it with the side panel already installed while moving it back into position. Clamp it into place with two clamps along the bottom edge and one near the top of the vertical flange.
- In a method similar to step #3, check the second end panel for alignment.
- Take the second side panel and interlock one end with one of the side panels. Then, by carefully “springing” the remaining end slightly apart from the other end panel, interlock the second end. Clamp it into place with at least two clamps on the bottom edge and one near the top of the vertical flange at each end.
- Check the fit and alignment of all parts. Make sure that the top flange of the end panel is tightly against the top flange of the side panel. If this will not remain tight, add additional clamps to hole these together. Use a large square to check that the side and end panels are at a 90 degree angle to the floor and that the corners formed between the side and end panels are also 90 degrees. It is best to work over the entire car, checking and adjusting several times until you are sure everything is properly fitted before you go on. Errors will be much more difficult to fix after this step. Note: In the next steps you should constantly be checking to see if something shifted out of position while you were working. Clamps can move and you must check as you work to end up with a properly constructed car.
- Study Figure 3 and note that each end of the side panels is attached to each vertical flange of the end panels using four rivets. The drawing shows the location of these rivets. Firmly clamp each joint together, lay out and center punch the rivet locations, and drill them with a 1/8” drill. Deburr the holes on both sides. Using a blind rivet tool with the 1/8” nose piece, install 1/8” steel rivets in each of these corner locations (do not use aluminum rivets here).
- Figure 4 details how the aluminum tubing that simulates the side ribs is attached to the side panels. It is held in place with two smaller 1/8” rivets above the floor and one larger 3/16” rivet below the floor. This 3/16” rivet also holds the side panel to the floor frame. In order to help hold the side and end panels in correct position it is recommended that temporary bolts and nuts (not included) be installed in some of these 3/16” rivet locations. To do this find the center of the side panel and mark it. Then lay out spacing equal to the rib spacing shown in the drawing to each side of it (note that the number on the drawing is between the ribs, the center-to-center distance is greater by the width of the rib). The vertical position of the 3/16” rivet hole is as shown. Note that this is measured from the bottom edge of the side panel, not of the floor frame. It is recommended that you lay out at least two or three (for the 40 foot car, three or four for the 60 foot car) hole locations and then center punch and drill them 3/16”. Install a 10-24 or 10-32 machine screw and nut at each of these locations
- The vertical ribs are made from rectangular aluminum tubing that is ½” by 1”. The 1” wide side is installed against the side panels. You will need 34 pieces for a 40 foot car or 50 pieces for a 60 foot car. There are two ways in which the tubing can be fitted into place. All pieces can be cut to end up with finished pieces that are 6.9” long. This will result in a small gap between the top of the tubing and the lower surface of the top flange that will be hidden by the edge flange. This method is simpler in that the cutting need not be as exact since some clearance exists. The tubing may also be cut to the exact dimension between the top flange and the lower edge of the side panels. This will also required some shaping of the top end to allow for the bend radius in the side panel. Cut the vertical ribs from the tubing provided slightly longer than required and file or mill the ends square. Remove all burrs. The remaining tubing is used later.
- Reposition the car so that you can access the outside and underside at the same time. Lay out, center punch, drill and deburr any 3/16” rivet holes not done in step #11. Place a vertical rib in its correct location and mark the 3/16” hole location from behind. Remove the vertical rib and center punch, drill and deburr a hole where marked. Use care to only drill the back side of the vertical rib, do not drill all the way through. This method is used because the holes are so close to the floor that most drills cannot be used from behind. Place the vertical rib back into position and clamp it into place. Install a 3/16” steel blind rivet through the floor flange, then the side panel, and then the vertical rib. The inner end of the rivet ends up in the hollow interior of the tubing. Set the rivet using the tool and correct nose piece.
- Repeat step #13 working from outside and below the car until you have installed a number of vertical ribs (or ran out of clamps to hold them at the top).
- Carefully check the alignment of the vertical ribs installed in steps #13 and #14. Errors in spacing are less noticeable than errors that result in them not being parallel with each other. With them firmly clamped (but do not crush the tubing), turn the car so that you have access to the inside. Lay out the two 1/8” rivet holes for each vertical rib. Center punch and drill these holes, remove burrs, and install 1/8” aluminum blind rivets.
- Repeat steps #13 through #15 until all vertical ribs are installed. Install the vertical ribs that require removal of the bolts and nuts last. Note: The corner ribs are attached with drive rivets. These rivets have a small pin that projects above the head. When it is driven down flush with the head the other end of the rivet will spread and hold the assembly in place. Place the rivets completely into their holes and use a small hammer, and if necessary a punch, to drive the pin down. Use care to not hit the other parts of the car or to damage the rivet head.
- Study Figure 5 to understand how the corner rib is installed. Note that this rib has one wider flange that must be installed against the side panel. All the corner ribs are the same, two of them must be turned upside down relative to the other two to make right and left side parts. Place one corner rib into place with its lower edge aligned with the lower edges of the side and end panels and its flanges tightly against the side and end panels. Mark on the side panels the amount of overlap of the corner rib. Remove the corner rib and lay out the hole locations on the outside of the car. The holes are too close to the corners to allow drilling from inside. Center punch, drill them 1/8”, and deburr as required. Place the same corner rib back into place and mark, from the inside, the hole locations on it. Remove it and center punch, drill and deburr. Place the corner rib back into place and clamp it firmly into place making sure all the holes line up. Install and set drive rivets to attach it into place.
