The society has offered brass car sides for several different
types of cars used on the Santa Fe for several years. The cornerstone
of this offering and the group that I am most familiar with is
what they are calling the "1953 Super Chief." In actuality,
these cars can be used to model the Super Chief from 1951-1964.
The name Super Chief first appeared in the last 1930s. The schedule
and physical consist changed several times between 1937 and 1951.
In January 1951 the final revamping of the train was placed in
service and continued to run with few equipment changes well into
the Amtrak years. The 1951 Super Chief typically consisted of
a baggage car, RPO, 600-606 series diner, 500-505 series dome
lounge, 1339-1344 series dormitory lounge, Vista series observation,
and six to eight sleepers build by American Car and Foundry, Budd
and Pullman Stadard.
Pullman 4-4-2 (4 bedroom, 4 compartment, 2 drawing
room) built in 1948:
Total of 17 cars originally built for 1948 Super Chief.
American Car & Foundry 4-4-2 built in 1950:
Total of 15 cars originally built for the 1951 Super Chief
American Car & Foundry 10-6 (10 roomette,
6 bedroom) built in 1951:
Total of 13 cars originally built for 1951 Super Chief.
Budd 10-6 built in 1950:
Total of 27 cars built for general pool service.
In 1958 the Super Chief was combined for much
of the time with former 21 & 22 the El Capitan and in 1964
twelve duplex sleepers of the Indian class were upgraded to an
11 bedroom floor plan and were added to the consist, quite often
replacing the 4-4-2 sleepers.
A very informative article appeared in the August
1993 Model Railroader written by Andy Sperandeo about the
1951 Super Chief. The article was specifically targeted at the
Super Chief's consist and operations during the years of 1951-1953.
Floor plans and diagrams for eight types of cars most commonly
used on that train were featured. The eight cars offered by the
society as the "1953 Super Chief" are the same cars
featured in the article. To date, I have purchased brass car sides
for the baggage car, 10-6 and 4-4-2 sleepers, as well as the dome
and dining cars. The depth of the fluting and the detail is excellent!
The holes are even cored for grab irons to be added later. In
rating these car sides, I would say that they are superior to
what Soho and Lambert offered in brass, but not quite as good
as Coach Yard and Challeger Imports. Along with the car sides
you get an Eastern Car Works core kit. I started to build two
of the sleepers when I was told by a vendor at the NMRA show in
Cincinnati that Train Station Products was planning on coming
out with some core kits of their own that were cut with closer
tolerances at the joints. Thus, I stopped working on the cars.
He also showed me a couple of kits that TSP is currently offering
to detail the bottoms of passenger cars. The kits include battery
boxes and generators, etc.
While waiting for the new core kits to be released
I decided to experiment with paint. I want the cars to have a
uniform look to them, which means painting the plated brass sides
as well. A friend suggested that I consult race car modelers as
to what paint to use to achieve the bare metal look. They suggested
a company called SNJ out of Sacramento. (Funny, I lived in Sacramento
off and on for ten years and never heard of them. Had to move
to Kentucky to find out they existed.) I was impressed, this stuff
stands and delivers! It even gives off a reflection. The color
I selected was Aluminum because it was the only color that the
hobby shop had in stock. The hobby shop sent them an email asking
if Stainless Steal was available, but no reply as yet. It is simple
enough to use and is so thin that thinner is not required. After
spraying on a couple of coats and letting it sit for about twenty
minutes or so I applied the powder that can be purchased in conjunction
with the paint and buffed it into the paint. I have used Metalizer,
but was far more impressed with this. If Stainless Steal in not
available, I will conduct some experiments to darken the paint
a shade and see how it works. I might just go with the aluminum.
Regarding the dome and dining cars. I suggest
buying the Concor kits and using the roofs. To be honest, it is
the only way you are going to get the dome. The rest of the car
can be discarded. Interestingly enough the Concor diner and Pullman
dome models are based on the 500 and 600 series cars used on the
Super Chief. The roof of each of these cars is just slightly too
long, however a file or milling machine will take care of that.
The ends and floor can come from the core kit. The diner could
be done the same way and I do recommend it because of the ventilation
detail on the roof.
If you wish to add variety to the train and use
cars that are not available through the society, Walthers new
baggage car is supposedly based on a Santa Fe Budd prototype.
This car would also be good for the El Capitan and would look
sharp with the hi-level cars currently available. We can only
hope that TSP will produce the lounge car and finish the set.
I have heard that the upcoming RPO is a Santa Fe prototype as
well, but will not swear to it. The coach is also supposedly a
Santa Fe prototype copied from the final order of non hi-level
coaches purchased by the railroad. These would be accurate for
the Chief and San Francisco Chief.
My Super Chief is supposed to represent the train
as it looked between 1958 and 1964 (post El Cap consolidation
and pre Indian class rebuild). To do this accurately I needed
more types of sleepers than offered by the society. The most common
were the Budd 10-6 variety and here the modeler has a choice.
The Concor 10-6 can be modified to look like a Santa Fe Pine series
by plugging three windows on the isle side of the car, lengthening
the name plate below the windows and adding the small plate that
says "Pullman" next to the door. Or you can use the
new Walthers 10-6 sleeper which is supposedly modeled after a
Union Pacific Ocean series sleeper. In this case the fluting above
the window needs to be added. I used Evergreen 2020 to achieve
this. The Pullman 4-4-2 is still under investigation. Someone
wrote in an email a couple of days ago that the Eastern Car Works
4-4-2 is accurate for the Santa Fe. I guess I will have to order
one and check it out.
Some of my references include:
From Zephyr to Amtrak, by David Randall
and Allan Lind 1972.
A Quarter Century of Santa Fe Consists,
by Fred W. Frailey and David Randall 1974.
Model Railroader, August 1993
The Official Pullman Standard Library, Vol
I ,Santa Fe, by W. David Randall and William M. Ross 1986.