- Repeat step #17 for the other three corner ribs.
- Figure 6 shows the cross rib installation. These should be cut to length to fit cleanly between the end ribs at each location. The lowest cross rib must also be cut away to fit around the tube that is part of the floor frame and so that its lower surface is even with the lower edge of the end panel. Mark each cross rib as to location as it is cut, filed or milled to shape.
- Reposition the car so that you can access the outside and underside at the same time. Lay out, drill and deburr the four 3/16” rivet holes at each end of the car that hold the lowest cross rib and end panel to the floor frame. Place the correct cross rib in position and mark the 3/16” hole locations from behind. Remove the cross rib, center punch, drill and deburr holes where marked. Use care to only drill the back side of the cross rib, do not drill all the way through. This method is used because the holes are so close to the floor that most drills cannot be used from behind. Place the cross rib back into position and clamp it into place. Install four 3/16” steel blind rivets through the floor flange, then the end panel, and then the cross rib. The inner end of the rivet ends up in the hollow interior of the tubing. Set the rivet using the tool and correct nose piece.
- Repeat step #20 at the other end of the car.
- Install the two other cross ribs at each end of the car. Check them for alignment and clamp into place. Errors in spacing are less noticeable than errors that result in them not being parallel with each other. Turn the car so that you have access to the inside if required. Lay out the four 1/8” rivet holes for each cross rib. Center punch and drill these holes, remove burrs, and install 1/8” aluminum blind rivets.
- Before proceeding with any final assembly the car should be painted. There are many painting systems available and they are constantly changing. You should check with a supplier that furnishes paint for automotive or heavy equipment use to locate a system that will provide the long life in the outdoors application typical of these cars.
- A hole is provided at each end of the floor for coupler attachment. Unless ordered otherwise, the position of this hole is for the use of standard shank couplers. The length of your coupler shank must allow the coupler to project far enough to swing freely. Most standard couplers have a shank that is 3/4 inch (19mm) high. If yours is thicker than this it will be necessary to mill, file or grind it to this thickness. If you are unable to do this yourself and cannot find someone in your area please contact us. If your coupler shank is considerably thinner than this dimension you should add washers (not included) above and below the coupler at the coupler pin to place the coupler vertically in the center of the opening. Your coupler shank should have a nominal 3/8” hole for the coupler pin. The hole should allow a slightly loose fit so that the coupler swings freely without allowing excessive play (slightly larger or smaller holes can be produced with letter size drills). If a hole is not provided in your coupler, or if it is too small, it must be drilled. Use care in locating this hole so that it is not so close to the side or end of the coupler shank that it weakens it. If the hole provided is too large it should be reduced in diameter with a bushing (not included). The floor is shipped with two clevis pins for coupler mounting. These install from the top of the floor and are held in place with a spring clip through the hole in the end of the pin below the floor.
- The car comes with center pivot bolts and center pivot buttons. The center pivot button is the round part that fits into the matching recess in the top of our trucks. The button is threaded and screws on to the center pivot bolt. The threads are recessed on one side, this side must go upward, towards the car floor or the bolt can not be fully tightened. Do not force or over-tighten this bolt when installing. Also supplied are nylon insert lock nuts and flat washers to be placed below the truck so that the car can be lifted with the trucks attached (optional). Coat all sliding surfaces (center pivot and rocker pads) with a heavy-duty, waterproof grease before installing the trucks. Clean these surfaces and re-coat periodically during maintenance. To install trucks it is recommended that the car be turned over on a padded surface (Caution - heavy, two persons are required). Install the trucks while upside down. If using the nuts and washers, it may be necessary to reach under the car and hold the center pivot bolt to prevent it from turning. Do not allow this bolt to come loose while tightening the nut. For other brands of trucks or other mounting methods you must design the mounting system yourself. The reliability and safety of your car, and your enjoyment of it will depend on how well you design this mounting. These instructions are provided to give the basic details for use. They are not intended in any way to be design guidance. If you do not feel comfortable doing the design yourself we strongly advise you to seek out more experienced modelers for help. If you are unsure of anything, please contact us. Your design should result in the center of the coupler opening being the correct distance above the top of the rail with a normal load on the car (for current IBLS standards this is 4 3/8” (111mm), some clubs may have other standards).
Replacement Parts List (for One Car)
|Rivet, 1/8” Steel Blind
|Rivet, 1/8” Aluminum Blind
|Rivet, 3/16” Steel Blind
|Center Pivot Button
|Center Pivot Bolt, 3/8-16 x 3 1/2 Socket Head Cap Screw
|Truck Mounting Nut, 3/8-16 Nylon Insert Lock Nut
|Truck Mounting Washer, 3/8 Grade 8 Flat Washer
|Coupler Mounting Pin, 3/8” x 1 1/2” Clevis Pin With Hairpin Clip
|Hex Key, for 3/8 Socket Head Cap Screw
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Real Trains®, Inc.
32215-D Dunlop Boulevard • Yucaipa, Ca.92399 • phone(909)446-0600 • fax(909)795-9320 •